Volume 6 for these weekly rankings – we are now down the Phillies, Braves, Brewers, Reds, Rockies and the Marlins. The National League has not had much parity this year and that’s why all teams that have been eliminated reside there. Six teams gone, twenty-four remaining. What effect has this week’s games had on these rankings – which show you which team has the least reason to believe they will lose the World Series.
*The week reviewed was September 11-17. 98 games played this week – home teams only going 44-54, so much for home field advantage?*
DEAD IN THE WATER
24. Oakland Athletics (3-4 on the week; 1-2 vs Texas, 2-2 vs Chicago White Sox) – The one possible highlight of the season is Sonny Gray winning the Cy Young. He was a dark horse but has put together a worthy year. Those hopes may have gone out the window Monday as Gray gave up seven runs to the non-powerhouse White Sox. Tragic Number (amount of losses or wins by current leader until eliminated from playoffs) = 2 (wildcard)
23. Arizona Diamondbacks (2-4; 1-2 vs Los Angeles Dodgers, 1-2 vs San Diego) – Hitting wasn’t spectacular this week but the pitching sunk the Dbacks. Arizona allowed 35 runs this week – 16 by the bullpen. Tragic Number = 2 (division)
22. San Diego Padres (2-4; 0-3 vs San Francisco, 2-1 vs Arizona) – Odrisamer Despaigne allowed four earned out of the bullpen Friday. That earned him a start on Sunday – in which he also allowed four earned (in 3.1 innings pitched). Tragic Number = 1 (division)
THE 8-10 CLUB
21. Chicago White Sox (3-4; 1-2 vs Minnesota, 2-2 vs Oakland) – My White Sox will probably be out of these rankings by this time next week and I will be writing a eulogy for them shortly. For this week then, I’ll just leave you this – the White Sox season in one play. You think they have it, until they don’t. Tragic Number = 10 (wildcard)
20. Detroit Tigers (3-2; 1-1 vs Cleveland, 2-1 vs Minnesota) – Tigers are left to only be a spoiler which they did to the Twins despite their new closer allowing runs in both victories. What could have been, though – the Tigers may have started the season with the AL Cy Young (Price) and a guy who will get a handful of NL MVP votes (Cespedes). Tragic Number = 8 (wildcard)
19. Tampa Bay Rays (2-5; 1-2 vs Boston, 1-2 vs New York Yankees, 0-1 vs Baltimore) – Matt Moore’s start Thursday is one of the brighter moments of the last month for the Rays. They will hope for a healthy rotation next year as the Rays have always counted on their pitching for success. They will need to improve their hitting as well – this week the team went 2/30 with runners in scoring position in the five losses. Tragic Number = 10 (wildcard)
18. Seattle Mariners (3-3; 1-2 vs Colorado, 2-1 vs Los Angeles Angels) – The Mariners alternated losses and wins this week despite playing the disastrous Rockies (who was the series they lost) – only 16 hits in the three losses. Tragic Number = 10 (wildcard)
17. Boston Red Sox (3-3; 2-1 vs Tampa Bay, 1-2 vs Baltimore) – After eight straight starts with a win, Joe Kelly left Tuesday’s game injured and is now shelved for the remainder of the season. Boston will hope that the eight-win-in-a-row Kelly returns in 2016. Tragic Number = 10 (wildcard)
16. Washington Nationals (4-3; 1-2 at Miami, 3-0 vs Philadelphia, 0-1 vs Miami) – There is no bonus for sweeping Philadelphia when you lose three games to the Marlins as well. The humorous story of the week was after Jonathan Papelbon spoke poorly of his ex-Phillie teammates, he gave up his first blown save of the season to those same Phillies. Tragic Number = 9 (division)
15. San Francisco Giants (5-1; 3-0 vs San Diego, 2-1 vs Cincinnati) – At least their pitchers can hit? Jake Peavy became the fifth Giant pitcher to hit a homerun this year; the ninth of the season overall. Baseball gods, please let Barry Zito face Tim Hudson next weekend. Also, make sure Mark Mulder announces the game. Tragic Number = 10 (division)
WHO WANTS THE AL WILDCARD?
14. Baltimore Orioles (5-2; 2-1 vs Kansas City, 2-1 vs Boston, 1-0 vs Tampa Bay) – Eighteen earned runs this week by the bullpen highlighted by TJ McFarland completing an awful month stretch that has seen his ERA grow from 2.25 on August 18th to 5.34 today, September 18th. The commonality of the two losses this week was McFarland pitched in them. Tragic Number = 12 (wildcard)
13. Minnesota Twins (3-4; 2-1 vs Chicago White Sox, 1-2 vs Detroit, 0-1 vs Los Angeles Angels) – The White Sox finally figured out their mystifying inability to hit Tommy Milone on Saturday and then the Angels followed suit. Mike Trout’s grand slam in the second inning Thursday against Milone may have been the end of the Twins season. Tragic Number = 15 (wildcard)
12. Cleveland Indians (3-3; 1-1 vs Detroit, 2-2 vs Kansas City) – Splitting the series against Kansas City is a nice accomplishment but it was a shame that Corey Kluber’s return from the disabled list wasn’t more of a success. Tragic Number = 13 (wildcard)
11. Los Angeles Angels (4-3; 2-1 vs Houston, 1-2 vs Seattle, 1-0 vs Minnesota) – Mike Scioscia may have gotten a tad greedy going for the sweep Sunday over Houston. He pitched Houston Street in three straight games and Street imploded for five runs. Jared Weaver has always seemed like an angry elf and he did not like Kyle Seager calling time in the game on Wednesday. Tragic Number = 14 (wildcard)
10. Houston Astros (1-6; 1-2 vs Los Angeles Angels, 0-4 vs Texas) – Yuck. The ten game road trip did not go well – 2-8, and now in second place in the AL West and only 1.5 games from being out of the playoff bracket completely. Houston is fortunately at home now for nine games, but they end the season with six games…on the road. Tragic Number = 18 (wildcard) *current wildcard
9. New York Yankees (3-4; 1-3 vs Toronto, 2-1 vs Tampa) – The Yankees AL East crown may have come and gone this weekend with the loss of three in four at home to Toronto including a doubleheader sweep Saturday. Fourteen earned runs by the bullpen in the first three games against the Yankees helped blow two leads. Tragic Number = 23 (wildcard) *current wildcard
8. Texas Rangers (6-1; 2-1 vs Oakland, 4-0 vs Houston) – The Rangers are feeling pretty good about themselves after completely dominating the Astros with hitting and pitching. However, the defense stuck out like a sore thumb as the Rangers committed nine errors this week. Tragic Number = 21 (wildcard) *current division leader
COULD BE ANY OF THESE SEVEN – SEVEN!!!
7. New York Mets (4-2; 3-0 vs Atlanta, 1-2 vs Miami) – The Mets were coasting through the doldrums of the NL East until coughing up the last two with less-than-inspired efforts. The Mets hit 2-17 with RISP in those games and Jake deGrom had a rough outing Tuesday, against the Marlins of all teams. Tragic Number = 25 (division) *current division leader
6. Chicago Cubs (5-3; 2-2 vs Philadelphia, 3-1 vs Pittsburgh) – The Cubs have had troubles with the oddest teams, including the Phillies who they went 2-5 against this season. The bullpen seems to be the Achilles heel on this team and they showed it blowing three games this week. Tragic Number = 27 (wildcard) *current wildcard
5. Kansas City Royals (3-4; 1-2 vs Baltimore, 2-2 vs Cleveland) – Bullpen and defense led the Royals to one out away from a championship last year. That team is not showing itself currently. Of the HDH threesome (Herrera, Davis, Holland), Ned Yost can really only count on the D right now. Eight errors this week including four on Thursday is not the brand of Royal baseball that the league has come to know. Tragic Number = 28 (wildcard) *current division leader
4. St. Louis Cardinals (4-2; 1-2 vs Cincinnati, 3-0 vs Milwaukee) – Cardinals had an early schedule this week playing the other two teams in the NL central. Two error games led to both losses to the Reds. Tragic Number = 34 (wildcard) *current division leader
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (4-3; 3-0 vs Milwaukee, 1-3 vs Chicago Cubs) – A league high ten errors this week; even though five were in their four wins, still a huge number. That number may not improve too much as the Pirates lost Jung Ho Kang to this play. What do you think – dirty or not? Tragic Number = 29 (wildcard) *current wildcard
2. Toronto Blue Jays (5-2; 3-1 vs New York Yankees, 2-1 vs Atlanta) – It’s grasping at anything but losing a game to the Braves isn’t a good look for a team as good as the Blue Jays. The way it was lost was tough as well as they wasted a solid start by Mark Buehrle. Tragic Number = 26 (wildcard) *current division leader
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (4-2; 2-1 vs Arizona, 2-1 vs Colorado) – The bullpen will be the downfall if this team reaches that point. Right now, I think they can overcome. Kenley Jansen is the only dependable arm in the pen but he allowed three runs in a rocky save opp on Sunday and then didn’t appear in the 16 inning marathon Tuesday. He came back to nail a save Wednesday. The goal for the postseason has to be Greinke or Kershaw/Jansen (if necessary).
CRACK OF THE BAT of the WEEK
Each week I will start picking a dinger, a tater, a JACK of the week and display the video so you can all take in the sweet, sweet sound of lumber on horsehide. Since this is the premiere of this section, I will start off with a White Sox, even if it’s a short-lived one. Take it in – Mike Olt hits one to the concourse at U.S. Cellular Field.