The Call to the Pen: September 5th, 2016

Welcome back to The Call to the Pen! The playoff chances are pretty much completely formed as some teams dropped off this week. Other teams continue to claw their way into contention. The non-contenders are using the final month as a way to take a look at their futures with September call-ups. Let’s get to it…

Power Rankings

The Bottom:

30) Minnesota Twins (51-86): Even
29) Atlanta Braves (54-86): Even
28)San Diego Padres (56-80): Down 2 
27)Arizona Diamondbacks (58-78): Up 1 

26) Cincinnati Reds (57-78): Down 1
25) Oakland Athletics (58-78): Down 1
24) Tampa Bay Rays (58-77): Up 3 
23) Philadelphia Phillies (60-76): Down 2 
22) Milwaukee Brewers (60-76): Up 2
21) LA Angels of Anaheim (61-75): Up 1

The Angels continue to stay hot as big Albert continues to climb the all-time HR list. The Braves were supposed to finish dead last by a mile but have six-straight!

The Middle:

20) Chicago White Sox (65-71): Even
19) Colorado Rockies (65-71): Even 
18)Miami Marlins (68-69): Down 2 
17) Pittsburgh Pirates (67-67): Down 2  
16) Seattle Mariners (69-67): Up 1
15) Kansas City Royals (70-66): Down 3 
14) New York Yankees(70-65): Up 4
13) Houston Astros (72-64): Even
12)New York Mets (71-66): Up 2 
11) St. Louis Cardinals (71-64): Even

It’s funny: two weeks ago I hadn’t bought into the Royals’ streak and kept them low, last week I gave them the credit they deserved and their cool-off has left them still 4 games out in the Wild Card chase. The Marlins and Pirates have both cooled off tremendously but aren’t entirely out the running yet. Miami hosts the Phillies this week and can still rack up wins in the weak NL East while the Pirates play a pivotal series with the Cardinals this week before their next 15 games consist of the Reds, Phillies, and Brewers as opponents. The margin for error is low, however. And before Yankee fans get overly excited, their upward move was only as big as it was because of the Pirates, Marlins, and Royals cooling off.

The Top:

10)San Francisco Giants (73-63): Down 2 
9) Baltimore Orioles (74-62): Even  
8) Detroit Tigers (74-62): Up 2 
7) Boston Red Sox (76-60): Even
6) Toronto Blue Jays (77-59): Down 3 
5) LA Dodgers (76-60): Up 1

4) Washington Nationals (79-57): Even 
3) Cleveland Indians (79-56): Up 2
2) Texas Rangers (82-48): Even
1) Chicago Cubs (88-48): Even 

I keep thinking the Giants are going to bounce back and dominant themselves back in contention for the West, but after batting .108 in their four-game series with the Cubs, I’m losing faith. Of the two teams sitting in wild spots for the AL, I trust the Tigers way more than I do the Orioles. Detroit’s pitching has been much more consistent and their schedule down the stretch is a little easier. I gave the Dodgers the edge over the Blue Jays this week after Clayton Kershaw shined in his rehab start and is expected to return this week. The Indians gaining more and more momentum; their RD is widening and they continue to battle their way back in close, late games. I’m getting more and more convinced that Cleveland and Texas will face off in ALCS.

Phillies Update:

A tough week. Nothing more or less to say about it. The Phillies battled in pretty much all of these contest but were edged out. Ryan Howard hit his 20th home run for 2016, the 10th time he’s accomplished the feat while the rest of the bats looked fine as well. Jeanmar just looks bad at this point; he’s either tired or injured or maybe he’s just lost the edge. He lets up baserunners as if he’s tipping the pitches to them. Hopefully with the September call ups, Jeanmar will get some extra rest and maybe the Phils will return to the plan at the beginning of season and let Neris pitch some of the save opportunities.

As mentioned before, the Phillies travel to Miami beginning this afternoon for a three-game set and then travel to Washington one final time in 2016 for a four-game series.

 Disagree with the Rankings? Let me know in the comments

(cover photo via)

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