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NL Central closes gap vs AL East

The AL East remains well ahead of the field in the ESPN Stats & Information Divisional Power Rankings despite a strong month by the NL Central.

Overall, four of the top 13 teams in the ESPN.com power rankings reside in the AL East, including the Boston Red Sox, who went 4-2 on their most recent trip to the west coast against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.

Divisional Power Rankings
Through August 29

The NL Central gained almost 14 points on the AL East in the month of August, largely because of the strong months of its “stars”. Andrew McCutchen led the majors in batting average (.425) and OBP (.523) from August 1 to August 29. Similarly, Mat Latos posted a 1.73 ERA during that time, which ranked sixth in MLB.

As a result of these players and others like Adam Wainwright, Matt Carpenter and Joey Votto, the NL Central gained the most points in the section of the rankings that measure individual players’ performances.

The AL West was the biggest mover of the month, falling by 16.1 points from second place to fifth place. Overall, the AL West had the worst record (30-37) of any division in games outside of its division in the month. Oakland (9-7) was the only team that had a winning record in such games.

Although the Texas Rangers led MLB with a 19-6 record from August 1 to August 28, 16 of their wins were against fellow AL West opponents. The Rangers swept the Angels, Mariners and Astros (twice) in the month.

Next month is filled with important non-divisional matchups with playoff implications. The top two wild card teams in the AL meet to begin the month as Tampa Bay travels to Oakland starting on Friday. The next two teams in the AL wild card race, Cleveland and Baltimore, meet at Camden Yards beginning on Monday.

For any explanation of the rankings system, click here.