As we look at the postseason chase now with just six weeks or so left in the regular season, things are clearer in the American League: Despite a five-game win streak for Boston, there are really only six teams with a legit chance for the five playoff spots.
In the National League, it’s more complicated: There are five teams within reach of the last wild-card slot, making it a total of 10 clubs chasing the five available postseason berths.
We adjusted some run-differential numbers this week to rank teams by a projected-win total for the season, and it should account for real, on-field results more heavily. Enjoy!
Note: Current records through Sunday, August 18, are included, as well as the previous ranking from last week.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (82-44, 1): The Dodgers are 22-12 since the All-Star break, keeping their overall winning percentage pretty consistent from the start of the season. L.A. has a whopping 33 victories this year by five runs or more.
- New York Yankees (83-43, 3): With a 17-2 record against the Orioles this year, the overall record is a little misleading. However, considering all the injuries for the Yanks this year, the fact this team is in first place is amazing.
- Houston Astros (79-46, 2): Similar to the Dodgers, the ‘Stros are 22-13 since the All-Star Game, and that is right in line with their first-half winning percentage, too. Houston also is 12-1 against Seattle this season, with six games left against the Ms.
- Minnesota Twins (76-48, 6): The Twins have slumped a little in the second half, with just a 20-15 mark. Minnesota is 22-9 against three of the worst teams in baseball, which happen to reside in its division (Chicago, Detroit, and Kansas City).
- Cleveland Indians (74-51, 11): For comparison’s sake, the Tribe is 27-14 against those same three teams in the AL Central basement. But Cleveland has stepped it up since mid-July, going 24-13 in the second half so far.
- Atlanta Braves (74-52, 10): Remember when the Braves started the season with a 14-15 mark in March and April? Neither do we. After taking two of three at home over the weekend against the Dodgers, Atlanta has a 5.5-game lead in the NL East.
- Tampa Bay Rays (73-52, 5): Take a 13-16 record in June out of the Rays’ record, and they’d be right there fighting the Yankees for the AL East Division lead. As is, they are 21-13 in the second half as they prove once again how smart the organization is.
- Oakland Athletics (71-53, 8): The A’s also have stepped it up since the ASG with a 21-12 record as they chase the Rays (and the second-place AL Central team) for the postseason. Six of the eight best teams in baseball are in the AL, and one of them won’t make the postseason.
- Washington Nationals (67-56, 12): Seems like a lot of teams are playing better in the second half, including the Nats with their 20-14 surge since the ASB. They may not catch the Braves in the NL East, but they have an edge on the second-place NL Central team for the top wild-card spot.
- Chicago Cubs (66-58, 4): The 2016 champs don’t seem to play with a sense of urgency often. The 19-15 record since mid-July is an improvement over the first half, but overall, the Cubbies have been underwhelming this year.
- Boston Red Sox (67-59, 13): The Red Sox have played just .500 ball in the second half, which has dropped them five games behind Oakland in the chase for a wild-card position for the AL postseason. It just makes 2018 look like a fluke at this point.
- St. Louis Cardinals (65-57, 14): Here is another team making a second-half charge. The Cards have gained four games on the Cubs since the ASB, and now both teams are tied for the NL Central lead, in terms of winning percentage.
- New York Mets (64-60, 15): With 24 victories since the ASG, the Mets may be the hottest second-half team in baseball as they have pushed their way into the postseason conversation. They’ve played .667 ball since the start of July.
- Milwaukee Brewers (64-60, 16): The Brewers, like the Cubs, have floundered since mid-July, with just an 18-17 mark. They are now on the outside looking in for the playoffs. That has to be a disappointment after last October.
- Philadelphia Phillies (64-60, 20): A lot of teams in the NL playoff chase have been mediocre lately, including the Phils and their .500 mark since the break. That has allowed teams like New York and San Francisco back into the fray.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (62-63, 7): The D’backs are under .500 since mid-July, although they were only one game over even at the All-Star Game, anyway. This squad may be the absolute definition of “average” for the 2019 season.
- San Francisco Giants (63-62, 22): The Giants are 22-14 since the ASB, and it’s been enough to get them within shouting distance of the postseason. However, 21 of their remaining 36 games are against teams over .500 right now.
- Cincinnati Reds (58-65, 9): The Reds have been the same short-of-mediocre in the first and the second half, despite a modest run-differential edge. In the end, though, a team has to win games, and Cincy just ain’t doing that.
- Los Angeles Angels (62-64, 19): The Halos were one game under .500 in the first half, and they’re one game under .500 in the second half. That makes them a little less than the Diamondbacks, really, especially with a worse run differential.
- Texas Rangers (60-64, 17): This is really the first of the first-half contending teams to have bottomed out since the All-Star Game. The Rangers were six games over .500 in the first half, but they have fallen on hard times since then.
- San Diego Padres (58-65, 18): Poor San Diego. A .500 first half gave hope, but now that hope is gone, due to injuries and a second-half slide. Rookie phenom Fernando Tatis, Jr. also is going to be out for the rest of the year. Wait until 2020, Padres fans!
- Colorado Rockies (57-67, 21): The Rox are just like the Padres, really, as Colorado was one game under at the break, but they are now buried in the standings. What went wrong? Maybe the bullpen just wasn’t very good to begin with in 2019.
- Chicago White Sox (55-68, 27): How the ChiSox went 42-44 in the first half could be considered one of baseball’s great mysteries this season. This team has been outscored by an insane 118 runs this year, so perhaps the correction was overdue.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (51-72, 23): The Pirates have just seven wins in the second half, which is an ugly crash for a team that was somewhat in postseason contention prior to the All-Star Game. Ouch!
- Toronto Blue Jays (52-75, 25): This is one bottom-feeding club that has turned it around in the second half, sort of. The Jays are playing .500 ball since the ASB, and that bodes well for 2020 north of the border.
- Seattle Mariners (52-73, 24): The Mariners have been equally bad this season, no matter which half of the year you examine. That 1-12 record against Houston is only one issue, as Seattle has losing records in both close and blowout games.
- Miami Marlins (45-78, 26): Hard to believe, but after a 33-55 first half, the Marlins actually have been worse in the second half. They are just 11-33 against the Braves, the Mets, and the Nationals in 2019.
- Kansas City Royals (44-80, 28): The 14-19 record since mid-July is an improvement for the Royals, who won the World Series in 2015 and haven’t finished above .500 since then. July’s 11 victories were a season-best total for one month.
- Baltimore Orioles (39-85, 29): Even the Orioles have 12 wins in the second half so far, which puts the Pirates’ struggles in context. Baltimore is 11-36 against the Rays, the Red Sox, and the Yankees.
- Detroit Tigers (37-84, 30): With nine wins since the ASG, the Tigers are doing better than the Pirates, too, for the time being. Detroit has five victories each in June, July, and August (so far), respectively.
Come back every Monday to check out our MLB power rankings!