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The Red Sox have taken over the AL East. (photo credit: bostonglobe.com)

For an explanation of how the SD Score is calculated, see below.

1– Chicago Cubs (91-51) SD Score +3.33; Record this week (3-3), Ranking Last Week – 1

Opponents – at Brewers (1-2), at Astros (2-1)

The Cubs lost 2 one-run games, but are still far and away the league’s best team.

2 – Washington Nationals (85-58); SD Score +2.12; Record this week (6-1), Ranking Last Week – 3

Opponents – Braves (3-0), Phillies (3-1)

With wins over the Braves and Phillies, the Nationals are sitting very comfortable atop the NL East.

3 – Texas Rangers (85-59) SD Score +0.45; Record this week (3-4), Ranking Last Week – 2

Opponents – at Mariners (1-3), at Angels (2-1)

The losses to the Mariners hurt, but the Rangers still hold the best record in the AL.

4 – Cleveland Indians (83-59); SD Score +1.68; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 4

Opponents – Astros (2-2), at Twins (2-1)

The Indians face the White Sox and Tigers this week, but have a firm grip on the AL Central title.

5 – Los Angeles Dodgers (80-62) SD Score +1.01; Record this week (4-2) Ranking Last Week – 6

Opponents –Diamondbacks (3-0), at Marlins (1-2)

After this week’s road trips to New York and Arizona, the Dodgers face the Giants for what could be a series to decide the division.

6 – Boston Red Sox (80-62); SD Score +2.67; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 7

Opponents – at Padres (2-1), at Blue Jays (2-1)

The Red Sox have finally taken over the AL East, beating the Blue Jays 2 out of 3 games.

7 – Baltimore Orioles (78-64); SD Score +0.59; Record this week (4-2) Ranking Last Week – 8

Opponents – at Rays (2-1), at Tigers (2-1)

By winning both their series’ this week, especially against the Tigers, Baltimore is tied at the top of the AL Wild Card standings and also is only out of first place by two games.

8 – Toronto Blue Jays (78-64); SD Score +1.30; Record this week (1-5), Ranking Last Week – 5

Opponents – at Yankees (0-3), Red Sox (1-2)

The Blue Jays had a setback this week but have a good chance to reclaim the lead in the AL East.

9 – San Francisco Giants (77-65); SD Score +0.90; Record this week (4-2), Ranking Last Week – 12

Opponents –at Rockies (1-2), at Diamondbacks (3-0)

The Giants could have used a victory instead of a loss in the one-run game against the Rockies, but had a good week and remain atop the NL Wild Card race. The St. Louis series will be one to watch.

10 – New York Mets (76-67); SD Score +0.20; Record this week (5-1), Ranking Last Week – 13

Opponents –at Reds (3-0), at Braves (2-1)

The Mets continue to rise and had a great week. If the playoffs were today, they would face the Giants in the Wild Card game and the schedule continues to be very favorable.

11 – Detroit Tigers (76-66); SD Score +0.18; Record this week (2-4), Ranking Last Week – 9

Opponents –at White Sox (1-2), Orioles (1-2)

The Tigers had a setback this week, but are only two games behind in the Wild Card.

12 – St. Louis Cardinals (75-67) SD Score +1.22; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 10

Opponents –at Pirates (2-1), Brewers (2-2)

St. Louis held their own this week and are now only a half game out of the Wild Card race. They play Chicago and at San Francisco this week, which could decide their fate.

13 – New York Yankees (76-66); SD Score -0.19; Record this week (6-1), Ranking Last Week – 15

Opponents –Blue Jays (3-0), Rays (3-1)

The Yankees had an amazing week and find themselves only two games out of the Wild Card, but have to play the Dodgers and Red Sox this week.

14– Seattle Mariners (75-68); SD Score +0.66; Record this week (5-1), Ranking Last Week – 14

Opponents –Rangers (2-1), at A’s (3-0)

Seattle had a much better week and are tied with Houston at being only three and a half games out of the AL Wild Card. Their series against the Astros should be a good one.

15 – Houston Astros (75-68); SD Score +0.57; Record this week (3-4), Ranking Last Week – 11

Opponents –at Indians (2-2), Cubs (1-2)

This was a tough week for the Astros as they had to play two very difficult teams, but remain three and a half games out of the Wild Card. With Texas and Seattle next, they will need to be at their best.

16 – Kansas City Royals (74-68); SD Score -0.23; Record this week (4-2), Ranking Last Week – 16

Opponents –at Twins (2-1), at White Sox (2-1)

The Royals are four games out of the Wild Card race after a good week and have a favorable home schedule. This could get more interesting.

17 – Colorado Rockies (69-74); SD Score +0.55; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 17

Opponents –Giants (2-1), at Padres (2-2)

The Rockies are better than what their record is and would now need to have a near perfect September to make the Wild Card.

18 – Miami Marlins (71-72); SD Score -0.19; Record this week (3-3), Ranking Last Week – 19

Opponents –Phillies (1-2), Dodgers (2-1)

Miami is five games out of the Wild card, but will have to run the table.

19 – Pittsburgh Pirates (69-72); SD Score -0.31; Record this week (2-5), Ranking Last Week – 18

Opponents –Cardinals (1-2), Reds (1-3)

This was another miserable week and the door is likely closed on the Pirates’ playoff chances.

20 – Chicago White Sox (68-74); SD Score -0.61; Record this week (3-3), Ranking Last Week – 20

Opponents –Tigers (2-1), Royals (1-2)

The Sox can play the role of the spoiler this week against the Indians and Royals, but their season is over.

21 – Los Angeles Angels (63-79); SD Score -0.30; Record this week (2-4), Ranking Last Week – 21

Opponents –at A’s (1-2), Rangers (1-2)

Over the next several days, I feel a little bad for Toronto and Seattle as the Angels continue to play the role of the spoiler.

22 – Milwaukee Brewers (64-79); SD Score -1.01; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 24

Opponents –Cubs (2-1), at Cardinals (2-2)

Another typical season for the Brewers. Mediocre to below-average play all year, then a good September.

23 – Philadelphia Phillies (63-80); SD Score -2.48; Record this week (3-4), Ranking Last Week – 22

Opponents –at Marlins (2-1), at Nationals (1-3)

Phillies last gasp is to wreck Miami’s playoff hopes this week.

24 – Tampa Bay Rays (60-82); SD Score -0.58; Record this week (2-5), Ranking Last Week – 23

Opponents –Orioles (1-2), at Yankees (1-3)

Tampa had a chance this season, but really fell behind. It would have been interesting to see how they could have fared against Toronto and Baltimore had things gone better.

25 – Cincinnati Reds (60-82); SD Score -1.70; Record this week (3-4), Ranking Last Week – 28

Opponents –Mets (0-3), at Pirates (1-3)

The Reds have slowed down, but basically ended the Pirates’ season this week.

26 – Oakland A’s (60-82); SD Score -2.06; Record this week (2-4), Ranking Last Week – 27

Opponents –Angels (2-1), Mariners (0-3)

The A’s have a chance to be a spoiler in the coming weeks, but largely will just be looking towards 2017.

27 – San Diego Padres (59-84); SD Score -1.20; Record this week (3-4), Ranking Last Week – 25

Opponents –Red Sox (1-2), Rockies (2-2)

As is the case with other teams, the Padres are a team to steer clear from as they can be the spoiler.

28 – Arizona Diamondbacks (58-84); SD Score -2.19; Record this week (0-6), Ranking Last Week – 26

Opponents –at Dodgers (0-3), Giants (0-3)

If you’re a playoff team, perhaps Arizona is the team to play at this point.

29 – Atlanta Braves (55-88); SD Score -2.40; Record this week (1-5), Ranking Last Week – 29

Opponents –at Nationals (0-3), Mets (1-2)

The Braves seemed determined to not end the season with the league’s worst record, but then again….

30 – Minnesota Twins (53-90); SD Score -1.97; Record this week (2-4), Ranking Last Week – 30

Opponents –Royals (1-2), Indians (1-2)

The Twins probably won’t even be able to be a spoiler the rest of the way.

 

SD Score explanation:

Run production is one of the best measures of how a team is performing and how dominant or bad they are.

The formula takes each team’s runs scored and runs allowed totals and how many standard deviations from the league average they are.

Example: 1927 Yankees

The 27 Yankees score 975 runs (1927 AL average was 762 and SD of team runs for the AL was about 115). Take the difference from the league average (975-762=213) and divide by the SD (115), the 1927 Yankees were 1.85 SD above the league average in runs scored.

They allowed 599 runs (the SD in runs allowed for the 1927 AL was about 88.5), which was 163 runs less than the league average. 163/88.5 gives us a 1.84 SD above the league average in runs allowed.

Add 1.85 and 1.84 to get a final SD Score of +3.69 for the 1927 Yankees, which is amazing.

(SD ranking explanation found in “Baseball Dynasties: The Greatest Teams of All Time” by Rob Neyer and Eddie Epstein)