As we enter the final full week of the Major League season, a team that previously spent a decent amount of time in the top spot has worked its way back into the Top 5.
The Yankees have turned things around following a late-season swoon, but they aren’t the only club heating up just in time for the postseason.
Here’s a closer look at the penultimate Power Rankings for the 2022 regular season:
1) Dodgers (106-47, last week: 1)
The Dodgers clinched the No. 1 seed in the NL and home-field advantage through the NLCS with Sunday’s win over the Cardinals. Along with boasting the best offense in the Majors, Los Angeles’ pitching staff has the lowest ERA in the big leagues — and more help could be on the way soon. The Dodgers are hoping to get Tony Gonsolin and David Price back before the postseason, plus Clayton Kershaw has looked like his vintage self since coming off the IL, going 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five September starts. The one potential concern for L.A. could be the closer role, after Craig Kimbrel was removed from that spot over the weekend.
2) Astros (101-53, last week: 2)
The Astros are on the verge of locking up the No. 1 seed in the AL — and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. Houston is 12-3 in its last 15 games and it hasn’t lost any of its last eight series. Following Monday’s off-day, the Astros will return home to close the season on an eight-game homestand — and then they will have a bye to begin the postseason before hosting Games 1 and 2 of the ALDS. In other words, the Astros won’t play a game outside of Minute Maid Park until Oct. 15.
3) Mets (97-57, last week: 3)
Remember when the Mets were swept at home by the Cubs earlier this month? Well, instead of pressing the panic button, New York simply rattled off wins in eight of its 10 games since to enter the final full week of the season with a 1 1/2-game lead in the NL East. Pete Alonso continued his monster season in Sunday’s 13-1 rout of the A’s, going 4-for-5 with five RBIs to bring his NL-leading total to a franchise-record 128.
4) Braves (95-58, last week: 4)
Despite dropping the first two games of a four-game set in Philadelphia, the Braves bounced back to earn a split after rallying for a second straight win on Sunday. Atlanta has a pair of key injuries to keep an eye on down the stretch, though Ronald Acuña Jr. seemingly eased any concerns about his back injury when he came off the bench Sunday to provide a key hit after missing the previous three games. The other young Braves star to watch is Spencer Strider, who landed on the IL this week after experiencing discomfort in his left oblique. His absence certainly won’t help the Braves in their quest for an NL East title, but they’re hoping he’ll be ready to roll in the postseason.
5) Yankees (94-58, last week: 6)
Aaron Judge came up empty in his quest to hit No. 61 at home against the rival Red Sox this weekend, but don’t let that overshadow the fact that the Yankees are rolling once again. They’ve won seven straight games including the four-game sweep of Boston, lowering their magic number to clinch the AL East to two. That means the Yanks could clinch a division title as soon as Monday night, when they open a three-game series at Rogers Centre. Perhaps Judge’s 61st homer will come on the same night New York wins just its second AL East crown in the last 10 seasons.
The rest of the field of 30:
Voters: Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Paul Casella, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Andrew Simon, David Venn, Brett Blueweiss