The Call to the Pen: September 12th, 2016

Welcome back to The Call to the Pen! The National League has become a three-team-chase for the Wild Card while the AL is still wide open. This week may have been overshadowed by the NFL’s return, but the baseball season is getting exciting down the stretch. Let’s get to it…

Power Rankings

The Bottom:

30) Minnesota Twins (53-90): Even
29) Atlanta Braves (55-88): Even
28) Arizona Diamondbacks (58-84): Down 1
27) San Diego Padres (59-84): Up 1

26) Oakland Athletics (60-82): Down 1 
25) Cincinnati Reds (60-82): Up 1
24) Tampa Bay Rays (60-82): Even 
23) Philadelphia Phillies (63-80): Even 
22) LA Angels of Anaheim (63-79): Down 1
21) Milwaukee Brewers (64-79): Up 1

The Middle:

20) Chicago White Sox (68-74): Even
19) Pittsburgh Pirates (69-72): Down 1
18) Colorado Rockies (69-74): Up 1  
17) Miami Marlins (71-72): Even
16) Kansas City Royals (74-68): Down 1 
15) Houston Astros (75-68): Down 2
14) Seattle Mariners (75-68): Up 2
13) New York Yankees(76-66): Up 1
12) Detroit Tigers (76-66): Down 4
11) St. Louis Cardinals (75-67): Even

The Tigers fell into the Middle after slowly and slowly fading in the AL Central race. Don’t get me wrong, Detroit is only two games out of the Wild Card. But given the recent heat of the Mariners and Yankees, Detroit needed to come down with their competition. We’re starting to get where I thought the Bigs would be all season: few NL teams competing for the playoffs and a very wide open AL. Sidenote: all of the NL teams everyone thought would be competing are here–expect for Pittsburgh. The Astros have a vital week ahead playing the Rangers and Mariners. The Tigers have one of the easier remaining schedules but the Royals have 14 of their final 20 games at home where they’ve been fantastic. I’ll get the Mets below but the Cardinals have the toughest remaining schedule of all teams in the hunt–that bodes well for the red hot Mets. The Cards host the Cubbies this week before heading to San Francisco this weekend. By the time I write up this post next week, the tables could be flipped over and chaos will be running rampant.

The Top:

10) New York Mets (76-67): Up 2 
9) San Francisco Giants (77-65): Up 1
8) Toronto Blue Jays (78-64): Down 2 
7) Baltimore Orioles (78-64): Up 2 
6) LA Dodgers (80-62): Up 1
5) Boston Red Sox (80-62): Up 2

4) Cleveland Indians (83-59): Down 1
3) Texas Rangers (85-59): Down 1
2) Washington Nationals (85-58): Up 2 
1) Chicago Cubs (91-51): Even 

We’re getting closer and close to Cubs clinching the NL Central–their magic number is 5. The Cubbies could wrap it up as soon as Wednesday if they sweep the Cards. My thought is that Chicago takes two of three games and win Thursday to clinch the division and the first spot in the 2016 Playoffs. The Red Sox are starting get back to the form they started the season with and have taken back the second-best RD in the Majors. Boston is currently up two games on the Blue Jays and Orioles but with Baltimore and the archrival Yankees coming to Fenway this week, the Sox will need to fight to win the AL East. Cleveland, Texas, and Washington are cruising along as they’ve done all but clinch their respective divisions. The Dodgers and Giants are the most entertaining pennant chase remaining. LAD saw Clayton Kershaw return to mixed reviews but Kershaw is fine to pitch Wednesday against the Yankees. The interesting story of the week was Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulling Rich Hill after seven perfect innings on Saturday citing keeping Hill healthy and avoiding the risk of injury. The smart but controversial move could make the difference in the NL West chase but it would have been cool to see Rich Hill toss a perfecto at 36.

Phillies Update:

Another tough week. I felt pretty optimistic even through Friday night after the Phillies forced extras in Washington. Despite having the worst offense in baseball by 30 runs, they’re still a fun team to watch. It’s nice to see the glimpses of the future, but some of the players are showing that they’re not the long-term solution. Regardless, 2016 has been an exciting ride and it should be fun in the final weeks. The Phils host cross-state foe Pittsburgh for a four-game series during the week followed by their final series against the Marlins over the weekend.

 Disagree with the Rankings? Let me know in the comments

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One thought on “The Call to the Pen: September 12th, 2016

  1. Pingback: The Call to the Pen: September 12th, 2016 | The THUNDERBLOG

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