Happy 240th birthday America. Let’s celebrate this glorious day by discussing America’s pastime: the wonderful sport of baseball. We haven’t seen too much change as far as rankings go within the past week, but some highlights to mention – the Indians set a franchise record with a 14-game win streak before it was snapped on Saturday, the Cubs have continued their mid-season slump, and the other two teams that finished in the top three last week have also looked vulnerable within the past seven days. So here we go. This edition of our power rankings is for you, Uncle Sam.
30. Atlanta Braves (28-54, previously 29)
It was an awesome sight to see the Braves host a game on-site at Fort Bragg in North Carolina on Sunday night, but it was tough last week for Atlanta, getting swept by the Indians at home (part of a 14 game Cleveland winning streak) before eventually dropping the highly anticipated Sunday night game to the Marlins by a score of 5-2. Atlanta is now 29 games below .500 in home contests.
29. Minnesota Twins (27-54, previously 30)
Hey now, the Twins took two straight from the MLB-leading Rangers this weekend, putting up 17 runs on the board on Saturday. Not bad for a team that has struggled so heavily all season long.
28. Cincinnati Reds (30-53, previously 28)
The Reds ended up on the wrong side of history last week when they allowed three homers and two doubles to Kris Bryant in a single game, the first time a Cubs player had done so in more than 100 years. They’ve gone 2-8 in their last ten, and to make matters worse, they are likely enjoying their final days with slugger Jay Bruce in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline.
27. Tampa Bay Rays (33-48, previously 27)
Tampa was swept by Detroit over the weekend to put the Rays at four straight losses. To show you just how bad things are, they’ve only won two of their last 17 games. Not going to cut it in this league.
26. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (33-49, previously 25)
The Angels have only won two of their last ten games, their woes including a sweep at the hands of the Astros last week at the Big A. Meanwhile, one of those two victories was a 21-2 rout over Boston in which C.J. Cron went 6-6 with two homers. Too bad the Angels couldn’t spread some of the runs around to other contests where they desperately needed them, as they are instead on pace for their worst season in the 55 year history of the franchise.
25. Oakland Athletics (35-47, previously 24)
It seemed like the A’s had something going for them when they took back to back series by the score of 3-1 against the Angels and Giants before getting swept by Pittsburgh at home this weekend. Oakland is now sliding back as they are riding a four game losing streak, but they may get some relief as they head north to face the Twins this week.
24. Philadelphia Phillies (37-46, previously 26)
Finally the Phillies have found a little life, going 7-3 in their last 10 contests. They managed to take two out of three at home this weekend against the defending-champion Kansas City Royals, and Odubel Herrea is batting .301 to lead the way for Philadelphia. It just may be too little too late for this team after they got off to a hot start only to have an incredibly awful stretch from mid May to late June.
23. Milwaukee Brewers (35-46, previously 23)
The Crew couldn’t couldn’t contain the Cards this weekend, as they were swept in St. Louis to put Milwaukee at four straight losses. Milwaukee’s road record of 13-26 this season is the second worst in baseball behind the Reds’ record of 12-28. Meanwhile, trade talk continues regarding Ryan Braun, but it now appears many teams may be hesitant to pursue the 32 year old given his history with injuries and PEDs.
22. San Diego Padres (35-47, previously 22)
Petco Park was lit Saturday night when Justin Upton delivered a walk-off homer against the visiting New York Yankees, yet San Diego still finds themselves in last place in the NL West. They may be able to dig themselves out of the cellar this week depending on how they fare against their division-rival Arizona Diamondbacks, who only sit one game ahead of San Diego entering the series.
21. Colorado Rockies (37-44, previously 21)
The Rockies may have done themselves in this past week, not only riding a five game losing streak but getting swept in three games by the Los Angeles Dodgers to lose even more ground in the division race, something that Colorado had been clinging on for dear life to in the past weeks to even stay relevant. On the brighter side of things, Nolan Arenado almost seems to be a lock for the home run derby next week as he sits in a tie with Adam Duvall for the most homers in the NL this season at 22.
20. Arizona Diamondbacks (37-47, previously 20)
Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt continued to dominate the San Francisco Giants at the plate this weekend, but Arizona was only to effectively take advantage of a shaky San Francisco bullpen once this week, dropping two out of three to their NL West Rivals at home, a team they are now 1-7 against this year in the desert. Home field advantage has not been much of a thing anyways for the Diamondbacks this season, as their 14-30 record at Chase Field is the second-worst home record in all of baseball behind the Braves.
19. New York Yankees (40-41, previously 15)
It was an interesting week for the Bronx Bombers. On Tuesday, they finished a game around 3 in the morning after a lengthy rain delay. On Wednesday, they struck six times in the ninth to win after being down by four runs entering the final inning. On Saturday, they were the victims of a walk-off. At the end of the day – another stretch of .500 baseball that has them one game below such a mark on the season. Currently they only remain 3.5 games back of the second wildcard seed in the AL.
18. Seattle Mariners (43-39, previously 19)
Seattle got the wake-up call that it needed after falling all the way back to .500 on the season, as they swept the AL East-leading Orioles this week to build a four game win streak and move into a tie with Houston for 2nd place in the AL West. The two will now play each other this week to see who claims sole possession of that spot.
17. Chicago White Sox (42-40, previously 17)
Chicago got back above the .500 mark this week by stifling the red-hot Astros, taking two of three against them in South Texas over the weekend. Before that, a 2-1 series win over the Twins, giving the Sox a 4-2 week that also saw Chris Sale hit the 14 win mark on Saturday. Time will tell if Chicago has indeed broken out of its month and half long slump.
16. Pittsburgh Pirates (41-41, previously 16)
The Pirates are back to .500 after a sweep of Oakland this weekend and have now won seven of their past ten games. Starling Marte has been a big part of the recent success, as he has now gotten his batting average all the way up to a team leading .322. Pittsburgh will have a chance to gain even more ground in the AL Central as they travel to St. Louis this week, a team they sit 2.5 game behind in the division for second place.
15. Kansas City Royals (43-38, previously 12)
Kansas City failed to win a series against the lowly Phillies this weekend out east, and have now fallen six games behind the Indians for first place in the AL Central. If pitching problems weren’t already prevalent enough for KC, they faced yet another setback over the weekend as ace Yordano Ventura left the game with a sprained ankle. The Royals head north of the border today to begin a series with the Blue Jays.
14. St. Louis Cardinals (43-38, previously 14)
The Cardinals swept the Brewers at home this weekend to move to five games above .500, gaining three games on the NL Central leading Cubs in the process, now only eight games out of first place. Matt Carpenter is not alone in offensive production for the Cards, as Aledmys Diaz has gone on a tear to raise his batting average all the way up to a formidable .317. The possibility of St. Louis or even Pittsburgh ending up on top of the division at the end of the season may be unthinkable right now, but things certainly seem to be trending the right direction for those clubs while not so much for the Cubbies at the moment.
13. Detroit Tigers (44-38, previously 18)
Roar. After suffering a sweep at the hands of the Indians just a week ago, the Tigers have now won six straight games, capped off by a sweep over the ice-cold Rays this weekend in the Sunshine state. Detroit remains 5.5 games out of first place but will have the chance to close in on Cleveland as they head to the shores of Lake Eerie to begin a series with the Tribe tonight.
12. Houston Astros (43-39, previously 11)
The Astros finally encountered some trouble this weekend as they ran into Chris Sale and the White Sox, dropping two out of three to their visitors from the South Side. Nonetheless, the ‘stros were able to complete a three game sweep of the Angels earlier in the week, and they have still remained on an absolute tear since the end of May, posting a 26-11 record since May 24. George Springer and Jose Altuve can largely be thanked for that with the way they’ve played of late.
11. Miami Marlins (43-39, previously 8)
Miami took home the victory in the Fort Bragg contest on Sunday night, but couldn’t take home a series victory against the lowly Braves as they split the series two games apiece. The Fish has now fallen behind the Mets to move into third place in the NL East, but they will have the chance to get 2nd place back as they head to Queens this week.
10. Toronto Blue Jays (45-39, previously 9)
The Jays were able to put at end to the Indians’ record 14-game win streak by putting up 26 runs on them in two days, including a 17-1 rout on Sunday afternoon in Toronto. Despite only playing .500 in their past 10 games, Toronto now sits only 3.5 games out of first place behind Baltimore in AL East.
9. Boston Red Sox (44-37, previously 6)
Boston’s pitching has taken a beating over the past few weeks, and if anyone hand’t already figured that out, they sure as well have now after the Red Sox surrendered an MLB season-high 21 runs to the lowly Angels on Saturday night. The woes only make it seem more and more certain a big pitching trade is in the works, one that will likely involve Clay Buchholz to some capacity given he is now 3-9 on the season. The Red Sox won’t get any relief this week either has they host the hard hitting Rangers for a series at a hitter-friendly stadium in the form of Fenway Park.
8. New York Mets (44-37, previously 13)
Some advice: never bet against the Mets when it comes to facing the Cubs. Just like last October, the Mets swept the Cubs in four games this weekend at home, a sweep that featured a 466 ft. Yoenis Cespedes homer on Thursday and onslaughts of 10-2 and 14-3 on Friday and Sunday, respectively. The four straight wins for New York now put them only 3.5 games behind the Nationals for first place in the NL East.
7. Baltimore Orioles (47-34, previously 5)
Baltimore may have set a all-time June record of 56 home runs at the conclusion of the month last week, but the O’s suffered a costly four game sweep at the hands of the Mariners this week to fall to only a mere six games above .500. The O’s pitching staff was to blame, surrendering at least 5 runs each contest, including 12 on Saturday’s loss. Baltimore’s historic hitting has been what has carried this team all year long, and it will be interesting to see how long it can sustain itself as we close in on the half-way point of the season. At least the pitching won’t get any relief as it faces the powerful bats of the Los Angeles Dodgers this week at Chavez Ravine.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (47-37, previously 10)
No Kershaw. No Problem. Even without their ace, the Dodgers have been playing exceptionally well behind a strong offense composed of young players such as Corey Seager and Trayce Thompson in addition to some more tenured players such as Justin Turner and Yasmani Grandal. The Dodgers swept Colorado at home this weekend and have now won four straight, slowly inching their way back in the division race from eight games out of first last week to now only five games behind the Giants.
5. Washington Nationals (50-33, previously 7)
The Nats got back to their winning ways last week, riding a 7-3 stretch to their 50th win of the season with a little relief of playing the lowly Cincinnati Reds – a team they put double digit runs against twice over the course of the four game series during the weekend. Bryce Harper may only be batting .261, but Wilson Ramos and Daniel Murphy have provided Washington with plenty of offense batting .343 and .348 respectively. On the mound, Stephen Strasburg came off the DL and won his first game back in which he took a no hitter into the 7th inning, now moving to a perfect 11-0 on the year.
4. Chicago Cubs (51-29, previously 3)
If this was a league standings chart, the Cubs would be higher, but it simply wouldn’t be fair for me to put Chicago in the top three based on the week they had against some others that are right up there with them. In an all too familiar series to the Cubs’ faithful, the squad was swept by the Mets in four games over the weekend to put the Cubbies at four straight losses, their second losing streak of such in as many weeks. And twice in that sweep, the Cubs allowed 10+ runs. We can talk about how they swept the Reds last week, but any team of their caliber should sweep Cincinnati with ease. Nonetheless, Kris Bryant hitting 3 homers and 2 doubles in one game was otherworldly, and should be applauded.
3. Cleveland Indians (49-32, previously 4)
Before they took a beating from Toronto on Saturday and Sunday, the Indians won FOURTEEN games in a row, something no Tribe team had ever done before in franchise history. Cleveland has now built a 5.5 game lead in the AL Central, but they will be challenged this week as they host the red-hot Tigers who have won six straight games. Cleveland however can take comfort in the fact that they completed a sweep of the Tigers in Detroit just a week ago. And then there is SS Francisco Lindor, who just can’t be stopped with a BA of .300 and 53 runs batted in on the season. Whatever it is that is fueling them, one thing is certain: This Cleveland team is special.
2. San Francisco Giants (52-32, previously 2)
The Giants surprisingly dropped the first three games of the Bay Bridge Series (one in which they scored 11 runs and still lost) before they forfeited the DH on Thursday to let Madison Bumgarner hit. It worked pretty well as he got the win and recorded a double in the contest. The Giants would then take two of three against Arizona this weekend to move into a tie for an MLB leading 52 wins. Injuries however have hit the Giants hard of late, as starters Matt Duffy, Hunter Pence and Joe Panik are all on the DL. The bullpen has raised serious concerns too, blowing an eighth inning lead three times this week to move to 16 blown leads on the season, the second most in all of baseball. That however hasn’t kept San Francisco from winning ballgames as their record shows.
1. Texas Rangers (52-31, previously 1)
The Rangers retain their No. 1 ranking for the second week in a row, but like the Giants and Cubs they also had a bit of a shaky week, a stretch that began with a 9th inning fiasco in the Bronx on Wednesday in which the squad blew a four run ninth inning lead by surrendering six runs en route to a Yankees walk off homer. The Rangers then lost two of three in Minneapolis to the lowly Twins over the weekend, surrendering an uncharacteristic 17 runs on Saturday afternoon. Despite the rough patch in the past five games, the Rangers still hold an 8.5 game lead for first place in the AL West and look hard to catch at this rate.
Biggest Jump: Detroit Tigers, New York Mets (+5)
Biggest Drop: New York Yankees (-4)