Photo courtesy of Brew Crew Ball
By: Ross Sutton
1. Red Sox (34-16)
Over their last two series against the Orioles and Rays, the Red Sox are 5-2 and have played great. After going 17-2 to start the year and then 9-9 right after that, the Sox have played much more consistent baseball recently and it looks like the Sox, Astros, and Yankees could get into an arms race at the deadline in order to be the favorites in the American League.
2. Astros (33-18)
The Astros have looked great recently, as they are 8-2 over their last ten games and have won four straight after taking two of three against the Indians, sweeping a two-game series against the Giants, and winning the first game of a four-game series against the Indians. After this series against the Indians, the Astros will have a couple of tough series against the Yankees, Red Sox, and then Mariners.
3. Yankees (31-15)
The Yanks have cooled off lately as they have only won half of their last ten games and lost two of three against the Rangers in Texas. New York starts a three-game series against the Angels tonight and then three games against the Astros. With the teams’ pitching struggling lately, they could be likely to go after another starting pitcher at the deadline in order to avoid being the unlucky team in the AL East that has to play in a one-game Wild Card playoff.
4. Brewers (31-20)
The Brewers might be the hottest team in the league, as they have played great ball recently after winning two series against the Diamondbacks, and one series against the Twins. The Brew Crew is rolling right now and they could be a problem for the rest of the NL Central as everything seems to be clicking in Milwaukee.
5. Braves (29-19)
The youth movement continues to be effective in Atlanta, as the Braves are 6-4 over their last ten as they get ready to start a three-game series in Boston. The Braves pitching has been a pleasant surprise this year, as a few arms such as Sean Newcomb (2.39 ERA) and Mike Foltynewicz (2.72 ERA) have performed better than expected so far this season.
6. Mariners (29-20)
Despite losing star second baseman Robinson Cano to injury and suspension, the Mariners have rallied as they have won seven out of their last ten. The Mariners have swept the Tigers and took two of three against the A’s in their last two series and will face the Twins and Rangers in their next seven games.
7. Phillies (28-19)
The young core in Philly has been great this season, as they sit just a half game back of the Braves atop the NL East. Led by Arrieta, Nola, and Pivetta on the mound, the Phillies look like they have the pitching to be legitimate playoff contenders. Many have talked about how the Phillies seem to be a sensible trading partner with the Rangers for pitcher Cole Hamels in order to bolster the starting rotation.
8. Cardinals (26-21)
Despite only winning four of their last ten, the Cardinals are tied with the Pirates for second place in the NL Central, as they are three games behind the Brewers. The next ten games will be extremely influential for the Cards, as they face the Pirates, Brewers, and then Pirates again.
9. Angels (28-22)
The Angels have struggled a bit recently, as they have only won four games in their last ten. That being said, they will have an opportunity to turn things around as they face the Tigers, Rangers, and Royals after they play three games in New York against the Yankees.
10. Pirates (27-22)
The Pirates continue to be a surprisingly good team this year, as they sit just three games behind the Brewers in the NL Central. After struggling against the Padres and Reds, the Pirates will try to get things going again as they have three crucial series against the Cardinals, Cubs and then Cardinals again.
Follow @Nosebleed_MLB for more!