MLB Power Groupings: Out with Summer, in with September

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer ISeptember 1, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 1 First baseman Kendry Morales #19 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on during the game with the Tampa Bay Rays on August 12, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  The Angels won 10-5.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Is it really September?

If your team is still alive for a playoff spot, you need to be pretty happy. The baseball season is a long and grueling process, and if you hang in there until there is one month to go, you are doing something right.

But there still is a month left, and while some of the division races look like they might be over, you just never know.

I'm pretty confident we've got wild card chases that are going down to the final week though. There's a lot of stiff competition, and there is a lot of competition point-blank, especially in the National League.

It's officially the stretch run though. Gear up because the best baseball has yet to be played.


Welcome to the Disaster Zone

Baltimore, Toronto, Kansas City, Oakland, Washington, New York Mets, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, San Diego

I weeded out some of our teams, and in one group you will see where they have gone.

So that narrows it down a little as to who I get to talk about, but I'm still going to pick my battles.

I'm going to pick on myself for a second. What pound sledgehammer hit me over the head before I made my decision to pick the Royals to come in third in the AL Central?

On second thought, I think I'm along the norm with most AL Central picks. If you got the correct order when all is said and done, you are more of a genius than most of us are numbskulls.

I need to send this plea out to the New York Mets before they do something they might regret.

Please do not bring back anyone this season, especially David Wright. There's no telling what black cloud will appear above Citi Field and completely ruin your franchise. This season just isn't going your way, and someone is trying to tell you that politely.

Don't test that someone.

Quick shout-out to Cincinnati, who seem to be the playing the best out of this group lately.


Let's have some fun

Cleveland, Seattle, Houston, Arizona

You're probably thinking to yourself, just when I thought he was done screwing around with new group names, this happens.

Quite frankly though, we need to have some fun, and that's what this group is doing.

These teams aren't full-blown disasters anymore, or they are playing very well as we speak. They could be right back in the disaster bin the next week, or they could remain here the rest of the season.

The beauty is, like all the groups, I decide who should be in here. However, this one is just randomly based on good play and weird whims.

Cleveland is playing too hot to be a disaster. They are beating teams more than they are losing to them.

Seattle is still in that middle range where they aren't contending, but they aren't horrible.

Houston is sort of in the same boat, but I still don't like them.

Then we have Arizona, who isn't the complete mess-up they were when I demoted them to the dungeon months ago. Congratulations to both them and Cleveland for turning it on when it doesn't count.


We might be slipping

Tampa Bay, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee

Hello Chicago!

The Windy City now has both of its teams close to the edge. The White Sox finally made a move, and it wasn't the good kind.

Minnesota has overtaken them for second in the wacky AL Central—and it may be for good. With complications coming up with Jake Peavy's rehab, things are looking rather disheartening. Now they've traded Jim Thome and Jose Contreras; perhaps they've given up.

And then we have the Cubs. Dropping a series to the Nationals? Come on now, really?

At least you didn't get swept by the Cincinnati Reds, which is what happened to Milwaukee. It actually may not be as bad as losing a series to the Nationals, but it certainly cripples their playoff chances even further.

Expiration date set to the eighth of September. You have one week.


We might be contenders

Minnesota, Atlanta, Florida

Look at the Twins roll!

They finally took off, and with three games against Chicago, they can really deliver the knockout punch to the Sox.

After this week, they've got four games with Toronto and three with Oakland, the perfect chance to take advantage of basement dwellers and make ground on Detroit. They need to maintain or improve on that number they trail the Tigers by this week though.

Atlanta and Florida have a serious chance to really separate themselves from each other with a four-game set this week. Whether they make up wild card ground is up to San Francisco and Colorado, but this series is huge.


In it to win it

Detroit, Texas, Colorado, San Francisco

As you can see, I moved the Rockies back a group.

Truth is, Colorado and San Francisco are meant to be together. The past two series the teams put on were just amazing.

The Rockies did win three out of four the first time around, but then the Giants came back and swept the Rockies over the weekend.

Back and forth we go, and unfortunately just one more series between the two.

Is Detroit feeling the heat yet? Somehow they've got a four-game lead in the division; how I don't know, but they just seem to do it.

Texas has returned in the group that's in it to win it. Not that they aren't where they should be—they are on the outside looking in right now.


Here we are, where we should be

Boston, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Yankees have won seven of their last 10 games. Seven of their next 10 games are against Toronto and Baltimore. It just keeps getting easier.

The Angels picked a fine time to struggle, as Texas is playing no better than they are. Sometimes you need those breaks.

I'd like to take the next three paragraphs to talk about the rampaging St. Louis Cardinals. They've been beating up on the teams they should be beating up on—the San Diegos and Washingtons of the world. No mercy at all.

They've got a few series against the wild card contenders—four to be exact—but other than that, it's a lot of Milwaukee. They are definitely on a hot streak, but if that continues in this stretch of contenders, they are going to be a force in the playoffs.


Extra Bases: Monthly Awards

August AL MVP: Kendry Morales, LAA—What planet is this guy playing on? 

August AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia, NYY—You pay the big bucks, you definitely need to get a return on that. The big guy delivered this past month.

August NL MVP: Matt Kemp, LAD—Man, did Kemp keep this team afloat at the end of August or what?

August NL Cy Young: Ubaldo Jimenez, COL—A big reason the Rockies are so dangerous? Their pitching, led by young Ubaldo Jimenez and his fabulous August.

August AL Unknown: Julio Borbón, TEX—Josh Hamilton, David Murphy, Marlon Byrd, and Nelson Cruz are all there, yet he's found a way in the lineup.

August NL Unknown: Chris Coghlan, FLA—Wake up, Florida's found another random player that's contributing in big ways.

August Web Gem: Casilla the Magician—I basically would like to echo Bert Blyleven: How did he do that?

August Oddity: B-52 Night in Tampa—I didn't know this group was still around. I find it comical that Carlos Pena thought that'd be an unforgettable night.


*All statistics, standings, and opinions were based off their states going into action on Aug. 31.


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