Aug 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) congratulates third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) on his two run home run during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Power Rankings: Week 21


The only major change this week was at the top of the rankings, where Atlanta was usurped by Detroit.

Here are the rankings for Week 20:

RANKING/TEAM/RECORD
LAST WK/CHANGE
THOUGHTS
1. Detroit Tigers (77-53)
2             ^ 1 Led by the other-Worldly Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers are turning into a machine.  They have a 6 game lead over the Indians for 1st place in the A.L. Central.
2. Atlanta Braves (78-52)
1              – 1 Atlanta’s lead over the Nats in the N.L. East was sliced from 16 games to 13.5 games over the last week.  I don’t think the Braves are the least bit concerned.
3. St. Louis Cardinals (76-54)
5             ^ 2 The Cardinals are again tied for the division lead with the Pirates.  Not to be forgotten in the N.L. Central race, are the Reds, who are just 2.5 games back.  The Cards open a 3 game set with the Reds tonight, and will play only Cincinnati and Pittsburgh over their next 13 games.
4. Boston Red Sox (77-55)
3             – 1 The 1st place Sox continue to get nipped at by the Rays (they’re a game back).  They open a 3 game set with 3rd place Baltimore tomorrow night at Fenway.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates (76-54)
4             – 1 The Pirates have gone 5-5 over their last 10 games to fall into a 1st place tie with the Cardinals in the N.L. Central.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (76-54)
6              – Los Angeles has a 9.5 game lead on Arizona for 1st place in the N.L. West, and their next 9 games are against the Cubs, Padres, and Rockies.  Translation? If their lead isn’t already insurmountable, it may be very soon.
7. Texas Rangers (75-55) 7              – The Rangers are leading the A.L. West by 2.5 games, and are continuing to get incredible performances from Yu Darvish each time he takes the ball.  Darvish has a 2.68 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and is on pace to strike out 280 batters in 209 innings pitched.
8. Tampa Bay Rays (74-54)



8              – Tampa Bay has a 4 game cushion in the race for one of the Wild Card spots in the A.L., and remain on the heels of the Red Sox for 1st place in the A.L. East (they’re just a game back).
9. Cincinnati Reds (74-57)
9              – The Reds continue to have a firm hold on the 2nd Wild Card spot in the N.L. (7 games), but they’re just 2.5 games behind Pittsburgh and St. Louis for 1st place in the N.L. Central.
10. Oakland Athletics (72-57) 10            – The A’s, currently leading the 2nd Wild Card by 1.5 games, have lost 4 of 5.  That’s not the way you want to be trending when you’re about to open a 4 game set in Detroit. 
11. Baltimore Orioles (70-59) 11            – Baltimore is 2 games behind Oakland for the 2nd Wild Card, and 5.5 games behind Boston for 1st place in the A.L. East.  They’re off today before beginning an enormous 9 game road trip through Boston, New York (to play the Yankees), and Cleveland.
12. Cleveland Indians (71-59)
12            – The Indians have gone 7-3 over their last 10 games to stay within a prayer of Detroit for 1st place (6 games back).  More likely, their path to the Playoffs wold be as a Wild Card.  They’re 1.5 games behind the A’s for the 2nd Wild Card spot.
13. New York Yankees (69-61) 15           ^ 2 The Yankees, the only team in baseball with a winning record and negative run differential, are 17-3 against the Twins and Blue Jays, but just 52-58 against everyone else.
14. Arizona Diamondbacks (66-63)
13            – 1 If the Diamondbacks are going to make a last ditch playoff effort (they’re 7 games back in the race for the 2nd Wild Card), now would be the time to do it.  Their next 13 games are against San Diego, San Francisco, and Toronto.
15. Kansas City Royals (65-64) 14            – 1 Kansas City launched themselves into the playoff discussion a week and a half ago.  Since then, they’ve gone 3-7 to fall 7 games behind the A’s for the 2nd Wild Card in the A.L.
16. Washington Nationals (65-65)
16             – The Nationals have come on a bit lately (they’re 5-1 over their last 6 games), but it’s likely too little, too late.  Washington is out of it in the N.L. East, and 8.5 games back in the race for the 2nd Wild Card.
17. Colorado Rockies (61-71)
18           ^ 1 Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is injured again.  He was held out of the lineup yesterday after experiencing soreness in his side.
18. Los Angeles Angels (58-71)
21           ^ 3 It was reported early in the week that either GM Jerry DiPoto or Manager Mike Scioscia would lose their job due to the Angels’ awful season.  I’d put even money on DiPoto being the one that gets the heave-ho.
19. New York Mets (58-70)
17            – 2 The undermanned Mets have lost 4 straight, the last 3 coming at the hands of the buzzsaw that is the Detroit Tigers.  A bright moment from the weekend? Catcher Travis d’Arnaud‘s first big league home run.
20. Seattle Mariners (59-70)
20             – Catcher Mike Zunino, out for the last month with a fractured hand, is likely about to begin a rehab assignment.
21. San Diego Padres (59-71)
22            ^ 1 After his great 2012, Chase Headley has had a nightmarish 2013.  He’s hitting .238 with a .331 OBP, 8 home runs and 34 RBI’s.
22. Philadelphia Phillies (59-71)
25            ^ 3 The Phillies welcomed Roy Halladay back to the rotation yesterday against Arizona.  His line: 6 IP, 2 runs on 4 hits.  He struck out 2 and walked 2.
23. Toronto Blue Jays (58-73) 19            – 4 By getting swept in a 4 game series at Yankee Stadium, the Jays almost singlehandedly breathed life into the Yankees’ playoff hopes.
24. San Francisco Giants (58-72)
24             – The Giants play their next 20 games against teams in their own division.
25. Minnesota Twins (57-72)
26            ^ 5 After taking a foul ball off his mask while behind the plate, catcher Joe Mauer was placed on the 7-day DL 6 days ago with a concussion.
26. Milwaukee Brewers (57-73) 27            ^ 1 The Brewers will look to play the role of spoiler over the next week and change.  6 of their next 9 games are against division leading Pittsburgh.
27. Chicago Cubs (55-75)
23             – 4 Young shortstop Starlin Castro has had a brutal season (he’s hitting .238 with a .276 OBP). It’ll be interesting to see whether Theo Epstein dangles Castro (who signed a 7 year extension last August) this winter.
28. Chicago White Sox (54-75) 28              – The Sox have gone 8-2 over their last 10 games to make their season a bit more respectable.
29. Miami Marlins (49-80)
29              –
Their pitching has been middle of the road (and Jose Fernandez has been spectacular), but the Marlins rank last in the majors in runs scored, batting average, OBP, and slugging.
30. Houston Astros (43-86)

30              – The Astros are on pace to lose roughly 110 games.  They also have comfortable distance (6 games) between themselves and Miami in the race for the #1 overall pick in next June’s Amateur draft.

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