MLB Power Rankings: Following Royals' lead, Mets now surging back into race

Last week in The Official Power Rankings, we discussed the surge from the defending AL (and World Series, obviously) champion Royals. That's still going on, but now let's look at the defending NL champs. They seem to be getting right, even if not in terms of being injury-free.

With a win over their fellow wild-card contender Marlins, the Mets have won eight of their last 10 and have moved into second place in the NL East. They have gotten the deficit in the race for the second NL wild card spot down to 2 1/2 games and there's no one between them and the Cardinals for said spot.

There are also some soft spots on the remaining schedule for the Mets. They have seven games left against the Phillies, six against the Braves, three against the Twins and three against the Reds.

That's a rosy picture.

What isn't so rosy, though? Steven Matz and Neil Walker might be out for the rest of the season. Juan Lagares is on the DL. We already know all about Matt Harvey, David Wright and Lucas Duda.

This is an awful lot of adversity which isn't even getting into short-fall performances (compared to expectations heading into the season) from the likes of Michael Conforto, Travis d'Arnaud and the aforementioned Harvey.

Given those travails, several of which are ongoing, it's hard to have a ton of confidence in the Mets moving forward.

Then again, they do have that soft schedule mentioned above along with some studs like Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Jeurys Familia. Seth Lugo has put together two straight very good starts and there's hope that players like Conforto (if given the chance), d'Arnaud and Jay Bruce can hit better down the stretch.

This is another situation where I'll say that I will not predict this team to make the playoffs and it still feels at least slightly unlikely, but I surely won't be surprised if it does happen. They are getting hot at the right time, have most of the pieces needed and the schedule to do it.

Biggest Movers
5 Mets
9 Mariners
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Teams
 
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1 Cubs Anthony Rizzo had only hit one home run since July 20 before getting another on Tuesday night. Maybe another barrage -- such as when he hit five in five games back in April -- is coming. --54-44
2 Rangers Adrian Beltre is signed through 2018. With 2907 hits, 437 home runs, 1554 RBI and 1409 runs in his career, he's a decent bet to get to 3000, 500, 1500, 1500. Only five players have ever done that (Hank Aaron, A-Rod, Willie Mays, Rafael Palmeiro, Eddie Murray). 450-49
3 Indians I've liked their chances for a deep postseason run all year based upon what could be a stellar top three in the rotation, but that doesn't work without Danny Salazar. And Salazar had posted a 10.41 ERA in his previous six starts before an encouraging effort (5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K) on Sunday. Maybe he can build off that and hit his stride. 157-41
4 Blue Jays After posting a 5.18 ERA with the Mariners, Joaquin Benoit has now worked 13.1 scoreless innings for the Blue Jays. --38-63
5 Nationals Dusty Baker could win his fourth Manager of the Year award this season while taking his fourth different team to the playoffs. Unless there's a collapse, It will be his eighth time in the postseason. --52-45
6 Dodgers Series wins over the Giants and Cubs back to back with a notably injury-ravaged pitching staff is some impressive work. 366-35
7 Orioles We discussed last season that only three teams in MLB history had three players reach 40 home runs. We did this because the Blue Jays came so close, with Edwin Encarnacion falling just one homer shy of joining Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista. I bring this up now because Mark Trumbo already has 40 bombs while Chris Davis and Manny Machado have 32 each. If they make it, it would be the first time in AL history and only the second time ever by a team not playing home games in pre-humidor Coors. --31-67
8 Red Sox Drew Pomeranz had two rough starts in his first three Red Sox outings, but he sports a 2.70 ERA in six August outings. 554-46
9 Royals Rookie bullpen man Matt Strahm has a 0.61 ERA with 20 strikeouts and only four walks in 14 2/3 innings since coming up. Needless to say, the Royals really do relievers well, don't they? 137-64
10 Astros Ken Giles since the All-Star break: 1.76 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 31 strikeouts and only four walks. I'd say he's not broken anymore. 364-37
11 Tigers Last year, Bruce Rondon had a 5.81 ERA and an attitude to simply be sent home for the rest of the season by the Tigers. This time around, he has a 2.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 12 strikeouts in nine innings in August. He's still only 25, too. 130-65
12 Cardinals I've mentioned this contrast before, but it's too amazing to not bring up again. Without dramatic roster turnover, the Cardinals have already exceeded last year's home run total by more than 50. No, not at this point last season. The whole thing. They hit 137 last year and have 188 so far this year. Ridiculous. 151-47
13 Mets Curtis Granderson has 22 homers but only 38 RBI. Yes, that's partially due to hitting leadoff a lot, but only two players in baseball history have had at least 22 homers and 45 or fewer RBI (Mark Reynolds in 2014 and Chris Duncan in 2006). It'll be fun to see how weird this gets as we move forward. 545-53
14 Yankees Masahiro Tanaka had 38 strikeouts and one walk in August. Yes, seriously. --64-34
15 Pirates Given that they had won five of their last six, came from behind to take a lead late in the game and then had a great chance in the 13th inning to score more than the one run, that loss to the Cubs on Monday had to be a big gut punch. After Tuesday's loss, they are now 3-11 against the Cubs this year, too. 146-51
16 Giants They got a series win, though it came over the Braves. Tough to be too excited about that, especially when they follow with a loss to the Diamondbacks. 149-50
17 Mariners It's hard to make the playoffs when seemingly every extended run is immediately followed by a dreadful week. The latest is losing seven of their last eight. 940-61
18 Marlins That's now six losses in their last eight games and they are 10-17 in August. The wild card hopes are fading. 336-60
19 Rockies The run of lunacy has continued. In the Rockies' last five series, they've won series against the Nationals (twice) and Cubs. They were swept by the Phillies and Brewers. --47-52
20 White Sox As things stand, Jose Abreu has seen his average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage decrease each season in the majors. --44-52
21 Rays The Rays have won 10 of their last 16 and a win on Wednesday would give them a winning August. 257-45
22 Athletics The Anonymous A's lineup Tuesday night included the following names: Ryon Healy, Jake Smolinski, Max Muncy and Brett Eibner. Even die-hard (non-A's, obviously) fans would have trouble picking those guys out of a lineup. 257-42
23 Angels The team that lost 11 in a row a few weeks back has now won six of their last seven. Baseball, man. So much fun. 551-49
24 Phillies Their preseason over/under win total was 65.5, which was the lowest in the majors. They've already won 60. 351-48
25 Padres With 23 home runs and 23 stolen bases, Wil Myers has to chance to be the first 30-30 man in Padres history. 146-52
26 Diamondbacks Your NL leader in hits? Jean Segura. 150-49
27 Reds The team ERA is right at 5.00. Believe it or not, there have been five worse Reds teams in history, most recently the 2005 team that had a 5.15 ERA. 544-53
28 Brewers Two weeks ago I mentioned the upcoming schedule for the Brewers being particularly brutal. They had a four-game winning streak, but it was bookended by six-game losing streaks. Now they only get the Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs through Sept. 11. 352-48
29 Braves Through 11 big-league games, Dansby Swanson is a .300 hitter. 159-41
30 Twins And that is now a 12-game losing streak for the Twins. What a miserable season. 159-38
CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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