After sliding down two positions last week, Philadelphia came back strong with a phenomenal week of mowing down the competition to take back the #1 rankings. Meanwhile in Beantown, the Red Sox sank like the ships at the Tea Party and all the way from #5 to off the chart.
Current Rank (Previous Rank)
1. (3) Philadelphia Phillies: Season 96-53, Past Week 17 - 3
The Phillies were back with a vengeance this week and roar back into the top spot with one of the most impressive weeks of the season. Their week of dominance was highlighted by an unblemished record in seven games against fellow division leaders Florida and Arizona. With the division clinched and a first round bye almost secured, expect the Phillies to be well-rested for a long playoff run.
2. (1) Chicago White Sox: Season 93-56, Past Week 10 - 10
The White Sox fell back to earth this week and were a bit inconsistent. Series losses against AL South leading Tampa and the cellar dwelling Orioles were followed by them taking 3 out of 4 against the playoff bound Royals. While the Sox appeared vulnerable this week, they too will be have the advantage of a rested squad and still look like they are headed for another World Series appearance.
3. (2) Arizona Diamondbacks: Season 94-55, Past Week 10 - 10
The Diamondbacks had a rough week including that nasty sweep to the Phils and appeared to be on the brink of losing their division lead to the surging Dodgers. But the week was salvaged as it concluded with them taking 2 of 3 from their primary rivals, with two impressive shutout performances by Al Diaz and Felipe Tejada. A Phillies, Diamondbacks NLCS would be exciting to watch and seems to be the most likely scenario.
4. (7) Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Season 90 -59, Past Week 13 - 7
The Rays kicked off the week by sweeping the White Sox but unfortunately followed that up with an average week that included series losses to the Blue Jays and Rangers. The Devil Rays have been playing great ball in the second half and their Sox series shows that they can be dangerous in the postseason.
5. (4) Cincinnati Reds: Season 85-64, Past Week 8 - 12
The Reds had a horrid week, losing a bunch of games to teams that will be done after #162. The only thing keeping them from dropping farther was a 4 game split with the D'backs. Will the real Cincinnati Reds please stand up?
6. (6) Los Angeles Dodgers: Season 90 -59, Past Week 11 - 9
Once again, the Dodgers won against the teams they should beat and then could not get it done against a playoff team as they lost 2 of 3 against Florida and Arizona. The Arizona series was huge as they were on the verge of overtaking them for the division lead and then had their offense stymied by great Arizona pitching. I'll say it once again, no matter how many games this team wins, they are not a top 5 team unless they can win a series against a playoff team.
7. (9) Kansas City Royals: Season 85-64, Past Week 13 - 7
The Royals had a solid week, with their only setback being the 3 of 4 lost versus the White Sox and have almost guaranteed their playoff spot as a wildcard team. With a very solid offense and rotation, the Royals will be a very tough first round opponent and have to potential for a deep run.
8. (NR) Toronto Blue Jays: Season 84-65, Past Week 14-6
The Blue Jays caught on fire in the second half of the week and earned their place back on the chart and a near lock for the wild card. With their only setback losing 3 of 4 from the recently hot Yankees, they impressed with series victories against the AL South leading D' Rays and the wild card challenging Knights. The surprising aspect of this week was that they did their winning mostly by virtue of excellent pitching. It will be interesting to see how their first round series plays out.
9. (10) Florida Marlins: Season 82-67, Past Week 11 - 9
If not for the collision with the Phillie juggernaut, the Marlins would have had a great week as they won against all the teams they should be beating and also took 2 of 3 from both the Diamondbacks and Dodgers. While it seems clear that this team cannot compete with Philadelphia's fire power, they do have the pieces to possibly last a round or two in the playoffs.
10. (8) Anaheim Angels: Season 82-67, Past Week 8 -12
And I thought last week was bad. The only saving grace for the Angels was that they took 5 of 7 from the East leading Red Sox. It is uncertain if the Angels will be able to stay in the countdown to end the season, but since their division title is almost secure, we may not see the true Angels on the field until their first round series.
Dropped Out: (5) Boston Red Sox: Season 82-67, Past Week 8 - 12 With Bollea coming off the DL, this was supposed to be the week that the Red Sox assert themselves as one of the main contenders to represent the AL in the World Series. Instead, all they did was dissappoint and allow the Yankees to get back into the race.