Power Rankings: Yanks surge, NL West rules

August 30th, 2021

Because the Yankees recently won 13 straight and have had a month-long stretch that has catapulted them into two races, it’s been easy to overlook that other team in the AL East division race that managed to keep the Yanks’ surge in check.

Yes, the Yankees are in the midst of a 25-7 stretch that began July 27. But it gained them just three games in the standings, because during that same span of time, the first-place Rays are 22-8.

In fact, during the Yankees’ 13-game winning streak, the Rays were nearly as good. Tampa Bay lost twice at the very beginning of the Yankees’ streak, but then ripped 10 wins in 11 games, going 10-3 during that stretch.

If the division race goes down to the wire -- the Rays are six games ahead of the Yankees -- the first weekend in October should be a doozy. The two teams will meet at Yankee Stadium for a regular season-ending three-game set. Will the division title be on the line?

Biggest jump: The Red Sox jumped three spots, from 12 to 9. Since being swept in a three-game series in the Bronx two weeks ago, the Red Sox have won six of their past nine games. They have also won four of their past six series.

Biggest drop: Three teams dropped two spots: the A’s (9 to 11), Angels (18 to 20) and Cubs (24-26). The A’s had lost 11 of 15 before their dramatic 3-1 win over the Yankees Sunday night. One game does not a season make, but it’s fair to say the A’s needed that one.

Power Rankings Top 5

1) Giants (2 last week)
The Giants lost in rather lopsided fashion to the Braves on Sunday but they have two more chances to tie the franchise record for the most wins by the end of August. They have 84 wins now, and need one more to match the 1962 and ’93 teams, which had 85 wins by Sept. 1. Anthony DeSclafani had a subpar outing in the 9-0 loss to the Braves, but prior to that, Giants starters had been excellent throughout their recent road trip, going 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA and 40 strikeouts during that nine-game stretch.

2) Dodgers (1)
The Dodgers also were shut out Sunday, losing 5-0 to the Rockies. But Los Angeles has still won 17 of its past 21 games since Aug. 7. That equates to almost no movement in the standings, however. They began that day 4 games back and are now 2 1/2 games back. They’re practically guaranteed a postseason spot, though. They currently have an 11 1/2 game advantage over the Reds for the top spot in the Wild Card race.

3) Rays (3)
The Rays’ 12-8 win over the Orioles on Sunday probably falls into the “ugly” category, but they all count. The Rays have now won 11 of their past 12 and outscored opponents 88 to 38 (+50 run differential) during that stretch. Wander Franco is hitting .319 (36-for-113) with 20 RBIs and 29 runs scored during his 29-game on-base streak. It’s the Majors’ longest active on-base streak.

4) Astros (4)
Sunday must have been the unofficial “lose by a lot” day for our Top 5 teams. The Astros were walloped by the Rangers in their finale in Arlington, 13-2, ending a nice stretch of seven wins in their prior nine games. During that stretch, they averaged 6.3 runs per game and a .297 team batting average. Astros starters, meanwhile, posted a 2.62 ERA.

5) Yankees (7)
The Yankees had not lost back-to-back games in more than a month before dropping the final two games of their four-game set in Oakland over the weekend. Still, that does little to diminish the tear the Yankees have been on. They’ve won 35 of their past 48 games, a .729 winning percentage.

The rest of the field of 30

  1. Brewers (5 last week)
  2. White Sox (6)
  3. Braves (8)
  4. Red Sox (12)
  5. Reds (10)
  6. A’s (9)
  7. Padres (11)
  8. Blue Jays (13)
  9. Mariners (16)
  10. Phillies (14)
  11. Cardinals (15)
  12. Mets (17)
  13. Indians (19)
  14. Tigers (20)
  15. Angels (18)
  16. Rockies (21)
  17. Twins (23)
  18. Royals (25)
  19. Marlins (22)
  20. Nationals (26)
  21. Cubs (24)
  22. Rangers (27)
  23. Pirates (28)
  24. D-backs (29)
  25. Orioles (30)

Voters: Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Jesse Sanchez, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn