Ranking all 30 from best to worst

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The regular season is scheduled to conclude Sept. 29, while the wild-card playoffs are set to be played Oct. 1 and 2. The playoff races are getting thick, and while it’s pretty clear with probably four of the divisions, there plenty of question marks for the final 2.5 weeks of the season.

Rather than isolate one or two teams, or divisions, or playoff hopefuls, I thought I’d give you an idea of where I rank the field through Monday’s games, from top to bottom, even though I don’t believe there is a clear-cut favorite to win the World Series.

The starting lineup

1. Houston Astros. How fitting, in Week 1 of the NFL season the Astros outscored the Mariners and Athletics 36-1, on Sunday and Monday. Anyone else ready to lay five touchdowns with the Astros?

2. Los Angeles Dodgers. The National League road to the World Series rolls through Chavez Ravine. The two-time defending N.L. champs can begin strategizing their rotation once they wrap up the West.

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3. New York Yankees. During a 5-1 streak that ran from last Tuesday through Monday, the pinstripes had outscored opponents 35-14. The Yankees have gotten healthy at the right time.

4. Atlanta Braves. The Braves stood their ground over the weekend, taking 3 of 4 from the Nationals. The Braves hit the road with a comfortable lead and are in good position to clinch the NL East.

5. Minnesota Twins. It’s been a record-breaking season for the power-packed Twins. If they can work out their pitching quirks, they’ll be a problem for either the Yankees or Astros.

6. Tampa Bay Rays. This might be the scariest second-place team in baseball. The Rays entered Tuesday riding a 9-1 run. They did so by ranking in the top 13 in batting average (.254, 13th) and ERA (3.60, 2nd) overall.

7. Oakland Athletics. The A’s have balance across the board and I wouldn’t mind seeing them against Tampa Bay in a one-and-done playoff. Let’s see how they survive this week’s tour through Texas, against Houston and the Rangers.

8. St. Louis Cardinals. Of all the division leaders, the Redbirds are the most vulnerable. They’ve started to distance themselves, but their suspect offense is a detriment. Heading into Tuesday night’s game in Denver, the Cardinals ranked 21st with 669 runs.

9. Washington Nationals. Washington ranks in the top 10 in on-base percentage (4th), slugging percentage (7th), batting average (.264), runs scored (7th) and hits (9th).

On deck

10. Cleveland Indians

11. Chicago Cubs

12. Arizona Diamondbacks

13. Philadelphia Phillies

14. Milwaukee Brewers

15. Boston Red Sox

All six remain in the hunt for a playoff spot, and if any of the teams in my starting lineup hit a lull, one of these teams will sneak in. Arizona is my sleeper, as it plays 12 of its last 15 at home.

In the hole

16. New York Mets

17. San Francisco Giants

18. Texas Rangers

19. Los Angeles Angels

20. Cincinnati Reds

It was fun while it lasted, watching some of these teams make a run in their respective divisions. Outside of the Mets, we’re not going to see any of these teams after the 29th. New York is capable of making a push.

In the clubhouse

21. Chicago White Sox

22. San Diego Padres

23. Colorado Rockies

24. Pittsburgh Pirates

25. Seattle Mariners

The Rockies were a wild-card team a year ago. Many believed with the talented young arms and additions of Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., the Padres would be there this season. Nope.

Back to the minors

26. Toronto Blue Jays

27. Miami Marlins

28. Kansas City Royals

29. Detroit Tigers

30. Baltimore Orioles

The Tigers have the worst record in baseball, but I think Baltimore has been the worst team. Detroit has a brutal run differential, while the Orioles had a league-worst 884 runs going into their series against the Dodgers.

Let’s look at two games this week:


Cubs at Padres: Chicago is in crucial times right now, and need to beat teams it is better than, and that includes San Diego. The Cubs hand the ball to Yu Darvish, who has a 2.96 ERA with 85 strikeouts and four walks in his last 11 starts and should have plenty of momentum after twirling five shutout innings against Milwaukee on Saturday. CUBS

Nationals at Twins: I’ll side with Washington here, as this is one offense that can challenge Minnesota’s heavy hitters. The difference, though, aren’t the lineups, but rather the pitchers who are throwing against them.

I like Washington’s Patrick Corbin, who registered a 2.29 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 31 walks over his past 15 starts. Minnesota hands the ball to Kyle Gibson, who returns to the hill after a stint on the injured list. NATIONALS

Last week: 1-2

Season: 30-38

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About the Author

W.G. Ramirez

W.G. Ramirez is a 32-year veteran covering sports in Southern Nevada, and resident of 46 years. He is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada correspondent for The Associated Press.

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