MLB power rankings: Dodgers, Rays best of the bunch
There are just eight teams remaining in the MLB postseason. With the Division Series set to begin Monday, it’s a good time to review where the final eight teams stand.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodgers fans have to be happy with how the consensus World Series favorites looked in their Wild Card sweep of the Brewers.
Mookie Betts drove in a team-leading three runs, and Clayton Kershaw twirled a gem in Game 2, when he tossed eight shutout innings and tallied 13 strikeouts.
L.A.’s NLDS with the Padres, which begins Tuesday, should be fun to watch.
2. Tampa Bay Rays
The American League’s top seed, the Rays, dispatched the Blue Jays with relative ease in a Wild Card sweep.
Their pitching staff was in top form, as Blake Snell tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 1, and Tyler Glasnow produced a quality start in Game 2 (two earned runs in six frames). Their bullpen allowed just one earned run over 6 1/3 innings.
Up next for Tampa is a matchup with the Yankees, with whom they feuded during the regular season, which makes their ALDS must-see TV.
“I don’t think they’re the biggest fans of us, and vice versa,” said Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier. “We don’t like them. They don’t like us.”
3. New York Yankees
The Yankees’ two-game sweep of the Indians was not surprising, but how they did it was.
The Bombers’ lineup scored seven runs against presumptive AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber in Game 1 and punished Cleveland’s highly touted bullpen in a 10-9 Game 2 victory.
Yankees fans are hoping Giancarlo Stanton’s two home runs in that series can be sustained, as New York goes into battle against the Rays’ top-flight pitching staff.
4. San Diego Padres
The Padres were without their two best pitchers, Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger, in the Wild Card round, but they bashed their way to victory against the Cardinals.
Wil Myers and Fernando Tatis Jr. each hit a pair of home runs, and Manny Machado and Jake Cronenworth added homers of their own.
That may not be sustainable against the Dodgers, though, and the statuses of Lamet and Clevinger are up in the air.
5. Oakland Athletics
The A’s survived their three-game series with the White Sox, even though they hit just .194.
If they want to beat the Astros, they’ll need to lean on starter Chris Bassitt, who surrendered one run in seven innings against Chicago in Game 2.
They’ll also need closer Liam Hendriks to be at the top of his game. He allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings in Game 2 but pitched a shutout inning in Game 3. Hendriks was 3-for-3 in save chances against Houston in 2020.
6. Atlanta Braves
Did the Braves win their NL Wild Card series with the Reds, or did Cincinnati lose it?
The Reds’ lineup simply didn’t show up and got shut out over 22 innings.
Atlanta was fortunate to draw the overachieving Marlins. The Braves tagged Miami for 29 runs in one of their regular-season meetings.
7. Houston Astros
The Astros handed the hapless Twins their 17th and 18th consecutive postseason defeats in a two-game sweep. But Houston was a middle-of-the-road club, by both runs for (14th at 4.61 per game) and against (12th at 4.47 per game), in the regular season.
Now they draw the A’s, who beat them by seven games for the AL West crown.
8. Miami Marlins
The Marlins embody the definition of “playing with house money,” after they swept the heavily favored Cubs.
Starters Sandy Alcantara and Sixto Sanchez give Miami a puncher’s chance in their NLDS with the Braves.