This is it, gang. The 2019 MLB regular season has just one week left before coming to a conclusion. I would say something cliche like "it seems like just yesterday," but being honest now as an over-the-hill veteran, that wouldn't be true. It's a grind. We have a grind like no other sport. Even as fans, it can be simply exhausting to live and die by the result of a team every single day.
How will we ultimately remember the 2019 season? Well, the playoffs will come first, starting with the champion. Past that, though, I've got a few things.
- The Cubs meltdown that potentially leads to major changes to the best group of players and management the franchise has ever had.
- Home runs.
- Pete Alonso taking down Vlad Jr. after Vladdito's historic performance in the Home Run Derby.
- Home runs.
- The Yankees somehow winning 100-plus games after arguably the most injury-riddled season in MLB history.
- Home runs.
- The Red Sox's World Series hangover.
- The Giants' July run that ended up preventing them from getting a decent haul for Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith.
- The Astros swooping in for Zack Greinke after we thought the trade deadline was relatively boring.
- The remaining races we have this week.
On the latter, this could still go down to the wire. For a complete look at which teams have clinched and which teams have been eliminated,.
On the NL side, the Cubs had a real chance before the aforementioned meltdown. Now they don't. It's now the Brewers that are three back of the Cardinals, who sit with a magic number of four. It's hard to see this happening.
NL wild card
The Brewers and Nationals are tied for the top spot -- and given the Brewers' home/road splits (see Nats comment), this matters. The Cubs are four back and look dead, but perhaps playing the hapless Pirates changes that. The Nationals do have a really tough week, with a five-game series against the Phillies and three gamer against the Indians. The Mets are lingering and watch the Phillies due to those head-to-heads.
AL wild card
Now we're cooking.
The Rays and Indians are tied for the second spot and are only two back of the A's. With just one week to play, we've got three teams for two spots. This is glorious.
Seems relatively even on the latter two, maybe. The A's road isn't tough, but all six come away from home. It's close enough to go down to the wire.
This is what we have left. Let's hope it goes down to the final day. Last year was pretty fun.
Previous rankings: Week 24 | Week 23 | Week 22 | Week 21 | Week 20 | Week 19 | Week 18 | Week 17 | Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason | Offseason|
|Three straight division titles with over 100 wins, a stretch that includes a World Series title? Welcome to the Golden Era of Astros baseball.||--||29-31|
|Aaron Judge might get to 30 homers. He's played in 98 games.||--||33-27|
|Their real season is just over a week away.||--||43-17|
|If the A's win out (against the Angels and Mariners, so it's possible), they'll have won 100 games. There has never been a season with four 100-win teams, but with the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers getting there, the A's, Twins or Braves would make it a record.||1||36-24|
|Nelson Cruz is the third player ever to hit 40 homers in his age-39 season or later, joining -- you ready for this one? -- Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron.||2||36-24|
|Only Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano have ever had a season with at least 40 homers and 40 steals. The 40-40 Club, as we know it. Ronald Acuna is three steals away. Let's get it, Ronald.||2||35-25|
|Holy Brandon Lowe return! That'll provide a boost for this all-important week.||1||40-20|
|I'm not sure I've ever seen such a gut punch of a series than the one the Cardinals just laid on the Cubs. The city of St. Louis has to be beyond ecstatic after clinching a playoff berth.||2||30-28|
|Holy Jose Ramirez return! That'll provide a boost for this all-important week.||1||35-25|
|Man, they really seemed left for dead once Christian Yelich got hurt and now they actually have a shot at the division.||2||29-31|
|The Brewers are 49-32 at home and have a losing record on the road. The Nats really don't wanna lose that top wild-card spot to them.||2||26-34|
|I can't believe how big a disaster that trade with the Mariners looks right now. Surely Edwin Diaz bounces back, right?||2||26-34|
|What if the Phillies sweep the Nats? It's a five-game series. This is their Lloyd Christmas moment, right?||2||28-32|
|Barring a miracle that isn't coming, I don't think minor moves are needed in the offseason. It's time to mix things up. This group is stale.||3||34-26|
|They've gotten to 81 wins, so it's not gonna be a losing season. Imagine if you time traveled from the spring and just read that?||2||24-36|
|It's a shame Ketel Marte isn't getting to finish the season, but the D-Backs have their next superstar in him and that's a positive takeaway.||--||25-35|
|Madison Bumgarner is lined up to pitch the final game of the season. Will he be saying goodbye along with his manager?||1||29-31|
|Some eliminated teams have completely mailed in (I'll get to you, Pirates), but the Reds have gone 6-4 in their last 10. Kudos.||2||31-29|
|They should be aggressive this offseason, right? They aren't a bad team, have a decent base of talent and very little money on the books moving past 2020. Plus, they are opening a new stadium. Go hard after Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole?||2||22-38|
|Albert Pujols is seven doubles away from Craig Biggio's record 668 among right-handed hitters. (That's career doubles, by the way. If it were single-season we'd have given it more coverage).||1||26-34|
|They'll be a popular breakout pick next spring. I'd like to see them add a veteran starter to front the rotation. I wonder about Dallas Keuchel's market this offseason compared to what he'll want.||--||37-23|
|Eloy Jimenez is hitting .365/.407/.753 with seven doubles, eight homers and 23 RBI in 20 games this month.||1||35-25|
|Circling back to the intro where I said "it seems like yesterday" cliches don't work in baseball season, ask yourself this: Remember when the Mariners were 13-2? Does that actually seem "just like yesterday?" C'mon.||1||27-33|
|Wade Davis sure went south in a hurry. It happens with relievers.||--||26-34|
|The Jays had won eight of 10 before losing these last two games to the Yankees. The young position-playing core keeps flashing its upside.||--||32-28|
|I know I mentioned it last week, but there's really not much to say about the bad teams at this point, so we'll repeat. Jorge Soler is tied with Mike Trout for the AL lead in homers right now. The Royals have never had a home run champ, so hopefully Jorge pops one more and wins it outright.||1||26-34|
|Good thing they got Don Mattingly locked up on that contract extension. Could've been a disaster!||1||31-29|
|It's sell time on Trey Mancini. He likely just had his career year and is under team control through 2022. No, I don't think the Orioles contend until after that.||1||25-35|
|They have quit. What a train wreck. Laughable. I even thought about number 30.||3||19-41|
|So far, there are 123 players in the majors with at least 20 home runs this season. That's a record, breaking 2017's 117. The Tigers have zero. Yes, Nick Castellanos is over, but he only had 12 when they traded him.||--||23-35|