Tag Archives: Milwaukee Brewers

MLB Final 2019 Power Ranking

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Bob Melvin guided the Oakland Athletics into the MLB playoffs for the fifth time in nine years at the helm, and his club finished on top of the regular season Power Rankings

 

Well, we’ve finally reached the end of the six-month long Major League Baseball regular season. The statistics have been tabulated, and it is now time to reveal my final 2019 MLB Power Ranking.

After ascending to the pinnacle of the rankings for the first time all season back in mid-September, the Oakland Athletics have edged out their American League West Division rival Houston Astros for the top spot.

The A’s were the top defensive team in baseball this year based on the qualifying component for that category in the rankings formula (see below.) They were also fifth in pitching and eighth in offense, and were tied for the third-best win-loss record over the last 30 days of the season.

Houston was tied for the best record over those last 30 days. The Astros finished third in both offense and pitching. It was Houston’s 11th-ranked defense that allowed Oakland to slip past them for the top overall spot.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who held the status as top team in the National League for most of the summer before yielding that place to the Atlanta Braves, have finished the year as the NL’s top-ranked ball club.

The Dodgers had the top-ranked pitching staff and the fifth-ranked offense. They also finished with the third-best record over the final month of the season. If the Dodgers have a possible Achilles heel heading into the postseason it would be their 20th ranked defense.

Entering the MLB postseason, the Dodgers are the favorites to three-peat, capturing their third consecutive NL pennant. If the accomplish the feat, Los Angeles will advance as National League champions into the World Series once again.

The Dodgers have not captured a world championship since the 1988 team led by Orel Hershiser and Tommy Lasorda were spurred on to an upset victory over Oakland by Kirk Gibson‘s historic Game One walk-off home run off Dennis Eckersley.

I have seen a number of outlets and writers installing the Astros, who won the first World Series crown in franchise history back in 2017, as prohibitive favorites this year.

The rankings show that Houston indeed deserves to be considered one of the strongest favorites once again. But the statistics and game results reveal that the Athletics deserve to be at least considered as a co-favorite.

One major problem for Oakland? They have to face the Tampa Bay Rays, who finished fourth in these final rankings, in a winner-take-all American League Wildcard Game. And as we all known, anything can happen in just one game.

The Rays will be a tough out. Tampa had the second-ranked pitching staff and were one of those teams tied with Oakland for the third-best record over the most recent 30 days. The two teams should provide some real playoff drama.

The National League Wildcard Game will feature the Washington Nationals hosting the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brew Crew rallied after the loss of NL MVP candidate Christian Yelich for the season due to injury to finish tied with Houston for the best record in all of MLB over the final month.

However, the host Nationals have the sixth-ranked offense and eighth-ranked pitching staff. If they can get past Milwaukee, the Nats will make for a very difficult opponent for the Dodgers in an NLDS.

Two teams who will not be in the MLB postseason this year are the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians. And yet those two clubs finished seventh and eighth-ranked overall, showing that they each had playoff-caliber talent.

Arizona won 85 games, finishing 21 behind the Dodgers in the National League West Division standings. The Dbacks were four games behind Milwaukee for the second NL Wildcard playoff berth.

The Indians won 93 games, but finished eight in back of the 101-win Twins in the American League Central Division. The Tribe also finished three games behind Tampa Bay for the second and final AL Wildcard berth.

The Philadelphia Phillies, my hometown team, slumped to 16th place in the final 2019 MLB Power Rankings. This was after the club had occupied the 14th slot over the last couple of months.

As I have stated during each period, my personal feelings have no bearing on these MLB Power Rankings. Instead, each team’s position is all about actual performance: their results in the standings, as well as in the key statistical categories.

RANKINGS METHODOLOGY

The formula for compiling the rankings is always being researched and evaluated to see if it can be improved upon.

Currently, that formula is made up of the following categories: winning percentageruns-per-gameOPS against, and “defensive runs saved” as measured by Fangraphs.

As each season unfolds, some teams improved dramatically while others slumped badly. In both the Labor Day and mid-September ranking, the season-long winning percentage was replaced by each team’s win percentage over their most recent 30 games. That remains so with this final 2019 ranking.

The ‘Win-Loss’ component reflects each team’s ability to actually win ball games. ‘OPS against’ reflects a pitching staff’s ability to control the game and limit damage.

The runs-per-game component acknowledges that teams play various numbers of games as of the time of each ranking. For example, it wouldn’t be fair to consider a club that had scored 100 runs over 50 games as effective as a club who scored 100 runs over just 45 games.

Each club’s place in the four component categories gets them assigned a 1-30 numerical value. Those are added up to determine a final ranking points total.

Where there are any ties, those are broken using each team’s winning percentage over the last 30, and then by their current overall winning percentage since, in the end, winning is what it’s all about.

2019 SEPTEMBER 16 –  MLB RANKINGS

In parentheses below are each team’s final 2019 total ranking points:

  1. Oakland Athletics (17)
  2. Houston Astros (18)
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers (29)
  4. Tampa Bay Rays (30)
  5. Minnesota Twins (36)
  6. Saint Louis Cardinals (36)
  7. Arizona Diamondbacks (37)
  8. Cleveland Indians (37)
  9. Washington Nationals (39)
  10. New York Yankees (41)
  11. Atlanta Braves (42)
  12. Milwaukee Brewers (44)
  13. Boston Red Sox (45)
  14. Chicago Cubs (50)
  15. New York Mets (55)
  16. Philadelphia Phillies (59)
  17. Los Angeles Angels (72)
  18. Cincinnati Reds (73)
  19. Kansas City Royals (74)
  20. Texas Rangers (75)
  21. San Francisco Giants (76)
  22. Colorado Rockies (78)
  23. Toronto Blue Jays (82)
  24. San Diego Padres (83)
  25. Chicago White Sox (91)
  26. Miami Marlins (91)
  27. Seattle Mariners (93)
  28. Pittsburgh Pirates (94)
  29. Baltimore Orioles (105)
  30. Detroit Tigers (115)

Phillies win another series as Jake Arrieta shuts downs the Brewers

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Jake Arrieta pitched the Phillies past Milwaukee at Miller Park

This was shaping up to be the type of  game that has bedeviled the Philadelphia Phillies all season. Build a lead, fail in chances to put it away. Watch the opposition come back late. Take a small lead into the last inning. Home opponent rallies to a walkoff win against the bullpen.

Three times already this season the opposition has done it. Walked off with a win in their final at-bats. It just happened four days ago in Chicago, for goodness sakes. And here we were again. Phillies build a 4-0 lead. Two on, one out in the top of the 7th inning. Nothing to show for it.
The Milwaukee Brewers (29-24) used a solo homer off the bat of Mike Moustakas in the home 7th to get on the scoreboard. Then a leadoff single by Eric Thames in the bottom of the 8th was followed one out later by an RBI double from Orlando Arcia. Suddenly it was a 4-2 game with the tying run at the plate.
But something different would happen this time. The bullpen didn’t blow the game, at least in part because they weren’t in the game. Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta was still in there, and manager Gabe Kapler was showing faith in the veteran right-hander. Arrieta rewarded that faith, retiring the final two batters in the frame and keeping the lead at 4-2.
And then the Phillies bats did something they have done very seldom this season. They struck a late blow against the opposition. Actually, a couple of late blows. Big blows. After Jean Segura led off the top of the 9th with a base hit, Rhys Hoskins followed two batters later by blasting his 13th home run of the season out high and deep to left-center field.

Just like that, the Phillies had breathing room at 6-2. And then to put an exclamation point on their apparent resolve to put this one away, J.T. Realmuto immediately followed by drilling his 8th homer of the season over that same left-center field wall.

Kapler then finally turned to his bullpen, and lefty veteran Jose Alvares closed things out with a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th, striking out Moustakas swinging to end it. The Phillies (31-21) thus put the finishing touches on a 7-2 victory at Miller Park on Saturday evening, clinching the series on the road against a tough opponent.
The win also moved them to 10 games over the .500 mark for the first time since August 31 of last season. And combined with a loss by the second place Atlanta Braves, it pushed the Phillies lead in the National League East Division standings out to 2.5 games, three in the loss column.
The Phillies had built their early lead by chipping away for single runs in four of the first five innings. In the 1st, Andrew McCutchen remained hot by leading off with his 8th home run of the year.
In the top of the 2nd, singles by Scott Kingery and Odubel Herrera and a walk to McCutchen loaded the bases with two outs. Segura followed by working his own free pass from Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin, forcing in Kingery with a run to make it 2-0.
With two outs in the 3rd, Cesar Hernandez stayed hot as well, ripping his 5th homer of the season out on a line to right-center. In total, the Phillies homered a season-high four times in the game. They made it 4-0 when Hoskins doubled with one out and Hernandez drove him home with a two-out RBI single in the top of the 5th inning.
Arrieta was masterful in holding the powerful Brewers lineup off the board for the first six innings. He would earn his 5th win of the season, tying Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin for the staff lead. It was also his staff-high seventh Quality Start of the year.
“Preserving the bullpen is what the best teams do,” said Arrieta after the outing per MLB.com’s Andrew Wagner. “You reap the rewards of that late in the season in July, August and September. Doing it on the road, winning the series, with a chance to sweep them tomorrow is really good for our ball club.”
The Phillies will send Eflin out in Sunday afternoon’s series finale. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Brandon Woodruff, who has been the best starting pitcher this season for the Brew Crew. It would be nice to see the Phillies hitters smell the sweep and really go for the jugular on the Milwaukee hurler.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

  • Jake Arrieta (PHI): Win (5-4), 8 IP, 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts, 100 pitches (62 for strikes)
  • Jhoulys Chacin (MIL): Loss (3-6), 5 IP, 7 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts, 107 pitches (67 for strikes)

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: JAKE ARRIETA

The Phillies veteran right-hander was masterful in tossing his seventh Quality Start of the season. It was an important outing for a couple of other reasons as well. He had fared poorly in his most recent two outings prior to Saturday, so it was nice to see him bounce back with such a dominant effort against a good offense. And it also gave the bullpen a much-needed rest in the middle of the most difficult part of the schedule.

TICKET IQ NEXT GAME


Phillies to spend Memorial Day weekend 2019 at Miller Park in Milwaukee

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Phillies hope to keep Bernie Brewer from sliding much this weekend

The Philadelphia Phillies (29-21) will be spending Memorial Day weekend at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers (29-22), who are currently sitting in second place in the National League Central Division standings.

The Brew Crew trail the Chicago Cubs, against whom the Phillies just split a four-game series, by 1.5 games, three in the loss column. They enjoyed an off-day on Thursday prior to this series, coming off an 11-9 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in their previous game on Wednesday night.
It was just over a week ago that the Brewers captured three of four games between the two teams at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won the opener of that series by 7-4 when J.T. Realmuto and Odubel Herrera produced run-scoring doubles to break up a 4-4 tie game. But Milwaukee roared back to capture the final three games by a combined 22-6 runs margin.
The two clubs have proven very evenly matched in recent years with the Phillies holding a 10-9 edge in their 19 meetings over the three previous combined entering this 2019 season.
The Brewers (250) and Phillies (249) rank 4th and 5th respectively in the NL in runs scored, though Milwaukee has played one more game. The Atlanta Braves (252) are 3rd, and also have one more game than the Phillies.
Milwaukee is a well-rounded, dynamic offensive ball club. The Brewers hitters collectively rank 4th in OPS and 5th in OBP. They lead the entire National League in home runs and are tied for the league lead in stolen bases. No slouch with their gloves, the Brew Crew defenders have committed the 5th-fewest errors in the NL while handling the 2nd-most chances.
After splitting their series at Wrigley Field with the Cubs, the Phillies are now 6-5 during what we have described previously here at Phillies Nation as a 23-game “crucible”, a nearly month-long stretch against top-notch competition from outside the NL East Division. That stretch continues this weekend.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

  • Christian Yelich: clearly the Brewers top lineup threat, the 27-year-old Yelich was last year’s NL Most Valuable Player. He was also a first-time All-Star and captured his second career Silver Slugger Award. Yelich won a Gold Glove back in the 2014 season with the Miami Marlins, for whom he was a first round draft pick at 23rd overall back in 2010. Yelich was obtained by Milwaukee in a January 2018 trade for a four-prospect package. He is currently slashing .325/.440/.732 and leads the club in homers (19), RBIs (41), extra-base hits (26), runs (40) and steals (9).
  • Ryan Braun: still a threat at age 35, Braun is perhaps the biggest “Phillie-killer” in the game today. He was both the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year and the 2011 National League MVP. However, that MVP honor was tarnished when he later admitted to having used PEDs during that season, an infraction that cost him an 80-game suspension. His nine homers and 30 RBIs are both tied for second on the team this season. Braun is slashing .385/.428/.709 over his career against the Phillies across 76 games. His 25 homers and 73 RBIs against the Phillies are his most against a non-divisional opponent.
  • Mike Moustakas: ‘Moose’ was obtained by the Brewers from the Kansas City Royals just prior to last July’s trade deadline. He re-upped with Milwaukee for one year after becoming a free agent this past off-season, with an $11 million mutual option for the 2020 season. The dozen homers off his lefty bat are second on the club and his 30 RBIs are tied with Braun for second. He just recently moved from second base back to his more natural third base to accommodate the rookie you can read about in the below spotlight feature.
  • Yasmani Grandal: after winning four straight NL West crowns as the Los Angeles Dodgers starting catcher, Grandal  also signed a one-year deal with the Brewers as a free agent. He has a $16 million mutual option for next season. One of the top offensive backstops in the game, Grandal’s nine homers are tied with Braun for third on the club. He also holds a fine .374 on-base percentage.
  • Lorenzo Cain: Phillies fans will recall that Cain produced a five-hit game against their team just last week. He has gotten hot beginning with that game, slashing .389/.450/.556 over his last eight games. Now 33-years-old, Cain signed with Milwaukee as a free agent in January 2018 for five years, the dealing taking him through the 2022 season.
  • Jesus Aguilar: Aguilar burst onto the season as a first-time All-Star last year, blasting 35 home runs and producing 108 RBIs. However, he has started the 2019 season very cold, hitting just .200 with three RBIs and seven extra-base hits. He has lost playing time at first base over the last week to Thames (see below.)

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Keston Hiura: the Brewers top prospect was promoted to the big-leagues for the first time during last week’s series against the Phillies. The 22-year-old was Milwaukee’s first round pick at 9th overall in the 2017 MLB Draft out of the University of Cal-Irvine. After ripping minor league pitching at five levels over the next two years, he has slashed .273/.333/.455 with two homers over his first eight games in Major League Baseball and has taken over as the Brewers starting second baseman. He could end up holding the position for years to come.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

  • Chase Anderson: (FRI) 2-0, 2.66 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 4.27 FIP, 18 hits allowed over 23.2 IP across eight games (three starts) with a 25/13 K:BB ratio. Anderson spent time on the IL at the start of this month with a blister on his right pitching middle finger. He began the season in the bullpen before returning to the starting rotation on April 16.
  • Jhoulys Chacin: (SAT) 3-5, 4.65 ERA, 1.311 WHIP, 5.47 FIP, 44 hits over 50.1 IP across 10 starts with a 36/22 K:BB ratio.
  • Brandon Woodruff: (SUN) 6-1, 3.51 ERA, 1.225 WHIP, 3.23 FIP, 52 hits over 56.1 IP across 10 starts with a 65/17 K:BB ratio. One of the club’s top prospects for a couple of years, Woodruff debuted in 2017 and was a rookie last year when he pitched mostly out of the bullpen. He has finally seized a role in the rotation this season at age 26.

KEY BENCH & BULLPEN PIECES

  • Ben Gamel: a left-hander who turned 27-years-old last week. He has made 27 starts, mostly as a corner outfielder. Since the Phillies are likely to start a trio of right-handers on the mound this weekend, Gamel should see at least one start in place of Braun.
  • Eric Thames: a left-hander who is at least platooning at first base with Aguilar at this point. The 32-year-old veteran has 20 RBIs in just 125 plate appearances.
  • Josh Hader: the closer is one of the toughest left-handers in the game today. He has a dozen Saves with a 2.52 ERA and 0.640 WHIP in 19 games. A first-time All-Star a year ago, Hader has allowed just nine hits across 25 innings with a 49/7 K:BB ratio.
  • Junior Guerra: the club’s primary setup man, Guerra has a 2.39 ERA and 0.911 WHIP, allowing just 13 hits over 26.1 IP with a 22/11 K:BB across 21 games.
  • Jeremy Jeffress: another top righty out of the bullpen, Jeffress was an All-Star a year ago when he spent much of the season as the Brewers closer. This season he has a 2.93 ERA and 1.109 WHIP, allowing 11 hits over 15.1 IP across 14 appearances with a 16/6 K:BB ratio.
  • Alex Claudio: the most effective southpaw out of the pen, Claudio has made more appearances (27) than any Brewers reliever. He has allowed 16 hits over 20 innings with a 16/8 K:BB ratio.

THE SKIPPER

Craig Counsell is in his fifth year at the helm in Milwaukee, having taken over in the middle of the 2015 campaign. He has guided the club to an overall 345-330 record in that time. After his 2017 club missed an NL Wildcard playoff berth by just a single game, he led the team to a division crown last year.
Counsell played for 16 seasons in the big-leagues with five organizations. He played with Milwaukee in 2004 and then over his final five years from 2007-11. He was a teammate of Braun’s when the two faced the Phillies in the 2008 National League Division Series.
As a second baseman with the Florida Marlins, Counsell scored the title-winning run at Pro Player Stadium in Miami in the bottom of the 11th inning of the decisive Game 7 in the 1997 World Series. He reached on an error with one out, then came home three batters later on Edgar Renteria‘s single to center field.

THE BALLPARK

Bernie Brewer makes his slide after each Brewers home run and victory. (Mattingly23)
Miller Park opened as the Brewers home for the 2001 season. The facility features the only fan-shaped convertible roof in the United States, which can open and close in as little as 10 minutes. It holds 41,900 as a normal capacity but has been filled with a record 46,218 for a 2003 game with the rival Cubs.
Two of the unique fun features at Miller Park include the “Sausage Race“, a foot race between five people in “racing sausage” costumes, which takes place in the middle of the 6th inning of each game. And high above left-center field, the mascot “Bernie Brewer” takes off down a long, winding, yellow slide after each home run hit by the Brewers and after each of their victories.
During the traditional 7th-inning stretch, in addition to singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, Brewers fans also sing “Roll Out the Barrel” as a salute to the town’s beer-making history. Fans watching on television can usually spot “Front-Row Amy” sitting just behind home plate. Let’s just say that it’s hard to miss Amy Williams, who has held her $5,670 season ticket there for the last two years.
Following the 2020 season, Miller Park will no longer be known by that moniker. The naming rights to the stadium, which have belonged to the Miller Brewing Company for 20 years, will expire. Beginning with the 2021 season the park will be renamed for the new rights holders, American Family Insurance.

Phillies need to find a way to slow down Ryan Braun

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Ryan Braun has been a Phillies-killer for years

Over the course of his 13-year career in Major League Baseball, outfielder Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers has done a lot of damage against a lot of opposing teams.

Braun, who served a 65-game suspension back in 2013after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) during his 2011 National League MVP-winning campaign, has blasted 331 home runs over that career.
The Philadelphia Phillies have been victimized by Braun more than most, to the point that he is now high on the list of “Phillie-killers”, those players who consistently do damage when the two teams meet.
Over 74 regular season games played against the Phillies, 72 of those as starts, Braun is slashing .378/.417/.711 with 25 home runs, 71 RBIs, and 44 extra-base hits with a 1.129 OPS. He even hit the Phillies during the one postseason series between the two clubs. During that 2008 NLDS he delivered five hits and a pair of RBIs. Ironically, he went 0-4 in the lone Brewers victory of that series.
At Citizens Bank Park, Braun has ripped successive generations of Phillies pitching to the tune of a .406/.453/.804 slash line with 14 homers and 43 RBIs over 36 games.
During Tuesday night’s 6-1 victory for the Brewers, Braun crushed his ninth home run of the season. It was just another successful night in South Philly for the now 35-year-old slugger, who is enjoying his best power year since the 2016 season.
In addition to that tainted 2011 NL MVP Award, Braun has finished among the top three in the voting in two other seasons. He was the 2007 National League Rookie of the Year and is a six-time NL All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger.
After manager Craig Counsell sat him out for the previous three Brewers games, using him only as a pinch-hitter, Braun was back in the starting lineup to torture the Phillies last night. Fans who head down to the ball park tonight can expect to see him in there again, looking to continue his onslaught.
The Brewers (25-19) trail the first-place Chicago Cubs by 2.5 games in the NL Central Division race, but are five games back in the loss column. The Phillies (24-17) are 3.5 games up in the NL East Division standings, three in the loss column over the New York Mets.
Coming into this series, the Phillies had been finding a way to win despite consistently dropping their series openers. This time around they won that opener. In order to capture their fourth series in a row the Phillies need to slow down Braun and beat the Brew Crew on Wednesday night in this third of a four-game set.

WEDNESDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen CF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  7. Sean Rodriguez 3B
  8. Phil Gosselin LF
  9. Jake Arrieta P

BREWERS LINEUP

  1. Lorenzo Cain CF
  2. Christian Yelich RF
  3. Ryan Braun LF
  4. Mike Moustakas 3B
  5. Jesus Aguilar 1B
  6. Keston Hiura 2B
  7. Manny Pina C
  8. Orlando Arcia SS
  9. Gio Gonzalez P

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Jake Arrieta: 4-3, 3.78 ERA, 1.320 WHIP, 47 hits allowed over 50 innings across eight starts with a 42/19 K:BB.
  • Arrieta has six Quality Starts among his eight outings this season, but has lasted just five frames in two of his last three.
  • The Phillies right-hander has made 17 career starts vs the Brewers, going 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA, allowing just 69 hits over 100.2 innings. Arrieta lost both starts vs Milwaukee in 2018, giving up 8 earned runs and 11 hits over 8.2 innings.
  • After surrendering three home runs in his most recent start last Friday in Kansas City, Arrieta has now given up eight long balls on the year. His current 1.4 HR/9 is the highest since second big-league season back in 2011.
  • Gio Gonzalez: 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.938 WHIP, 11 hits allowed over 16 innings across three starts with a 12/4 K:BB.
  • Gonzalez has given the Brewers three straight starts of 5+ innings since his promotion after starting the season with three starts for Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre.
  • The lefty signed with the Brewers as a free agent on April 27 after being released by the Yankees five days earlier. He had signed on with the Yanks back in spring training after splitting last season with the Brewers and Nationals, the latter of whom he pitched with from 2012-18.
  • Gonzalez was once Phillies property, having been obtained from the Chicago White Sox as part of the Jim Thome – Aaron Rowand deal in 2005. The Phillies sent him back to the Chisox a year later along with Gavin Floyd in a trade for Freddy Garcia.

BRUCE WILLIS THROWING OUT FIRST PITCH

Golden Globe and two-time Emmy Award-winning actor Bruce Willis has starred in many films shot in the Philadelphia area: “The Sixth Sense”, for which he won a People’s Choice Award, and “12 Monkeys” among them. Willis family moved from Germany, where his father was in the U.S. military service, to New Jersey when he was just two years old. He grew up a Phillies fan in Carney’s Point, New Jersey and was a graduate of both Penns Grove High School and Montclair State University in New Jersey. He is taking batting practice prior to the game tonight and will be throwing out the honorary first pitch.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Maikel Franco has the second-best fielding percentage among all National League third basemen. After handling four chances cleanly on Tuesday night, Franco has gone 30 games since making his lone error of the season back on April 9. However, he is hitting just .042 in his career over 24 at-bats against Gonzalez, and so is out of the starting lineup on Wednesday.
  • Bryce Harper remains one of just four hitters in the National League with 25 RBis and 25 walks on the season. Two of the other three are playing in this series: Rhys Hoskins and Christian Yelich. Harper leads all of Major League Baseball with 163 walks since the start of the 2018 season. Harper and Andrew McCutchen are the only NL hitters with at least 25 runs scored and 30 walks this season.
  • Cesar Hernandez has 45 hits this season, second-most among all NL second basemen. He is slashing .348/.415/.522 since April 10, though without much run production.
  • After throwing out Orlando Arcia trying to steal second base and Lorenzo Cain trying to swipe third last night, Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto leads all of Major League Baseball with 15 runners thrown out this year, more than twice as many as the next highest backstop.
  • Jean Segura singled in the first inning last night, upping his first inning average to the .469 mark this year.
  • The Phillies currently have four right-handed relievers on the Injured List who were expected to be bullpen keys: David Robertson (right arm flexor strain), Victor Arano(right elbow), Tommy Hunter (right arm flexor strain) and Edubray Ramos (right biceps tendonitis). Ramos is expected to return next week, Arano possibly within two. Hunter hopes to begin a minor league rehab by the end of the month, and Robertson hopes to be back by the end of June.
  • Scott Kingery began a minor league rehab stint last night at Lakewood. He is expected to play twice this week at Double-A Reading and then return to the Phillies as a super-utility player this coming weekend.

WEDNESDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Final 2018 MLB Power Ranking

Ryan Braun and the Brewers ranked lowest
among MLB playoff teams
(Photo: Steve Paluch)
The 2018 Major League Baseball regular season has come to an end, and yet it still isn’t over. For the first time ever there will be a pair of “Game 163” events taking place.
The Chicago Cubs are hosting the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field at this very moment. The winner will be crowned champions of the National League Central Division. The loser will host the National League Wildcard Game tomorrow night.
Should the Cubbies win it would mark their third consecutive Central Division title. This will be their fourth straight postseason appearance. Back in 2015 the Cubs shut out the division-rival Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Wildcard Game behind a 4-0 gem from Jake Arrieta.
The Brew Crew last captured the division crown back in 2011. That was the first division title for the franchise since their move to the National League for the 1998 season.
Prior to that you would have to go all the way back to 1982 and the “Harvey’s Wallbangers” team that won a second consecutive American League East Division title to find the last Brewers division championship squad.
Beginning at 4:09PM EDT the Los Angeles Dodgers will host the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. The winner of that contest will be crowned as champions of the National League West Division. The loser will travel to either Chicago or Milwaukee, whichever also loses today, for a do-or-die meeting in that National League Wildcard Game on Wednesday night.
The Dodgers have been kings of this division for a long time now. Los Angeles has captured the last five National League West Division titles and seven of the last 10 division crowns.
Last year the Dodgers rolled through the division-rival Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cubs, losing just once en route to the franchise’ first World Series appearance in nearly three decades. There they were defeated in seven games by the Houston Astros.
The Rockies played their first season as an expansion team back in 1993, and they have never won a division title. Colorado has advanced to the postseason four times, three as the division runners-up. Last year saw the Rockies losing an 11-8 slug-fest in the NL Wildcard Game to the Dbacks after finishing third behind LA and Arizona in the division during the regular season.
The Atlanta Braves are sitting home, able to relax and enjoy a few days break after running away with the National League East Division title. It marked the first division crown for the Braves in five years. Atlanta will travel to play whichever club wins the west in one National League Division Series beginning on Thursday.
Whichever team captures the Central Division title will play host to the survivor of the NL Wildcard Game in the other National League Division Series. That series is also scheduled to open on Thursday.
Over in the American League the match-ups have been set for some time. It will be the New York Yankees hosting the Oakland Athletics at 8:00PM EDT on Wednesday night in the American League Wildcard Game.
The winner of that game will then travel up to Fenway Park in Boston to face the host Red Sox in one American League Division Series beginning on Friday night. The Cleveland Indians will visit the defending World Series champion Houston Astros in the other ALDS beginning on Friday evening at Minute Maid Park.
Those four division series are each a best-of-five games, played in a 2-2-1 format as to home field. The winners in each league would advance to face one another in a best-of-seven League Championship Series. The winner of those would then meet towards the end of October in the 2018 World Series.
I released my first 2018 MLB Power Ranking on July 1, when the season was three months old. There have been four more since that time. Each time saw the Astros either alone at the top or sharing the top spot.
That remains the case in the below final 2018 MLB regular season rankings. The old saying remains true. If you want to be the champ, you’ve got to beat the champ. The Brewers are the lowest-ranked among all of the MLB playoff teams at 13th overall.

My formula for compiling the rankings has remained unchanged. I researched each of the 30 MLB teams current position in the four categories of winning percentageruns scoredpitching OPS, and fielding percentage. I then assigned each of those rankings a 1-30 value and added them up to determine an overall score.
To show team progression or regression through the season, I have included where each ranked at the MLB All-Star Game break in mid-July, then on August 15, and then after Labor Day weekend from left-to-right in parentheses.
FINAL 2018 MLB REGULAR SEASON POWER RANKINGS
1. Houston Astros (1-1t-1)
2. Boston Red Sox (2-1t-2)
3. Oakland Athletics (11-7-6t)
4. New York Yankees (3-3-3)
5. Cleveland Indians (10-4t-5t)
6. Atlanta Braves (4-6-4)
7. Chicago Cubs (5-8-6t)
8. Los Angeles Dodgers (6-9t-10)
9. Colorado Rockies (9-9t-11)
10. Washington Nationals (13-11-9)
11. Tampa Bay Rays (15-16-12)
12. Arizona Diamondbacks (7-4t-8)
13. Milwaukee Brewers (8-14-14)
14. Los Angeles Angels (14-12-15)
15. Seattle Mariners (12-13-16)
16. Saint Louis Cardinals (18t-15-13)
17. New York Mets (24-26-20t)
18. Pittsburgh Pirates (18t-20-20t)
19. Minnesota Twins (17-18t-20t)
20. San Francisco Giants (20-18t-17)
21. Philadelphia Phillies (16-17-18t)
21. Cincinnati Reds (21-21-18t)
23. Toronto Blue Jays (25-24-23)
24. Miami Marlins (23-25-26)
25. Kansas City Royals (27t-27t-27)
26. Detroit Tigers (22-23-24t)
27. Texas Rangers (26-22-24t)
27. San Diego Padres (27t-28-29)
29. Chicago White Sox (30-29t-28)
30. Baltimore Orioles (29-29t-30)
As I’m a huge Philadelphia Phillies fan, a couple of final words about the club’s performance this season.
First, as you can see from their rank at the MLB All-Star break and on August 15, the Phillies were never better than a middle-of-the-pack ball club from a statistical perspective.
Second, you can also see that the team plummeted down five places over the final month. Any Phillies fan who sat through the last two months can understand why.
Finally, a look over the full rankings shows that the Phillies finished just fourth among the five National League East Division teams. In fact, when looking at the numbers behind the rankings, the club finished just ahead of Miami as well.
The 2018 Philadelphia Phillies finished in the middle-of-the-pack as far as the overall MLB standings are concerned. Their pitching staff was competitive enough to be ranked in the middle as well.
It was the club’s 29th-ranked defense and 21st-ranked offense that held them back. It will be the job of Phillies management and ownership to fix the position-player mix in the coming off-season if they want to truly become a contending team in the 2019 campaign.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “MLB Power Ranking – 2018 Regular Season Final