Rivals tangle for position in Power Rankings

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Although the top five teams stayed the same this week, there were some changes between a pair of division rivals.

As the Mets and Braves continue to compete for the position atop the NL East, they also traded places once again in the latest edition of our Power Rankings. There was also a decent amount of movement involving teams battling for position in the AL wild card race.

Here’s a closer look at this week’s full Power Rankings.

Biggest jump: The Brewers fell short in their attempt to sweep the Yankees on Sunday, but still made up some ground in the NL wild-card race over the past week, jumping three spots from No. 16 to No. 13. this week. After splitting a pair of games in St. Louis, Milwaukee won the first two against the Yanks before blowing a three-run lead on Sunday.

Biggest drop: No team dropped more than two spots this week, but the group that dropped two spots included a trio of AL postseason hopefuls: the Rays (from No. 6 to No. 8), the Mariners (from No. 7 to No. 9). ) and the White Sox (from No. 13 to No. 15).

1) Dodgers (101-44, last week: 1)
The Dodgers needed just 144 games to reach 100 wins, becoming the fastest team to reach triple figures since the 2001 Mariners. Offensively, they continue to lead the Majors in team OPS and runs scored, while their pitching staff has the lowest ERA in the Major Leagues. As if they needed any more help, Clayton Kershaw has looked good since he returned from the disabled list, posting a 1.50 ERA in 18 innings in three September starts.

2) Astros (96-51, last week: 2)
Houston has won seven of its last eight games as the Astros continue to inch closer to winning their fifth AL West title in the last six seasons. Their starting rotation has an AL-best 3.04 ERA this season, and they got a crucial boost this week with the return of Justin Verlander. The AL Cy Young favorite returned after a three-week absence and immediately put on a dominant performance against the A’s, striking out nine batters in five hitless innings.

3) Mets (93-55, last week: 4)
It was an up-and-down week for the Mets, who began by getting swept in a three-game series against the Cubs before rebounding with a four-game sweep of the Pirates. Jacob deGrom continues to shine, striking out 13 batters in just five innings on Sunday against the Pirates. The Mets are also expected to bring three pitchers — Max Scherzer, Tylor Megill and Drew Smith — back from the disabled list to start this week. That should help them in their quest to maintain their one-game lead in the NL East.

4) Braves (91-55, last week: 3)
Although they swept the rival Phillies over the weekend, it turned out to be a bittersweet series with the loss of Ozzie Albies. One night, after returning from a three-month absence due to a broken left foot, Albies broke his right little finger Saturday while sliding toward second base. He will miss the rest of the regular season and it’s unlikely he’ll return for the postseason, though Atlanta hasn’t ruled him out. Despite playing so long without Albies, the Braves have posted an MLB-best 68-28 record since early June, thanks in part to excellent play from rising young stars Spencer Strider and Michael Harris II. Still, they find themselves looking at the Mets first.

5. Cardinals (87-61, last week: 5)
The Cardinals hold an eight-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central, but are about to receive a postseason tryout series during their upcoming eight-game road trip. St. Louis opens a three-game series against the Padres, a potential NL Wild Card Series opponent, in San Diego on Tuesday before facing the MLB-leading Dodgers for three games in Los Angeles. That journey concludes with a two-game series. against the Brewers, a series that could see the Cardinals potentially clinch the division, if all goes well.

The rest of the field of 30:

Voters: Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Paul Casella, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn, Brett Blueweiss

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