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MLB Power Rankings: Giants, Dodgers make West two-team race originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
For a couple of months now, it has been accepted that the Giants are for real, that they will give the NL West a third playoff team whether or not they can hold on for the division crown.
But over the last couple of weeks, the situation has changed.
The Giants? Oh, they're totally fine. They can cancel any previous October plans, and the Los Angeles Dodgers will join them there. But the inconsistent Padres -- the team everyone picked to finally end the Dodgers' run atop the West -- are all of a sudden 11 games back in the division, and they're holding on for dear life in the race for the second NL wild-card spot.
That's one of several races that's getting good. The NL East has four teams separated by less than four games, and the AL East and West races are wide open. It should be a wild September. As we wait for the madness, here's our latest breakdown of all 30 teams.
30. Orioles (38-79): One of just two MLB teams to get outscored by 200 runs during the last full MLB season, they're the only one to have done it so far this season.
29. Diamondbacks (38-81): They've been in the bottom spot for months, but give them credit: They don't really look like a 30th-place team on the field. It's a decent lineup that plays hard, and the Giants had their hands full with them in two recent series.
28. Pirates (42-77): Former Giants first-rounder Chris Stratton has extended his career by turning into a pretty dependable reliever. Stratton, who turns 31 this week, has a 3.99 ERA and is averaging about a strikeout per inning. He's 4-0 with one save in 48 appearances.
27. Rangers (42-76): With Kyle Gibson now in Philly, they don't have a single pitcher who has made even one start for them this year and has an ERA under 4.00.
26. Royals (49-67): It feels like Salvador Perez has been around for 15 years, but he's just 31 and just set a career-high by reaching 30 homers. Keeping him around after a few down seasons at the plate ended up being brilliant.
25. Cubs (52-69): There was a point of this season where they looked like they might make one more run with the core of the championship team. Now they're all gone, and what's left has lost 12 straight games.
24. Twins (52-66): After winning the division two straight years, they have just a two-game lead on the Royals for last place in the AL Central.
23. Nationals (50-68): Patrick Corbin helped them win a title, so they'll probably never regret his massive contract, but Year 3 has been a disaster. Corbin has a 6.04 ERA in 23 starts.
22. Rockies (52-66): Trevor Story wanted to get dealt, but he hasn't taken that annoyance to the field. He's batting .386 since the deadline.
21. Tigers (58-62): Detroit is officially on milestone watch. Miguel Cabrera has 499 homers and will join an exclusive club with the next blast. He's also just 49 hits from 3,000.
20. Marlins (51-67): Former A's top prospect Jesus Luzardo is off to a rough start. He has allowed 15 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings over three Marlins starts.
19. Angels (59-61): The homers get most of the attention, but Shohei Ohtani remains absolutely dominant on the mound. His 2.93 ERA in 17 starts would rank third in the AL if he had enough innings to qualify.
18. Indians (57-60): Emmanuel Clase, who came over in the Corey Kluber trade, has turned into a star closer. He has a 1.68 ERA in 50 appearances
17. Mets (59-59): They've lost four straight games to the Dodgers and Giants, and their next nine games are against the ... Dodgers and Giants. They're in danger of losing touch with the rest of the NL East contenders.
16. Mariners (63-56): Just when it looked like the trade deadline drama had sunk their chances, they responded with a good week, including taking a series from the Blue Jays. They're just five games out in the wild-card race.
15. Phillies (61-57): With Fernando Tatis Jr. and Jacob deGrom missing so much time, the NL MVP race opened back up and Bryce Harper has climbed the ranks. He leads qualified NL hitters with a .981 OPS.
14. Cardinals (61-56): They've been outscored by 21 runs this season, but with a six-game winning streak they've gotten to within four games of the Padres.
13. Braves (62-56): Despite truly awful injury luck, they're atop the NL East race. Ozzie Albies led the way over the last week, hitting five homers in six games as they took two of three from the Reds and swept the Nationals.
12. Blue Jays (63-54): The Giants weren't the only ones to do well on the one-year market this offseason. The Jays gave Robbie Ray $8 million and have watched him post a 2.88 ERA in 23 starts.
11. Yankees (66-52): A disappointing season in the Bronx might still end up with a trip to October. They're 12-4 since adding at the trade deadline and sit just one game behind the A's in the loss column.
10. Reds (65-55): With a blowout of the Cubs on Monday they got within 1 1/2 games of the Padres, with a great opportunity coming over the next couple of weeks. Of their next 12 games, nine are against the Cubs and Marlins.
9. Padres (67-54): The last couple of games perfectly sum up their inconsistent season. Fernando Tatis Jr. returned as a right fielder and immediately hit two homers, and then a night later they got walked off at Coors Field. The race for the second wild-card spot gets tighter every week.
8. Red Sox (69-51): It has been a roller coaster ride in Boston lately. They had a stretch where they lost eight of nine, but they got Chris Sale back over the weekend and swept the lowly Orioles to get to 3 1/2 back of the Rays.
7. A's (68-51): Lefty A.J. Puk looks like a game-changer down the stretch and potentially in the postseason. In four relief appearances since returning from Triple-A, he has allowed one hit and shown off a fastball that's approaching triple digits.
6. White Sox (69-50): Luis Robert was supposed to take a leap this season but missed more than three months with an injury. The 24-year-old is quickly making up for lost time, though, with nine hits and two homers in his first six games off the IL.
5. Astros (70-48): Nobody paid attention to them at the deadline, but they went out and massively upgraded their bullpen, which could put them back in the World Series. Kendall Graveman has nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings since coming over from Seattle.
4. Rays (72-47): Top prospect Wander Franco's numbers -- .244/.306/.427 -- don't look all that impressive, until you realize he's a 20-year-old playing shortstop every day in a tight and intense AL East race.
3. Brewers (72-47): They were a dropped fly ball away from taking a series from the Giants, and they're a sneaky threat to make a run for the top spot. Their remaining schedule isn't imposing, although the 13 games with the Cardinals look more difficult than they did a week ago.
2. Dodgers (73-46): They had a 5-1 road trip through Philadelphia and New York and didn't make a dent in their deficit. They're running out of time to extend their NL West championship streak, in large part because the team ahead of them here just keeps checking off series wins.
1. Giants (77-42): With a 7-5 win on Monday, they're off to a strong start in what will be their toughest remaining stretch. It's Mets, A's, Mets, Braves, Brewers, Dodgers through Labor Day. If they can survive that stretch with the NL West lead, they should cruise to the division title.