After two exciting Wild Card games, there are now only eight teams left in the postseason. The Rockies beat the Cubs in a marathon NL Wild Card Game and are now set to face Milwaukee in the Division Series, and the Yankees will face the Red Sox in the ALDS starting Friday.
That eliminates the Cubs and the Athletics from our rankings who were last and second in the previous list, respectively. So the Cubs were easy enough to drop off the list without too much fun, but do the Rockies move up or down now that they’re going against the Brewers? How does the Yankees and the Red Sox facing off affect both of their rankings?
As I said last time, this is more based on the levels of fun and rootability of each team and interesting things that they’ve done in the playoffs so far will move them up or down accordingly. My reasoning isn’t intensely scientific here, people. Every round, I’ll update these rankings based on the events of the previous round.
Again, yelling about the rankings in the comments is definitely going to happen but me reading them definitely will not. It’s the postseason, let’s have fun.
8. Indians (Previously: 9)
The Indians haven’t played since the last list I made, and their opponent hasn’t changed. So by virtue of literally nothing about them changing, neither has their ranking. Unfortunately, thanks to the Cubs dropping off the list, they are now last instead of second to last. Hey, it had to be someone. Cleveland just happens to be the one. Beating the Astros with a few fun J-Ram dingers would be an instant cure for that, though!
7. Astros (Previously: 8)
Same as the Indians, the Astros haven’t done anything since the last list. Not their fault. In time, if they advance, they’ll probably shift a little! That Osuna situation is not going to magically stop putting a bad taste in my mouth though, so they’re here until further notice.
6. Brewers (Previously: 7)
Last time we talked (literally two days ago) the Brewers were low on the list because besides Christian Yelich’s awesomeness and sometimes getting to watch Jhoulys Chacin pitch out of his mind. Since then, they haven’t actually done anything to move up or down, but their NLDS opponent has been decided. Which was a major factor in keeping them down here for now.
The Rockies are extremely fun right now. Once that series gets underway it could have the potential (like Dodgers-Braves) to be off the walls exciting with a lot of “oh, that guy?!” players doing heroic things and imprinting their names in people’s minds throughout the postseason. For now they’ll stay put here on the strength of Yelich being Yelich.
5. Red Sox (Previously: 4)
The Red Sox are here by virtue of other teams moving up, not any active reason to move them down. But after the Yankees, their now-decided ALDS opponent, proved all of the reasons they’re so scary fun in this postseason against the A’s, the Red Sox are coming from behind just a little bit. That’s not to say there’s any less chance
The ALDS will be a time for Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and Chris Sale to show off what they’ve got and if they come out swinging and pummel the Yankees (or even just win the series by a hair) they’ll probably rocket up this list a few spots. But for now they’ll be nestled here, waiting to prove themselves in a postseason setting and see if they can take back the headlines from this Yankees lineup.
4. Dodgers (Previously: 3)
Listen, as long as the Dodgers have Kiké Hernandez and Yasiel Puig, they’re going to be pretty high on this list. Always the top half at least. Puig, when asked why he thinks the Dodgers can do well in the postseason, said “We have a lot of handsome guys.” He’s priceless.
However, this week the Dodgers were heavily cited in a Sports Illustrated report about a Department of Justice investigation in which the list of crimes they are accused of varies from funny (they kept a list of how criminal their employees were!) and horrifying (there’s apparently a mafia-like situation operating within their organization!). Yeah, they had to get knocked down a bit for that.
3. Yankees (Previously: 5)
Besides being The Yankees (which, granted, is a major drawback) this New York team is so easy to root for and they showed why in the AL Wild Card Game against the A’s. Their power (a blast of a two-run shot from Aaron Judge early, an almost-homer that turned into a triple by Luke Voit, a late-game Giancarlo Stanton bomb), their pitching (both Luis Severino and Dellin Betances having fantastic outings), and their unknowns (Adeiny Hechavarria jumping 10 feet in the air to rob the A’s of an easy double).
When New York is on, they are on. And since they’ll be playing an historically good Red Sox team, it’ll be all the more fun to root them on if that’s your flavor. Which record-setting squad comes out on top: the Yankees’ single-team home run record or the Red Sox franchise-record wins? Right now the Yankees remain higher on this list because they already prove they’re firing on all cylinders in the postseason. The Red Sox are just as fun, but have more questions hanging over their heads at the moment.
2. Braves (Previously: 1)
Do the Braves still have Ronald Acuña, Jr. and Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman? Yes. Were they also cited in that SI report about extensive criminal activities in Latin America? Also yes. Sooooo they needed to be bumped. Just a little. Their series against the Dodgers has all the potential to be filled with moments of awe and absurdity alike.
So the next time this list is updated either of those teams could be right on top depending on just how enjoyable that matchup ends up being. But for now they both got bumped because of their association with criminal activity. Fair is fair.
1. Rockies (Previously: 6)
The Rockies gave us a 13-inning win over the Cubs, with a lights-out pitching performance from Kyle Freeland and an RBI hit from one of the worst hitters on the team in Tony Wolters. Not only that, but they won despite making decisions like removing Charlie Blackmon from the game before it was remotely locked up for Colorado.
This is exactly the mix of talent and chaos we’re looking for this postseason. The Rockies showed us they can get weird very quickly and that’s more than welcome in this long month.