With just five weeks remaining in the 2018 regular season, the word of the day is "runs" -- but not the kind that cross the plate. We're talking about hot streaks by a team.
Take the Oakland Athletics, for example. Wonder how they were able to actually grab a tie for first place in the American League West Aug. 18? Well, Oakland has been on two powerful runs. The Athletics went 19-6 during the four weeks leading up to the All-Star break and 19-8 during the four weeks since the break. As such, Oakland has gone 38-14 during its past 52 games.
The Athletics ran down the reigning world champion Houston Astros, who went 16-10 during their last 26 games of the first half but have stumbled to an 11-14 mark during their last 25. The Astros are just 28-24 during their past 52 games.
The St. Louis Cardinals were thought to be a bunch of dead redbirds walking July 14, the date they fired Mike Matheny as skipper. They were just 47-46 and trailed the Cubs by 7.5 games for the Central lead and were also a long shot to win one of the wild cards. The Cardinals have gone 20-11 since Mike Shildt was installed as manager.
In fact, St. Louis has gone 15-5 during the past three weeks to move within four games of the National League Central lead. The Cardinals also have as good a shot as any for either of the NL wild card spots; the club is part of a pack of five teams separated by 1.5 games for the wild card spots.
Wonder how some of the big Orioles trades have affected the teams they sent their most marketable players? The Dodgers have played 29 games since the trade that brought them infielder Manny Machado. Little did the Dodgers know they’d have a health emergency with reliever Kenley Jansen going on the disabled list with an irregular heartbeat. Still, they have gone just 14-15 since the second half began and now are two games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for the NL West lead and they have actually fallen 1.5 games behind the Rockies for second place out west.
The Milwaukee Brewers have limped to a 6-10 mark during the 16 games since acquiring infielder Jonathan Schoop from the Orioles. Right-hander Kevin Gausman was traded to the Atlanta Braves a couple days after reliever Brad Brach went south as well. Since Gausman's arrival, the Braves are 11-8.
Washington, D.C., hosted this year's All-Star game and there was much talk and even bravado at the time that the Nationals would come out of the break on fire. Actually, they have been more like a dumpster fire that just simmers more and more smoke. That's what 14-15 since the break looks and smells like.
Two teams that haven't had much to worry about in the "runs" department are the Orioles (37-87) and Kansas City Royals (38-86), baseball’s worst two teams. But one good run by either could take them out of the running for Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. during next June's MLB Draft.
The Royals have gone 11-18 since the break, while the O’s have sputtered along at 10-17.
Here are this week's MLB power rankings, presented by the Thompson Automotive Group:
1. Boston Red Sox (88-37,
No. 1 overall last week
2. New York Yankees (78-46, No. 2)
3. Houston Astros (75-49, No. 3)
4. Oakland Athletics (74-50, No. 5)
5. Chicago Cubs (71-52, No. 4)
6. Cleveland Indians (71-52, No. 7)
7. Milwaukee Brewers (69-57, No. 6)
8. Arizona Diamondbacks (69-56, No. 8)
9. Atlanta Braves (68-55, No. 12)
10. Colorado Rockies (68-56, No. 9)
11. Philadelphia Phillies (68-56, No. 10)
12. Los Angeles Dodgers (67-58, No. 11)
13. St. Louis Cardinals (68-57, No. 15)
14. Seattle Mariners (71-54, No. 14)
15. Washington Nationals (62-63, No. 13)
16. Tampa Bay Rays (63-61, No. 17)
17. Pittsburgh Pirates (63-62, No. 16)
18. Los Angeles Angels (63-63, No. 18)
19. Minnesota Twins (59-64, No. 20)
20. San Francisco Giants (61-64, No. 19)
21. Texas Rangers (56-70, No. 22)
22. Toronto Blue Jays (55-69, No. 21)
23. Cincinnati Reds (55-69, No. 23)
24. New York Mets (54-69, No. 24)
25. Miami Marlins (50-76, No. 26)
26. Detroit Tigers (51-74, No. 27)
27. San Diego Padres (49-78, No. 25)
28. Chicago White Sox (46-77, No. 28)
29. Kansas City Royals (38-86, No. 30)
30. Baltimore Orioles (37-87, No. 29)
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox