Last week, four teams secured their postseason spots, and those four teams are rightfully at the top of our power rankings.
Here’s a full look at the rankings:
The biggest jump: The second half was up and down for the Rangers – and that definitely continued last week. After an all-important win against the Blue Jays – one more Wildcard contender– The Texas team lost to the Guardians 23-6 in three games over the weekend. Still, the Texans moved up three spots to No. 7 after going 6-3 in their last nine games and enter the week as the AL’s third wild card – albeit with a slight lead.
Biggest decline: One game behind the Rangers in the AL Wild Card standings are the Mariners, who fell four spots to 10th. Seattle is 2-7 in its last nine games, including a home game against the Dodgers over the weekend. However, the Mariners are in control of their own destiny in seven of their last 13 meetings against rival Rangers.
The top 5 of the power rankings:
1) Braves, 96-53 (last week: 1)
Last week, Atlanta not only clinched the NL East title for the sixth time in a row, but they also did it on the road against their rival Phillies. Their playoff path will likely take them back to Philadelphia — where their 2022 season ended — sometime next month. That wasn’t the only feat the Braves accomplished last week, Matt Olson set the franchise record with his 52nd home run It’s out of season. And although Venezuelan Ronald Acuña Jr. was out of action with a tight right calf, the condition does not appear to be too serious.
2) Orioles, 93-56 (last week: 2)
A sacrifice fly isn’t usually the most exciting way to end a game, but the opposite was true as the Orioles celebrated the sacrifice fly that sealed a victory over the Rays on Sunday. In the end, the win helped Baltimore qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2016. Much remains to be decided as the Orioles enter the week just 2.0 games ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East. Whoever wins the division will be number 1 in the Young Circuit – and will receive direct access to the Division Series.
3) Rays, 92-59 (last week: 4)
Despite the aforementioned loss to the Orioles, the Rays also qualified for the 2023 postseason following the Rangers’ loss to the Guardians. As Tampa Bay continues to fight for the AL East crown, Cuban Randy Arozarena – a star of previous postseasons – appears to be on the move ideal time to start. During his six-game hitting streak that ended Sunday, he hit .400 (10 of 25) with three extra-base hits.
4) Dodgers, 91-57 (last week: 3)
On Saturday, Los Angeles clinched its 10th NL West title in the last 11 seasons. Then he kept his foot on the gas to sweep the Mariners on Sunday. Although Clayton Kershaw didn’t make a decision in the division-clinching game, it was fitting that the three-time Cy Young winner was on the mound. After 10 days of rest, Kershaw maintained his form by pitching 5.0 scoreless innings as the team continued to monitor his workload into October. The Dodgers’ strength this season is a strong offense led by Mookie Betts, who is a candidate for the NL MVP award – but a healthy Kershaw could make the difference in the postseason.
5) Astros, 84-66 (last week: 5)
Houston didn’t produce the expected results last week, falling in two of three games in the series against the bottom pair, the Royals and A’s. In any case, the Astros enter the week with a 1.5 game lead over the Rangers in the AL West and 2.5 games ahead of the Mariners. Framber Valdez, who has a 1.59 ERA in his last nine starts, appears poised for the postseason, while Houston hopes Justin Verlander’s recent slump – he gave up at least five runs in two of his last three starts – will be fixed a slight stumble.
The rest of the 30:
6) Breweries (7)
7) Rangers (10)
8) Tiles (8)
9) Phillies (9)
10) Sailors (6)
11) Gemini (12)
12) Dogs (11)
13) D-back (13)
14) Red (15)
15) Marlins (14)
16) Yankees (18)
17) Giants (17)
18) Red Sox (16)
19) Parents (19)
20) Guardian (20)
21) Tigers (24)
22) Mets (23)
23) Pirates (21)
24) Angelina (22)
25) Cardinals (25)
26) Nationals (26)
27) Rockies (28)
28) White Sox (27)
29) Real (29)
30) Athletics (30)
voters: Will Leitch, Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Paul Casella, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Arturo Pardavila, Andrew Simon, David Venn, Sweeny Murti, Doug Gausepohl, Travis Miller