This is it! The final four weeks of the season are ahead of us, and the playoff races have tightened a bit, especially in the National League—where the pretenders have faded. Every game counts a lot more from here on out, and those blown games in the first half seem all the more meaningful now.
Teams are also dealing with injuries and rookie promotions, so the rosters are in flux as they expand this month. Anything can happen in MLB, and it usually does. Why, some guy named Verlander just threw a no-hit game in Toronto on Sunday, for example.
Keep an eye on the risers and the sinkers as we had into the home stretch of 2019!
Note: Current records through Sunday, September 1, are included, as well as the previous ranking from last time.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (89-50, 1): They’re on cruise control, with just five games left against teams with winning records, currently, and a solid lead for home-field advantage in the National League playoffs. Can anything stop L.A. from a third-straight pennant? No one has done it in the NL since the 1940s.
- Houston Astros (89-49, 3): Meanwhile, Houston has just six games left against teams over .500 currently, and that will help the Astros in their chase for HFA in the American League. This rotation is going to be hard to beat in the playoffs, for sure.
- New York Yankees (90-48, 2): The Bronx Bombers also have a mere six contests remaining against winning teams, so the chase for the top record in the AL is on. The Yanks don’t have the pitching, really, but they have the hitting, as Oakland’s bullpen learned over the weekend.
- Minnesota Twins (84-52, 4): Whoa, the Twinkies are looking at a dozen games left against good teams, which is almost half their remaining schedule, really. That could put pressure on Minnesota down the stretch in the AL Central Division race.
- Washington Nationals (77-58, 9): The Nats could be facing hard times ahead with just three games left against teams currently with losing records. The next 15 straight games on the schedule feature playoff-contending teams.
- Oakland Athletics (78-58, 8): Meanwhile, Oakland has just four games left on the schedule against an opponent with a winning record. This bodes very well for the A’s chances at making a run at hosting the AL Wild Card Game.
- Atlanta Braves (84-54, 6): With 17 games left against playoff-contending teams, the Braves have their work cut out for them in the NL East, even with the Nats’ rough road ahead. However, we think Atlanta’s cushion is safe.
- Cleveland Indians (79-58, 5): The Tribe and the Twins have six head-to-head matchups left this season, so the drama is truly on. Could one of the AL Central teams miss the postseason? Sure, with the A’s and the Rays playing so well.
- Tampa Bay Rays (80-58, 7): The Rays have just eight games left against winning teams, but they’re all in a row from September 17-25. At the end of that stretch, we will probably know if Tampa Bay is playing in October or not.
- St. Louis Cardinals (76-60, 12): The final 16 games of the season for St. Louis are against teams currently playing winning baseball. Until then, the Cards better win as much as they can to build up that cushion in the NL Central.
- Boston Red Sox (74-63, 11): Can the BoSox catch up in the AL wild-card chase? Sure, but they’ll need to do well this week with seven straight games at Fenway against playoff-contending teams. If the Red Sox flounder now, it’s all over.
- Chicago Cubs (73-63, 10): Seven of the Cubbies’ final 10 games are against the Cards, so it’s very important for Chicago to stay within striking distance right now. Every loss against a lesser team is going to be painful for the Cubs.
- New York Mets (69-67, 13): That recent L6 really hurt the Mets’ chances at October baseball. The next 13 straight games, too, are all against teams in playoff contention, so New York does not have a lot of wriggle room anymore.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (70-67, 16): The D’backs just posted a W6 to get back into the outer fringe of contention. Arizona also has just seven games left against teams with winning records, so the time is now if this team wants to make a playoff push.
- Milwaukee Brewers (70-66, 14): The last 13 games of the season for Milwaukee are against sub-.500 teams, although nine of the next 13 are against winning teams. If the Brew Crew can hold its own early this month, there’s a shot.
- Cincinnati Reds (64-73, 18): The Redlegs have 19 games remaining against teams with a shot at the postseason, so Cincy is perfectly positioned to play spoiler. Since the Reds have underachieved so much this year, it would make sense for them to win now, wouldn’t it?
- Philadelphia Phillies (70-65, 15): Can we stick a fork in the Phillies? Twenty of their remaining games are against playoff contenders, and the way this team has underwhelmed the whole season, why should we expect a lot at this point?
- Los Angeles Angels (65-73, 19): The Halos play just three more games against teams not in the playiff chase this season. Like the Reds, the time is ripe for L.A. to ruin other teams’ dreams. However, this team looks dead itself, with just two victories in its last 10 games.
- San Francisco Giants (66-70, 17): The G-Men have 16 contests left against teams with winning records, and it’s not likely S.F. will recover to finish above .500 on the year. Manager Bruce Bochy is just 1041-1039 in his tenure with the Giants, and there’s a good chance he could end his career below .500 with the team.
- San Diego Padres (64-72, 21): Another potential spoiler! The Padres play 20 games still against other squads fighting for playoff spots and/or positioning. Sometimes, it is best for a sub-.500 team looking for respect to have a schedule like that at the end.
- Texas Rangers (67-71, 20): The Rangers’ rough second half is just going to get worse as they have just four games left against teams not in postseason contention. With a 19-29 record since the All-Star break, Texas is cooked.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (60-77, 24): The Pirates are 8-2 over their last 10 games, and half their remaining games are against sub-.500 teams. Maybe Pittsburgh can capitalize and gain some momentum for 2020 in the final month of 2019.
- Seattle Mariners (58-80, 26): The next six games and the last six games of the season for Seattle are against playoff-contending teams. In the middle, there’s a lot of slop where the Ms might be able to win a few games more than they lose.
- Colorado Rockies (59-79, 22): Winners of just two games in the last 14, the Rox are mailing it in now. That bodes well for the opponents in 15 of Colorado’s final games, which are against teams chasing down the postseason.
- Chicago White Sox (60-76, 23): Of the ChiSox games still left to play, there are 10 against the top two teams in the AL Central Division. Could Chicago’s South Siders determine the AL postseason seeding? Entirely possible!
- Toronto Blue Jays (55-83, 25): The Blue Jays have six games left against the Orioles. Otherwise, all their other scheduled contests are against playoff contenders. Maybe there are more no-hit games in Toronto’s future?
- Miami Marlins (48-88, 27): The final 13 games of the Marlins’ dismal season are against teams that may need those wins to make the playoffs. Look for a blah season to get even more uninteresting in the final month. How ‘about those Dolphins?!
- Kansas City Royals (49-89, 28): The final two weeks of the season for the Royals are all against teams chasing postseason berths. K.C. is not an easy out, however. Ask the A’s after their two one-run wins there last week.
- Baltimore Orioles (45-91, 29): The Os have a few games here and there against teams in pursuit of playoff spots. However, what do we expect from the Baltimore squad at this point? Not a lot, of course.
- Detroit Tigers (40-94, 30): One of the more interesting stats on the Tigers this year is the 6-32 record in games decided by five runs or more. That is some really bad pitching on display for Detroit this year, among other things.
Come back most Mondays to check out our MLB power rankings!