MLB Power Rankings: Braves close in on NL East title with winning streak


Atlanta Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) drives in a run with a base hit as Toronto Blue Jays catcher Beau Taylor (72) watches during the first inning on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (John Bazemore/AP)

Amid pennant races and September call-ups, the Atlanta Braves look like they’re ready for more.

After winning 90 games last year and eventually being halted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, the Braves have started this September with a statement: seven consecutive wins and a 15-game advantage over the second-place Washington Nationals in the NL East.

With an 87-54 record and 21 games left to go in the regular season, Atlanta has all but punched its ticket back to the division series – and it’s taken over fourth place in our MLB Power Rankings in the process.

Starter Max Fried had a 2-0 week with 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings, including a one-hitter with nine strikeouts, no runs and no walks over seven innings against the playoff-hopeful Nationals on Thursday.

Canadian Mike Soroka also had a good week, earning a win over the Toronto Blue Jays with a five-inning outing that saw him allow five hits, two walks and three earned runs while striking out six batters.

At the plate, veteran Freddie Freeman leads the league in RBIs with 115 and youngster Ronald Acuna Jr. ranks third in runs scored with 113. Freeman has showcased his experience and leadership this week, batting .364 with two home runs and eight RBIs.

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As for the Nationals, they may be far from the NL East crown but are without question one of this week’s biggest winners. A team that ranked as low as 20th in our MLB Power Rankings has turned things around in the second half and now holds a two-game advantage for the first wild card in the NL.

An insane come-from-behind win against the New York Mets on Tuesday, which saw the Nats score seven runs in the bottom of the ninth after allowing five in the top of that inning, served as the perfect moment to encapsulate this season in Washington.

The Arizona Diamondbacks also rise as big winners this week, with nine wins in the past 10 games. Arizona is currently just 3.5 games behind in the wild-card race with a 73-67 record.

Plunging all the way to 15, on the other hand, are the Milwaukee Brewers, who fell behind in the NL Central and are now five games out of a post-season spot and just three games above .500. The Brewers lost a crucial series opener to the Chicago Cubs, 10-5, Thursday.

Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings.

1. (1) New York Yankees

2. (2) Los Angeles Dodgers

3. (3) Houston Astros

4. (5) Atlanta Braves

5. (4) Minnesota Twins

6. (6) Tampa Bay Rays

7. (8) Oakland Athletics

8. (7) Cleveland Indians

9. (11) St. Louis Cardinals

10. (10) Washington Nationals

11. (9) Chicago Cubs

12. (15) Arizona Diamondbacks

13. (13) Boston Red Sox

14. (14) Philadelphia Phillies

15. (12) Milwaukee Brewers

16. (16) New York Mets

17. (18) San Francisco Giants

18. (17) Texas Rangers

19. (20) Cincinnati Reds

20. (19) Los Angeles Angels

21. (21) San Diego Padres

22. (22) Chicago White Sox

23. (24) Pittsburgh Pirates

24. (23) Toronto Blue Jays

25. (27) Seattle Mariners

26. (25) Colorado Rockies

27. (26) Kansas City Royals

28. (28) Miami Marlins

29. (29) Detroit Tigers

30. (30) Baltimore Orioles

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