MLB Power Rankings 2012: Teams Surging to a Strong Finish

Ryan DavenportContributor IAugust 21, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 05:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on August 5, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

It's that time of year again.

With roughly 40 games remaining for each of Major League Baseball's 30 teams, it's now time to see which ballclubs have what it takes to reach the postseason.

For some teams, like the Mets, Angels and Blue Jays, the last month has seen their wild card hopes diminish drastically.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are a handful of teams that have quickly bolstered their playoff chances with convincing winning streaks, each appearing poised to take hold of a postseason berth in the coming weeks.   

Here's a look at the teams on the rise in both the American League and National League races.

Tampa Bay Rays

Heading into August, the Rays needed to have a big month if they had any intention of keeping their postseason aspirations alive. And that's exactly what Joe Maddon's group has done.

By going 8-2 in their last 10 and winning their last five, the Rays have played their way back into the AL East race, sitting just four games back of the division-leading Yankees.

Though they've struggled at times this season, if the Rays continue to play at this level during the most important time of the year, they'll lock up a playoff spot. 

Washington Nationals

Yes, the Washington Nationals have been atop the NL East standings for the vast majority of the season. But that doesn't mean that they aren't still a surging ball club.

In fact, the Nats have played some of their best baseball of the season in the last few weeks. They've posted a sparkling 7-3 record in their last 10, including an all-important 5-4 win over Atlanta—the team chasing them for the division lead—Monday night.

Though the controversy surrounding Steven Strasburg's innings limit will likely continue to hog the headlines in D.C., even if the prodigal flamethrower is shut down before season's end, the rest of the Nationals are more than capable of clinching the NL East in the coming weeks.

Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds have had a roller coaster of a month, but they appear to be ending August on a high note, as evidenced by the team's 7-3 record in their last 10 games.

A few weeks back, the Reds looked to be in serious trouble. The team dropped five in a row and failed to score more than three runs in each of the losses.

However, the Reds bounced back, and thanks to the Pirates' recent struggles, they now have a nice 6.5-game cushion on the rest of the division. 

Complete Power Rankings

1. Washington Nationals (76-46)

2. Cincinnati Reds (74-49)

3. New York Yankees (72-50)

4. Texas Rangers (71-50)

5. Tampa Bay Rays (68-54)

6. Atlanta Braves (70-52)

7. L.A. Dodgers (67-56)

8. Baltimore Orioles (66-56)

9. Chicago White Sox (66-55)

10. Pittsburgh Pirates (67-55)

11. Detroit Tigers (64-57)

12. San Fransisco Giants (67-55)

13. St. Louis Cardinals (65-56)

14. Oakland Athletics (65-56)

15. L.A. Angels (62-60)

16. Arizona Diamondbacks (62-60)

17. Philadelphia Phillies (57-65)

18. Seattle Mariners (59-64)

19. Boston Red Sox (59-63)

20. New York Mets (57-65)

21. Toronto Blue Jays (56-65)

22. KC Royals (54-67)

23. Milwaukee Brewers (55-67)

24. Cleveland Indians (54-68)

25. San Diego Padres (54-70)

26. Miami Marlins (56-67)

27. Minnesota Twins (51-70)

28. Chicago Cubs (47-74)

29. Colorado Rockies (47-73)

30. Houston Astros (39-83)


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