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MLB Power Rankings: More movement in AL East

Aug 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

USA Today

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

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30. Phillies – Zuckerman: (LW: 30) Twice blew 5-run leads to the Mets this week. That about sums things up.

29. Marlins – Zuckerman: (LW: 29) In an otherwise dismal year, George Mason’s Justin Bour has been a bright spot.

28. Reds – Zuckerman: (LW: 25) A wretched stretch of baseball (4-18 since Aug. 5) leaves them last in the NL Central.

27. Rockies – Zuckerman: (LW: 28) They’ve had 15 pitchers throw at least 30 innings this season. None has an ERA under 4.00.

26. Brewers – Zuckerman: (LW: 27) Taylor Jungmann is a nice-looking young arm in an organization that needs a lot more of those.

25. Braves – Zuckerman: (LW: 24) They’ve lost 22 of their last 24 road games. That’s really not good.

24. Athletics – Hughes: (LW: 26) Good to see Ron Washington get another coaching job. He should get another shot as a manager down the road.

23. Red Sox – Hughes: (LW: 23) Dave Dombrowski takes over a Red Sox where both of his predecessors built World Series teams.

22. Mariners – Hughes: (LW: 22) Robinson Cano has really turned his season around. He hit just .251 in the first half, but is batting .340/.403/.569 with eight homers and 28 RBI in 36 second-half games.

21. Tigers – Hughes: (LW: 17) Justin Verlander just nearly missed his third career no-hitter, but perhaps that was a sign he’s returning to form. He’s allowed just one run in his last four starts (29 IP).

20. Indians – Hughes: (LW: 21) A former third overall pick back in 2011, Trevor Bauer now holds a 4.46 ERA in four major league seasons. This year he leads the league in walks.

19. White Sox – Hughes: (LW: 20) I don’t know if Trayce Thompson will end up being the ‘best athlete in the family’ like his brother Klay suggested, but he could be a star in the making.

18. Padres – Zuckerman: (LW: 18) All-Star roster of names: Spangenberg, Yangervis, Gyorko, Jankowski, Odrisamer, Rzepczynski, Quackenbush.

17. Diamondbacks – Zuckerman: (LW: 19) A lot of nice building blocks here. A team to watch moving forward.

16. Orioles – Hughes: (LW: 12) The O’s have lost eight of 10, but they are somehow still only 2 1/2 games out of a playoff spot.

15. Rays – Hughes: (LW: 15) Former Nats reliever Xavier Cedeño has a 2.04 ERA in 51 appearances this season.

14. Twins – Hughes: (LW: 16) Seven wins in their last eight games have the Twins right back in the playoff race. They are getting hot at the right time.

13. Nationals – Zuckerman: (LW: 13) Finally on track with 3 straight series wins. But only chance they have is for Mets to fade as well.

12. Angels – Hughes: (LW: 11) Albert Pujols (34 HR) could hit 40 homers this season, yet he’s on pace for a career-low in doubles. Weird.

11. Rangers – Hughes: (LW: 14) Texas currently holds an AL Wild Card spot, but they would be seven games out in the NL.

10. Giants – Zuckerman: (LW: 9) Kelby Tomlinson: .346/.382/.519 in first 20 games of career. Where do they find these guys?

9. Yankees – Hughes: (LW: 5) Miller and Betances get all the love in the Yankees’ bullpen, but Bryce Harper’s good friend Chasen Shreve (1.97 ERA in 47 G) has been excellent as well.

8. Dodgers – Zuckerman: (LW: 6) Starters’ ERA: 3.15 (2nd in NL). Relievers’ ERA: 4.14 (13th in NL).

7. Astros – Hughes: (LW: 8) All season it looked like the Angels were the Astros’ biggest threat, but now it’s ‘here come the Rangers.’

6. Mets – Zuckerman: (LW: 10) Apr 6-July 30: 3.6 R/G, 0.9 HR/G, 52-50 record. July 31-Aug 27: 6.3 R/G, 1.8 HR/G, 19-6 record.

5. Blue Jays – Hughes: (LW: 7) As amazing as the Blue Jays have been since they acquired Troy Tulowitzki, he has just a .678 OPS since the trade.

4. Cubs – Zuckerman: (LW: 4) They’ve won an amazing 21-of-27 games, all but locking up a wild card berth.

3. Pirates – Zuckerman: (LW: 3) On pace for 99 wins, something no Pittsburgh club has done since 1909!

2. Royals – Hughes: (LW: 2) The Royals are far and away the best team in the AL Central with a 13-game lead in first. Should be fun having them back in the playoffs.

1. Cardinals – Zuckerman: (LW: 1) Own a winning record vs. every other NL team this year, except for San Diego (3-4).

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  1. 3on2out - Aug 28, 2015 at 12:47 PM

    The playoff structure is so unfair to the Pirates and the Cubs…2 of the top 4 teams in baseball must play each other in a one game playoff to play a 5 game playoff with the best team.

    • nats106 - Aug 28, 2015 at 12:54 PM

      Life is hard. It would be tougher under the old scenario-only one team would get in. What’s so surprising-in arguably the tougher division, 3 teams will make the playoffs even though they have been beating up on each other all year. (except the Bucs, who have been beating on the NL West)

      • bowdenball - Aug 28, 2015 at 12:59 PM

        Yup. Every playoff structure has some unfairness built into it. It’s a necessary evil of the division structure that cultivate rivalries and limit travel and scheduling difficulties for players and for fans.

        I suppose you could tweak it a bit and give the #1 seed the choice of teams to play, but most of them would take the wild card winner anyway since that team usually just burned its best pitcher to win the game. Otherwise there’s nothing that can be done, nor should there be. I’ll trade the risk of maybe getting screwed by the playoff structure once every decade or two in order to protect our rivalries and our 7 PM weekday starts for most road games any time.

      • Section 222 - Aug 28, 2015 at 2:39 PM

        +7 pm to that bb. I also really like that the 2 WC teams format has reinvigorated the division championship races and WC races. The old format could make the end of the season anticlimactic — e.g., Rays and Yankees not caring who wins their series on the last weekend because both were going to the playoffs no matter what. This could happen this year in the NL if the Dodgers and Mets pull away, but the AL East, AL West, and WC races could be a lot of fun to watch.

    • Section 222 - Aug 28, 2015 at 3:33 PM

      In my view, the structure is not unfair at all. They get to be in the playoffs even though they couldn’t win their division. In the case of one of them, probably the Cubs, that team couldn’t even come in second. And remember, they play the teams in their division 18 or 19 times a year. So they have ample opportunity to make up ground if they play well against their rivals. Here the records of the Cards, Bucs, and Cubs against each other so far:

      Cards vs. Cubs– 9-4
      Bucs vs. Cards — 6-7
      Cubs vs. Bucs — 7-5

      So if the Pirates (4.5 back) or the Cubs (8.5 back) had taken care of business against the Cardinals, it would be a very different race.

  2. natsfan1a - Aug 28, 2015 at 12:54 PM

    That would be the All-Multisyllabic All-Star team, I assume.

    “18. Padres – Zuckerman: (LW: 18) All-Star roster of names: Spangenberg, Yangervis, Gyorko, Jankowski, Odrisamer, Rzepczynski, Quackenbush.”

    • alexva6 - Aug 28, 2015 at 1:14 PM

      one of Charlie and Dave’s best gags is the spelling of these names and related conversations

      • nats106 - Aug 28, 2015 at 1:45 PM

        ding!

      • natsfan1a - Aug 28, 2015 at 4:30 PM

        Love that spelling/bell gag.

    • ArVAFan - Aug 28, 2015 at 1:17 PM

      It’s probably the highest point value in Scrabble for any team. There’s a reason that Rzepczynski’s nickname is Scrabble. Yes, there are quite a few words you could make from his last name, mostly with high point values. Maybe I’ll do that in the offseason.

      • Section 222 - Aug 28, 2015 at 2:39 PM

        Alex, can I buy a vowel?

  3. jfmii - Aug 28, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    The American League has 20 more wins than the National League in inter-league competition. This imbalance has been there for many years.

    • Section 222 - Aug 28, 2015 at 2:59 PM

      I’d be surprised if that weren’t the case. NL teams have to play half of their interleague games in AL parks. In those games they use their best bench player as a DH or alternate them to give some of their regulars a day off. AL teams are constructed differently. Their DH may be one of their best hitters. In NL parks that guy either sits out because he’s lousy in the field, or replaces a lesser hitting player for a game. You can find the total interleague record for a season:
      http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/history/interleague/records.jsp

      I wonder if you can find that record broken down between AL ballparks and NL ballparks. My guess would be a that the imbalance is greater when the AL team is at home.

  4. lowstrikes - Aug 28, 2015 at 3:03 PM

    Three words: Get Mookie Betts

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FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

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