Astros are AL favorites, Yankees fade in standings


The New York Yankees have gone 16-26 since the All-Star break, allowing their division rivals back into the American League East race and the Houston Astros to take a commanding lead for home-field advantage.

New York was once on pace to break the club’s 114-win record but now will have to finish 20-14 just to end up with 100 wins. 

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The Yankees lost two of three against the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend and enter Monday with a five-game cushion. The two teams will face off again this weekend at Yankee Stadium, their final meeting of the season.

Here’s how the USA TODAY Sports panel voted this week:

Rank (movement from last week)

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (–) 

  • NL ERA leader Julio Urias is 8-1 with a 1.13 mark in his past nine starts.

2. Houston Astros (+1)

  • Lance McCullers Jr. threw a season-high 97 pitches in his fourth start of 2022.

3. New York Mets (-1)

  • Seven of the Mets’ next 13 games are against the Pirates.

4. Atlanta Braves (–)

5. St. Louis Cardinals (+1)

  • Albert Pujols hit career home run No. 695 on Sunday.

6. New York Yankees (-1)

  • Had their AL East lead cut to four games for the first time in nearly four months.

7. Tampa Bay Rays (+1)

  • Corey Kluber has a 1.07 ERA in four starts against the Yankees this season.

8. Seattle Mariners (+1)

  • Starter George Kirby was named AL Rookie of the Month for August.

9. Toronto Blue Jays (+2)

  • Tough four-game set in Baltimore starts with Monday doubleheader.

10. San Diego Padres (+2)

  • Sean Manaea has an 8.36 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break.

11. Philadelphia Phillies (-4)

  • They’ve got home series against Marlins and Nationals after going 1-5 last week.

12. Baltimore Orioles (+1)

  • Gunnar Henderson had three extra-base hits in his first five big-league games.

13. Cleveland Guardians (-3)

  • In a pennant race, Zach Plesac broke his hand punching the mound

14. Milwaukee Brewers (+1)

15. Minnesota Twins (-1)

  • Dylan Bundy has a 2.63 ERA in his last five starts.

16. Chicago White Sox (+2)

  • Dylan Cease (2.13 ERA) should receive some first-place Cy Young votes.

17. Boston Red Sox (-1)

  • Outfield prospect Triston Casas gets the call-up to Boston.

18. San Francisco Giants (-1)

  • Giants used 23 players in a 5-4 win over the Phillies on Saturday.

19. Arizona Diamondbacks (–)

20. Texas Rangers (–)

  • In the past 30 days, Nathaniel Lowe leads MLB in average (.388), OBP (.462) and OPS (1.142).

21. Los Angeles Angels (+2)

22. Miami Marlins (-1)

  • Marlins have a stretch of 17 games in 16 days starting Tuesday.

23. Chicago Cubs (-1)

  • Franmil Reyes (.281 average, .510 slugging) has been a big contributor since joining the Cubs.

24. Colorado Rockies (–)

  • Michael Toglia, Colorado’s 2019 first-round pick, makes his major-league debut.

25. Kansas City Royals (+1)

  • Bobby Witt Jr. is the fifth player to hit 20 homers with 20 steals in their first season.

26. Cincinnati Reds (-1)

  • Spencer Steer, acquired in Tyler Mahle trade, homers in big-league debut.

27. Detroit Tigers (–)

  • Austin Meadows ends his 2022 season early for mental health reasons. 

28. Oakland Athletics (–)

  • Outfielder Ramon Laureano could return from injury this week.

29. Pittsburgh Pirates (–)

  • Opponents hit .189 against Roansy Contreras in his last four starts.

30. Washington Nationals (–)

  • Taking two of three at Citi Field over the weekend was cause for celebration.