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September: Time to Make Predictions
by Keith Glab,
September 9, 2008

Will the inexperienced Rays continue to struggle down the stretch and let the Red Sox overtake them in the division?  Can the Chicago White Sox still win the AL Central without Carlos Quentin?  Can the Mets hang on without Billy Wagner? Who prevails: Adam Dunn's Diamondbacks or Manny Ramirez' Dodgers? 

Only the eight playoff teams remain above the Line of Death as we reveal the Baseball Evolution Power Rankings for the final time this season.

In a way, it is bold to make playoff predictions with nearly three weeks remaining in the season.  In another, it's pretty chicken to have not made them at the beginning of September, having waited for the weekend's Mets/Phillies and Dodgers/D-backs series to finish and gotten news that key stretch players Carlos Quentin and Billy Wagner would each miss the rest of the regular season.

The dust having settled, we do see a much clearer picture of who the favorites are.  Nearly as important as a team's current record at this point is their remaining schedule.  For instance, the White Sox and Twins' respective schedules doomed the Sox even before Carlos Quentin and Paul Konerko went down.  To that effect, we are listing the split of remaining games for contending teams in our rankings.

So if you want to be surprised at the end of the season, stop reading here.  If you'd like to know which eight teams will continue to play in October, read on and feel free to comment.

1 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
NYY, Sea, @Oak, @Tex, @Sea, Tex | Overall Record: 87-56 (.608)

Bottom of the lineup looks anemic; they need Kendrick back
2 Boston Red Sox
TB, Tor, @TB, @Tor, Cle, NYY | Record: 85-58 (.594)

Good thing they held on to Coco Crisp (.770 OPS vs. Ellsbury's .690)
3 Tampa Bay Rays
@Bos, @NYY, Bos, Min, @ Bal, @Det | Record: 85-57 (.599)

They won't win the East due to inadequate offense, not inexperience
4 Chicago Cubs
@Stl, @Hou, Mil, Stl, @NYM, @ Mil | Record: 86-57 (.601)

Tough remaining schedule; Harden and Big Z had better be healthy
5 Milwaukee Brewers
Cin, @Phi, @CHC, @Cin, Pit, CHC | Record: 82-62 (.569)

The bullpen is all that stands between them and elite status
6 Minnesota Twins
KC, @Bal, @Cle, @TB, CHW, KC | Record: Min 78-65 (.545)

Will Morneau snipe another MVP Award from Mauer?
7 Philadelphia Phillies
Fla, Mil, @Atl, @Fla, Atl, Was | Record: 79-65 (.549)

3rd fewest runs allowed in the NL, actually
13 Los Angeles Dodgers
@SD, @Col, @Pit, SF, SD, @SF | Overall Record: 73-71 (.507)

No one on this team has 80 RBI yet; Ethier just reached 20 HR
---------------- Line of Death! --------------
8 Toronto Blue Jays
@CHW, @Bos, Bal, Bos, NYY, @Bal | Record: 77-66 (.538)

Hmm, maybe Adam Dunn wouldn't have been a terrible addition after all
9 New York Mets
Was, Atl, @Was, @Atl, CHC, Fla | Record: 80-63 (.559)

Santana/Pelfrey (not Martinez) would be devastating if they make the playoffs
10 Chicago White Sox
Tor, Det, @NYY, @KC, @Min, Cle | Record: 80-63 (.559)

Griffey's swing takes longer than a Mark Buehrle inning pitched
11 Houston Astros
Pit, CHC, @Fla, @Pit, Cin, Atl | Overall Record: 77-67 (.535)

Looks like Ed Wade deserves a collective apology from the world
12 St. Louis Cardinals
CHC, @Pit, @Cin, @CHC, Az, Cin | Record: 77-66 (.538)

Adam Wainwright has 1.78 ERA in four starts since DL stint
14 New York Yankees
@LAA, TB, CHW, Bal, @Tor, @Bos | Record: 76-68 (.528)

This 4th-place squad may be better than 2000 World Series Champs
15 Arizona Diamondbacks
@SF, Cin, SF, @Col, @Stl, Col | Record: 71-72 (.497)

Haren's predictable post-AS ERA of 4.76 typifies pitching collapse
16 Cleveland Indians
Overall Record: 70-73 (.490)

Hindsight being 20-20, should they have kept Sabathia?
17 Florida Marlins
Overall Record: 72-72 (.500)

This offense leads baseball in strikeouts: 85 more than Arizona
18 Detroit Tigers
Overall Record: 70-75 (.483)

Miggy C has .628 SLG since the break
19 Colorado Rockies
Overall Record: 67-77 (.465) still gives them a 2% shot at the NL West crown
20 Texas Rangers
Overall Record: 70-74 (.486)

Brandon McCarthy is their only pitcher with even a hint of upside
21 Cincinnati Reds
Overall Record: 65-79 (.451)

Helicopter Patterson has 309 at bats and an OPS+ of 47
22 San Francisco Giants
Overall Record:63-80 (.441)

Hitters are slugging .315 against Tim Lincecum
23 Baltimore Orioles
Overall Record: Bal 64-79 (.448)

Aubrey Huff is having the best season you don't know about
24 Kansas City Royals
Overall Record: 61-81 (.430)

25 Oakland Athletics
Overall Record: 66-78 (.458)

Jack Cust is their only player with an OPS over .740
26 Pittsburgh Pirates
Overal Record: 60-83 (.420)

10-25 since the Jason Bay trade; fans losing patience
27 Atlanta Braves
Overall Record: 62-82 (.431)

Still waiting on a 1-run road victory this year
28 Seattle Mariners
Overall Record: 56-86 (.394)

Brandon Morrow gives team hope for tomorrow
29 San Diego Padres
Overall Record: 56-88 (.389)

Peavy's season is reminiscent of Randy Johnson, 2004
30 Washington Nationals
Overall Record: 56-88 (.389)

Nice win streak. You are now only a mild embarrassment to MLB

Power Rankings for Previous Months:

2007 | April | May | June | July | August | September

Questions? Concerns? Comments? Keith lives in Chicago, IL, and can be reached at

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