The latest MLB power rankings are out, and the Houston Astros have the #1 spot right now. The Astros enter the week with a 13-8 record, which isn't the best in baseball, not the best in the AL, and not even the best in the AL West; they're a game behind the Seattle Mariners, who by the way do own the best record in the majors. But the rankings aren't just about records, otherwise it would be easy to calculate the top spots. They are more about strength of schedule, current hot/ cold streaks, injuries, and roster-potential. Their relief pitching has only one blown save on the season, and a 2.47 overall ERA is second in all of the majors.
The top team in the NL right now is the LA Dodgers. They are 3rd in the power rankings, behind Houston and Tampa Bay, but are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and just took 3 of 4 from the Milwaukee Brewers, who are right behind the Dodgers at 4th in the Power Rankings. The Dodgers will travel to Chicago to take on the Cubs in a 3 game series starting Tuesday through Thursday. Both teams are 7-3 over their last 10. The Cubs won their opening day game, but then dropped 6 in a row. Since that 1-6 start, they are 9-4 and have been playing much better baseball.
This series is always a big one between these two teams, and could have future wild-card playoff implications for later on in the season. Maeda (3-1) will get the ball for LA, and the Cubs will go with Quintana (2-1) for the series opener. Despite the Dodgers' early success, they are only 6-5 on the road this year, where as the Cubs are 5-3 as the home team. Bellinger already has 11 homers on the season, so I look for him to stay hot in Chicago, but I think the Cubs will cool them off a bit, taking 2 of 3 and the series.