Power Rankings: Top 5 gets new member

September 7th, 2021

With four weeks remaining on the schedule, there are still a few key races to keep an eye on. While leads in the AL East (Rays), AL Central (White Sox) and NL Central (Brewers) are all but wrapped up, things are still unsettled in the NL East, where the Phillies are making a push after winning eight of 10 and moving within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Braves.

The NL West is staying on brand, with the Dodgers and Giants barreling toward a dramatic finish. And both Wild Card races are a mishmash of teams from every division. The Mariners and Blue Jays are inching closer to the Red Sox and Yankees in the AL, while the Reds, Phillies and Cardinals are threatening the Padres in the NL. Despite its recent issues, San Diego ended the weekend with a hold on second place in that Wild Card race.

Biggest jump: The Blue Jays jumped three spots, from 13 to 10. The Jays rolled over the Yankees on Monday, winning 8-0 -- their eighth win in nine games. They’ve also scored eight or more runs in four straight games, one short of a franchise record set in April 2000.

Biggest drop: The A’s dropped three spots, from 11 to 14. Oakland has lost 14 of 20, and starters have completed five or fewer innings in 14 of the team's past 22 games. Not only have the A's not been able to take advantage of pedestrian couple of weeks by the first-place Astros, but they have also lost their spot in the standings to the Mariners over the weekend. Seattle is 5 1/2 games back after dropping the series opener in Houston on Monday.

Power Rankings Top 5

1) Giants (1 last week)
Including their win in Denver on Monday, the Giants are playing 19 of their remaining 25 games against NL West teams. They are 39-19 against teams in their division, one of the best intradivision records in baseball. Also, San Francisco's win over Los Angeles on Sunday clinched the season series, so in case of a tie atop the NL West, the Giants would host a tiebreaker.

2) Dodgers (2)
The Dodgers will be tested over the next couple of weeks, as they are in the midst of 10 of 13 games against playoff contenders. On Labor Day, they began a four-game set with the Cardinals in St. Louis, followed by three vs. the Padres and three against the Reds in Cincinnati. Max Scherzer has been everything the Dodgers hoped for when they traded for him. Since joining the team, he has allowed five earned runs over 43 innings (1.05 ERA) with 63 strikeouts.

3) Rays (3)
The Rays were down 7-1 to the Red Sox on Monday and came back to win, 11-10, in 10 innings. Time is running out for the other AL East teams, and we’re almost to the point where we can declare the division title a lock for Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, Wander Franco, who was 4-for-6 on Monday, has the longest active streak in baseball after reaching base safely in 36 consecutive games. He has 48 hits in 143 at-bats (.336) during that stretch. The streak ties Mickey Mantle for the second-longest on-base streak by a player before turning 21.

4) Astros (4)
Houston isn't going to run away with the division as it has in past years, but it should win it relatively handily. That’s partly due to the A’s recent slide, and the Mariners' difficulty winning games when they play the Astros, especially in Houston. The Astros still have six games with the A’s, so this race isn’t done quite yet.

5) Brewers (6)
The Brewers fell short of matching their best high-water mark in franchise history at 31 games when they dropped a 12-0 decision to the Phillies on Monday. But 30 games above .500 before that loss is nothing to sneeze at; that was their best high-water mark since 2011. With an 11-game advantage in the NL Central, the division title is all but wrapped up. Now they’ll hope to have a healthy Willy Adames back for the postseason after losing him to the IL with a left quad strain. Milwaukee is an MLB-best 63-32 since he made his Crew debut on May 22.

The rest of the field of 30

  1. White Sox (7 last week)
  2. Yankees (5)
  3. Braves (8)
  4. Red Sox (9)
  5. Blue Jays (13)
  6. Reds (10)
  7. Padres (12)
  8. Mariners (14)
  9. A's (11)
  10. Phillies (15)
  11. Mets (17)
  12. Cardinals (16)
  13. Indians (18)
  14. Tigers (19)
  15. Angels (20)
  16. Rockies (21)
  17. Marlins (24)
  18. Twins (22)
  19. Royals (23)
  20. Cubs (26)
  21. Nationals (25)
  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