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Your Monday Afternoon Power Rankings

Sep 27, 2010, 12:30 PM EDT

The last week of regular season baseball means the last Power Rankings of the year. It also means it's the last time I have to stretch to think of anything interesting or insightful about the Royals and Cubs and a bunch of other teams that aren't good enough to be interesting and not bad enough to warrant witty insults about their wretchedness.

1. Phillies (1): In case you missed this little factoid from Gleeman, the Phillies will be able to start one of their big three of Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt in 17 of 19 potential playoff games. Yikes.

2. Twins (2): Just because they clinched doesn’t mean they don’t have something to play for, as you can bet that they’d love to pass up the Rays for the best record on the AL to get a little more home-cookin’ if they make it to the ALCS.

3. Rays (4): Although, it’s gonna be hard for the Twins to snag that best record given how the Rays are ending the season with the Mariners, Orioles and Royals.

4. Yankees (3): There’s no panic like Yankees fan panic.

5. Padres (8): They bounced back nicely following last weekend’s ugly series against the Cardinals. But unless the Braves completely crater — which it totally possible! — this weekend’s series against the Giants will be the biggest series they’ve played since the 2006 NLDS.

6. Giants (7): They’ve taken the schizo crown from the Cardinals: They either score like nuts or get shut down. Yesterday was a rare four-spot from them.

7. Rangers (6): The only thing they have to play for this week is health and happiness. And maybe pride, as they’re probably getting really damn tired of hearing how the Rays and Yankees would rather play them than Minnesota in the first round.

8. Braves (5): There’s probably something seriously wrong with your roster construction or your luck or both when you’re playing must-win games with Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor making starts.  Fact is that they’re just not a good team right now, and even if they hang on for the wild card, it’s hard to see them giving either the Reds or the NL West champ much of a battle, let alone taking down the Phillies.

9. Reds (10): Not that they’re any great shakes themselves these days. September has been the Reds’ worst month by far, and they’re not carrying a ton of momentum into the playoffs. Not that I’m sure momentum matters, but it certainly makes it hard to be terribly optimistic about them at the moment. Still: I’d like to see them play the Phillies. I’m curious how Aroldis Chapman matches up with the Phillies’ lefty bats.

10. Red Sox (11): There is probably a German word that perfectly captures the concept of “that feeling of disappointment one experiences when lamenting a loss that seemingly knocks you out of playoff contention despite the fact that you really didn’t have any chance of making the playoffs to begin with.” I probably couldn’t pronounce it, but that’s what a lot of Red Sox fans are feeling today.

11. Rockies (9): That Diamondbacks series was pretty much their Waterloo. The pitching, she just didn’t hold up. They now need to win like crazy, hope the Padres and Giants quit see-sawing and one of them just buries the other next weekend and hope that the Braves continue their swoon. All of those things are possible, but it’s looking close to over.

12. Tigers (15): Detroit finished its home schedule 52-29. Too bad they couldn’t play them all at home.

13. White Sox (13): I love how Ozzie Guillen has continued to ratchet up his “the White Sox don’t want me no more” rhetoric in the past week. This despite the fact that the Sox continually say that they want him. I haven’t seen someone work so hard to bring about their own end since Godric greeted the sunrise on the roof of the Hotel Carmilla. Look, I’m not exactly proud of that reference either, but my wife likes the show so I started watching it and it’s grown on me, OK?  I’ve only finished seasons one and two, though, so don’t spoil anything for me after that. 

14. Blue Jays (16): Deep thought: how come all the people who think it’s fair to question Jose Bautista’s professional integrity for hitting 50+ home runs don’t think of questioning Aroldis Chapman for throwing 105 miles per hour? At least there’s precedent for someone hitting 50. No, this doesn’t mean that I think it’s fair to question Chapman. It just means that PED-hysterics are still hung up on home run totals despite the fact that everything we know about PEDs suggests that the ‘roids=dingers calculus is facile and reductionist.

15. Cardinals (12): Has any team been less fun than the 2010 Cardinals? They just seem miserable.

16. Athletics (14): Clearly not ready for prime time, as the series with the Rangers showed, but I remain convinced that if they actually try to get a bat that helps them — as opposed to signing someone Beane thinks he could flip in the middle of next season — they could make serious noise in the west next year.

17. Mets (18): Taking two of three from the Phillies is a nice way to spend the season’s penultimate weekend. And they even performed a valuable service yesterday: showing the National League that Cole Hamels can be hit.

18. Angels (19): Dropping three at home to a reeling White Sox team ain’t exactly uplifting. And it all but assured the Angels’ first sub-.500 season since 2003.

19. Dodgers (20): Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times wrote an article over the weekend about how the example of the Rangers and Padres might make Dodgers fans feel better, what with going from owner-induced financial dire straits to playoff team in relatively short order. The difference, I guess, is that neither of those teams decided to punt player development during their dark days like that Dodgers have. And of course, each of those teams got new owners at the end of the road. There’s a pretty decent chance that L.A. is stuck with Frank McCourt for a long time.

20. Marlins (23): For a guy who watches baseball every single day and writes little recaps of nearly every game, I probably shouldn’t be surprised that the Marlins have a good chance of finishing above .500, but I am.

21. Astros (17): Houston extended all of their coaches’ contracts through 2012 over the weekend (they offered Jeff Bagwell the same two years, but he hasn’t decided if he’s going to come back yet). Brad Mills is under contract through 2011 with a team option for 2012. It’s been some time since there was this kind of stability in the dugout for the Astros.

22. Brewers (22): Only seven more games until the Brewers can fire their manager and trade their big star! Feel the excitement, Milwaukee!

23. Cubs (21): Mike Quade is 19-11 as the Cubs’ skipper. I get the feeling like the Cubs’ decision about the manager’s job is less about who to hire as much as it’s about how to deal with Ryne Sandberg if he’s not the choice.

24. Orioles (24): After taking two of three in Boston, the O’s get swept in Toronto. It was their 12th, 13th and 14th straight loss north of the border. No one has had this much trouble in Toronto since Keith Richards got busted by the Mounties at the Harbour Castle Hotel back in ’77.

25. Nationals (27): Hey, they got Nyjer Morgan back! That’s good news. For bloggers and stenographers at disciplinary hearings and stuff anyway.

26. Indians (25): Paul Cousineau at The DiaTribe tries to be optimistic as the season winds down, noting that Fausto Carmona, Carlos Carrasco and Justin Masterson have combined for a 2.35 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 63 K and 21 BB in 80 1/3 IP this month. But then doesn’t it seem like something happens with the Indians late each season that causes some people to think that they may sneak up on people and surprise next year? Only for things to stink again? I hope not, because I get a ton of Indians games where I live an I can
go to Indians games more ea
sily than I can go to any other team’s games, so even if I don’t root for them, better Indians baseball makes my summers more enjoyable. I’m just not optimistic, that’s all.

27. Royals (26): I’m rather excited about the Royals’ offseason. There’s a ton of talent down on the farm and it will be interesting to see if Dayton Moore eschews his past habits — inexplicably signing veterans that superficially fill holes but actually solve no problems — and allows the youngins to come up and develop without the Jose Guillens of the world blocking their way.

28. Diamondbacks (30): Dbacks hitters passed 1,400 strikeouts last week, setting a new record. That’s fun.

29. Mariners (28): I like stuff like this article from Larry Stone: comparing the Blue Jays and Mariners since they debuted in 1977. They’ve each played 5,376 games as yesterday. By way of comparison, both the Cubs and the Braves surpassed the 20,000 game mark this season.

30. Pirates (29): The Pirates notched their 100th loss over the weekend. Baltimore and Seattle could still join them, but there’s a good chance that the Bucs will be alone in the century club this year.

  1. Drew GROF - Sep 27, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    They don’t call it the Harbour Hassle for nothin!

  2. Jonny5 - Sep 27, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    Where else do you see baseball fans like that? Durinng regular season games…?? I was there Friday, and you would have thought the Phills just won the WS. Minus running the street and wreaking havoc of course… Very, very fun. I wonder what fan support like that buys you when it’s all said and done?? Well, here’s to hoping Halladay just blanks the Nats and it’s over tonight. It would be nice to see him get his 21st win as a shutout.

  3. geoknows - Sep 27, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    From today’s KC Star:
    “We will not do anything to restrict the transition of our young players to the major leagues,” general manager Dayton Moore said. “We’re not going to do anything to prohibit that.”

  4. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 27, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    To answer Jonny5’s question…nowhere…certainly not in Tampa and Atlanta I’ll tell you that. Philly fans are the smartest in baseball. The best part of the weekend was when the Washington score changed to 4-2 and it took about 2 seconds for the place to erupt. Even with the team throwing a clunker, the crowd all seemed to be watching the scoreboard at the exact same time. It was completely insane. It doesn’t matter what anybody wants to tell me…there is no way in hell anybody is beating the Phillies in Philadelphia with those pitchers. Two game 4’s on the road with Blanton are the only games they will actually be underdogs this postseason.

  5. Utley's hair - Sep 27, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    Amen to that. It is in DC, so it’s like a home game anyway.

  6. Utley's hair - Sep 27, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    So they’ll let players go play for other teams? How thoughtful of the Royals front office.

  7. Utley's hair - Sep 27, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Like in 2007, when the Feesh were pasting Tom Glavine with 7 in the first. That was sweet.

  8. DB Cooper - Sep 27, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    1Deep thought: how come all the people who think it’s fair to question Jose Bautista’s professional integrity for hitting 50+ home runs don’t think of questioning Aroldis Chapman for throwing 105 miles per hour? At least there’s precedent for someone hitting 50.
    That’s a silly comparison, Craig. If Chapman had spent a half dozen seasons throwing 68 mph fastballs, maybe your argument goes somewhere. Or if Chapman was throwing more than 1 mph faster than a half dozen other guys.
    The fact that some human being has performed similarly in the past has no relevance to whether a particular human being’s performance is suspicious.
    (Caveat: I’m not really PED-suspicious of Batista. Just against bringing Chapman into things, and ridiculous arguments in general).

  9. Jonny5 - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    3 – 1 odds for the Phills to take it all. Not bad if i say so myself… Woot Woot!!!! Go Phills!

  10. Jonny5 - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    I’m curious DB, why there’s ever an argument without a positive test result. Also, what did you do with the money that you didn’t lose in the wilderness?

  11. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    I’d put a grand on the Phillies for an easy 3 grand. That’s like taking candy from a baby.

  12. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    I think the Red Sox should be #5. They are better than any of the National League teams except the Phillies. Put the Red Sox in the NL Central and they win 100 games, even with all the injuries.

  13. BC - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Regarding the Red Sox:
    Das, das von Enttäuschung einer fühlt, erfährt beim Beklagen eines Verlustes, der scheinbar Sie aus Endspielbehauptung trotz der Tatsache klopft, dass Sie wirklich keine Chance von gehabt haben, die Endspiele zunächst zu machen.

  14. scatterbrian - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    The notion that Billy Beane signs players so he can flip them mid-season is really exaggerated. More speculation than practice. He did it with Matt Holliday (though the A’s didn’t actually sign Holliday), but that was the Plan B if they weren’t contending with him, and that somehow established a new imaginary MO for Beane. It was widely assumed before the ink dried that Ben Sheets was signed so he could be traded. It wasn’t long ago that Beane was known as the guy who traded for players mid-season.

  15. Dustin84v - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    Ryan Howard hit over 250 home runs in his career. He could quickly turn it over to 500, in a few years. Barry Bonds’ record will one day be challenged, in Philly. Josh Gibson’s memory lives on in professional baseball.

  16. RichardInBigD - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    If they can’t crack the glass ceiling in KC, what other teams would WANT them?

  17. Route36West - Sep 27, 2010 at 9:08 PM

    I hope thats true but I dunno I dont see Ryan Howard playing baseball long enough for that to happen. Yes he was the fast to that milestone but I dont think he was the youngest. Jim Thome kept him in the minors for 2-3 years when he easily could have played and hit 30+ homers. Also with Howard’s size I see him going to the AL in his latter years to be a DL. So if he is ever challenging Bonds it probably wont be in Philly.

  18. Route36West - Sep 27, 2010 at 9:51 PM

    The Phillies are the only team in baseball with 2 stadiums. All year long the Nationals ball park was basically a home game for the Phillies when they were in town. Halladay struck out the last batter in the 9th inning of tonights game to clinch the NL East division in Washington and the stadium erupted in cheers and celebrations.

  19. Utley's hair - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    I get really tired of people complaining about Phightins Phans going to other stadiums to watch the Phils. Face it, the Phillies have a big national fan base that also travels to see the team play. There’s one way to prevent Phightins Phans from taking over their stadium: BUY SOME DAMN TICKETS!!! Every ticket sold to a home team’s fan prevents it from being bought by a Phightins Phan.

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