MLB Power Rankings: Red Sox, Mets tumble as Blue Jays, Phillies and Braves make August push

CBS Sports

Let’s glance at the state of the National League East race and how the landscape has changed so rapidly in the last handful of days. 

👀Well, this has gotten a hell of a lot more interesting, huh? 

The Mets once had a five-game lead. Hell, it was four games when they took the field on Aug. 1. They are in a total tailspin, though, having now lost seven of their last eight and nine of their last 11. 

Meantime, the Phillies are going streaking. They lost four of their last five games to finish July, but they are now 8-0 in August. After completing the sweep over the Mets on Sunday, thanks to Zack Wheeler’s shutout and in part to Bryce Harper’s home run, they now have a two-game lead. I mention Wheeler and Harper because right now, the Phillies have the favorite to win the Cy Young and the underrated Harper (yes, you heard me; he’s underrated) just might be the favorite for MVP if Fernando Tatis, Jr. remains out for a while. 

The Phillies’ lead over the Mets is actually 2 1/2 games. It’s just that the Mets are in third place now. Finally busting out of the alternating wins and losses purgatory and breaking the .500 ceiling for the first time all year, the Braves have won five of six and sit two games back. Can they make a move without Ronald Acuña, Jr. and with a somewhat patchwork pitching staff? 

We know how big an impact the head-to-head games can have. We just saw it with the Phillies sweep of the Mets. There’s only one series left between those two teams, a three-game series in Citi Field on Sept. 17-19. The Braves actually don’t play either of the other two teams here until the final week of the season. However, they get each of them for three games in Atlanta to close the season. That could be all kinds of fun. 

Whatever the case, this division race has really heated up. Via Caesars Sportsbook, as recently as Friday, the Mets were the favorite to win the division. No more. The Mets are +225, trailing the +220 Braves and now the favorite, +120 Phillies. 

Biggest Movers








The Giants are 30 games over .500 for the first time since 2003. For real. Not at any time in their three World Series championship seasons were they this good. 73-41



Cody Bellinger has been having an utterly abysmal season. He’s now homered in back-to-back games, though, so maybe he’s turning a corner? 1 69-45



They head to Fenway Park to start the week and the Red Sox are in a really bad way right now. Will the Rays look to start burying them? 1 69-45



A little funk here, as the Astros have dropped six of eight. They’ve bounced back from every down stretch so far this season, though, so it likely won’t be any different. 2 68-46



Every team has questions like this, but I wonder how their trio of aces holds up down the stretch? Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta have all already set career highs in innings pitched. If they are all throwing at a high level in October, though, watch out. 69-46


White Sox

Luis Robert returns Monday as the White Sox continue to slowly but surely close in on full strength. 1 67-48



They just took two of three from the Diamondbacks. Their next 10 games come against the Marlins, Diamondbacks and Rockies. It would behoove them to take care of business, because look at the Reds comment below. 1 66-50



The Ramon Laureano PED suspension definitely hurts, but Starling Marte is playing out of his mind to ease concerns. 1 66-48


Blue Jays

Riding a ridiculously hot George Springer and MVP candidate Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., this team is downright dangerous right now. They’ve won 10 of 12 and when they aren’t bludgeoning their opponents, they are erasing large deficits with relative ease. 2 62-51


Red Sox

The Red Sox have lost nine of their last 11 games and Chris Sale isn’t going to solve all that ails this team. The danger of falling out of playoff position is very real. 4 66-50



Jameson Taillon’s last six starts: 4-0, 1.45 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings. 1 63-51



The Reds took care of business with a four-game sweep of the Pirates. They also have nine games left against the Pirates. There are also seven games left against the Marlins, six against what’s left of the Cubs, three against the Tigers and four against what’s left of the Nationals. Don’t count this team out for a wild card spot and even the division is possible. 61-54



The underrated Harper is on an extended heater. He’s hitting .339/.432/.661 with 18 doubles and 12 homers in his last 48 games. 5 59-55



Jorge Soler with the Royals this year: .192/.288/.370. So far in eight games with the Braves? .310/.400/.621. Great trade so far! 3 59-55



Reliever Paul Sewald now has seven wins. How many more can he vulture? No Mariners pitcher has had more than 10 wins without making a start since 1982 (Bill Caudill with 12). 1 60-55



They are just helplessly broken and I’m not even sure they can recover. It’s possible, obviously, and 2 1/2 games isn’t too many, but the bleeding sure needs to stop. 3 57-55



Very encouraging start to Jo Adell’s second MLB stint after a rough first try. Sometimes that happens. Ask Mike Trout. 2 57-58



Zach Plesac entered the season with a career 3.32 ERA. In 16 starts this season, he’s pitching to a 4.84 ERA. The strikeout rate has plummeted, too. 3 55-57



Alex Reyes was pitching Sunday, then there was a two-hour rain delay. After said delay, he remained in the game. Is that smart, given his history of arm injuries? It’s probably fine, it just seems so unnecessary. Especially since the Cardinals aren’t contending. 3 57-56



Robbie Grossman has 17 homers and 13 steals. Can you name the last Tigers’ 20-20 guy? I bet you can. It’s Curtis Granderson! He did it in 2007 and 2009. 1 56-60



You know who is hot right now? Connor Joe! He’s hitting .378 with five homers and 16 RBI in his last 45 at-bats. Look up his story. You’ll like him. 2 51-63



Whit Merrifield stole his 30th base of the season on Sunday. That’s his third 30-steal season with the Royals. In franchise history only Willie Wilson (11), Freddie Patek (8), Amos Otis (5) and Jarrod Dyson (4) have more. 2 49-64



Remember when the Nats rode a trio of aces to a World Series title less than two years ago? Patrick Corbin has a 5.83 ERA, Max Scherzer plays for the Dodgers and Stephen Strasburg has an injury that ruins careers. Life comes at you fast, as the kids say. But also: Flags fly forever. 3 50-63



Just an utterly dreadful team at the moment. They’ve lost 10 of 12. 2 52-64



Somehow, the Twins just took three of four in Houston. Baseball, right? 1 50-65



They really stuck it to the Mets, huh? The Marlins now have 15 remaining games against the Mets, Phillies and Braves. Could be a fun spoiler? 1 48-67



They are off to a 1-7 start in August. 41-73



They’ve been outscored by 35 in this five-game losing streak. That’s rough. 38-74



Madison Bumgarner’s in a nice little groove here. In his last five starts, he’s allowed just seven earned runs in 32 innings (1.99 ERA). 1 35-80



The Rangers have now lost 20 of their last 24. 1 40-74

Valda Udley

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