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Power Rankings: Who's leading playoff push?

@alysonfooter
September 13, 2020

Traditionally, the American League East has always been one of the more competitive divisions in baseball. That’s nothing new. But the entertainment value coming from this group has a different look this season, thanks to the emergence of the Toronto Blue Jays as a legitimate contender.

Traditionally, the American League East has always been one of the more competitive divisions in baseball. That’s nothing new. But the entertainment value coming from this group has a different look this season, thanks to the emergence of the Toronto Blue Jays as a legitimate contender.

Postseason standings

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, it’s becoming clear that the Jays and Yankees are going to be in a fight to the finish to determine which team ends up in second place and gets automatic entry into the postseason. That’s not to say the division title is already wrapped up -- the Rays certainly could blow it with one bad week -- but for argument’s sake, let’s assume Toronto and New York are aiming for runner-up positioning.

Here’s even better news: The two teams still have seven head-to-head matchups. The Blue Jays struck first, taking two of three in Buffalo early last week. Next up is a three-game set between the two teams at Yankee Stadium, beginning Tuesday. The final meeting will take place back in Buffalo, a four-game series from Sept. 21-24.

On to the rankings …

Biggest jump: The Giants jumped six spots, from No. 22 to No. 16. In many other divisions, the Giants would be right in the thick of things for second place. The Dodgers and Padres aren’t likely to allow that to happen. Still, the Giants have had a nice season and have far exceeded expectations. The Mariners, who are now seriously in the running for second place in the AL West, also jumped six spots, from No. 26 to 20.

Biggest drop: Arizona dropped four spots from No. 23 to No. 27. The D-backs went 2-4 in their homestand vs. the Dodgers and Mariners.

1. Dodgers (record: 33-14, 1 last week)
The Dodgers have been voted as the No. 1 team in every Power Rankings roundup this season, with the exception of one week in early August when the Yankees grabbed the top spot. The Dodgers haven’t been quite as dominant this month -- they’re 7-4 in September -- and they have two big challenges ahead of them: a series with the emerging Padres this week, and one with the A’s next week. A postseason berth is a given. Will they be the No. 1 seed?

2. Rays (30-17; 2)
The Rays were the first team in the American League to reach 30 wins, and they need to keep their foot on the gas with the top AL seed still very much undecided. The White Sox and Twins, who each logged their 30th wins on Sunday, and the A’s, with 29 wins, are right on Tampa Bay’s heels. And the Rays are going to have to finish up the regular season without one of their anchors -- Ji-Man Choi is down for a while with a left hamstring strain.

3. Padres (31-17; 4)
The Padres are a lock to reach the postseason, but they have their sights set higher -- and with good reason. The Dodgers have been the steadiest team over the course of the season, but Slam Diego is making a push for the division title. After sweeping a doubleheader vs. the Giants on Sunday, the Padres are a mere 2 1/2 games behind the Dodgers for the top spot in the NL West. And the two meet for a three-game set at Petco Park beginning Monday. Get your popcorn ready!

4. A’s (29-17; 3)
All is not rosy in the A’s world, but they can take comfort knowing that even with losing one of their key players for the rest of the season, their postseason positioning is not in danger. The A’s have a stronghold on the AL West. If they are to get far into October, however, they’ll have to do it without third baseman Matt Chapman, who was scheduled for hip surgery on Monday.

5. White Sox (30-16; 5)
Since the start of play on Aug. 16, the White Sox are a Major League-best 20-5, and they’ve outscored their opponents 164-79 during that stretch. The last time the Sox won 20 times in a 25-game span had been June/July 2010. This week will be fun -- the White Sox are hosting the Twins for a four-game set. Both teams have 30 wins.

The rest of the field of 30:

6. Twins (record: 30-18; 6 last week)
7. Cubs (28-20; 9)
8. Braves (28-19; 8)
9. Yankees (26-21; 10)
10. Indians (26-21; 7)
11. Blue Jays (26-20; 13)
12. Astros (23-24; 12)
13. Phillies (23-22; 11)
14. Cardinals (20-20; 14)
15. Marlins (23-21; 15)
16. Giants (23-24; 22)
17. Brewers (20-24; 17)
18. Mets (21-26; 19)
19. Reds (21-26; 16)
20. Mariners (21-25; 26)
21. Rockies (21-25; 18)
22. Orioles (20-26; 20)
23. Tigers (20-26; 21)
24. Nationals (17-28; 24)
25. Angels (20-28; 25)
26. Royals (20-28; 27)
27. D-backs (17-31; 23)
28. Red Sox (17-31; 29)
29. Rangers (17-30; 28)
30. Pirates (14-30; 30)

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

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.