It's September and time for those teams in the playoff hunt and their fans to engage in the timeless ritual of scoreboard watching.
Half of the divisions have races that are within 5.5 games (AL East, AL West, NL East, NL Central). The number two ranked Kansas City Royals have the AL Central all but wrapped up with a 12-game lead over the number 12 ranked Minnesota Twins. The number five ranked Los Angeles Dodgers are quickly approaching their third straight NL West title with a 7.5 game lead over the number 13 ranked San Francisco Giants.
This week's power rankings have the same top-four teams (Cardinals, Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Toronto Blue Jays) as last week. There is a change at number five as the surging Dodgers replace the number six ranked Chicago Cubs. The rest of the top-10 remains the same as before with the number seven ranked New York Yankees, number eight ranked New York Mets, number nine ranked Houston Astros, and number 10 ranked Texas Rangers.
Who is on top? #1 St. Louis Cardinals (87-49, 1st NL Central).
The Cardinals are so far above any other team in Major League Baseball that they can have a .500 week (3-3) and still maintain their grip on the top spot in the power rankings. That grip could shrink rather quickly if the Cardinals don't get back on track in the coming week.
St. Louis closed out their week on the road by dropping 2-of-3 to the second-place Pirates. The Cardinals NL Central lead over the Pirates now stands at 5.5 games. They will begin the new week at home in a three-game series with the third-place Cubs, who sit 8.5 back of the Cardinals.
It was announced on Sunday that right-hander Jordan Walden would not be returning to the Cardinals bullpen this year. However, the news on John Jay was much better as the outfielder was activated from the disabled list on Friday.
Who is rising high? #5 Los Angeles Dodgers (78-58, 1st NL West).
The Dodgers have turned things around as the calendar turns to September. LA is playing well again, winning eight of their last 10 games.
The Dodgers went on the road last week and swept a three-game series against second-place Giants at Dodger Stadium and took 3-of-4 from the number 22 ranked San Diego Padres on the road. The Dodgers now hold a comfortable 7.5 game lead over the Giants and look to lock up the NL West by the time the two teams meet again for the final series of the regular season at AT&T Park.
Who is falling fast? San Francisco Giants #14 (71-66, 2nd NL West).
The Giants had a rough week on the road as they were swept in a three-game series by the Dodgers before splitting a four-game series with the number 27 ranked Colorado Rockies.
The world champs are facing the increasing likelihood that they will not get the chance to defend their title in this year's playoffs. Deficits of 7.5 games in the NL West and 8.0 games for the second NL Wild Card will be difficult to overcome.
The Giants September schedule is favorable with only the Dodgers possessing a winning record. If the Giants are going to capture at least a Wild Card they will need outside help to overcome the number 11 ranked Washington Nationals and Cubs, the two teams ahead of them in the standings.
Who is bringing up the rear? #30 Atlanta Braves (54-83, 4th NL East).
Has it been that long ago when the Braves were routinely winning the NL East? Atlanta was 0-7 last week to fall to the bottom of the rankings for the first time this season. Bad pitching and no offense conspired to betray the Braves who are limping to the end of the 2015 season. The Braves have now lost 12-straight games.
|Rank||Change +/-||Team||Overall Record||Last Week|
|1||N/C||St. Louis Cardinals||87-49||3-3|
|2||N/C||Kansas City Royals||82-54||2-4|
|4||N/C||Toronto Blue Jays||78-58||4-2|
|5||+1||Los Angeles Dodgers||78-58||6-1|
|7||N/C||New York Yankees||76-59||4-2|
|8||N/C||New York Mets||75-61||3-3|
|13||-2||San Francisco Giants||71-66||2-5|
|14||+3||Los Angeles Angels||69-67||4-2|
|17||+1||Tampa Bay Rays||67-69||3-3|
|18||+2||Boston Red Sox||64-72||4-2|
|19||+2||Chicago White Sox||65-70||4-2|
|22||-4||San Diego Padres||65-72||2-5|