There are so many trap doors and second chances and get-out-of-jail-free cards in this modern playoff format that it’s sometimes hard to find the most titillating element of September baseball: A pennant race.
Well, thank goodness for the American League West.
Three talented teams just flawed enough to keep them from breaking away will stagger around the final turn of this season with three very distinct outcomes in play:
Win the division.
Claim a wild card.
Book a tee time.
Maybe by the end of it, they’ll really be rivals.
The Rangers come in on the tiniest gust of momentum, a 430-foot walk-off home run from Adolis Garcia preventing a Minnesota Twins sweep in Arlington on Sunday. That pulled Texas within a game of the Astros and Seattle Mariners, who showed off their maddening inconsistency by dropping a series against the white towel-waving New York Mets. That doesn’t bode well for a final stretch of the season when the Mariners’ final 10 games are against the Astros and Rangers.
Oh, well. First, it will be the Rangers and Astros, for the final time this season, a tasty prelude to what could be a wild September out West featuring three of the top eight teams in USA TODAY Sports’ power rankings.
A look at this week’s rankings:
5. Houston Astros (-)
7. Seattle Mariners (-)
8. Texas Rangers (-2)
Not encouraging: Series losses the last month to Twins (twice), Brewers, Diamondbacks.
13. Arizona Diamondbacks (-)
15. Minnesota Twins (+2)
Royce Lewis, finally healthy, batting .307 with .875 OPS.
This is it: Dodgers, Phillies, Brewers, Braves on deck.
18. New York Yankeess (+3)
21. New York Mets (+1)
Jordan Walker since Aug. 2: .297 (27 for 91), five homers, .858 OPS.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB power rankings: AL West offering scintillating September drama
Source: Yahoo Sports