What does it mean to dominate? Well, sustained greatness and being untouchable by your peers are certainly part of that. If we’re looking inside baseball, dominance looks like the 2018 Boston Red Sox.
We’ve done these MLB Power Rankings every week of the regular season and the Red Sox have reached the point where, from a power ranking perspective at least, we’ve got to acknowledge the dominance. The Red Sox are No. 1 again this week, which isn’t a surprise because they’ve been No. 1 for quite some time.
In fact, this week’s list marks Boston’s 10th straight week in the No. 1 spot. Speaking of dominance and all.
Elsewhere in this week’s rankings: The Astros and Brewers are getting hot, the Phillies and Mariners are trying to hang on and the Cardinals are coming back down to the Earth.
1. Red Sox (96-44; last week: 1)
Last week, we said the Red Sox looked the most vulnerable they had in months after a rough stretch of games against the Indians and Rays. No fear, Boston, the Red Sox are back to what we’ve seen them be all season: opponent-smashing machines. They’ve won six of eight games since getting swept by the Rays and they’ve scored at least five runs in every win.
2. Yankees (87-52; last week: 2)
The Yankees showed how dangerous they can be Tuesday night against the A’s. In what’s looking like a wild-card preview, the Yankees unloaded for four runs (and two homers) in the eighth and ninth innings to beat the A’s 5-1. The Yankees can mash, and once they get Aaron Judge back, they’ll be even more dangerous. As it is, they’ve held steady without him. They’re 25-19 in the second half. As each day passes, they’re less likely to catch the Red Sox, but they’ve got a pretty good grip on the top wild-card spot.
3. Astros (86-53; last week: 3)
The Astros are getting hot again. They’ve won four straight and are getting closer to 90 wins. A lot of the credit lately goes to Alex Bregman, who has been killing it at the plate. In his last 23 games, Bregman is hitting .395 with a 1.207 OPS, six homers and 20 RBIs.
4. Cubs (81-57; last week: 4)
For as much discontent as there is in Chicago these days, the Cubs aren’t in a bad place at all. They’ve got the best record in the NL. They’re 26-19 in the second half. Sure, the Brewers are within striking distance (and losing two straight in Milwaukee sure didn’t help) but things could be much worse for the Cubs right now.
5. A’s (83-57; last week: 5)
The A’s are still fighting the good fight out west. They’re almost out of the toughest stretch of their late-season schedule, finishing up a three-game series with the Yankees on Wednesday, after a four-game series with the Mariners and a three-game showdown with the Astros. They could come out of that 5-5, in control of a wild-card spot and within sight of the Astros, which is a great situation for them to be in as they get ready for a week of the Rangers and Orioles.
6. Indians (78-60; last week: 6)
The Indians haven’t wowed anybody lately — they’re 5-5 in their last 10 — but after a really solid August and with the addition of Josh Donaldson, they’re gearing up to be another dangerous October team. The health of ace reliever Andrew Miller, who is currently on the DL, could be a factor in just how far Cleveland goes.
7. Braves (76-62; last week: 9)
The Braves have faced the best team in baseball this week, those Boston Red Sox, and if it’s some kind of postseason preview, everybody in Atlanta would be mighty disappointed. The Red Sox have beat them twice. Still, the Braves’ body of work makes them one of the top contenders in the NL and the fact that we’re talking about postseason previews with them this soon into their rebuild is something about which they can be thrilled.
8. Brewers (79-61; last week: 11)
A couple weeks ago, the Brewers looked like they were fading — and now they’re alive again. They jumped from No. 11 to No. 8 this week based on two wins against the rival Cubs and an overall 7-3 mark in their last 10 games. The Brewers picked a good time to get hot, as they’re playing the Cubs six times in nine games, and hoping to catch Chicago in the NL Central.
9. Cardinals (77-62; last week: 7)
Are the Cardinals coming back to Earth? After jumping up to No. 7 on our list last week, they’ve cooled off and now find themselves here at No. 9. The Cards are 5-5 in their last 10 games — including three straight losses to start September. Keep in mind they lost only six games in all of August.
10. Mariners (77-62; last week: 8)
Seattle is hanging on by a thread these days. They split their weekend series with the A’s, which could have gotten them back into the division and made them look a lot better in the wild-card race. Instead, the Mariners are still meandering through the second half. They’re 19-23 since the break, compared to 58-39 before it. Maybe their clubhouse fight Tuesday will spark something in Seattle?
11. Dodgers (76-63; last week: 13)
12. Rockies (76-62; last week: 12)
13. D-backs (75-64; last week: 10)
The NL West is looking like MLB’s most fun division in the final month of the season — with the Dodgers, D-backs and Rockies all sitting in first place at some point this past week. None of these teams are playing particularly well over the past month. If we have to choose — and we do every Wednesday — we still like the Dodgers most. They’ve at least shown recently that when they’re playing well, they can be a force. The Rockies have been good lately (four straight wins have them in first place at the moment), but the D-backs have lost six of their last 10 games.
14. Phillies (73-65; last week: 14)
Credit to the Phillies, they’ve stuck it out all season and their rebuild is way ahead of schedule. What’s concerning about the Phillies right now as a postseason contender is that they’re 5-11 since Aug. 18 and their team batting average ranks 28th in the league. They’re still contenders, but their -6 run differential is looking like a warning sign.
15. Rays (75-63; last week: 15)
While technically alive in the postseason hunt, it would take quite a sequence of events to get the Rays into the wild-card game. Nonetheless, Tampa Bay has been one of the best teams in baseball lately. Since Aug. 19, they’re 13-2. At the very least, Kevin Cash should get some Manager of the Year consideration.
16. Nationals (69-70; last week: 18)
17. Angels (67-72; last week: 19)
18. Giants (68-72; last week: 17)
19. Pirates (68-71; last week: 16)
Welcome to the land of silver linings, where the Nats are celebrating the fact that Bryce Harper is hitting .322/.431/.580 since the All-Star break. Shohei Ohtani hit his 16th homer for the Angels on Tuesday night, which is a highlight regardless of how the pitching end of his season turns out. The Giants, meanwhile, can at least be thrilled that Dereck Rodriguez is having the rookie season that he is — 6-2 with a 2.41 ERA.
20. Twins (63-75; last week: 20)
21. Mets (62-76; last week: 22)
22. Blue Jays (62-76; last week: 21)
23. Rangers (61-78; last week: 23)
24. Reds (59-80; last week: 24)
25. Tigers (56-83; last week: 25)
26. Marlins (55-84; last week: 26)
27. White Sox (56-83; last week: 28)
28. Royals (46-92; last week: 29)
29. Padres (55-86; last week: 27)
30. Orioles (41-98; last week: 30)
Exciting news down here in the lower third of the league. The Orioles finally — FINALLY — reached 40 wins last week. In less exciting news for their fans, the O’s are now knocking on the door of 100 losses. The next question is whether they can get 50 wins. They’d need a hot streak like the Royals had. KC won six in a row, and earned itself a jump to the No. 28 spot instead of No. 29, where it has been sitting for a while. Exciting times indeed!
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