Playoff standings could get wild in final week
SportsPulse: CC Sabathia and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark spoke with USA TODAY Sports about the current state of Black representation in the sport of baseball and what they’re doing to increase it.
Heading into the final week of the truncated 2020 Major League Baseball season, there’s plenty to play for – especially in the National League – which should provide for some exciting scoreboard-watching in the days to come.
Second place is still up for grabs in the NL East and NL Central, with the Marlins, Phillies, Reds, Cardinals and Brewers all jockeying for divisional position and – along with the Giants – the NL’s two wild-card spots.
The American League is mostly settled with five of eight spots clinched and the Astros, Indians and Blue Jays holding comfortable leads for the final three.
Here’s how USA TODAY Sports’ seven-person panel voted this week:
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (–)
- Clayton Kershaw’s .172 batting average against is the best of his career.
2. Tampa Bay Rays (–)
- Set to win their first AL East title since 2010.
3. Chicago White Sox (+2)
- 2020 first-round pick Garrett Crochet joins the bullpen throwing 100+ mph.
4. Oakland Athletics (-1)
- The A’s have lost nine consecutive winner-take-all postseason games dating back to 2000.
5. San Diego Padres (-1)
- Padres back in the postseason for the first time since 2006.
6. New York Yankees (+4)
- 10-game winning streak gives Yankees serious momentum heading towards postseason.
7. Minnesota Twins (-1)
- Making consecutive postseason appearances for the first time since 2009-2010.
8. Chicago Cubs (–)
- Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks a formidable 1-2 for Wild Card Series.
9. Atlanta Braves (-2)
- Freddie Freeman may be the NL MVP favorite.
10. Cleveland Indians (-1)
- Good luck to whoever has to face Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac and Carlos Carrasco in a best-of-three series.
11. Miami Marlins (+4)
- Sandy Alcantara should get the ball for a postseason opener.
12. St. Louis Cardinals (+2)
- Cardinals end the season with a five-game series against the Brewers.
13. Philadelphia Phillies (–)
- Phillies’ 7.15 bullpen ERA through Saturday is the worst in majors since 1936.
14. Toronto Blue Jays (-3)
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hitting .375/.408/.681 with six homers and 13 RBI in 20 September games.
15. Houston Astros (-3)
- Justin Verlander’s Tommy John surgery will cost him all of 2021.
16. Cincinnati Reds (+4)
- Tough final week with three vs. Brewers, three at Twins.
17. San Francisco Giants (-1)
- Donovan Solano enters the final week with an outside chance at the NL batting title.
18. Milwaukee Brewers (+1)
- Counting on Christian Yelich to deliver some heroics this week.
19. New York Mets (-2)
- Postseason unlikely, but new ownership has fans excited about the future.
20. Seattle Mariners (+3)
- Kyle Lewis putting the finishing touches on a Rookie of the Year campaign.
21. Colorado Rockies (-3)
- Wade Davis’ three-year stint in Denver comes to an end with DFA.
22. Baltimore Orioles (-1)
- Ryan Mountcastle (.330 BA, 5 HR, 21 RBI in 29 games) should get some Rookie of the Year votes.
23. Detroit Tigers (-1)
- Props to this team for staying in the race until mid-September.
24. Washington Nationals (–)
- 20-year-old Luis Garcia making his case to be the everyday second baseman next year.
25. Los Angeles Angels (+1)
- Dylan Bundy (3.12 ERA, 69 K in 10 starts) is under team control through 2021.
26. Kansas City Royals (-1)
- Brady Singer (4.14 ERA in 10 starts) has put together a nice debut season.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks (–)
- Pavin Smith, Arizona’s 2017 first-round pick, went 8-for-26 to start his career.
28. Boston Red Sox (–)
- Tanner Houck didn’t give up an earned run in his first two big-league starts.
29. Texas Rangers (–)
- Elvis Andrus making $28.5 million over the next two years with avesting 2023 option.
30. Pittsburgh Pirates (–)
- Josh Bell (.386 OBP in 19 September games) turning things around late.