As we power on through August, the desperation of teams on the cusp is starting to wreak. But the cusp of what? The division? A playoff berth? The best record in baseball?
The fact of the matter is that virtually all 30 clubs, from top to bottom, still have something to play for. But, more importantly, there aren’t as many teams that are out of it as there should be this point in the season. If a team like the Dodgers can have such a stark turnaround, than anyone inside of, shoot, 15 games probably can’t be officially written off just yet.
Speaking of those Dodgers, they’re nearing the top spot in our Power Rankings. And considering they’re in the same division as the current defending champs and the same city (sort of) as an equally-talent-laden and payroll-laden ballclub, that’s saying something.
But the top team, at least for one more edition, remains Boston. When they aren’t plunking PED users, they’re winning ball games. And they continue to win ball games. And, when you’re in the AL East, that’s pretty much all that matters.
Let’s roll with them and go down from there.
MLB POWER RANKINGS – AUGUST 19TH
1. Boston Red Sox | 73-53 (40-23 Home, 33-30 Road) [Change From Last Ranking: ± 0]
At some point, this season should be seen as an indictment against Bobby V’s managerial abilities.
2. Atlanta Braves | 76-48 (44-18 Home, 32-30 Road) [+ 2]
The more players they lose to injury, the more they win games. It absolutely defies logic.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates | 72-51 (42-22 Home, 30-29 Road) [- 1]
Look out, fans of things that never change. The Pirates have hit a bump after the All-Star Break.
4. Detroit Tigers | 73-51 (40-21 Home, 33-30 Road) [+ 2]
Had a very strong case to be seated ahead of Pittsburgh. The difference? These two central divisions.
5. St. Louis Cardinals | 71-52 (36-23 Home, 35-29 Road) [- 2]
They might be keeping close to Pittsburgh, but the Reds is seriously breathing down their neck again.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers | 72-51 (37-25 Home, 35-26 Road) [+ 4]
It’s come to the point now where the Dodgers losing one game is newsworthy.
7. Texas Rangers | 71-53 (35-27 Home, 36-26 Road) [+ 1]
We’ll wait and see how losing Nelson Cruz will affect their ability to keep up with Oakland.
8. Tampa Bay Rays | 70-52 (41-23 Home, 29-29 Road) [- 3]
When the team ahead of you in the division is 4-6 in their last 10, that’s not the time to go just as cold.
9. Oakland Athletics | 70-53 (38-23 Home, 32-30 Road) [- 2]
If you watch them play, they really shouldn’t be as close to the playoff bubble as their record has them.
10. Cincinnati Reds | 70-54 (37-20 Home, 33-34 Road) [+ 1]
Speaking of the playoff bubble, the Reds have a safe hold. For now.
11. Baltimore Orioles | 67-56 (35-26 Home, 32-30 Road) [+ 1]
As amazing as ‘Crush’ has been, the O’s are learning this isn’t the NBA: one player can’t carry a team.
12. New York Yankees | 64-59 (34-27 Home, 29-32 Road) [+ 1]
Lost in all the A-Rod headlines is the little notion that New York is still fighting for October.
13. Arizona Diamondbacks | 64-58 (36-26 Home, 28-32 Road) [+ 1]
Losing a hold of the West has more to do with the mighty Dodgers than it does with ‘Zona.
14. Cleveland Indians | 66-58 (38-25 Home, 28-33 Road) [- 5]
They spent these last two weeks looking a lot more the Indians we expected in 2013.
15. Kansas City Royals | 64-59 (33-28 Home, 31-31 Road) [± 0]
Before we can consider them “in” the postseason race, they have to jump past vulnerable Cleveland.
16. Washington Nationals | 60-63 (36-29 Home, 24-34 Road) [± 0]
The common message has been “maintain the course”, but that course seems to end in September.
17. Toronto Blue Jays | 57-67 (31-32 Home, 26-35 Road) [+ 3]
Remember how I said every team within 15 games can’t be counted out? Toronto is pushing it.
18. Colorado Rockies | 58-67 (36-27 Home, 22-40 Road) [- 1]
Getting outslugged by Baltimore this weekend is proof that this team still has a long way to go.
19. Seattle Mariners | 57-66 (31-32 Home, 26-34 Road) [- 1]
They might be THE quietest team in all of baseball. Those kinds don’t make late-season charges.
20. Los Angeles Angels | 55-68 (31-34 Home, 24-34 Road) [- 1]
I said stick a fork in them last edition and I mean it here still today. 15 games out be damned!
21. San Francisco Giants | 55-68 (31-31 Home, 24-37 Road) [+ 2]
I tried to do it last ranking and I just can’t do it. I refuse to put this team under San Diego.
22. New York Mets | 56-66 (25-32 Home, 31-34 Road) [+ 3]
A recent uptick lately, but keep this in mind: they’ve had the easiest schedule in all of baseball.
23. Milwaukee Brewers | 54-70 (29-33 Home, 25-37 Road) [+ 4]
The Braun drama largely behind them, the Brewers are playing better heading into September.
24. San Diego Padres | 56-68 (33-29 Home, 29-39 Road) [- 2]
I know I don’t ever give the Padres the benefit of the doubt, but hey, they could still lose 100.
25. Philadelphia Phillies | 54-69 (30-29 Home, 24-40 Road) [- 4]
When I said it was time for the Phils to get rid of their aging talent, I didn’t mean Charlie Manuel.
26. Minnesota Twins | 54-68 (28-32 Home, 26-36 Road) [± 0]
A recent SI feature story suggested brighter days ahead for this club. One would certainly think so.
27. Chicago Cubs | 53-70 (24-38 Home, 29-32 Road) [- 3]
The past couple weeks have been sort of rough even by the Cubs’ standards.
28. Chicago White Sox | 49-74 (28-32 Home, 21-42 Road) [+ 1]
They’re 6-4 in their last 10. Even stalling airplanes gain altitude briefly.
29. Miami Marlins | 47-75 (27-34 Home, 20-41 Road) [- 1]
Back to being one of the worst two teams, they’re still pretty safe from getting passed by the Astros.
30. Houston Astros | 41-82 (19-43 Home, 22-39 Road) [± 0]
Calling them a AAA squad might’ve been a compliment at times during this season.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure to give him a follow @bclienesch!