With the calendar turning to August, there are officially only two months left in the 2019 MLB regular season. Houston’s trade to acquire Zack Greinke was the most significant move made before the MLB trade deadline, but most of the league’s top teams also made moves to help prepare them for a playoff push.
Let’s take a look at the top four teams in the American League and the National League in the MLB standings heading into August.
Houston Astros: 70-40 (1st in AL West)
The Astros became the first team to 70 wins in the American League with their win over the Cleveland Indians on August 1. Houston now has a starting staff featuring four pitchers in the top 12 league-wide in ERA with Justin Verlander (2.73), Gerrit Cole (2.87), Zack Greinke (2.90) and Wade Miley (3.06). Couple that with a red-hot offense and you are looking at the team to beat in the AL.
New York Yankees: 68-39 (1st in AL East)
The Yankees missed out on a golden opportunity to upgrade their pitching staff at the trade deadline. New York may still have the most formidable offense in the majors, but the path to a World Series win likely goes through the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers; two teams with deep, elite pitching staffs that will put the Yankees at a disadvantage.
Minnesota Twins: 66-42 (1st in AL Central)
The Twins acquired Sergio Romo before the trade deadline to help shore up their bullpen. Romo has appeared in two games for the Twins so far and has retired all three batters that he’s faced in both outings. Minnesota is 5-2 over its last seven games, holding off Cleveland for the top spot in the AL Central for the time being.
Cleveland Indians: 63-45 (1st in AL Wild Card)
The Indians added two big bats to their lineup when they traded Trevor Bauer for Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes. Cleveland still has 10 head-to-head games with the Minnesota Twins remaining on its schedule that could help the team close the gap in the American League’s most competitive division race.
Los Angeles Dodgers: 72-39 (1st in NL West)
The Dodgers decided not to overpay for relief pitching help at the trade deadline and to instead stick with the team they have moving forward. It’s hard to blame them; Los Angeles has the best record in baseball, the best run differential (+171 runs this season), the fourth-best offense in the league (5.43 runs per game), and the best team ERA in the league (3.38). A third straight trip to the World Series seems quite likely.
Atlanta Braves: 65-45 (1st in NL East)
The Braves made some moves to shore up their bullpen, adding Detroit Tigers closer Shane Greene and San Francisco Giants reliever Mark Melancon. Atlanta is the one team in the National League playoff picture that has the offense to give the Dodgers a sweat averaging 5.35 runs per game.
St. Louis Cardinals: 58-50 (1st in NL Central)
The Cardinals took the temporary lead in the NL Central with an 8-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on August 1. With the Cardinals, Cubs, and Milwaukee Brewers all currently sitting within two games of each other in the MLB standings, this is going to be the league’s most exciting division race down the stretch.
Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies: 57-51 (T-1st in NL Wild Card)
Speaking of exciting races, the NL wild card race is going to be a doozy as well. These three teams are all firmly in the hunt for a playoff spot and the Brewers and San Francisco Giants aren’t far behind.