Your Monday Morning Power Rankings

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It’s the last Power Rankings of the season. In some ways it’s rather pointless, what with the season being effectively over for the majority of teams. To what end power, if there is no manner in which to exert it?  An interesting ettickal question.

Indeed, I was just gonna not do a Power Rankings. But then I realized I had a legitimate reason to not make Philly number one, and I figured that would cheese off a bunch of ya, so why not?

1. Yankees: Winning most of the games they’re supposed to win, worrying more about whether marginal dudes will make the postseason roster than they’re worrying about the big existential questions that vex a team at this time of year. Yeah, I think that earns them the number one slot.

2. Phillies: I mean sure, on some level this is unfair inasmuch as, if you put a gun to my head, I still say that Philly has the best shot of anyone once the playoffs start. But sorry guys. You don’t lose eight in a row and not suffer some sort of Power Rankings penalty for it.

3. Rangers: Quietly rolling. It’s amazing how little anyone talks about these guys.

4. Diamondbacks: Everyone’s going to call them the Cinderella story of the playoffs, but they haven’t really fit that mold. They’ve carried themselves like a team that knows it belongs. Never going on bad skids, not relying on unsustainable streaks.  Just doing their work. I think they could cause a lot of trouble for whoever they face in the first round.

5. Tigers: I predict there will be 15 stories written in the next five days asking whether the Tigers “peaked too soon” with their hot streak in early September. I think that kind of thing is hogwash. They have the best pitcher in the AL, one of the best hitters and no glaring weaknesses. They’re fine, even if they’re not as hot right now as they were a couple of weeks ago.

6. Brewers:  They haven’t played a team with a winning record since September 11th, so you have to wonder if they’re honed as sharply as they could be.

7. Cardinals: They’re not yet in playoff position, but they still have a hell of a lot more mojo working than that team in Atlanta they’re chasing. And finishing the season with three in Houston? You couldn’t have set that up any better.

8. Rays: Three against the Yankees to close it out. If they make it, they will have freakin’ earned it.

9. Braves: Three against the Phillies to close it out. Call me crazy, but I’m not exactly optimistic.

10. Red Sox: Three against the Orioles to close it out. AHHHHHH!!!! PANIC!!! YYEEEAAAAHGGGGG!!!

11. Angels: Still technically alive, but they need a miracle. And I don’t know if you’ve looked around much lately, bub, but miracles don’t come easy these days.

Those out of the playoff conversation simply get a ranking this week. Sorry, but there are only so many ways you can say that their season is over, and I’ve been doing that for several weeks now.

12. Giants

13. Dodgers

14. Blue Jays

15. Indians

16. Nationals

17. Reds 

18. White Sox

19. Mets

20. Athletics

21. Rockies

22. Marlins

23. Pirates

24. Royals

25. Cubs

26. Padres

27. Orioles

28. Mariners

29. Twins

30. Astros

Manoah, Merrifield lead Blue Jays to 3-1 win over Rays

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Alek Manoah pitched seven shutout innings, Whit Merrifield hit a three-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays regained the top AL wild-card spot with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.

The Blue Jays lead Tampa Bay by one game. The top wild card finisher will host all games in their best-of-three opening-round series, while the other two wild cards play strictly on the road.

Manoah (15-7) scattered four hits, walked two and struck out eight while throwing a season-high 113 pitches. The righty worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth by striking out Randy Arozarena and getting a flyout from David Peralta.

Jordan Romano replaced Tim Mayza with two on and two outs in the eighth and allowed pinch-hitter Harold Ramirez‘s RBI infield single but avoided further damage by striking out Manuel Margot. Romano finished the game to get his 35th save in 41 chances.

Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen (10-7) gave up one run, three hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five.

The teams combined for 31 runs, with the Rays accounting for 20, in the first two games of the series that were both won by Tampa Bay.

Arozarena got the Rays’ first hit off Manoah with a two-out double in the fourth. He became the first Tampa Bay player and 20th big leaguer to have 40 doubles, 20 homers and 30 stolen bases in a season.

Teoscar Hernandez ended Rasmussen’s night with a double in the seventh. Brooks Raley entered and, after a walk to pinch-hitter Danny Jansen, Merrifield made it 3-0 on his 10th homer of the season.

Merrifield homered twice in Thursday night’s 10-5 loss to the Rays.

Alejandro Kirk opened the second with a single before Rasmussen retired 12 in a row until Merrifield’s leadoff double in the sixth.

Plate umpire Corey Blaser took a hard foul ball by Margot on the mask in the eighth but remained in the game.

HONORING KK

The Rays posted a thank you on the message board for CF Kevin Kiermaier, who is out for the season following left hip surgery. Kiermaier is in the final season of a $53.5 million, six-year contract that includes a club option for 2023 that is expected to be declined.

TEAM AWARDS

Rays ace Shane McClanahan was voted the Don Zimmer MVP award winner by members of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. CF Jose Siri was selected as the outstanding rookie. 3B Yandy Diaz received the Paul C. Smith Champions award as the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Nate Pearson (lat strain) allowed three runs and three hits over two-thirds of an inning for Triple-A Buffalo.

Rays: 2B Brandon Lowe (lower back) is done for the season.

UP NEXT

McClanahan (12-6), pulled from his start Tuesday in the fifth inning due to neck tightness, will face Blue Jays RHP Ross Stripling (8-4) on Sunday.