With seven weeks left in the season, we know who the powerhouses are in the American League. In fact, the top-heaviness in the AL compared to the parity over in the National League is as wide as I can ever remember it at this point in the season. 

The AL still has two teams on pace to win 100. The Astros are on pace for 99 wins and that's after getting swept in four games. The Indians have a 12-game lead. Hell, the Mariners could miss the playoffs right now but would also have more wins than any team in the NL. 

Over on the NL side, the Cubs have the best record at 68-49 and that's a 162-game pace of 94-70. That's pretty meek for the top team in the league, no? In fact, the top 10 teams in the NL are within 8 1/2 games of the top spot. If we lop off the Cubs -- again, a flawed ballclub -- and their three-game lead, the next nine teams are within 5 1/2 games of each other. Think about that when considering there are 15 teams and it's Aug. 13. Pretty remarkable. 

There's a reason and it's that no one has looked like a great team for extended stretches. 

  • The Cubs haven't been great since the All-Star break and the starting pitching is a serious concern. 
  • The Phillies had a losing record in June and have lost series to the Padres, Reds and Marlins within the last month.
  • The Diamondbacks went 8-19 in May and are exactly .500 since the start of July. 
  • The Brewers have gone 12-17 since July 10 and the bullpen appears to be falling into "overworked" territory. 
  • The Dodgers started 16-26, won't have Corey Seager back, have an injury-prone rotation and are 5-9 since July 28. 
  • Then we get into the group with the Rockies, Cardinals, Pirates and Nationals, where we've seen flashes of extremely good and extremely bad in stretches. 

Every team has significant flaws but just enough upside to believe there's a chance at the World Series. Yes, thanks to there being no dominant team, the door is open for one of those runs from a team in the 80s in wins. It's happened before. 

The 2014 Giants won 88 regular-season games. Halfway through August, they were 64-58. The 2011 Cardinals fell to 67-63 in late August before they got hot. It was historic, but the 2007 Rockies were only 76-72 midway through September before they nearly won out all the way until the World Series. The 2006 Cardinals only won 83 games in the regular season, but now are called the World Series champions. 

And that's all just within the last dozen seasons. 

The point is, when the door is open like this, absolutely anyone involved could be the one who storms through the door. Yes, even the Pirates or Cardinals or Nationals could end up holding the trophy at the end of October. The Giants? Hey, stranger things have happened. I mean, as things stand, I can't possibly believe that any of these NL teams could beat someone like the Red Sox, Yankees or Astros, but we've seen it happen too many times in history to dismiss. 

Quite simply: It's inferior baseball, but the NL is going to be a lot more exciting than the AL the rest of the regular season. And there are upwards of 10 teams on the NL side who might end up being the pennant winner. 

Biggest Movers
6 Mariners
6 Dodgers
1 Red Sox With his return outing, Chris Sale is now under 2.00 in ERA. If he can remain off the DL, he's finally going to win his elusive Cy Young. -- 29-27
2 Yankees Last week, I noted they were going to get themselves right, if for no other reason than the upcoming schedule. So far, so good with a 6-1 week. 1 34-24
3 Astros Don't look now, but the AL West lead over the A's is down to just 2 1/2 games. 1 33-23
4 Athletics To reiterate, it's gotten to the point that the A's are a legitimate threat to win the AL West. They were 11 1/2 games back on June 24. Good lord. -- 12-46
5 Cubs Cole Hamels could use some help in the rotation, huh? (That's definitely something we didn't expect to be hearing back in the spring for the Cubs, right?) -- 24-31
6 Guardians "Trevor Bauer, Cy Young candidate" really isn't something I was expecting this past spring. 3 25-31
7 Mariners Just when we had buried them, the Mariners sweep the Astros? In four games? In Houston? What the ... (OK, yes, I know about the Houston injuries) 6 29-27
8 Braves Kevin Gausman going eight innings and allowing only one run while striking out eight against the Brewers is a good sign. He's been a tease for years, but maybe the change of scenery can help him hit his upside. 3 33-23
9 Phillies Seranthony Dominguez is a great story anyway, but man, that's an 80-grade first name. 2 25-31
10 Brewers The once-vaunted bullpen has a 5.72 ERA since the All-Star break. 4 29-27
11 Diamondbacks Since May 22, Paul Goldschmidt is hitting .335/.431/.643. That's how you put a miserable start in the rearview. 1 34-23
12 Cardinals Don't look now, but the Cardinals are actually only one game behind the Brewers in the loss column. 2 25-32
13 Rockies I just glanced ahead at the schedule. The last four series for the Rockies come against the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Phillies and Nationals. It's tough, yeah, but a great opportunity to make up ground in the wild card and/or NL West races. 1 24-34
14 Dodgers The loss of Kenley Jansen feels like it'll greatly impact the races in the NL. The Dodgers scrambling to send Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling to the bullpen shows how big an impact it has. 6 34-23
15 Pirates A 4-3 road trip to Colorado and San Francisco is a success. Good work, Bucs. 1 28-27
16 Nationals The only pitchers to ever win at least four career Cy Young awards are Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux. That list might be adding someone this year. 1 24-32
17 Rays Tyler Glasnow, hoooooooo boy. 2 40-18
18 Angels Andrelton Simmons -- still possibly the best defender in baseball -- has only struck out 23 times in 439 plate appearances. That's some old school contact, Simba. -- 30-28
19 Giants Rookie Dereck Rodriguez was never ranked in any major outlet's top 100 prospects. He's now 6-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Great start for the son of a Hall of Famer. 2 28-28
20 Twins So they trade Lance Lynn to the Yankees and *then* he remembers how to pitch? C'mon! -- 30-27
21 Blue Jays A relief pitcher who isn't even on the team anymore being third in WAR probably isn't a great sign. -- 30-27
22 Rangers Lefty Marin Perez peaked at 17 in Baseball America's prospect rankings when he was in the minors. He's now 27 and has made 124 career starts. He has a below-average ERA+ for his career and this season has a 6.71 ERA. The point is there are very, very few "can't miss" prospects. -- 35-20
23 Mets I'd really love to see Jacob deGrom win the Cy Young with a losing record. It would be hilarious to see the internet outrage. 1 30-27
24 Reds I've mentioned it before, but man, it's depressing how much Luis Castillo has regressed this year after such a promising 2017 season. 1 26-30
25 Padres After a pathetic 5-20 July, the Padres split against the Cubs, then took two of three from each the Brewers and Phillies. 1 26-30
26 Tigers Last week in this space, I wondered why the Tigers hadn't traded Mike Fiers. Then he got traded. Anything else I can handle here, Tigers fans? 1 26-28
27 Marlins The Marlins are going to end up losing around 100 games and end up picking fourth in the draft, because bad karma truly exists! (I kid, I kid). -- 29-28
28 White Sox They follow up a four-game winning streak to close last week with a 1-5 week. (You know the drill) Baseball. Ebbs and flows! -- 23-35
29 Orioles One of the best races in the AL might be ... -- 35-21
30 Royals ... the race for the number one overall draft pick. -- 17-39