There’s no perfect time to start watching Wild Card fights up close, but past the deadline is a good time. In some ways, it is a sign that we are well into the season and there is no problem with reviewing the positions a little more clearly.
In the American League, the Yankees — steeped in mediocrity for much of the season, now look like a team with a fighting chance. With the additions of Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo, they improved in the area of left-handed power. A sweep from the Marlins doesn’t tell us they’re there to challenge the Rays and Red Sox to the top of the AL East, but at least we know that Brian Cashman and New York’s management still believe in this team.
Coming into Monday, the Yankees are just 2.5 games behind the second AL Wild Card. Follow the Blue Jays and Mariners, both at 3.5. The Red Sox and Athletics are the owners of the two Young Circuit Wild Cards right now.
In the National League, the fiery Reds have a long way to go if they are to catch up with the Dodgers or Padres, but they are 4.0 games away either way.
The biggest jump: Three teams moved up two spots: The Dodgers (from 3 to 1), the Marlins (from 23 to 21) and the Twins (from 24 to 22). But you have to recognize the Tigers, who after being in the bottom five, are already in the top 20. Interesting fact: The Felinos led the majors with 147 runs scored in July. The Dodgers were second with 145.
Major drop: The Nationals dropped four spots, from 20 to 24. It will probably be about a week before the trades are reflected in the Power Rankings, it is clear that our voters did not need to wait to see what will happen to the Nationals now without Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.
The Top 5 of the Power Rankings
1 Dodgers (3 last week)
The Dodgers will host a series to watch this week: They will host the Astros, who will play in Los Angeles for the first time since the sign-stealing scandal was revealed in 2019. The Dodgers will go with Walker Buehler (Tuesday) and Scherzer (Wednesday, his Blues debut) on the mound against Houston.
The Giants got a boost Sunday from their newest acquisition Kris Bryant, who homered in a San Francisco win over Houston. The Giants took two of three against the Astros to reach 66 wins and the best record in the majors. And from Monday, they will collide with the Diamondbacks in Arizona.
On not an easy road trip, Houston is 3-3 so far. The Astros were two of three in Seattle, before falling two of three to the Giants in San Francisco. And now it’s the Dodgers’ turn in Los Angeles. Although Houston reinforced his relief at the trade deadline, his starters have a 6.98 ERA in his last six outings.
Even with losses in seven of their last 11 games, they remain comfortable at the top of the AL Central. Now they have four games against the Royals.
The Rays are coming off sweeping the Red Sox in a three-game series and now have a 1.5-game lead in the top of the AL East. This is the first time Tampa Bay has been in first place coming into August since 2008, when they first made the playoffs and made it all the way to the World Series.
The rest of the 30 teams
Voters: Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Jesse Sánchez, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn.