Every week, the Pitcher List team publishes an update to our power rankings, reviewing the biggest risers and fallers of the past seven days. As always, the full rankings can be found at the bottom of this article … but where’s the fun in that?
As we hurdle toward the trade deadline, some teams are rising to the occasion while others are folding under the pressure. Among the borderline playoff candidates, the Angels, who threw their chips in when they traded for Lucas Giolito on Thursday, and Cubs, who rode a five-game winning streak into Thursday’s matchup against the Cardinals, are making a statement to management. The Red Sox, who we’ll get into more below, are also rolling, winning four straight, including a two-game sweep against mighty Atlanta.
Conversely, a few teams have stumbled since the All-Star break, notably the Rays and Marlins, who have lost eight of ten. The Diamondbacks are also headed in the wrong direction, going 3-9 since the All-Star break and dropping to third place in the NL West. We’ll better understand who’s all in, like the Angels, who’s out, we’re looking at you, White Sox, and who’s straddling the fence after next Tuesday’s deadline.
Movin’ On Up
Rank change: +4 (13 to 9)
The Red Sox played only five games last week and won four. They took two of three from the Mets over the weekend, then swept their brief two-game series against Atlanta. The Sox scored 30 runs in the five games, all at Fenway, and allowed 16. The unlikely offensive hero of the week was Triston Casas, who slashed .563/.667/1.250, slugged three home runs, scored seven, and drove in six. Casas has surged in June and July and has established himself as Boston’s everyday first baseman.
In addition to Casas, several other BoSox contributed to the offensive outburst. Rafael Devers hit two dingers and had a 1.213 OPS for the week. Jarren Duran continued to get on base with a .364 OBP and stole four bags. Justin Turner and Yu Chang drove in five runs apiece, and Connor Wong hit .467 in 15 plate appearances.
Boston received solid starts from James Paxton and Brayan Bello, but Kutter Crawford struggled against the Mets. The bullpen shined, though, accumulating a 1.71 ERA over 26 and 1/3 innings on the week. Nick Pivetta tossed six shutout innings over two games, striking out a batter per inning. Kenley Jansen saved two of the victories, while Joely Rodríguez, Joe Jacques, Richard Bleier, Josh Winckowski, Chris Martin, Brandon Walter, and John Schreiber combined to throw 13 and 1/3 scoreless frames.
The AL East is MLB’s toughest, most competitive division and could feature three wildcard teams. The Red Sox are doing their best to ensure they are one of them.
Hittin’ The Skids
Rank change: -5 (6 to 11)
At the other end of the spectrum, the Diamondbacks’ grip on a playoff berth is slipping through their fingers. The club’s recent struggles currently have them on the outside looking in, though there’s plenty of time for them to turn things around. Last week was brutal for Arizona, who were swept by the Reds over the weekend and then lost two of three to the underachieving Cardinals at home. The offense scored 27 runs over the six games, which wasn’t the problem. Their pitching is what let them down.
The D’backs staff had an MLB-worst 7.24 ERA last week as neither their starters nor relievers performed well as a group. Only Merrill Kelly, who allowed only one run over six innings, and to a lesser extent Brandon Pfaadt, who allowed three runs but struck out six in his six innings, gave them quality starts. The Cardinals torched Zac Gallen and Ryne Nelson for five runs each, while the Reds thumped Tommy Henry.
Among the relievers, Scott McGough, Andrew Chafin, and Miguel Castro had weeks to forget. McGough allowed four runs in less than an inning to St. Louis on Wednesday, while Chafin surrendered five to the Red Birds on Monday. Castro’s rough outing came against the Reds on Sunday when he allowed three hits, a walk, and two runs in an inning of work.
Offensively, Ketel Marte, Christian Walker, and Corbin Carroll continued doing their thing, combining for six HRs, 13 runs, and 15 RBI last week. Of the D’backs regulars, only Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had a week to forget, going one for 23 with no walks in 23 plate appearances.
Arizona exceeded expectations to begin the year but is now six and 14 in July. They’ll need to turn things around quickly if they don’t want to get buried in the Wild Wild NL West.
Week 17 Power Rankings