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Stan 'The Fan' Charles' MLB Power Rankings: Sept. 24, 2018

September 24, 2018
Well, the sands have just about run through the hourglass that was the 2018 regular season. All that's left to decide during the season's final week is whether the American League Wild Card Game will be played in New York or Oakland and the final playoff spots in the National League. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies are fighting for the NL West title, and the two wild-card spots also need to be sorted out.

While it looks like the Yankees should hold on to be the No. 1 wild card in the AL and host the elimination game at Yankee Stadium, it would be a bit hasty for Yankee fans to start celebrating that just yet. While the Athletics play all six of their remaining games on the road (three in Seattle and three in Anaheim), the Yankees play all seven of their remaining games on the road against much better competition. The Yankees go to Tampa for four at Tropicana Field and close out the season in Fenway Park. 

These four games against the Rays are truly unpredictable. While the Rays aren’t going to be in the playoffs -- though they're not mathematically eliminated yet -- they have a strong chance to finish the 2018 season with 90 or more victories, which would be a huge statement by them. Meanwhile the Athletics have six games against teams with very little to play for. I'm not predicting the Athletics will unseat the Yankees, but the fat lady certainly hasn't sung yet.

In the National League, a mini-collapse by the Chicago Cubs could possibly result in the Milwaukee Brewers winning the NL Central. But I believe the Cubs will hold serve, win the NL Central and, along with the Atlanta Braves, be guaranteed a playoff spot as a division winner. That should leave the Brewers very close to being a lock for the NL's No. 1 wild-card spot.

However, in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies are in a close battle for the division crown. Separated by just 1.5 games, the Dodgers would appear to have the advantage. But again, the first-place team is up against a much tougher gauntlet to run through. The Rockies have six games left -- four against the Philadelphia Phillies and three against the Washington Nationals. All seven games will be played at Coors Field.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, will play three in Arizona against an exhausted and beaten down Diamondbacks team that's living for one thing: to spoil things for the Dodgers, their dreaded rival. The Dodgers then finish the season in San Francisco against the Giants, their all-time rival, and skipper Bruce Bochy. This really is just too close to call.

But right now, while the schedule may favor the Rockies to the Dodgers, you’d prefer to be in the Dodgers' shoes than those of the Rockies.

The truly interesting team in all of this is the St. Louis Cardinals, who have an identical record as the Dodgers (87-69). The Rockies trail the Dodgers in the NL West by 1.5 games and trail the Cardinals in the for the second NL wild-card spot by 1.5 games, as well.

If the Dodgers fade, the Rockies come on strong and the Cardinals just stay the course, the Dodgers could be on the outside looking in at last moment. The Cardinals are the only one of these contenders that has home games remaining. They host the Brewers Sept. 24-26.

The Cardinals then close out the regular season in Chicago against the Cubs. Hold your horses; this thing, while seeming to be set, could fall into myriad scenarios that could even leave the Brewers and Cubs, seemingly locks, with sad eyes just before the playoffs.



Here are this week's MLB power rankings, presented by the Thompson Automotive Group: 

1. Boston Red Sox (105-51, No. 1 overall last week)
2. Houston Astros (98-57, No. 2)
3. Chicago Cubs (91-64, No. 5)
4. Cleveland Indians (87-68, No. 7)
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (87-69, No. 9)
6. New York Yankees (95-60, No. 3)
7. Oakland Athletics (94-62, No. 4)
8. Atlanta Braves (88-68, No. 8)
9. Milwaukee Brewers (89-67, No. 6)
10. St. Louis Cardinals (87-69, No. 11)
11. Colorado Rockies (85-70, No. 10)
12. Tampa Bay Rays (87-68, No. 12)
13. Seattle Mariners (85-70, No. 15)
14. Pittsburgh Pirates (78-76, No. 17)
15. Philadelphia Phillies (78-77, No. 14)
16. Arizona Diamondbacks (79-77, No. 13)
17. Washington Nationals (78-78, No. 16)
18. Los Angeles Angels (75-81, No. 18)
19. New York Mets (73-83, No. 20)
20. San Francisco Giants (72-84, No. 19)
21. Minnesota Twins (72-83, No. 21)
22. Toronto Blue Jays (71-85, No. 23)
23. Texas Rangers (66-89, No. 22)
24. Cincinnati Reds (66-91, No. 24)
25. Detroit Tigers (63-93, No. 25)
26. Chicago White Sox (61-94, No. 26)
27. San Diego Padres (62-94, No. 27)
28. Miami Marlins (62-93, No. 28)
29. Kansas City Royals (54-102, No. 29)
30. Baltimore Orioles (45-110, No. 30)

Catch "The Bat Around" with Stan "The Fan" Charles every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at PressBoxOnline.com/StanTheFan.  Follow him on Twitter at  @StanTheFan.  

Photo Credit: Ed Sheahin/Gary Sousa/PressBox