Here are my MLB power rankings.
1. San Francisco Giants (80-44, No. 1 last week): Skipper Gabe Kapler is pushing all the right buttons. He penciled in home-run-hitting pinch-hitters in the ninth that led to two Giants victories this past weekend in Oakland. On Aug. 21, it was former Terp LaMonte Wade Jr. who hit a two-run homer off closer Lou Trivino to win that one, 6-5. Then on Aug. 22, Kapler sent up Donavan Solano to pinch-hit for Wade. Solano hit a two-run jack off of lefty A.J. Puk to lift the Giants to a 2-1 victory.
2. Milwaukee Brewers (76-49, No. 2): The pitching has been in place all season for the Brewers. Offensively, they have come on. On paper, they’re not good enough to hang out in this lofty neighborhood. Luckily for manager Craig Counsell, games are played on the field. The Brewers’ formula for winning makes them dangerous.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (78-47, No. 3): The sign of a true championship team is when it drives over speed bump after speed bump … and it still fights to keep its championship title. In the past two weeks, the Dodgers have turned on that defense-of-title switch and gone 11-2. They’ll clearly be alive to defend their title. Not sure they will nose out San Francisco, but remember: Until you knock the champ off the hill, they are still the champs.
4. Tampa Bay Rays (77-48, No. 4): Not being dismissive. The Rays have earned all the accolades they get and the high ranking they have right now. They’ll be hard to upend, even though the Yankees sure look like a steamroller. But Tampa Bay has just a 9-7 regular-season advantage against New York and almost all of that was before the Yankees got their groove back.
5. Chicago White Sox (72-53, No. 5): I enjoy the White Sox telecast with Jason Benetti and Steve Stone, so I watch a lot of games. I am back in the column that says this Tony La Russa won’t give owner Jerry Reinsdorf the championship he wants. Or maybe Reinsdorf just wanted to be pals with La Russa.
6. New York Yankees (72-52, No. 10): Never underestimate Brian Cashman as a general manager. Sure, he’s got the money and he’s got the trust of owner Hal Steinbrenner. But plenty of general managers have the money without knowing how to spend it. The Yankees are building up an almost unstoppable steamroller — 21-5 in the past four weeks. Imagine how many different times The Boss, Hal’s father George, would have fired manager Aaron Boone. This management group stayed calm. The Yankees kept their powder dry and now look like they’re as dangerous as anyone in the American League going into September.
7. Houston Astros (73-51, No. 6): I don’t think the Astros will win the World Series … but I don’t think the A’s can get past them, either. Still, after watching this Astros team, I am leaning toward what I said first. I don’t think their pitching is good enough to win it all.
8. Atlanta Braves (68-56, No. 11): Another GM’s success story here, as the Braves faced injuries everywhere they turned throughout the first four months of the season. But Alex Anthopoulos added at the deadline. He acquired backup catcher Stephen Vogt and outfielders Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson and Adam Duvall — all good players on bad teams. They have blended with the Braves’ nucleus of healthy guys (Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson). Of course, it didn’t hurt to get lefty Max Fried back healthy.
9. Oakland Athletics (70-55, No. 7): Hate to bet against magic. But something is now missing with this club, even though the A’s look like they should be better on paper. They seem to lose a lot of close games — they’re 18-22 in one-run games — and the starting pitching didn’t end up being a strong point of this team. Now that the Yankees are surging, there’s a very good chance now that the Athletics’ only way into postseason is punching their own ticket by beating Houston for the AL West crown. They simply aren’t that good.
10. Boston Red Sox (70-55, No. 8): The Red Sox were 56-38 at the All-Star break and really looked quite invincible. But the baseball season (except 2020) is 162 games long for a reason. Since the break, they now look more like they’ve fallen and can’t get back up — just 14-17 since mid-July, with three of those wins coming against the Orioles.
11. Cincinnati Reds (69-57, No. 14)
12. San Diego Padres (68-58, No. 12)
13. Seattle Mariners (67-58, No. 15)
14. Toronto Blue Jays (64-58, No. 9)
15. Philadelphia Phillies (63-61, No. 13)
16. St. Louis Cardinals (63-60, No. 16)
17. Cleveland Indians (61-61, No. 19)
18. Los Angeles Angels (62-64, No. 20)
19. New York Mets (61-63, No. 17)
20. Detroit Tigers (60-66, No. 18)
21. Kansas City Royals (55-68, No. 24)
22. Colorado Rockies (57-67, No. 23)
23. Minnesota Twins (54-70, No. 21)
24. Washington Nationals (53-70, No. 25)
25. Chicago Cubs (54-72, No. 26)
26. Miami Marlins (51-74, No. 22)
27. Pittsburgh Pirates (44-80, No. 27)
28. Arizona Diamondbacks (No. 29, 42-83)
29. Texas Rangers (43-80, No. 28)
30. Baltimore Orioles (38-85, No. 30)