Photo courtesy of Sporting News
By: Ross Sutton
1. Yankees- After having the day off yesterday and the Red Sox losing to the Tigers, the Yankees are back on top in the AL East and on top of my power rankings. The Yankees have also been hot recently, as they have won eight of their last ten games. The Yanks will play the Mets and Rays nine times in the next couple of weeks so if they can stave off the Nationals and Mariners when they face them, they should have a good chance to stay atop the AL East.
2. Red Sox- This could really be a 1 and 1a atop these rankings, as the Red Sox are just a half game back of the Yankees. Nonetheless, to not give everyone a trophy here, they are still number two for the time being. After six games against the terrible White Sox and Orioles, the schedule for the Red Sox gets more difficult as they play the Mariners, Twins, Mariners, Angels, Yankees, and Nationals.
Mariners- The Mariners are truly rolling right now, as they have seven out of their last ten games and have taken hold of the AL West, and are currently one game ahead of the Astros. I would love to see the Mariners make a push for the playoffs this year and possibly make a big move for another starting pitcher perhaps, before the deadline. Unfortunately for the Mariners, once they are done with their three-game series with the Rays, they will face the Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, and Red Sox again. Hopefully for the Mariners and their fans, they can play well during this upcoming stretch and prove that they are for real.
Astros- After a few tough series against the Indians, Yankees, Red Sox, and Mariners, the Astros have a fairly easy stretch of baseball as they will take on the Rangers, A’s, Royals, Rays, Royals again, and Blue Jays. This is likely bad news for the Mariners, as the Astros will probably win a large majority of these games over the next few weeks.
Brewers- After being red hot, the Brew Crew has cooled off over the last few games, as they have lost three in a row. Luckily for the Brewers, they play the struggling Phillies six times over their next nine games and they will also take on the Cubs, so they could make a statement in that series. As I said before, the Brewers will probably have to make a fairly significant move at the deadline in order to be a legit threat to the Cubs for the division crown.
Nationals- The Nats initially struggled out of the gate for a while, but they seem to have found their stride and are currently tied for the lead in the NL East. The Nationals have been beating up on some bad competition though, so when they face the Yankee four times in the next week and a half, that should be a good test to see how good they truly are.
Cubs- The Cubs have been playing great baseball lately, as they have won eight out of their last ten games and are now just a half game behind the Brewers in the NL Central. The Cubs have a semi-difficult schedule ahead of them, as they play the Pirates, Brewers, Cardinals and Dodgers in their next four series. As I said earlier in regards to the Brewers, next week’s series between the Cubs and Brewers will be extremely important for each of those teams.
Braves- Atlanta hasn’t played very well recently, as they have won only five of their last ten games. Luckily for the Braves though, they have a pretty easy schedule ahead of them, as they play the Dodgers, Mets, Padres, Blue Jays, Orioles, and Reds over the next few weeks. Maybe due to this smooth road ahead, the Braves could reclaim first place in the NL East, as they are currently tied with the Nationals.
Angels- The Angels have not played very well over the last three weeks or so, but they have won six of their last ten games and are by no means out of the race in the AL West. The halos are four and a half games behind the Mariners, but they start a three-game series against the Twins tonight and then play the Mariners, so they could make up some significant ground over the next week.
Indians- Despite only being four games above .500 and struggling for much of the season, the Indians have played well recently as they have won seven of their last ten games and currently sit four games ahead of the Tigers in the AL Central. The tribe could gain an even bigger lead in their division if they play well over the next couple of series, as they play the Tigers six times, the White Sox seven times, and the Twins three times over the next two and a half weeks. As all of these teams are in the same division as the Indians, Cleveland could really take control of the division during this next stretch of games.
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