The National League playoff race is exciting! Six teams are within four games of the postseason slots designated for non-division winners. In the American League, only three teams realistically have a shot at the two wild-card slots.
Beyond mere win-loss records, though, all MLB teams are playing for different things right now: playoffs, respect, momentum, etc. For most teams, it’s also about looking at talent for next year, so the game results themselves mean less and less, really.
We did have a switch at the top this week, although the bottom remains mostly static.
Note: Current records through Sunday, September 8, are included, as well as the previous ranking from last time. Also, we will be taking the week off next Monday … FYI.
- Houston Astros (94-50, 2): They host the A’s for four games this week, in the last series for either team involving a team over .500 on the year. Is it safe to say both teams are locks for the 2019 postseason?
- Los Angeles Dodgers (93-52, 1): After dropping a home series to the Giants over the weekend, the Dodgers are just 9-7 against their NorCal rivals this season, despite outscoring S.F. by 30 runs in those 16 matchups this year.
- New York Yankees (94-50, 3): Thank goodness the Yanks and the Red Sox play their final head-to-head game tonight, sparing the rest of the nation from more unnecessary sports-media coverage of an overwrought, boring rivalry.
- Oakland Athletics (84-59, 6): The one fatal flaw for most low-payroll teams is the bullpen, and that’s true for these A’s as well. Oakland’s relievers are 24-26 with a 4.07 ERA this season, and that could cost the team even before October.
- Washington Nationals (79-63, 5): They won just two of seven contests last week in what could be shaping up to be a big collapse, thanks to the odd luck provided by the schedule. The Nats could be in a lot of trouble over the next three weeks.
- Minnesota Twins (88-55, 4): Despite dropping a home series to Cleveland over the weekend, the Twinkies still have a 5.5-game lead in the American League Central Division. Overall, Minnesota is 7-9 this season against their division rivals.
- Tampa Bay Rays (86-59, 9): The Rays have an eight-game road trip through Texas and Southern California, before returning home for returning home for six games against Boston and New York. That doesn’t sound very fun.
- Atlanta Braves (89-55, 7): The Braves have won 17 of 20 to really put pressure on the Dodgers for the best record in the National League. It’s a small sample, but Atlanta was just 2-4 against L.A. this season.
- St. Louis Cardinals (81-62, 10): The seven games against the Cubbies in the final days of the season loom large for the Cards, even as they have a 4.5-game lead in the NL Central Division right now. St. Louis is just 5-7 against Chicago this year.
- Boston Red Sox (76-67, 11): The team just fired its general manager, less than a year after winning the World Series. This shows you how ridiculous this organization has become, in step with the entire New England sports realm.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (75-68, 14): The D’backs have won 11 of 13 games to charge back into the NL wild-card scene, just 1.5 games behind Chicago for the final playoff berth. The team went 22-29 combined in May and July this season.
- Chicago Cubs (76-66, 12): After losing three straight in Milwaukee over the weekend, the Cubbies also have some injury woes in the infield. So much for that dynasty we all thought was coming after the 2016 World Series. Baseball is cruel.
- Cleveland Indians (83-61, 8): Looking at the final three games of the season for the Tribe in D.C., who would have thought an inter-league series at the end of September might have so much MLB playoff intrigue? That could be fascinating.
- New York Mets (72-70, 13): They are four games out of the last NL playoff spot, and this week, the Mets host Arizona for four games and Los Angeles for three contests. This should be the 2019 make-or-break stretch for New York.
- Cincinnati Reds (67-77, 16): The Reds have underperformed their run-differential projection by six games this year. This goes back to April, when the team posted an 11-16 record, despite outscoring its opponents by 13 runs that month.
- Milwaukee Brewers (74-68, 15): Meanwhile, the Brew Crew is six games above its run-scoring projection, thanks to a 23-15 record in one-run ballgames this year, and they are now just two games behind the Cubs for that last NL spot in October.
- Philadelphia Phillies (74-68, 17): The Phils have a minus-one run differential this season, so they’re outperforming, too, surprisingly. Like Milwaukee, they are just two games behind the Cubs. But again, they are facing over-.500 teams now forever.
- Los Angeles Angels (67-77, 18): It’s that time annually to ask when the Halos are going to build a championship-caliber team around a once-in-a-generation talent like Mike Trout. This is just sad to see him never make it to to October.
- San Diego Padres (66-76, 20): Want to see weird stat? The Pads are 36-40 against teams over .500 this year, and they are 30-36 against teams under .500 this season. That shows potential, yet it’s also got to be frustrating for all fans in San Diego.
- San Francisco Giants (69-74, 19): As noted above in the Dodgers blurb, the Giants have outperformed expectations this year in terms of differential. Usually teams with a 33-15 record in one-run games make the postseason, however.
- Texas Rangers (72-73, 21): The Rangers just swept a four-game series in Baltimore to inch closer to the .500 mark for the year. However, Texas has zero games remaining against teams under .500 on the season. Say goodbye to the Rangers.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (62-81, 22): The Bucs were decent enough in one-run games this year, with an 18-22 mark, but posting a 17-33 record in games decided by at least five runs is what has buried them in the second half of 2019.
- Colorado Rockies (60-84, 24): Speaking of post-All Star meltdowns, the Rox are 16-39 since the break. After averaging 14 wins per month in April, May, and June, the team won just 15 games combined in July and August.
- Seattle Mariners (58-86, 23): Poor Seattle. Their king (Félix) let the first Houston seven batters in the third inning Sunday reach base, and the Mariners ended up losing the game, 21-1. Long live the King.
- Toronto Blue Jays (55-89, 26): The Blue Jays are 0-for-September so far, having lost all seven games played this month. While we don’t expect Toronto to go winless for the rest of the season, it is still disheartening to see a semi-talented team flail.
- Chicago White Sox (63-80, 25): One of the more interesting things about Chicago’s season is the 14-14 record in one-run games. The White Sox just haven’t been in a lot of close games this year. Infer what you will.
- Miami Marlins (51-91, 27): The Fish have been shutout a whopping 21 times this year. Even if that number stays static until the end of the season, it is incredible a team could go scoreless in one eighth of its games.
- Kansas City Royals (53-91, 28): Manager Ned Yost has a .710 winning percentage in the postseason, but his overall regular-season winning percentage is just .474 over 16 seasons with Milwaukee and Kansas City.
- Baltimore Orioles (46-97, 29): With just one walk-off win in 2019, the Orioles are one of those teams that will not comeback on you. They are just 1-86 in games when trailing after the eighth inning.
- Detroit Tigers (42-100, 30): The Tigers have lost 50 games both at home and on the road so far in 2019. They do have 24 road victories, however, in comparison to just 18 triumphs at home in Motown.
Come back most Mondays to check out our MLB power rankings!