MLB Power Rankings: Savage Yankees move up after heated doubleheader


New York Yankees' Aaron Judge, right, celebrates with Didi Gregorius (18) as Brett Gardner, left, and Mike Tauchman leave the field after the Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 in the second game of a doubleheader Thursday, July 18, 2019, in New York. (Kathy Willens/AP)

As anticlimactic as this might sound, there’s a new No. 2 in the game.

No, the Yankees aren’t the best team in the league just yet. But they’re getting close.

Fuelled by manager Aaron Boone’s theatrical, NSFW ejection, New York stormed over Tampa Bay to win both games of a doubleheader Thursday, including a comeback in the second matchup. The wins gave the team a 62-33 record, including a 27-16 record when facing teams currently over .500. The Yankees have won six of the last 10, and their pitchers have posted a combined ERA of 2.14 over the past week – the best mark in MLB.

In the other hand, the hitting has been good, but it can still become great with a lineup of this calibre. The Yankees have hit for an average of .265 (sixth in the league) with 160 home runs and a .804 OPS. It’s true that the Astros are still a fearful force out of the AL West, with a 61-37 record and a combined .817 OPS, but momentum is with New York right now.

If the team can ride this wave of consistency, fire and a bit of luck to improve at the plate, the race for No. 1 might tighten up soon. In the meantime, the Dodgers will keep watching from a distance.

Along with the Yankees in the winners’ column of this week’s MLB Power Rankings are the Giants. Powered by 28-year-old rookie Mike Yastrzemski – whose last name suggests he needs no introduction – San Francisco reached an eye-popping sixth-straight win on Thursday against the Mets following a sweep of the Rockies in Denver. Giants ace Madison Bumgarner contributed with a nine-inning performance as San Francisco finally closed it out 3-2 in the 16th. He has a 1.86 ERA in his past five starts.

At the plate, the grandson of Carl Yastrzemski had nine hits in six games over the past week, including a four-hit, three-RBI performance on Monday against Colorado. The Giants have won nine of the past 10 and are one win away from an unthinkable .500 record.

In the bottom half of the rankings, the Blue Jays are still stagnant, and, this week, that means they’re losers.

Toronto left Boston with yet another series loss, failing to take advantage of a shaky moment in the Red Sox’s season as the Mariners sunk down to their sixth-straight loss. A split in Boston would have given the Blue Jays a chance to leapfrog Seattle in the rankings – the Royals took care of business and earned that position. Alas, the rebuild nightmare still hovers.

And who knows what the trade deadline holds.

1 (1) Los Angeles Dodgers

2 (3) New York Yankees

3 (2) Houston Astros

4 (4) Minnesota Twins

5 (5) Atlanta Braves

6 (6) Tampa Bay Rays

7 (7) Chicago Cubs

8 (8) Milwaukee Brewers

9 (9) Cleveland Indians

10 (14) Oakland Athletics

11 (10) Boston Red Sox

12 (11) Texas Rangers

13 (12) Philadelphia Phillies

14 (13) Arizona Diamondbacks

15 (16) St. Louis Cardinals

16 (18) Los Angeles Angels

17 (20) Washington Nationals

18 (15) Colorado Rockies

19 (21) San Francisco Giants

20 (17) San Diego Padres

21 (19) Chicago White Sox

22 (22) New York Mets

23 (23) Cincinnati Reds

24 (24) Pittsburgh Pirates

25 (26) Kansas City Royals

26 (25) Seattle Mariners

27 (27) Toronto Blue Jays

28 (28) Miami Marlins

29 (29) Detroit Tigers

30 (30) Baltimore Orioles

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