MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers, Rockies, D-Backs could push NL West race down to the wire
Also, this is shocking (note sarcasm), but the Red Sox are No. 1
I've long pointed out in The Official Power Rankings my affinity for watching the West divisions. As noted before, it's probably because there's less competition in terms of what to watch (once it gets north of Midnight Eastern, there are generally only three or four games as opposed to upwards of 10-12 at the 8 p.m. ET hour), but it's really enjoyable to watch games in several of those ballparks out West on a weeknight.
This year in particular, it's been incredible. The Mariners' -- as it turns out -- smoke-and-mirrors run earlier this season, only to be topped by the A's turning into a juggernaut, was pretty damn fun. The Astros being awesome is obviously entertaining.
How about on the NL side, though? The NL West has arguably been the most fun race throughout the season. It was a four-team race for a bit. Hell, on June 4, the Padres were only 4 1/2 games out and they were in last place. That's early, sure, but it's not that early. The Padres had played 38 percent of their schedule.
The Padres haven't been in first place all season. That makes them the outlier in the NL Wild West.
- The Giants spent three days in first place, sitting there as late as May 31.
- Despite having started 16-26, the Dodgers have been in first 29 days.
- The fickle Diamondbacks, who were 20-8 through April and then went 8-19 in May, have been in first a whopping 125 days. Yet, they are in third place right now.
- The first-place Rockies have now been there 22 days.
The topsy-turvy division takes another turn when you look at run differential. The Diamondbacks and Dodgers are both underperforming where they should be. The Rockies, meantime, have a negative run differential but sit in first. Part of it is that they are 24-14 in one-run games and 12-19 in games decided by five runs or more.
The Rockies are unbelievably battle-tested, too. We've discussed this before, but since June 25, the only times the Rockies have played a sub-.500 team (at the time they played) were seven games against the Padres. That's 57 games against teams over .500 and seven not. The Rockies have gone 40-24 in that span, which is the best in the NL.
Moving forward, the NL West will continue to be the place to be. Look at all the head-to-heads:
- Diamondbacks at Rockies, four games, Sept. 10-13
- Rockies at Dodgers, three games, Sept. 17-19
- Rockies at Diamondbacks, three games, Sept. 21-23
- Dodgers at Diamondbacks, three games, Sept. 24-26
There's also the real possibility that a wild card spot is in play and take note that the Dodgers have a four-game series in St. Louis this coming week.
For maximum chaos (read: Fun), there's an outside chance we end up with a three-way tie atop the NL West. How amazing would that be? We'd be treated to two "playoff" games -- that count as regular-season games! -- before the actual playoffs. Sure, it's not even remotely likely, but a guy can dream, right?
Regardless, the West is where the fun is. It's a three-team race that is both real and spectacular.
|1||Red Sox||I'll feel a lot better for their title hopes once Chris Sale is back and shouldering a full workload. I believe it'll happen. Just saying I'd like to see it.||--||27-23|
|2||Astros||Surely they are confident in taking the division, but it has to be incredibly annoying to see the A's just refusing to go away.||--||33-18|
|3||Athletics||The best glove slam of the year definitely belongs to Shawn Kelley. He's been damn near perfect since his trip across the country.||2||25-25|
|4||Yankees||High hopes for this season, including the postseason, and now they might be knocked out of the wild card by the pesky A's.||1||32-17|
|5||Cubs||It's looking increasingly unlikely that Brandon Morrow will be back and the bullpen has started to show some cracks.||1||29-19|
|6||Brewers||Heading to Wrigley, the Brewers now control their own destiny in the division.||1||29-22|
|7||Dodgers||Justin Turner is up to .314/.408/.532.||1||32-18|
|8||Indians||Jose Ramirez is only the third player in Indians history to go 30-30 (Grady Sizmore, 2008; Joe Carter, 1987).||1||25-24|
|9||Braves||They could get swept in the NLDS, sure, but isn't kind of easy to envision some postseason fireworks sending this group to late October?||1||28-23|
|10||Rays||Remember, the Rays started 3-12. They've gone 75-52 since. Mercy!||2||29-18|
|11||Rockies||Is Trevor Story going to storm past Nolan Arenado in Arenado's best chance to finally win MVP? That would be something.||2||22-26|
|12||Cardinals||Rough week, but they actually gained ground in the NL Central.||4||25-24|
|13||Diamondbacks||Feels like they've had a good number of late-inning meltdowns, no? It's going to cost them a playoff spot.||2||25-25|
|14||Mariners||The Edwin Diaz save count is now 54. It's a fun story to follow, as he's just seven away from the all-time, single-season record.||1||23-29|
|15||Phillies||It's become evident that this isn't a playoff team, but that doesn't mean 2018 was a failure. They have the pieces and resources to make a run in 2019.||1||29-21|
|16||Pirates||Two quality starts from Chris Archer this month is something to build on. Should we actually be talking about Archer needing that, though?||2||25-22|
|17||Nationals||I'll admit when I'm wrong. I thought Greg Holland was cooked heading into the year. Then I thought his performance with the Cardinals confirmed as much. With the Nats, Holland has a 0.64 ERA and 0.71 WHIP with 14 strikeouts in 14 innings. There might be something left in the tank after all.||--||19-31|
|18||Angels||Do we take Mike Trout for granted at all? He's hitting .316/.465/.622 and we're barely batting an eye.||1||22-27|
|19||Giants||And that's an eight-game losing streak. Hard to believe this team was once in first place.||3||21-28|
|20||Mets||Since the start of July, the Mets are four games over .500.||1||24-25|
|21||Twins||They're just doing the every other season thing now, right? So the Twins will be a winning/contending team next year?||1||33-16|
|22||Blue Jays||Rowdy Tellez set an MLB record by logging extra-base hits in his first three career plate appearances. Also, Rowdy is an awesome name (yes, I know it's a nickname. Still!).||2||20-30|
|23||Rangers||Remember when Matt Moore was one of the top three prospects in baseball along side Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.||1||24-23|
|24||Reds||After the Reds traded Aflredo Simon, he pitched to a 6.08 ERA in two seasons. He hasn't pitched in the majors since 2016. The Reds got Eugenio Suarez for him.||1||22-27|
|25||Tigers||Every once in a while, Matthew Body uncorks a gem, such as his 11-strikeout outing against the Cardinals on Saturday.||3||18-29|
|26||Padres||After the Francisco Mejia two-HR game, I started to get excited about the Padres future and, well, that was a weird feeling.||1||26-24|
|27||Marlins||The perpetually underrated J.T. Realmuto just keeps getting better and better. He's at a 140 OPS+ as a quality defensive catcher.||1||16-31|
|28||White Sox||The Michael Kopech news is awful and a reminder at how often pitchers break.||3||23-26|
|29||Royals||It stinks that he didn't complete it, but Saturday night's Jorge Lopez outing (perfect through eight) was all kinds of fun.||--||17-32|
|30||Orioles||They're at 101 losses and it's Sept. 10. Rough.||--||15-35|
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