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MLB Power Rankings: Could the Yankees or Astros make a deep run in the playoffs as a bottom seed?



There are only two weeks left until the 2020 Major League Baseball regular season. It has been quite a journey, right? The delayed season, the COVID closures, all the doubleheaders (and those to come) and we only have two weeks left. The Cardinals, by the way, have 18 games left in 14 days and will not yet play all 60 games (they are scheduled for 58 games).

While we look forward to a crazy final two weeks ahead of what is likely to be a post-season insane, it’s worth wondering if there are any threats to a deep run to the playoffs that have remained in the weeds up to this point. Last week I looked into possible Cinderella stories between teams currently not in playoff position, but what about those in position? We highlight three AL teams.

New York Yankees: Prior to Wednesday, the Yankees had lost 1

5 out of 20 and were letting teams like the Orioles and Tigers remain in contention for the playoffs. Did the Yankees finally wake up and drop the hammer? Now they have won five in a row and after four head-to-head games they ran away from the Orioles. They only sit mid-game behind the Blue Jays for the five-seeded AL with three games against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium for the first half of next week. D.J. LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres have returned from injury while Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton look forward to the return for next weekend.

Losing 15 out of 20 is bad, but in a sprint of 162 games, I don’t think everyone would have panicked that much. As it stands, the Yankees may be as dangerous as we thought in October.

Houston Astros: The Astros have lost nine of the last 11 and are currently under .500. They are also in the playoff position because they are in second place in the AL West.

They’ve had a lot of injury issues, and the offensive firepower simply hasn’t been where we’re used to seeing in the past few years (yes, raising legitimate questions). However, Jose Altuve will be back soon, it is possible that Justin Verlander will return, although he is relieved and there is too much raw talent here for me to fire them in October. In any playoff series, seeing the likes of Zack Greinke, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Altuve and Verlander would give any team a break.

Cleveland: As things have gone recently in AL Central, it appears that Cleveland has a ticket to the seven seeded in the American League. This means that someone like the As (without Matt Chapman) would have to win two out of three against Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac and whoever else Terry Francona decides to start with his stellar pitching staff. It is a tall order.

There is so much potential fun here looking forward to October. First, though, the last two weeks of the regular season are going to be crazy too. Let’s put them in the ranking.

Biggest Mover

Rk

Teams

Chg

Rcrd

1

Dodgers

They still win at a furious pace, but have been beaten and have had several players (Cody Bellinger, for example) who haven’t played as well as they could. Frightening.

33-14

2

Padres

It looks like the planting system is about to ruin the Padres. They appear to be headed for the top four despite having the second best record in the Netherlands (in fact, they have a chance for the second best record in all of baseball).

1 31-17

3

Gemini

That six-game losing streak a few weeks ago appears to have been just a small hiatus. Since then the twins have won 10 out of 12.

5 30-18

4

White Sox

I saw some laps on the White Sox hitting the wrong teams. They are 21-3 against Tigers, Royals and Pirates. And my answer? So. Good teams beat the weak and the Tigers are actually 19-17 when not crushed by the Sox. The Royals are 19-19 against non-Sox teams.

2 30-16

5

Athletics

Losing Matt Chapman is a huge blow. Not just in an offensive way, as he is also arguably the best defensive third base in baseball (sorry, Rockies fans).

1 29-17

6

Rays

When Tyler Glasnow is in the game, he is as good as anyone else in baseball. The 73 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings are elite. But why is he beaten from time to time?

4 30-17

7

Braves

I wish I could remember who tweeted it so I can properly credit it, but someone pointed out last week that the 2020 Braves may end up with more home runs than the 2015 Braves. They have 82 homers in 47 games right now. In 2015 they reached 100 in 162 games.

28-19

8

Puppies

Alec Mills with a non-hitter? Jason Heyward as their best offensive player? # 2020

4 28-20

9

Blue jays

OK, Jays. Let’s see what you are made of. The next 11 games come against the Yankees (seven) and the Phillies (four).

26-20

10

Yankees

The Orioles don’t have the talent to hang out with the Yankees, but they were. Kudos to the Yankees for lighting and burying them this weekend. This is what real contenders do. Now let’s see if they arrive completely before October.

4 26-21

11

Indians

So much for the race to the higher seed. They have now lost six in a row.

6 26-21

12

Cardinals

They can’t shake .500. There have been no more than two games above .500 or two below .500 all season. They were exactly .500 13 times different.

1 20-20

13

Astros

Check out the rest of their schedule. Time to get things right. Rangers (seven games), Diamondbacks (three) and Mariners (three) are all he has left.

3 23-24

14

Marlins

Everyone gets on board the Sixto Sanchez Hype Train while you can. The young stallion has an ERA of 1.69 and a WHIP of 0.91 across five career starts. And we’ve seen enough to know that in a 60-game season, the Marlins are legit.

6 23-21

15

Phillies

There is so much to like about Alec Bohm’s game, but what if he looks like he has the so-called “clutch gene?” Pretty funny stuff.

2 23-22

16

Giants

Do you know how the Dodgers seem to have a knack for taking on players that other teams want to discard and turn them into something (Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, etc.)? They were the last team to have Donovan Solano before the Giants took him. It is funny.

3 23-24

17

Mariners

The Mariners sit only 1 1/2 games behind the agitated Astros for second place in the AL West. This would also lead them to the six suits. Longest playoff drought in MLB about to start? The Astros are trying to let him do it.

5 21-25

18

Brewers

They were all set to take the first two games of the series against the Cubs and then Jason Heyward hit a three-run homer over Josh Hader. Then the Brewers lost 12-0 and were not hit by Alec Mills on Sunday. What a punch to the stomach of a weekend. However, they only remain two games behind the Cardinals and they have 10 games against them. This is “control your destiny” territory with ease.

2 20-24

19

Rossi

Good series that wins over the Cardinals, but the Reds are still 2 and a half games out of the playoffs. The race must begin immediately and four against the Pirates should help.

2 21-26

20

Mets

In baseball history, only Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson have won three consecutive Cy Youngs. Why am I talking about it right here? Come on, come on. Do you know why.

1 21-26

21

Rocky Mountains

Playoff teams shouldn’t lose any series to the Angels. The Rockies have now gone 10-22 since their 11-3 start.

6 21-25

22

Real

Brad Keller launched a shutout on Sunday (although against the Pirates it should only count as 1/3 of a shutout) and now has a 2.06 ERA and 1.01 WHIP across seven starts.

7 20-28

23

Nationals

He is only 21 and Juan Soto continues to improve. This season’s new wrinkle is walking more than he hits, like a Chipper Jones first season (only with more power).

2 17-28

24

Orioles

It was fun while it lasted, but ultimately all he really did this season was ruin the Orioles’ plan to rack up high draft picks. I guess there is probably enough time to make it into the top five.

6 20-26

25

Tigers

Look at the year Jeimer Candelario is putting together. It hits .325 / .385 / .571 with 11 doubles, three triples and seven homers.

2 20-26

26

Rangers

Hey, at least the World Series is played in their new home park, right? It’s something good in 2020 for Rangers.

4 17-30

27

Angels

Watching Albert Pujols equalize Willie Mays 660 home runs was quite interesting.

3 20-28

28

Red Sox

It’s been a bit quiet – probably because the Red Sox started the 6-18 season – but Alex Verdugo is having an excellent season. Remember, he was the lead role player who came from Mookie Betts.

2 17-31

29

Diamondbacks

I thought Zac Gallen was only 1-0 to eight starts on a bad team last week. Then he missed two starts in one week. My fault, Zac.

2 17-31

30

Pirates

Here’s your favorite to get the number one pick for the 2021 draft. They already have the worst record and the rest of the schedule is against the Reds, the Cardinals, the Cubs and the Indians.

2 14-30




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