Alyson Footer

Indians top Power Rankings for second week

Nats-Dodgers series shakes up rest of the Top 5

Indians top Power Rankings for second week

With less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, three division races have been decided -- two that never really were races all season (Houston and Washington) and one that we expected to happen but took longer for the crowning team to pull away from the pack (Cleveland).

That leaves a few more divisions and two Wild Cards to be decided. The Dodgers are a foregone conclusion -- they'll have the NL West wrapped up this week. The Red Sox and Cubs have decent commands of their respective divisions, though three- and four-game leads suggest that could change between now and Oct. 2.

The Wild Cards continue to be the most fascinating storylines. The Twins maintain a slim lead over the Angels for the second AL spot, while the Brewers just won't go away and are threatening to overtake the Rockies on the NL side, though even a two-game deficit this time of year, with so few games left, can be a huge obstacle.

Biggest jump: There was virtually no movement from last week to this week in our Top 20. In fact, no team moved up more than one spot. One of those teams is the Dodgers, who moved from No. 3 to No. 2, due in large part to taking two of three from the Nationals over the weekend in D.C.

Biggest drop: No major changes there, either, another sign that the regular season is winding down, a time when teams, especially the elite ones, are playing to their true abilities. The Nationals dropped two spots, from No. 2 to No. 4. Losing two of three to the Dodgers has a lot to do with it; also, the offense has been underperforming lately, making it even more imperative that Bryce Harper returns for the postseason.

Power Rankings Top 5:

1. Indians (1 last week)
The Indians are the No. 1 team for the second week in a row, for good reason -- they've lost one game since Aug. 23. It's impossible to highlight just one area that has been more impressive than the others, but for now, let's talk about the bullpen. When Bryan Shaw allowed two runs to the Royals in the eighth inning Sunday, it ended a streak of 38 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings from Tribe relievers -- a team record. It was the longest stretch in Major League Baseball since the 2016 Royals had a 41 1/3-scoreless-innings stretch from their 'pen.

2. Dodgers (3)
The Dodgers appear to have gotten their act together after taking two of three from the Giants and Nationals in the past week. That more or less guarantees they'll nab the top seed in the National League in the postseason, though World Series home-field advantage may be a challenge should they face the Indians, who are three games behind them in the race for the best overall record. The Dodgers will enter Tuesday with a magic number of three to clinch the NL West.

3. Astros (4)
Justin Verlander has three wins in three starts since joining the Astros and was on the mound for the clinching game Sunday that sealed the AL West title. Houston has had a bizarre September. The Astros looked every bit of their dominant selves while sweeping the Mets and Mariners (twice) and taking two of three over the Angels. But they also had a somewhat baffling four-game sweep at the hands of the A's in Oakland. The rest of the season will be spent making sure the bullpen is rested, while not scaling back too much, as the top seed in the AL is still up for grabs.

4. Nationals (2)
The Nationals are fairly confident -- or maybe "cautiously optimistic" is more accurate -- that Bryce Harper will be healed and ready to go when the calendar flips to October. They need him; as stocked as the Nationals' roster is, the offense has been sputtering a bit lately. Before they scored seven runs against the Dodgers Sunday, they had plated a total of nine runs over their previous five games.

5. Red Sox (5)
Boston has won nine of 12 games and outscored opponents 76-38 during that span. Jackie Bradley Jr. is 9-for-30 with two homers and five RBIs in his past eight games, while Andrew Benintendi is hitting 16-for-44 with 12 RBIs over his past nine games.

The rest of the Top 20:

6. Cubs (6 last week)

7. Diamondbacks (7)

8. Yankees (8)

9. Rockies (9)

10. Twins (10)

11. Brewers (11)

12. Angels (13)

13. Cardinals (12)

14. Rangers (15)

15. Royals (14)

16. Orioles (16)

17. Mariners (17)

18. Rays (18)

19. Blue Jays (NR)

20. Marlins (20)

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.