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MLB Power Rankings: NL Central continues to lead the pack

Aug 21, 2015, 11:44 AM EST

USA Today

Here is a look at Major League Baseball with analysis from Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman and Nationals writer Chase Hughes:

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

30. Phillies – Hughes: (LW: 26) Chase Utley was traded and now he’s reunited with Jimmy Rollins. Good for them, but super awkward for Phillies fans.

29. Marlins – Hughes: (LW: 30) As if this season wasn’t bad enough for Miami, both Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich are on the DL now.

28. Rockies – Hughes: (LW: 28) The Nationals have seen a lot of this team lately. Man, Carlos Gonzalez is good when he’s healthy.

27. Brewers – Hughes: (LW: 29) Ryan Braun passed Robin Yount on the Brewers’ all-time home runs list this week. Are we happy for him? No? Okay, just checking.

26. Athletics – Zuckerman: (LW: 27) On pace to lose 90 games for the first time since 1997. Pretty remarkable run.

25. Reds – Hughes: (LW: 24) The entire Reds’ starting rotation is comprised of rookies right now. Amazing, isn’t it?

24. Braves – Hughes: (LW: 23) I figured Julio Teheran would snap out of it by now, but he just keeps on struggling.

23. Red Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 25) Dave Dombrowski has some very interesting decisions to make.

22. Mariners – Zuckerman: (LW: 21) Among the season’s biggest surprises: Felix Hernandez has been only a league-average pitcher.

21. Indians – Zuckerman: (LW: 22) Terry Francona is all class, standing at friend John Farrell’s side through difficult time.

20. White Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 18) Adam LaRoche (.207/.296/.335) suffering through a miserable first season in Chicago.

19. Diamondbacks – Hughes: (LW: 17) More than a quarter of the season remains and Paul Goldschmidt is very close to passing his career high of 7.1 WAR. He’s at 6.9.

18. Padres – Hughes: (LW: 20) San Diego has won seven of their last nine. It’s probably too little, too late, but they could build some momentum for next year.

17. Tigers – Zuckerman: (LW: 19) Has the window of opportunity for this franchise closed? Sure feels that way.

16. Twins – Zuckerman: (LW: 16) Momentum heading in the wrong direction, and running out of time to reverse it.

15. Rays – Zuckerman: (LW: 13) Looked like they were making a move, then lost 5 of 6.

14. Rangers – Zuckerman: (LW: 15) They’re lurking, and everybody sitting ahead of them in Wild Card standings should take notice.

13. Nationals – Hughes: (LW: 12) They have blown too many opportunities to gain ground in the NL East recently, but there’s plenty of time left.

12. Orioles – Zuckerman: (LW: 14) Lineup is rounding into form, now can the rotation step up with some consistency?

11. Angels – Zuckerman: (LW: 11) Crazy: Have been involved in 6 walk-offs already this month (2 wins, 4 losses).

10. Mets – Hughes: (LW: 7) New York has been in first place for over two weeks, but now they have to start limiting Matt Harvey’s workload. Can they stay in front?

9. Giants – Hughes: (LW: 10) With how bad the NL East is, the Giants are currently out of a playoff spot despite having a better record than the Mets, who lead the division.

8. Astros – Zuckerman: (LW: 8) Carlos Correa is everything they hoped he would be and more.

7. Blue Jays – Zuckerman: (LW: 3) Momentum halted just a bit, but they’re still well-positioned heading into the stretch.

6. Dodgers – Hughes: (LW: 6) The Dodgers have hit more homers than any other NL team and they have the best OBP in the majors. Their lineup is scary.

5. Yankees – Zuckerman: (LW: 9) Took a punch from Toronto but hopped back up and punched back.

4. Cubs – Hughes: (LW: 5) The Cubs would be in first in four of the six MLB divisions, yet they are nine (!) games back in the NL Central.

3. Pirates – Hughes: (LW: 4) Not only do they still play the Cardinals and Cubs twice, right now they’re facing the Giants and they still have to go at the L.A. Dodgers. Brutal finish of the schedule for the Pirates.

2. Royals – Zuckerman: (LW: 2) Not sure even the most optimistic KC fan saw them running away with it like this.

1. Cardinals – Hughes: (LW: 1) The best regular season in St. Louis Cardinals history was 1942 when they won 106 games. If they pick up their pace just a little bit, they could challenge that mark this year.

LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY

  1. sjberke - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:18 PM

    Of course,that 1942 Cardinal team that Chase mentions won 106 games in a 154-game schedule. They ended up with a .688 winning percentage, and to beat that playing 162 games this Cardinal team would have to win 112–not likely.

  2. micksback1 - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:43 PM

    I have no problem with MW’s 7th inning moves, maybe Max should have never come out for the 7th period. But, the pen failed, again

    watching Desmond is just sickening, if he was clutch and he is not, he would have at least made contact in his at bats.

    But, Nats win series and now need to roll at home, no excuses, none of this its baseball crap, its time to win the next 5 of 6 games, no excuses!!!

  3. Section 222 - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:35 PM

    Can’t really argue with these rankings. Luckily, the Nats don’t have to catch the No. 1 team, just the No. 10 team. That’s doable, but we do not control our own destiny. There’s going to be lots of scoreboard watching in Natstown for the next few weeks until the Mets come to town on September 7.

    • rlndtln - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:47 PM

      Max was near 100 pitches and running out of gas.Thornton should have started the 7th Reyes batting righty which is preferable .He is a better inning pitcher than Rivero who could have been saved for a match up later.If it got to Arenaudo then he could have brought Treinen in to face him.

    • natsjackinfl - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:58 PM

      They’re all on a new site where stupid comments aren’t allowed.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2015 at 2:05 PM

        Hello, Jack, and thanks for saying what I was thinking.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Aug 21, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    The ‪Nats‬ have selected the contract of SS Trea Turner and placed 1B/OF Tyler Moore on the 15-day DL with a left ankle sprain.

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