MLB Power Rankings: 'Last gasp' playoff candidates receive their two weeks' notice
It's now or never for some playoff hopefuls as the season starts to wind down and the hunt for October heats up
Consider this our two weeks' notice. Right?
OK, that was lame, but we only have two weeks left in the 2019 Major League Baseball season and I'm a bit out of sorts. I know it's a cliche, but it really does seem like only yesterday that I was in Great American Ball Park watching Derek Dietrich come though with a clutch home run to help the Reds beat the Pirates. Of course, that game is now irrelevant, as neither team has a shot at the playoffs. Let's talk about a few teams who do have an outside shot.
With just two weeks left, even being three or four games out means it's a long shot for that team to make the playoffs, so let's check out a few "last gasp" candidates. That is, they are one last gasp of breath from making the playoffs.
Mets - That four-game beatdown of the Diamondbacks sure improved their status, but it's still an uphill climb. The good news is the Mets have the Rockies, Reds and Marlins for the next 10 games and they close with three against the Braves, who likely won't have anything to play for in those three. They'll need help, but an unlikely Hail Mary run is certainly possible.
Diamondbacks - They got within 1 1/2 games, but then embarrassed themselves in the Big Apple. They do have a favorable schedule with six games against the Padres and three against the Marlins, but they also have to face the Cardinals three times and need a ton of help and also need to be almost perfect with this deficit. I'm not seeing it.
Indians - They are still very much in the wild-card race and could win one of the two spots, but this is their last gasp to grab the AL Central. They are in miracle range after splitting their last six games against the Twins. It's not an easy road ahead, but it's also not littered with landmines like the Phillies. The Indians go Tigers, Phillies, White Sox, Nationals and it's possible the Nats aren't playing for anything that final weekend.
Brewers - I almost didn't include them here, but we'll ignore their wild-card status and instead note that there's still a path to them winning the division. Yes, the Brewers are missing their best player in Christian Yelich and yes, they don't have any head-to-head matchups against the teams above them and yes they have to pass both the Cardinals and Cubs, but they only play sub-.500 teams the rest of the way AND the Cubs and Cardinals have seven remaining head-to-head games. If the Brewers stomp their inferior competition the rest of the way while, say, the Cubs go 4-3 against the Cardinals, the Brewers could sneak up and steal the Central.
If you want a miracle run, it's either the Mets for a wild card or the Brewers in the Central. The smart money is on neither, but there's a reason the word "miracle" exists. Sometimes they happen.
Previous rankings: 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|
|1||Astros||The Astros are now in a dead heat with the Yankees for the top seed in baseball. This matters. The Astros are 56-20 at home and 42-33 on the road.||--||107-55|
|2||Yankees||Thirty-five year old Brett Gardner has a shot to hit 30 home runs this season. His previous career high was 21.||--||103-59|
|3||Dodgers||Cody Bellinger only has two homers since Aug. 18. Heading toward the playoffs, that's slightly worrisome, no?||--||106-56|
|4||Braves||So far this season, the Braves have gone 45-25 against the rest of the NL East. They are taking care of business and will be rewarded for it.||--||97-65|
|5||Athletics||I'm not sure if they'll be comfortable doing it so soon after returning from a major injury, but Sean Manaea would make a nice Wild Card Game starter.||3||97-65|
|6||Rays||They lost Sunday, but before that the Rays had won 13 of 16 as they ready for the final stretch.||--||96-66|
|7||Twins||The Twins have eight players with at least 20 home runs. That's an all-time MLB record.||2||101-61|
|8||Indians||The Tribe went 3-3 against the Twins the past two weekends. That's just not gonna be good enough. They are wild card or bust at this point.||1||93-69|
|9||Nationals||It has felt for weeks the Nationals were comfortably in playoff position, but now the Cubs are only 1 1/2 games back with the Brewers 2 1/2 back. It's possible the Nats fall out.||1||93-69|
|10||Cardinals||The Cardinals were in complete control of the NL Central and then took a gut punch Sunday. Now the lead is only three over the third-place Brewers and two against the Cubs with seven head-to-heads remaining.||3||91-71|
|11||Cubs||Nico Hoerner is going to slump at some point, but in the early going here, it looks like he's going to be a major asset to the Cubs. Something they've sorely lacked this season is a guy who consistently puts the ball in play and he fills that void nicely.||2||84-78|
|12||Brewers||Man, that Ryan Braun grand slam. It's gonna be tough to make the playoffs without Christian Yelich, but they are right there. Note: They are playing better than the Cubs and Cardinals right now, but losing Yelich has to cost them when ranking the three teams in terms of talent.||--||89-73|
|13||Red Sox||In a season of low points, Wednesday was the lowest, I think. They lost 8-0 to the Blue Jays, only got two hits and it marked their fifth straight loss, effectively eliminating them from playoff contention.||2||84-78|
|14||Mets||If Edwin Diaz simply pitched well -- not even as good as last season -- the Mets would likely be in playoff position.||2||86-76|
|15||Phillies||After winning on May 29, the Phillies were 11 games over .500 and had a three-game lead in the NL East. They've gone 43-50 since.||--||81-81|
|16||Diamondbacks||The Diamondbacks won Saturday in a game that they only had one baserunner. That's the first time in modern history a team has done that. This sport is amazing.||2||85-77|
|17||Rangers||Lefty Mike Minor has been worth 7.8 WAR this season and he's set to make less than $10 million next year. What an absolute bargain.||--||78-84|
|18||Giants||Only two weeks left with Bruce Bochy. Sad!||--||77-85|
|19||Angels||Mike Trout being out for the rest of this season isn't acceptable. I do not accept this.||--||72-90|
|20||Reds||Eugenio Suarez hit three more homers this week. Last week I commented on his chances of getting the Reds' franchise record and he's now five away from George Foster's 52.||--||75-87|
|21||Padres||For a rookie, bumps in the road are normally inevitable. Chris Paddack hit some through the middle part of the season. He's responded by pitching to a 049 ERA with 23 strikeouts and three walks in 18 1/3 innings in his last three starts. He's legit. He'll be a frontline starter next year.||--||70-92|
|22||Mariners||Great start by prospect Kyle Lewis. He could be a fun player.||2||68-94|
|23||White Sox||Looking forward to seeing the return of Michael Kopech next spring.||1||72-89|
|24||Rockies||After playing dead for most of the season, all of a sudden the Rockies took two of three from the Cardinals and swept the Padres. What gives? Baseball! That's what.||2||71-91|
|25||Blue Jays||Rowdy Tellez has been a below-average hitter in every pretty much every facet this season, but against the Red Sox for whatever reason he's hitting .372/.440/.930 with seven homers in 50 plate appearances against the Red Sox.||--||67-95|
|26||Pirates||On Sunday, the Pirates went to appeal that a runner missed third base. The pitcher air mailed it, allowing another run to score. That pretty well sums up their second half. A thorough house cleaning is needed.||3||69-93|
|27||Royals||With Mike Trout being hurt, the path is clear for Jorge Soler to lead the league in home runs. No Royals player has ever even finished in the top two.||--||59-103|
|28||Marlins||They likely can't get to 108 losses, but this is tracking to be the second-worst Marlins team ever and that's saying something.||--||57-105|
|29||Orioles||They've now won more games than last season. Progress!||--||54-108|
|30||Tigers||Losing two of the first three games against the Orioles effectively clinches the No. 1 pick for the second straight season.||--||47-114|
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