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1 Houston Astros Houston Astros 94-57
With a 4.5-game lead in the American League West Division, the defending champions have six home games this week and seven road games in the final week of the season. None of these games are against playoff-bound teams.
2 Boston Red Sox Boston Red Sox 103-47
Nine of the 12 remaining games for the Red Sox are against playoff-bound teams, including six against the Yankees. However, with an 11.5-game lead in the AL East right now, we don’t think Boston is sweating this one out.
3 New York Yankees New York Yankees 91-58
Just 1.5 games separating the Yankees and the A’s in the chase for home-field advantage in the AL Wild Card Game. New York hosts Boston and Baltimore this week before closing on the road against the Rays and the Red Sox.
4 Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers 82-68
▲ 1
Missing a golden opportunity to really give themselves a leg up in the playoff chase with a Sunday loss in St. Louis, the Dodgers are in a fight for their postseason lives. Their final three games of the season are in San Francisco.
5 Oakland Athletics Oakland Athletics 90-60
▼ 1
The A’s have the scheduling advantage over the Yankees in that home-field advantage chase. None of their remaining 12 games are against playoff-bound teams, and nine are against teams currently under .500 on the season.
6 Chicago Cubs Chicago Cubs 87-62
Why are we surprised to see the Cubs with the best record in the National League this year? It seems they’ve flown under the radar all year. But their NL Central lead is down to just 2.5 games, and ten of 13 remaining games are against good teams.
7 Cleveland Indians Cleveland Indians 83-66
▲ 2
And the first MLB team in 2018 to clinch its division is Cleveland! Now, the team can set its rotation for the AL Division Series against Houston (probably) well in advance, giving the Tribe a distinct advantage in terms of preparation.
8 Atlanta Braves Atlanta Braves 83-66
▼ 1
Despite dropping two games to the Nationals over the weekend, the Braves are cruising with a comfortable 6.5-game lead in the NL East. Yet ten of their final 13 games are against teams with a winning record, currently. Atlanta shouldn’t fret, however.
9 Tampa Bay Rays Tampa Bay Rays 82-66
▲ 1
For a team 20 games out of first place in the AL East, the Rays are rolling toward a fine season. Just four of their 14 remaining contests are against winning teams, meaning Tampa could reach 90 wins and miss the postseason still. Sad.
10 Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee Brewers 85-65
▼ 2
The Brew Crew has an outside chance to catch the Cubs for the NL Central Division title, since Milwaukee faces just one playoff-contending team in the final 12 games. The Brewers also have a three-game lead for the top wild-card slot.
11 Washington Nationals Washington Nationals 76-74
▲ 4
The Nats are 9-6 in September, which amounts to too little, too late for this talented roster that never should have missed the postseason in 2018. Their only chance to play spoiler is the final series of the season at Colorado.
12 St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals 82-68
▼ 1
Meanwhile, the Cards are just 6-9 in September after going 22-6 in August. It’s weird how a team can go so cold after being so hot just five seconds ago. Nine of the final 12 games are against clubs currently in line for playoff spots. Ouch.
13 Arizona Diamondbacks Arizona Diamondbacks 78-72
▼ 1
Remember when we told you that an 8-19 May record would come back to haunt Arizona? Well, so is a 4-11 mark in September. The Diamondbacks are four games out of the final wild-card spot, with the next nine against better teams.
14 Colorado Rockies Colorado Rockies 82-67
▼ 1
The poor Rockies have the NL West Division lead by half a game right now, but their final 13 games all feature matchups against teams with winning records, currently. That’s a rough closing schedule, even if some of those teams are fading.
15 Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Angels 74-76
▲ 1
Perhaps the Angels, with six games left against Oakland, can keep the A’s from hosting the AL Wild Card Game, but that’s about all Los Angeles has left to play for in 2018. That, and Manager Mike Scioscia’s pride, of course.
16 Seattle Mariners Seattle Mariners 82-67
▼ 2
The 24-28 record since the All-Star break is more in line with this team’s run-scoring differential (minus-43) than the 58-39 record in the first half. At this point, the Mariners are just playing out the string of another October-free season.
17 Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia Phillies 76-72
▲ 1
The Phils have seven games left against the Braves, and they’re 6.5 games behind Atlanta. Anything is possible, but Philadelphia also has four road games in Coors Field left on the schedule, too, and the Rockies need those wins.
18 Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh Pirates 74-74
▼ 1
We’re guessing that tentatively scheduled make-up game at home against the Marlins on October 1 won’t be necessary. That’s one less chance for PNC Park to serve those awesome pierogi to hungry fans in Pittsburgh.
19 New York Mets New York Mets 69-80
▲ 1
It is pretty unreal to think that a team with a rotation of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz could be so bad. Those four combined for a 36-30 record this year, but the offense has not been there in 2018.
20 San Francisco Giants San Francisco Giants 70-80
▼ 1
The Giants started September with an 11-game losing streak before finally cracking the win column for the month on Friday night. The last time S.F. had two straight losing seasons was 2008, so it’s been a memorable stretch for the Giants.
21 Texas Rangers Texas Rangers 64-85
The Rangers finish the season with Tampa Bay at home, Seattle at home, the Angels on the road, and the Mariners on the road. That’s not promising for too many more victories in 2018.
22 Minnesota Twins Minnesota Twins 68-81
▲ 2
It’s already football season for the state of Minnesota. Of the Twins’ remaining 13 games, the only three that matter are in Oakland later this week. Otherwise, no one will notice Twins baseball until next spring.
23 Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati Reds 64-86
▼ 1
The next three games are the last chance for the Reds to be relevant in 2018, as they play in Milwaukee to start off this week. After that, we assume most Cincy sports fans are tuning into the Bengals. Some cities are fortunate that way.
24 Toronto Blue Jays Toronto Blue Jays 67-82
▼ 1
Starting off this week with three games in Baltimore, the Blue Jays finished with ten games against the Rays and the Astros, two of the hottest teams in baseball right now. We’re guessing it’s already hockey season in Toronto.
25 San Diego Padres San Diego Padres 60-90
The good news is that the Padres no longer have the worst record in the NL. The other good news is that San Diego doesn’t need to travel much for the rest of the season, with only road trips against the Dodgers and the Giants remaining.
26 Detroit Tigers Detroit Tigers 61-88
▲ 1
It’s a low time for the Motor City. The Tigers stink. The Lions are already 0-2 this season. The Red Wings have missed the Stanley Cup playoffs two years in a row. The Pistons have one postseason appearance since 2009. Ouch.
27 Chicago White Sox Chicago White Sox 59-90
▲ 1
The Pale Hose started off the week losing two of three in Kansas City before winning two of three in Baltimore. In the round-robin games between the worst teams in the American League, Chicago broke even.
28 Miami Marlins Miami Marlins 58-91
▼ 2
With just 17 wins since the All-Star break, the Marlins have sunk into the NL basement. Just think where Miami would be if it wasn’t 18-19 in one-run games. Most teams with a record like this are terrible in the close ones.
29 Kansas City Royals Kansas City Royals 52-97
The next nine games for Kansas City are on the road against Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Cincinnati. Then, the Royals finish the season with four games at home against Cleveland. How ‘bout those Chiefs?!
30 Baltimore Orioles Baltimore Orioles 43-106
It seems unfair, but the Orioles play Toronto to start this week, and then they finish the season with the Yankees (away), Boston (away), and Houston (home). At least they can’t lose 120 games this year.