Power Rankings: Yanks, Astros pacing field

Power Rankings: Yanks, Astros pacing field

If the postseason began today, four of five teams from the American League East would be in.

Let’s assume for now that the Yankees run away with the division, which looks likely, given their 13-game lead over the second-place Red Sox. That leaves Boston, Toronto and Tampa Bay as the three AL Wild Card leaders, with the Guardians just a smidge behind the Rays.

There are seven teams in the AL with winning records, with four coming from one division.

Keep an eye on the Guardians heading into the All-Star break. All of their games will be against teams behind them in the AL Central: two in Detroit, three in Kansas City, four at home against the White Sox and four vs. the Tigers. The only divisional opponent they don’t play before the break, in fact, is the first-place Twins.

With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at the latest Power Rankings.

Biggest jump: The Brewers jumped six spots, from No. 14 to No. 8. Through Sunday’s game — which was Milwaukee’s 81st of the season — the Brewers ranked second in the NL with 113 homers, while their pitchers were third in strikeout rate (24.9%) and fourth in ERA (3.76).

Biggest drop: The Giants dropped six places, from No. 9 to No. 15. San Francisco has lost 11 of its past 14 games.

1. Yankees (58-22; 1 last week)
The Yankees have outhomered opponents 133-70 (+63), the largest differential in the Majors. They also remain on pace to exceed the Major League single-season win record of 116, held by the 2001 Mariners and 1906 Cubs. The Yankees are on pace for 117 wins.

2. Astros (52-27; 2)
The Astros didn’t just survive their toughest stretch of the season — they obliterated it. In nine straight games against only the Yankees and Mets — who, for much of the season, have ranked No. 1 and 2 in our Power Rankings, the Astros won seven of them. They beat the Mets four times and did not trail at any point in those four games. And now it gets easier — Houston is in a stretch of 26 of 28 against teams under .500. The Astros started this segment of their schedule with a sweep over the Angels.

3. Dodgers (50-29; 4)
The Dodgers aren’t as dominant as the two teams ahead of them, having gone just 16-15 over their past month of games heading into Monday’s opener with the Rockies. But the offense, having scored a rather pedestrian 4.2 runs per game during that stretch, received a boost with the return of Mookie Betts from the IL. And, after taking three of four from the Padres over the weekend, the Dodgers have a slightly easier week ahead of them — three with the Rockies and four with the Cubs.

4. Mets (50-30; 3)
The Mets have an opportunity to pull away from the second-place Braves in the upcoming weeks leading up to the All-Star break. Following their series with the Reds, the Mets will host the Marlins for four before a three-game set with the Braves in Atlanta. Then, they’re off to Chicago to play four vs. the Cubs. Entering Monday, the Mets had won 24 of 35 games vs. sub-.500 teams.

5. Padres (47-35; 5)
The Padres also have scheduling on their side as they inch toward the All-Star break. All of their remaining 13 games will be against teams under .500, with 11 coming against division rivals (two vs. Seattle, four vs. San Francisco, four at Colorado and three vs. Arizona). San Diego reached the halfway mark of the season with a 47-34 mark, somewhat remarkable given the Padres have played all year without Fernando Tatis Jr.

The rest of the field of 30

6. Braves (6)
7. Red Sox (8)
8. Brewers (14)
9. Blue Jays (7)
10. Cardinals (11)
11. Rays (13)
12. Twins (12)
13. Guardians (10)
14. Phillies (15)
15. Giants (9)
16. White Sox (18)
17. Mariners (16)
18. Marlins (19)
19. Rangers (17)
20. Angels (20)
21. Orioles (21)
22. D-backs (22)
23. Rockies (23)
24. Cubs (26)
25. Pirates (24)
26. Tigers (25)
27. Reds (27)
28. Royals (29)
29. Nationals (28)
30. A’s (30)

Voters: Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Paul Casella, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Doug Gausepohl, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn, Brett Blueweiss.

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