MLB Power Rankings: August 9, 2017
On Tuesday, the MLB released this year’s playoff schedule. The playoffs will be rung in with the American League Wild Card game on October 3rd, with the National League Wild Card game to be played the following night. The AL Division Series is slated to begin on October 5th, with the NLDS (notice a pattern here?) commencing on the 6th. Each league’s Championship Series will begin eight days after the start of the Division Series. Game 1 of the 2017 World Series will be played on October 24th with November 1st being slated as the date Game 7 would be played, if necessary.
As the season winds down, it will be exciting to keep an eye on each league’s Wild Card race. The AL East alone has four teams at or above the .500 mark. The Milwaukee Brewers only trail the Cubs by 1.5 games in the NL Central. One can certainly anticipate a mad dash to the finish.
Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings presented by FlurrySports. (All records and stats updated through 8/7/2017)
30.) Philadelphia Phillies (29)(40-69) 29.) Chicago White Sox (28)(41-68) 28.) San Francisco Giants (30)(44-70) 27.) Cincinnati Reds (27)(46-66) 26.) San Diego Padres (25)(49-62) 25.) Oakland Athletics (26)(50-62) 24.) New York Mets (21)(49-60) 23.) Detroit Tigers (24)(51-60) 22.) Atlanta Braves (23)(51-59) 21.) Toronto Blue Jays (22)(52-59) 20.) Miami Marlins (20)(52-58) 19.) Texas Rangers (19)(53-58) 18.) Los Angeles Angels (18)(55-58) 17.) Minnesota Twins (17)(54-56) 16.) Pittsburgh Pirates (15)(55-57) 15.) Baltimore Orioles (16)(56-56) 14.) St. Louis Cardinals (14)(56-56) 13.) Seattle Mariners (13)(57-56) 12.) Tampa Bay Rays (12)(58-55) 11.) Milwaukee Brewers (11)(59-55)
The Top Ten
10.) Kansas City Royals (10)(57-54)
The Royals hold on to the ten-spot–well, barely. Kansas City has lost seven out of their last ten games and have allowed the Rays to challenge them for the second AL Wild Card spot. Their struggles could continue as the interstate rival St. Louis Cardinals occupy the next three games of the schedule. The Royals will see the AL Central-leading Indians in two series before the end of the month, the red-hot Colorado Rockies for three games, and the aforementioned Rays the 28th through the 30th. If the Royals are going to make it to the postseason, they are really going to have to work for it.
9.) Chicago Cubs (9)(59-52)
Good news for the Cubs: the NL Central lead is back under Chicago’s control. More good news for the Cubs: the month of August has plenty of chances for Chicago to get some easy wins. With opponents like San Francisco, Cincinnati, Toronto, Philadelphia, and Atlanta sitting well under the .500 mark, the Cubs will be facing opponents that they are more than capable of dispatching. However, it is worth noting that Chicago has dropped four of their first seven games this month. All four losses, though, were to teams that currently occupy playoff spots. Look for the Cubs to bounce back this week against the Giants and Diamondbacks.
8.) New York Yankees (4)(59-51)
Like Icarus, it seemed as if the Yankees were flying a little too close to the sun. After briefly regaining control of the AL East (for like a day), the Yankees immediately gave it up to Boston. To make matters worse, New York has dropped four out of six games to start the month of August. While they maintain a 2.5 game lead for the top AL Wild Card spot, if current trends continue they may not hold that lead for long. The Yankees host the Red Sox this weekend in a three game series that is sure to be must-see TV.
7.) Cleveland Indians (5)(59-50)
The Indians take a step back only because of their slow start this month (2-3). Cleveland can ill afford any kind of a skid, as the Royals and Twins only trail by four and six games, respectively. The Indians will travel to Minnesota next week for a three game series and will see the Royals six times before the end of the month. With less than two months left in the season, the Indians should like where they are at, but their division rivals are still within striking distance.
6.) Arizona Diamondbacks (7)(63-48)
The Diamondbacks have taken a bit of a step back, moving down to the second Wild Card spot in the National League and starting off the month of August 3-3. This all comes after they went 10-14 in the month of July. Things could get a little more dicey for Arizona as they have upcoming series against the Dodgers, Cubs, and Astros. The Diamondbacks have safely held a Wild Card spot for a few months now, but the Brewers are only 5.5 games behind.
5.) Boston Red Sox (8)(63-49)
Boston has retaken control of the AL East. After a rough month of July that saw the Red Sox post a 13-14 record, they have started the month of August with a perfect 5-0 record. Fifteen of Boston’s next twenty-two games will be against AL East opponents. The month of August will either be when the Red Sox cement their first place dominance over their division rivals, or the month that they allow themselves to be overtaken. Based on current trends, the Boston faithful wouldn’t be guilty of wishful thinking to assume that they will see the former and not the latter of the two scenarios.
4.) Colorado Rockies (6)(64-48)
Third baseman Nolan Arenado has helped put the Rockies in a very good position. Currently Colorado holds the top Wild Card spot in the National League. Arenado himself is on pace to finish the season with a line of .311/.361/.587 with 36 homeruns and 133 runs batted in. Add that to his stellar defensive play and Arenado could very well be the National League’s MVP.
3.) Washington Nationals (3)(66-44)
One could describe the Nationals’ season so far the same way you would describe Bryce Harper’s hair in the morning: “perfectly-quaffed.”On Monday, Harper hit his 150th career homerun in a 3-2 win over the Miami Marlins. Harper is only 24 years-old but is on pace to finish his career with Hall of Fame-caliber numbers. The 13-game lead the Nats hold in the NL East certainly isn’t something to sneeze at, either. An intriguing match-up to watch will be the brief 2-game series the Nats will play vs the LA Angels on the 15th and 16th. The Angels are headlined by outfielder Mike Trout, who also hit his 150th career homerun at the tender age of 24.
2.) Houston Astros (2)(71-40)
The Astros started off the year hot but have since stumbled after the All-Star Break. Houston has only gone 11-11 since then and have started off the month of August losing four out of six games. On the bright side, the Astros are still far and away the best team in the American League. They also became the second team in the MLB to eclipse the 70 win mark on August 4th in a win over the Blue Jays. They can also expect to have a few of their key players back before October. The Astros should be able to safely make the postseason on cruise control, but a team with World Series aspirations should not let themselves become complacent. Houston hopes to not fall into that trap.
1.) Los Angeles Dodgers (1)(79-32)
Here’s a mind-blowing stat: the Dodgers managed to post a 43-7 record since June 7th. They are the first team to accomplish that feat since 1912. On Friday night, Yu Darvish made his first start for Los Angeles since being traded to the club by the Texas Rangers. He threw seven shutout innings, allowed only three hits and one walk, and struck out 10 batters. It is fairly safe to say that things are going pretty well for the Los Angeles Dodgers right now.