MLB Power Rankings: Boston Red Sox Lose Ground to New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies

September is here and Major League Baseball’s pennant races are heating up, but mostly in the American League as the three division leaders in the National League are pulling away.

In this week’s MLB Power Rankings, the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies have pulled away a bit, too – leaving the Boston Red Sox in a somewhat distant third.  Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers continue to climb the charts, finally cracking the top five.

And as we head into the final month of the regular season, we look back and recognize some of the most interesting statistical accomplishments for each team during the month of August.

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C.C. Sabathia and the Yankees hold a slight lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in this week's MLB Power Rankings

KP’s MLB Power Rankings: September 5, 2011

NOTE: Point totals as of Monday morning (Do NOT include games on 9/5)

1. New York Yankees – 86-53 (230 points) – Last Week: #3

Remember when everyone was saying Jeter was declining?  In 106 August at-bats, the Yankees’ captain hit  .387 with 13 RBI’s, five doubles and two triples.

2. Philadelphia Phillies – 88-48 (221 points) – Last Week: #2

Cliff Lee was arguably the nastiest starter in the month of August, posting a 5-0 record and 0.45 ERA in five starts, while allowing just two earned runs over 39 2/3 innings.

3. Boston Red Sox – 84-56 (186 points) – Last Week: #1

David Ortiz continues to rake.  During the month of August, Big Papi hit .411, with seven doubles, 8 HR and 20 RBI’s in 73 at-bats.

4. Texas Rangers – 80-62 (147 points) – Last Week: #4

Mike Napoli has flourished in Texas this season.  He’s had a hot bat in August, batting .304 with five doubles, 7 HR and 17 RBI’s in 102 at-bats.

5. Milwaukee Brewers – 85-57 (127 points) – Last Week: #6

While Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder own the headlines, Corey Hart has quietly swung a hot bat, batting .321 with 8 HR and 17 RBI’s in 106 August at-bats.

6. Atlanta Braves – 82-57 (121 points) – Last Week: #4

Rookie Craig Kimbrel converted all ten save opportunities during the month of August, while giving up no runs over 12 2/3 innings.

7. Arizona Diamondbacks – 81-60 (110 points) – Last Week: #9

Arizona’s August surge was led by two of its starters, Ian Kennedy (5-1, 2.31 in six August starts) and Daniel Hudson (4-2, 2.88 ERA in six August starts).

8. Tampa Bay Rays – 77-63 (99 points) – Last Week: #9

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Jeremy Hellickson is one of many Tampa Bay pitchers that has pitched well in August

The Tampa Bay pitching staff posted a 3.06 team ERA during the month of August, which was more than a half-run better than any other team in the American League.

9. Detroit Tigers – 79-62 (94 points) – Last Week: #11

Relever Phil Coke pitched 12 scoreless innings across 13 different games in August, giving up just eight hits, while striking out 20 batters.

10. St. Louis Cardinals – 74-67 (91 points) – Last Week: #11

The entire Cardinals starting rotation struggled through most of August.  Edwin Jackson (3.99 ERA in six August starts) posted the best numbers.

11. Los Angeles Angels – 76-64 (70 points) – Last Week: #10

Rookie Mike Trout hasn’t seen many at-bats with the big club, but he did bat .400, with 4 HR and 7 RBI’s in 25 August at-bats.

12. Los Angeles Dodgers – 68-72 (47 points) – Last Week: #15

One reason for the Dodgers making a major jump in the rankings over the last few weeks is the team’s pitching, which posted a 2.78 in August.  Only the Phillies had a better ERA.

13. New York Mets – 68-70 (40 points) – Last Week: #16

Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey had a solid August, posting a 2.70 ERA in five starts and 33 1/3 innings.  However, he only managed one win due to lack of run support.

14. Cincinnati Reds – 69-72 (39 points) – Last Week: #12

Drew Stubbs managed nine steals in the month of August, despite an abysmal .284 OBP and .226 batting average.

15. San Francisco Giants – 74-67 (21 points) – Last Week: #14

During the month of August, the San Francisco offense posted a Major League worst .235 batting average and just 75 RBI’s, by far the worst in baseball.

16. Chicago White Sox – 69-69 (21 points) – Last Week: #13

White Sox pitchers struck out 232 batters during the month of August, which was tied with Tampa Bay for the most in the American League during that stretch.

17. Cleveland Indians – 70-68 (19 points) – Last Week: #19

Carlos Santana was clearly the most potent bat for the Indians in August, posting a .272 average, with 6 HR and 19 RBI’s in 114 at-bats.

18. Toronto Blue Jays – 70-71 (16 points) – Last Week: #17

Could Ricky Romero be the most underrated starter in baseball?  In six August starts, he posted a 2.05 ERA and a 5-0 record.

19. Colorado Rockies – 66-75 (-11 points) – Last Week: #18

Colorado’s team OPS of .779 was the best in the National League during the month of August.

20. Oakland Athletics – 64-76 (-22 points) – Last Week: #22

Trevor Cahill (18-8, 2.97 ERA in 2010) struggled throughout the month of August, posting a 0-4 record with a 7.15 ERA in six starts.

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Trevor Cahill had a brutal August and the Oakland A's have had an even more painful 2011 season

21. San Diego Padres – 61-80 (-25 points) – Last Week: #20

The Padres stole 34 bases in the month of August, by far the most in Major League Baseball.

22. Pittsburgh Pirates – 65-76 (-37 points) – Last Week: #21

Joel Hanrahan, who has been dominant throughout the season, struggled some in August, blowing two saves and posting a 0-2 record with an ERA approaching 4.

23. Washington Nationals – 65-74 (-44 points) – Last Week: #23

Three of Washington’s starters were outstanding in August: Jordan Zimmerman (3.45 ERA in five starts), John Lannan (3.21 ERA in six starts) and Ross Detweiler (3.14 ERA in five starts).

24. Florida Marlins – 62-77 (-44 points) – Last Week: #24

Javier Vazquez, who posted a 2.48 ERA and 40 K’s in 40 innings in August, managed just a 1-2 record in six starts, due to the Marlins’ lack of run support.

25. Kansas City Royals – 58-83 (-65 points) – Last Week: #25

Alex Gordon (.315 average, 5 HR and 14 RBI’s in August) continues to have a breakout season for the Royals in 2011.

26. Chicago Cubs – 61-80 (-80 points) – Last Week: #27

The 41 home runs allowed by the Cubs’ pitching staff during the month of August was more than any other team in baseball allowed.

27. Seattle Mariners – 58-81 (-101 points) – Last Week: #26

Mike Carp continues to swing a hot bat for the Mariners, posting a .313 average, with 6 HR and 25 RBI’s during the month of August.

28. Minnesota Twins – 58-82 (-118 points) – Last Week: #29

Posting just seven victories during the month of August, the Minnesota pitching staff was horrid – as opponents batted .304 against them last month (worst in MLB).

29. Baltimore Orioles – 55-84 (-128 points) – Last Week: #28

Chris Jakubauskas was arguably Baltimore’s most consistent arm in August, posting a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings during the month.

30. Houston Astros – 47-94 (-160 points) – Last Week: #30

Does Matt Downs deserve more at-bats?  Downs batted .447 with six doubles, 1 HR and 10 RBI’s in 38 August plate attempts.

* All stats per MLB.com

 

Note: RED = Falling 3+ spots from last week, GREEN = Rising 3+ spots from last week

The Wife Hates Sports’ MLB Power Rankings system has a method to its madness, attempting to be different and not just rank by popularity and record.  It mixes a secret formula of six completely different categories, meshed into a points system.  The categories don’t just include team results regarding record, but how each team has performed recently, as well as incorporating some statistics on both a team’s offense and pitching staff, too.

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