MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers season is truly one for the ages like we've never seen
Good luck with trying to figure out where the Dodgers should be ranked
I've never seen anything like this.
Sayings like this are easy and often times lazy. It's a hyperbole/absolute combo and can't really be proven false because it sounds like a feeling instead of fact. I can sit there and watch Madison Bumgarner's run in the 2014 postseason and say "I've never seen anything like this" and it can easily be true without facts to back it up.
The funny thing is, though, much of the time the trained eye says as much, a good amount of the sentiment is buried in fact. Bumgarner's postseason run actually was statistically one of the greatest in single-season postseason history. Many of us saying we hadn't seen it weren't alive to see things like Sandy Koufax in the World Series, for example.
On that jumping off point, what the Dodgers are doing right now is truly unlike anything we've seen in baseball history.
Doesn't it really sum up how awesomely stupid baseball can be that one of the greatest teams in history can all of a sudden become one of the worst on a dime?
It bears repeating: The Dodgers were 91-36 just a few weeks ago. That's a full-season pace of an MLB-record tying 116 wins. No, I don't think anyone jumped the gun on talking about this. It wasn't a tiny sample. It wasn't the 2016 Cubs starting 25-6. It wasn't the Astros starting this year 42-16. It was 127 games through Aug. 25. Anyone ignoring L.A.'s run at the Mariners record was doing a disservice to Dodger fans.
As for the subject at hand, which are the internet's best and most prestigious MLB Power Rankings, it was the easiest number one ranking, week-in, week-out, ever. Truth be told, it was actually boring.
Not so much anymore.
Now, to channel Ron Washington's character in the "Moneyball" movie, it's incredibly hard.
The Dodgers have now lost 16 of their last 18 games, having snapped an 11-game losing streak with Tuesday's win. It was the worst stretch in the history of the Dodgers' long and storied franchise.
Here's how bad things are: The two wins in that stretch were Clayton Kershaw starts, one against the Padres and one against the Giants. In Tuesday's win, the Dodgers needed a four-out save from Kenley Jansen like it was the playoffs or something.
Think about it. This is no exaggeration. No one has ever seen anything like this. As noted above, one of the best teams in history has morphed into one of the worst. Each night during their insane, extended stretch of winning -- they were 56-11 from June 7 to Aug. 25 -- it didn't seem real. It doesn't seem real now, either.
Did you notice the funkiest thing of all? The Dodgers lost 11 in a 67-game stretch and prior to Tuesday had lost 11 in an 11-game stretch. Insanity.
To channel Jim Nantz from "Tin Cup," I don't even know what I'm feeling right now.
[Note: My new goal is to knock out as many sports movie references in the next few weeks that I can get away with a "Varsity Blues" reference -- hoping to work in "Days of Thunder" next time]
The subject has myriad angles from which to approach, but the one here is obviously how to rank them. The rankings are always a confluence of body of work, personnel and "what have you done for me lately." Earlier in the year, the latter two are pretty much all we have, but as the season progresses, the former takes on more and more weight. We're in mid-September, too.
The body of work is still the best in baseball -- though that gap is rapidly closing -- while the personnel is still very good. Obviously on the latter point of judgment, the Dodgers are the worst team in baseball right now. No one has been worse in the past two-and-a-half weeks and there's little debate about that.
I can't put the Dodgers last, of course, but they sure as hell aren't holding the top spot. I'm kind of chuckling to myself thinking back to two weeks ago when I said they would be No. 1 the rest of the way barring something extreme. Ladies and gents, meet extreme. This season has been as extreme as it gets -- and not just from the Dodgers standpoint (I'm looking at you, Cleveland).
I sometimes say that there isn't a wrong answer when discussing something subjective here, but putting the team with the best record in baseball No. 1 right now in any power ranking system is definitely wrong. Context matters and the Dodgers clearly aren't the best team in baseball right now. If you strenuously object (damn, "A Few Good Men" isn't a sports movie!), maybe the rankings aren't for you. That's OK. We have a standings page.
Think about the above statement again: Putting the team with the best record in baseball No. 1 right now in any power ranking system is definitely wrong.
Oh baseball, you awesomely stupid beast, you.
As for those wanting Indians love,and they are now No. 1 without a second thought (and ). Such a fun team, too. Enjoy them, Cleveland.
|1||Indians||Now go get your city a World Series title, guys.||1||42-33|
|2||Nationals||The Nats have a realistic shot at placing three starters (Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg) in the top five of NL Cy Young voting.||3||40-35|
|3||Dodgers||Normally I'd say something like, "if they win the World Series, this will all be forgotten." Only I don't think it will. I think this awful stretch just makes the story even more memorable if they do get things right and pull it off.||2||40-35|
|4||Astros||Losing their hold on the top AL seed seems like a pretty big deal. The likely postseason opponent becomes the Red Sox instead of possibly someone like the Twins (if they beat the Yankees). There's time for the Astros to get the top spot back, though.||1||51-27|
|5||Red Sox||The AL East title should be elementary now. The Red Sox hold a four-game lead and don't play a team with a winning record until the final series (and it's against the Astros, who will be playing for nothing).||1||51-27|
|6||Diamondbacks||If the D-Backs get into postseason series play, they will have a rotation of Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker and Zack Godley along with a very potent offense. Dark horse candidate for a deep run here.||2||43-33|
|7||Rockies||The Rockies seem to have weathered the bad stretch, now having won six in a row and eight of nine. More importantly, they again have a better record than the Cubs, meaning the cushion in the second wild-card spot is even more comfortable over the Cardinals and Brewers.||2||38-39|
|8||Yankees||In eight starts for the Yankees, Sonny Gray has a 2.66 ERA and a 3-5 record. He's probably all, "man, I thought I left Oakland?!"||--||50-24|
|9||Brewers||One of the biggest series for the Brewers in years had a dark shadow cast over it with the loss of Jimmy Nelson. Really tough break for a fun team, but these guys won't be quitting.||1||45-31|
|10||Cubs||The Cubs went into last weekend up five games on both the Brewers and Cardinals and could've gone a long way in putting the NL Central to bed. Instead, they were embarrassed and now will have to duke it out until the end just to make the playoffs.||3||42-32|
|11||Cardinals||The Cardinals have won 10 of their last 12. The competition: Giants, Padres, Pirates, Reds. Who cares, though? Teams can only win the games in front of them and the Cardinals are doing so. They get a three-game series against the Cubs this weekend, too, and could well come out of it in first place.||2||39-36|
|12||Twins||The Twins were knocked out of the playoffs in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010 by the Yankees. If they make the postseason this time around, it's overwhelmingly likely to be in the AL Wild Card Game against ... the Yankees. Time to exorcise some demons, eh?||2||33-40|
|13||Angels||Garrett Richards has a 1.38 ERA with 11 strikeouts against two walks in 13 innings since his long-awaited return. Should they be able to land a playoff berth, he's a potential X-factor.||1||41-35|
|14||Royals||After the four-game series against the juggernaut Indians this weekend, the schedule really softens up. The Royals play only losing teams aside from one makeup game against the Yankees and then close against the Diamondbacks, who figure to be playing for nothing at the time.||3||23-53|
|15||Rangers||Here's a race worth following. Will Yu Darvish lead the team in strikeouts even though he was traded on July 31? Actually, no. It's not even a race. He had 148 strikeouts with the Rangers. Martin Perez is second on the team with 102 (in 162 2/3). He doesn't have 46 more in him.||--||34-44|
|16||Mariners||Thanks to injuries and general manager Jerry Dipoto's penchant to make moves, the Mariners have used 40 different pitchers this season. That ties an MLB record with the 2014 Rangers. No other teams have ever used more than 37 and only 17 have used more than 32.||2||47-30|
|17||Rays||In a year where power is blowing up all over baseball, Evan Longoria has just 18 homers after clubbing 36 last season.||1||36-40|
|18||Orioles||The six-game losing streak likely seals the fate of the Orioles, but would anyone be surprised if they got red hot now? It's just how things have gone in the AL wild-card race.||7||23-52|
|19||Blue Jays||Here's a fun story that friendly reader Phil W. alerted me to a few weeks ago. Reliever Carlos Ramirez has still not allowed an earned run all season. He's done this through Double-A (23 2/3 IP), Triple-A (14 IP) and now the bigs (8 IP). Even more fun? Ramirez is a converted outfielder. He spent 2009-13 in the Jays' system before moving to the mound.||2||34-41|
|20||Braves||I mentioned Dansby Swanson last week and now let's give some love to Ozzie Albies. The 20-year-old second baseman is hitting .293/.354/.469 with seven doubles, five triples and three homers in 165 plate appearances. This is a future double-play combo (throwing to Freddie Freeman, too!) to dream on in ATL.||4||43-32|
|21||Pirates||Here's a good illustration of how much a grind the MLB season is. Remember when the Pirates were red hot and within two games in the NL Central? It seems like ages ago, doesn't it? It was less than two months ago.||2||36-40|
|22||Marlins||The Marlins have lost 13 of their last 15 and -- get this -- each of their last four losses have come in walk-off fashion.||2||30-47|
|23||Padres||Since the beginning of July, the Padres have won series over the Indians, Cardinals, Dodgers and Diamondbacks. They aren't good, but they aren't pushovers.||--||35-44|
|24||Athletics||The A's were 3-12 against the mighty Astros this season before this past Friday. They would proceed to outscore the Astros 41-15 over the course of a four-game sweep. This came just a few days after the A's ended an eight-game losing streak. It's this kind of unpredictability that makes the Indians' 20-game winning streak even more impressive.||3||40-37|
|25||Mets||Really holding out hope we see Noah Syndergaard return to form at some point. The game is much more exciting with his electric stuff on the hill.||--||31-43|
|26||Reds||They've done it. For the first time in franchise history, the Reds have six players with at least 20 home runs in a season.||4||31-45|
|27||Tigers||On top of all the other issues, now Michael Fulmer had to have elbow surgery? C'mon!||1||36-41|
|28||White Sox||After getting back all those high-level prospects for their traded veterans, the No. 1 pick would be the cherry on top of the prospect sundae. Fail away, ChiSox!||1||25-51|
|29||Giants||The Johnny Cueto roller coaster continues. He was good through two starts off the DL, but coughed up four runs on six hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings Tuesday. He sits with a 4.58 ERA through 22 starts this season. He'll be 32 next season and if he doesn't opt out of his deal at season's end, there are four years and $87.33 million left on his deal with the Giants. I don't envy his agent. Wait, nevermind. Yes I do!||1||39-39|
|30||Phillies||Rhys Hoskins just keeps making this incredibly difficult game look easy. That's now 16 homers in 32 career games.||2||41-33|
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