MLB Power Rankings: The Astros are looking unbeatable lately

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The Astros appear to be doing that thing again where they’re unbeatable. We’ve seen it a few times in the past three seasons — one of which, you’ll remember, led to a World Series win.

Houston, with that deep lineup and that potent pitching staff, can get hot and roll over anyone. I’ve said at least twice since we’ve been writing these Power Rankings this season that the Astros at their best can beat anyone. Right now, they’re giving us a preview.

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They’ve won eight of their last nine, and scored 10 runs in four of those wins. Another, they won 9-0. This was all punctuated with a 15-5 win Sunday over the Texas Rangers. “Pounding” is probably a better word than “win.” The Astros blasted four homers, two from George Springer, two from Alex Bregman. This came a day after Gerrit Cole had 12 strikeouts in six innings. And that came a day after Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings and struck out eight in a 3-0 win.

We’re starting to see the top third of the league establish itself as “good” now. The pretender teams (Hi, Mariners) are sulking their way back down the standings, and the early underachievers are back where they should be (Looking at you, Boston). But nobody looks better than the Astros right now. That, of course, can change. As good as the Astros are, they also hit a lull every now and again, but right now we’re seeing them at their best.

Here’s the rest of how I see MLB this week:

George Springer and the Astros are back in the No. 1 spot in our MLB Power Rankings. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
George Springer and the Astros are back in the No. 1 spot in our MLB Power Rankings. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

1. Houston Astros (26-15; last week: 2)

Not to gush even more about Houston, but here’s a good factoid about the Astros: They’re the only team in MLB that ranks top five in ERA and top five in runs scored. A winning combination.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (27-16; last week: 1)

The Dodgers are close to joining the Astros in both top fives. Their offense is great, but their pitching is sixth-best in the league. Still, the way Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-1, 1.72 ERA) is pitching this season, the Dodgers’ staff might be the most dangerous it’s been in recent years.

3. Minnesota Twins (25-14; last week: 3)

There’s a good chance that unless you’re in Minnesota, you don’t know just how good the Twins’ offense has been this season. Big parts of that are outfielder Eddie Rosario and shortstop Jorge Polanco. Rosario has 13 homers, tied for the lead in the AL, and 32 RBIs. Polanco is hitting .324 with a .393 on-base percentage.

4. Chicago Cubs (24-14; last week: 5)

For as much as people worried about the Cubs’ pitching coming into this season, it’s been quite good. They have the third-best ERA in MLB and Jon Lester’s 1.16 individual mark is leading the way. They’ve now won 12 of 14, too.

5. Milwaukee Brewers (24-18; last week: 6)

Not every stat out there ranks the Brewers as a premier team in MLB right now. Their run differential isn’t great. Neither is their team ERA, particularly among starting pitchers. But they’ve hung quite well against one of MLB’s toughest early schedules and Christian Yelich looks every bit like an MVP. Imagine if their starting pitching were better.

6. New York Yankees (24-16; last week: 9)

It feels like the momentum could be starting to swing in the AL East after the Yankees took two of three over the Rays over the weekend. The Yankees are half a game back now. They’ve won series against Tampa Bay, the Mariners and Twins in the past two weeks.

7. Tampa Bay Rays (24-15; last week: 4)

The Rays still own the best ERA in baseball and they’re second in run differential, so they’re not in a free fall, but they’re just 5-5 in May.

8. Philadelphia Phillies (23-16; last week: 10)

The Phillies haven’t lost a series since late April, and looked quite good last week taking two of three against the Royals and Cardinals. For all the Bryce Harper talk, it’s Rhys Hoskins who has been killin’ it this year with 11 homers, 35 RBIs and a great .415 on-base percentage.

9. St. Louis Cardinals (22-19; last week: 8)

The Cardinals’ are lucky they played so well before the last two weeks, because the last two weeks have been brutal. They were swept by the Cubs, then lost two of three to the Phillies, then three of four to the Pirates. They’ve played one of the tougher schedules so far, but would seemingly welcome the Braves, Rangers and Royals next.

10. Boston Red Sox (22-19; last week: 15)

They’ve won five in a row and eight of nine. Looks like the Red Sox are back. Perhaps most importantly, Chris Sale also appears to be back. He has 24 strikeouts in his last two starts.

Chris Sale pitches against the Orioles on May 08, 2019, in Baltimore. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chris Sale pitches against the Orioles on May 08, 2019, in Baltimore. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

11. Arizona Diamondbacks (22-19; last week 7)

12. Cleveland Indians (21-18; last week: 11)

13. San Diego Padres (22-19; last week: 12)

14. Pittsburgh Pirates (20-17; last week: 16)

15. Atlanta Braves (21-20; last week: 14)

The most fascinating team of this bunch is the Pirates, who have been quite good at times this season despite some weird numbers. They’re a bottom-five team in run differential and have scored the second-fewest runs in the league. But they’re three games over .500 and have rattled off some impressive wins. Perhaps they’re not long-term viable but give them credit for obviously scoring runs when they need to.

16. New York Mets (19-20; last week: 17)

17. Colorado Rockies (19-21; last week: 19)

18. Oakland A’s (19-23; last week: 22)

19. Los Angeles Angels (19-21; last week: 23)

20. Texas Rangers (17-21; last week: 18)

The Rockies appear to be figuring things out, or at least a path to respectability. At one point early in the season, they lost 12 of 13. Outside of that, they haven’t been too bad. They’re still fourth in the NL West, but could leapfrog the D-backs and Padres with a good week. But the Red Sox and Phillies are on the horizon, so that will be a challenge.

21. Seattle Mariners (20-23; last week: 13)

22. Washington Nationals (16-24; last week: 21)

23. Cincinnati Reds (18-23; last week: 24)

24. Chicago White Sox (18-21; last week: 27)

25. Toronto Blue Jays (16-24; last week: 20)

The Mariners are fully in the bottom 10 of the league after that hot start. Here’s one stat that really sums up their fall: They’ve still scored the most runs in the league (228) but they’re also tied with the Baltimore Orioles for most runs allowed (233). Oof!

26. Detroit Tigers (18-20; last week: 25)

27. San Francisco Giants (17-23; last week: 26)

28. Kansas City Royals (14-27; last week: 28)

29. Baltimore Orioles (14-26; last week: 29)

30. Miami Marlins (10-29; last week: 30)

There’s a lot of not-great baseball being played in our bottom five, but can I just remind you that the Marlins have scored just 105 runs this season while giving up 196? That’s brutal.

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Mike Oz is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @mikeoz

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