A couple very impressive streaks have really opened up some of the divisions (Braves, Tigers, and Dodgers), while others remain tight. Where does that leave everybody in the week 19 power rankings though? Here is your top 10:
#1 Atlanta Braves
The Braves had their winning streak snapped, but have still won 15 out of 16. It might be overlooked by most, but Fredi Gonzalez switching up his order by putting Jason Heyward leadoff, J. Upton second, and Freddie Freeman 3rd has paid huge dividends for this lineup. By the way: For those who question the Braves playoff ability, during their winning streak the Braves beat pitchers like Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller, Cliff Lee, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, etc.
#2 Detroit Tigers
The Tigers are finally starting to play more like what I expected from day 1 of the 2013 season. Yes, they lost 2 out of 3 to the Yankees, but they have still won 17 out of 20, including a 4 game sweep of the 2nd place Indians….on the road. They can hit it (1st in Batting Average) and they can throw it (1st in quality starts). By the way: Home field advantage would be huge for the Tigers, because until this recent run, they had really struggled on the road.
#3 Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have won 20 out of 23 and haven’t lost consecutive games since June 21. Their rotation has become arguably the best in the league (at least 1-4) and their offense appears to be firing on all cylinders. By the way: Yasiel Puig should not play CF the rest of the season. Way too many misreads, inopportune dives, and terrible overthrows.
#4 Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox haven’t been playing their best baseball as of late, but they still lead the best division in baseball. The contributions of Lackey and Doubront have been severely overlooked. As a matter of fact, they have been their top two starters if you look at the numbers. By the way: The Sox next 9 games are against teams that are a combined 20 games under .500.
#5 Pittsburgh Pirates
Luckily for the Pirates, they still have a 3 game lead over the Cardinals after being swept by the Rockies. At this point, their future success is solely on the shoulders of their starting rotation. They are not going to out hit teams down the stretch and their bullpen is going to get way too worn out if they don’t get some deep pitching performances. By the way: Andrew McCutchen might be my MVP frontrunner.
#6 Texas Rangers
The Rangers have won 7 in a row and 12 out of 13. Granted, only 3 of those games were against teams above .500, but the Rangers don’t care. Especially when you consider the fact that the Rangers don’t play a team anywhere near .500 (Brewers, White Sox, Mariners, Twins, and Astros) until SEPTEMBER 2nd. By the way: The Rangers now have the best road record in baseball at 35-26.
#7 St. Louis Cardinals
The struggles that we have been watching the Cardinals endure is somewhat dumbfounding. Yes, Molina is hurt, but the rest of the offense has been healthy, their top 3 starters are healthy, and their bullpen (while somewhat shaky as of late) has been healthy too. I just didn’t see this team losing 13 out of 17 at any point. By the way: All of these struggles could be forgotten if their top 3 guys help them sweep the Pirates this week.
#8 Tampa Bay Rays
After losing 5 in a row, the next two series against the Mariners and Blue Jays are going to be huge for the Rays. The Rays need to make a move before Clay gets back to the Red Sox. If not, it is going to be tough to catch a team you only play 3 more times this year. By the way: If you spread the sample size of Wil Myers out over a full year, he would be on pace for 30 HR.
#9 Oakland Athletics
The streaky A’s are currently living up to their mantra. After winning 7 out of 9, the A’s have lost 7 out of 10 and fallen a game out of 1st in the West. The A’s are going to have to get it together soon though. While the Rangers have 0 games against winnings teams in August, the A’s have 12. By the way: If the A’s lose this division to the Rangers, people will point to how the Rangers went out and took it from them at the trade deadline while the A’s did very little.
#10 Cincinnati Reds
I have been waiting and waiting for the Reds to make a move this season and the moment might be right now. While the Cardinals and Pirates are struggling and playing each other, the Reds play 10 of their next 14 games against the Brewers and Cubs. By the way: The Reds have very quietly put up top 5 pitching numbers all season.
Tell me how wrong I am on twitter @Cole_Stevenson