|2014 NBA Playoffs Expert Picks: First Round||NBA First Round Predictions||Datsyuk’s Late Heroics Topple Bruins in Game 1||Celtics Go 1-1 in Draft Order Tiebreakers|
The Rays and Yankees are still tied with 31 games to go; the Red Sox are 7.0 games back. The Cardinals (and pretty much the Giants) have seemingly died. The Padres have too, but they still had a huge division lead built up to eat the blow. And assuming Manny doesn’t help the White Sox all too much and Lincecum stays funky, the playoff teams are pretty much in there.
Once more, the top eight teams were in the previous rankings, and the bottom two are new appearances. The biggest move of any team was three spots, followed by four movements of two spots. And as you might expect, the top two spots were easily retained.
As usual, teams get 10 points for a first place vote, then nine points for a second, and so on. Ties are broken based on who received the most first place votes, then the most second, and so on. The second tiebreaker is position in the previous rankings.
With just a month left in the season, we’ll also be giving our thoughts on what the Red Sox need to do to get back in the playoff race.
|John||KC||SoB Composite||Last Time||Comments|
|#1||New York Yankees||New York Yankees||(2) New York Yankees (20)||#1, even||KC – They’re they best, but they’re also the most flawed. After CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes, who is reliable in the rotation?|
|#2||Tampa Bay Rays||Tampa Bay Rays||Tampa Bay Rays (18)||#2, even||John – The Rays have seven games left with the Yankees, and need four wins to guarantee themselves the season-series tiebreaker.|
|#3||Cincinnati Reds||San Diego Padres||Atlanta Braves (14)||#5, up 2||John – With that home record, the Braves are going to be like the 2008 Celtics of MLB.|
|#4||Atlanta Braves||Atlanta Braves||Cincinnati Reds (12)||#7, up 3||KC – Jay Bruce hitting leadoff makes no sense on paper, but in actual game action, he’s on fire in the No. 1 spot.|
|#5||Texas Rangers||Minnesota Twins||Texas Rangers (11)||#3, down 2||KC – The Rangers have the largest lead in baseball…over the second place A’s (what happened to the Angels??).|
|#6||Minnesota Twins||Texas Rangers||Minnesota Twins (11)||#4, down 2||John – 28 more Twins wins and/or White Sox losses will give Minnesota the division. Morneau (when he returns) should be enough to tip Minnesota over the edge.|
|#7||Colorado Rockies||Cincinnati Reds||San Diego Padres (8)||#6, down 1||KC – I guess its safe to say, since we’re almost in September, that the Padres are for real.|
|#8||Philadelphia Phillies||Philadelphia Phillies||Philadelphia Phillies (6)||#10, up 2||John – If Philly wants to make the playoffs, they can’t afford many mistakes like getting shut out in LA Monday.|
|#9||Chicago White Sox||Boston Red Sox||Colorado Rockies (4)||NR||John – The Rockies are just 3.5 games out of the Wildcard after winning their last three and seven of their last 10. And they have (probable) Cy Young Ubaldo Jimenez.|
|#10||San Francisco Giants||Chicago White Sox||Chicago White Sox (3)||NR||KC – Manny Ramirez is trying on a new pair of Sox, and for just one month, I think [they'll] fit just fine.|
|Others earning votes:||Boston Red Sox (2), San Francisco Giants (1)|
Obviously, the key would be to do well against the Rays (three games remaining) and Yankees (six games remaining). The Sox also face the Orioles, who have been a thorn in their side, six more times. With only Buchholz and Lester having a shred of talent amongst the starters, and the bullpen not faring better (worse even), and Buchholz throwing balls away, the Red Sox were all but mathematically eliminated months ago.
To get in to the playoffs, the Red Sox need to win out against the Rays and Yankees. As we saw over the weekend, it’s possible (though highly unlikely) as long as the bullpen can hold itself together. It’s unfortunate. If the Red Sox didn’t have so many injuries, this team probably would be leading the division. Yeah I said it.
Tags: Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Minnesota Twins, MLB Power Rankings, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers