For the first time in many years, there are about eight teams I could actually see winning the World Series. What is wild is that some of those teams might not even get into the playoffs. The AL East could send three teams into October and the NL West could do the very same. Meanwhile, the NL East is absolute chaos while the Reds and A’s have snuck up to tighten up their division races. The AL Central seems to be a wrap but other than that, nothing is predictable. It seems like every day we are talking about a different player or a different team and that is so good for baseball. There is so much talent in this game right now and we all need to sit back and appreciate it. With just two months left in this wild season here is where we stand.
- San Francisco Giants (71-41) —
The Giants have been the most consistent team all season. Even when they lose a series, they bounce back and are competitive in any series. They once again won both of their series this week over Arizona and Milwaukee. They have a four game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West with only three games left with their rivals. This franchise knows how to win and they will be back in World Series contention come October.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (67-45) —
Just like the Giants, the Dodgers just keep taking care of business. They split two games with Houston before taking two of three from their crosstown rival Angels. They still need to get Cody Bellinger going to prepare for the good pitching that they will face in October. One thing interesting to watch for the Dodgers is that they will play a big role in the NL East race over the next couple weeks as they play Philadelphia three times, Atlanta three times and the Mets seven times.
- Tampa Bay Rays (68-44) +1
The Rays have only lost twice in their last ten games and both were to their kryptonite, the Seattle Mariners. Other than that series, life has been great for Tampa Bay. Boston is struggling which is helping the Rays build up that division lead. They do have a big three game set this week in Boston which could help them really pull away with the AL East. I still have some concerns about this team come playoff time, but one thing I am not concerned about is that they will be playing playoff baseball.
- Chicago White Sox (67-46) +2
After dropping two of three to the Royals, the White Sox bounced back in a big way by sweeping the Cubs. The White Sox are absolutely cruising to a division title and are still just getting healthy. Luis Robert is coming back this week and there is plenty of time for him and Eloy Jimenez to get their swings and rhythm back. I think this team will be representing the American League in the Fall Classic.
- Houston Astros (66-46) -2
The Astros went 2-4 this week splitting two games with the Dodgers and losing three of four to Minnesota. They not only are letting Seattle hang around, but they let Oakland catch up. They now hold just a two game division lead and the A’s are red hot. They do have two off days this week and host Colorado for two before heading to Anaheim to take on the Angels. Houston has to figure it out because they don’t want to be playing in a one game playoff.
- Milwaukee Brewers (66-46) -1
A series loss to San Francisco is not a big deal. It is enough to knock Milwaukee out of the top 5 however. I could see Milwaukee winning the NL pennant. The rotation is loaded, the bullpen is solid and the offense is coming around. Cincinnati is not letting them coast to October though. Four with the Cubs and three with the Pirates should help Milwaukee put the pressure on the Reds.
- Oakland A’s (64-48) +2
After losing to the Padres to start last week, Oakland won four straight to close it out. They have crept to just two games back of the Astros in the AL West. Losing Ramon Laureano hurts but the addition of Starling Marte takes away quite a bit of the sting. They don’t have another off day until the 25th and play their next 10 games on the road. These are the dog days of summer for Oakland.
- San Diego Padres (65-49) —
It is no longer a foregone conclusion that San Diego will be in the playoffs. With Fernando Tatis Jr. injured, someone has to step up and be THE guy for this squad. They have the Marlins for three and Arizona for four this week so they have some games to try to figure things out. The September schedule is tough, so the Padres have to take advantage of these series.
- Boston Red Sox (65-49) -2
The Red Sox went from first place in the AL East to clinging on to a Wild Card spot in the manner of a couple weeks. Losing three of four to Toronto over the weekend and dropping two of three to Detroit prior to that has given all the teams in the Wild Card race an opening. A three game set this week with Tampa Bay is huge and could make or break the Red Sox season before they even get Chris Sale back this weekend.
- Toronto Blue Jays (60-50) —
I don’t think anyone will win a series in Toronto this season. The crowd is just too amped up. The offense is explosive and the pitching is figuring it out. Nobody should want to face these guys right now. They have a run differential of +123 and that is with the pitching struggling earlier in the year. A West Coast road trip this week has them take on the Angels for four and the Mariners for three. Watch out.
- New York Yankees (62-50) +1
The Yankees did not hit well with runners on base in their four game set with Seattle. Still, they took three out of four. That is the kind of series that can help a team build momentum. The pitching is doing a great job right now and that offense is just loaded. Anthony Rizzo was placed on the Covid IL so maybe it was a good thing they kept Luke Voit around.
- Cincinnati Reds (61-52) +1
Nicholas Castellanos is back and the Reds didn’t skip a beat without him. A four game sweep of Pittsburgh kept the fire going for one of the hottest teams in baseball. They sit just 2.5 games back of the Padres for the second Wild Card and have a much easier schedule than San Diego. They don’t have an off day until the 23rd, but that might be a good thing with how well they are playing right now.
- Philadelphia Phillies (59-53) +3
One week ago I wrote that I didn’t think the Phillies would catch the Mets. One week later, they sit stop the NL East after a 7-0 week that included a sweep of the Mets. Philadelphia is hot right now and that series loss to Pittsburgh seems to have woken them up. The combination of Zack Wheeler and Kyle Gibson is solid on its own. Add in Aaron Nola and runs will be at a premium against the Phillies. Series against the Dodgers and Reds this week will test whether this streak can last.
- Seattle Mariners (59-54) —
After taking two of three in Tampa Bay, it looked like the Mariners were back on track. Then came a gut wrenching series in the Bronx. Seattle led in the 6th inning or later in all four games. They dropped three of four. They are still just 5.5 back in the Wild Card but have a couple teams ahead of them as well. A three game set at home with Texas gives them the opportunity to right the ship before the Blue Jays come to town this weekend.
- Atlanta Braves (57-55) +2
Jorge Soler has given Atlanta life. Soler is hitting over .300 since going to Atlanta and has become a presence in the middle of the lineup. Just two games back of Philadelphia, the Braves may finally be making that move. No Acuna I think limits what they can do in the playoffs, but this team is still good enough to potentially steal the division.
- New York Mets (56-55) -5
No team in baseball had a worse week than the New York Mets. After dropping three of four to Miami, they were swept by the Phillies and dropped to 3rd in the NL East. The offense struggled to score runs and they are missing Jacob deGrom still. They need to bounce back against Washington this week because after that they have 13 straight games against the Giants and Dodgers. We are witnessing a meltdown.
- Los Angeles Angels (56-56) +2
The Angels have crept back up to .500. They are still a longshot to make the playoffs and a more realistic goal would be to finish 3rd in the AL West. Injuries have just completely derailed this team’s potential. A very tough week with the Blue Jays and Astros awaits. The good news is they could have their 4th MVP since 2014. The bad news is they will go another year without making the playoffs, something they haven’t done since 2014.
- St. Louis Cardinals (55-56) -3
Getting swept by Atlanta killed the Cardinals momentum. It seemed like they were gearing up to try to make a run. Both the Brewers and Reds keep pulling away while the Cardinals are struggling to put a streak together. This team will make the playoffs with this core, it just won’t be in 2021.
- Cleveland Indians (55-55) -1
Cleveland finally dropped below .500. They were able to bounce back but it was shocking how long they kept their winning record. The pitching staff is as solid as they come when healthy. That is the issue though. The health of this team just ripped them apart. They have quite a few playoff caliber teams on their schedule so they will have some say in what October looks like.
- Detroit Tigers (54-60) —
The Tigers had a 3-3 week taking a series with Boston before dropping two of three to Cleveland. This team was not supposed to be even close to .500. They were looked at as a team that could finish with the worst record in baseball. They re-signed Jonathan Schoop to a two year deal this week to keep that veteran presence around. All in all, this has been a solid season for Detroit.
- Colorado Rockies (51-61) +1
I truly believe that trade rumors surrounding a player can affect that player’s game in a negative way. A perfect example of this is Trevor Story. Story was struggling prior to the deadline with a slash line of .240/.312/.429. Since staying put at the deadline, he has a line of .433/.514/.800. It is crazy what can happen when guys are able to just focus on the game.
- Washington Nationals (50-62) -1
The Nationals won a single game last week and are now flirting with the bottom of the NL East. This team doesn’t have an identity since the deadline and there is just one guy you think of when you think of the Nats in Juan Soto. Stephen Strasburg would be another one but injuries have left a mark on his career. Nats fans are in for a rough couple of months.
- Kansas City Royals (48-63) +2
I think Whit Merrifield is one of the most underrated players in baseball. It has been a down year for him but he is still hitting .266 with 31 stolen bases. He is the leader of this team and seems content to play out his contract there. Still, the Royals could end up finishing anywhere from 2nd to last in the AL Central.
- Chicago Cubs (52-61) -1
The Cubs are a mess. That is to be expected when you sell as much as they did at the deadline. They dropped a series to Colorado and then were bullied against the White Sox. I believe that they will avoid the cellar of the division but there isn’t much more positive news other than that.
- Minnesota Twins (48-65) +1
The Twins aren’t a team you would be thrilled to see on the schedule if you are a contender. The team still has plenty of talent and that showed when they took three of four from Houston over the weekend. The Jose Berrios trade really puts them in a weird spot for the next couple of seasons. Still the top priority needs to be extending Byron Buxton.
- Miami Marlins (47-66) -2
It won’t be easy to beat the Marlins for the next few years. That is all due to their fantastic young rotation. However, the offense stinks. They do have some young guys that are helping to improve their lineup potency. Just ask the Mets. The Marlins have quite a few games left against Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta so they will play a part in who wins the NL East.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (41-71) —
The Pirates have struggled all season but have really struggled in their own division. They are 12-35 against NL Central opponents. Nobody expected much from this team this season however. They traded some guys and got some decent returns. The question is how long until they are able to be competitive again.
- Baltimore Orioles (38-72) —
The Orioles are the only team in the AL East that aren’t a postseason contender. That is good news for a rebuilding team. They aren’t wasting years where they have an open window. John Means injury took him out of the Cy Young race but there have been plenty of reasons to tune into Orioles games this season. Better times are on the way.
- Texas Rangers (39-73) —
After stunning the Mariners and taking two out of three from Seattle, Texas followed it up by going 1-6 last week. Not only did they sell most of their big time talent, but now they are dealing with some injuries on top of that. The Rangers are doing their absolute best to try to take the top pick from Arizona in the draft.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (35-78) —
Arizona actually won a couple of games this week. Madison Bumgarner has pitched well as of late. They have a much tougher schedule than the Rangers down the stretch in the battle for the number one pick. A two game series in September with Texas could very well decide who will finish with the worst record.
Matthew graduated in 2019 from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication with a specialization in Media and Journalism Production. He currently is a broadcaster and writer at Eli Sports Network. Baseball and football are his specialties but Matt covers anything he can. Follow him on Twitter @matt_king19