MLB Power Rankings: Red Sox slide into second behind Cardinals
1. St. Louis Cardinals (44-25, previous No. 1) – The Cardinals continued their consistent play and remain at the top of the rankings once again this week. They could have fallen out of the top spot by playing their last nine games on the road, but they went 5-4 in that stretch and maintained their major league best plus-102 run differential, as well as the best road record in all of baseball at 25-13. The open up a seven-game homestand Monday against the Cubs and Rangers.
2. Boston Red Sox (42-29, previous No. 3) – Even though the Sox dropped three-of-four to the Orioles over the weekend, they still move up a spot in the rankings because of their success over the Rays earlier in the week. Despite leading the AL East the Sox still have their flaws, especially in the starting rotation of late. The starters are not making it deep into games and injuries have set in. They will return home for three games in two days with the Rays beginning Tuesday before departing for Detroit.
3. Oakland Athletics (42-29, previous No. 5) – The A’s continue to surprise the baseball world and are now atop the American League West standings following an impressive three-game sweep of the Yankees this past week. Pitching has been the key for the Athletics as their 3.64 ERA was third in the AL going into Sunday. Oakland will be put to the test this week with its next seven games on the road against the Rangers and Mariners.
4. Cincinnati Reds (42-28, previous No. 5) – A 5-2 week kept pace with the division leading Cardinals, but the Reds just cannot find anyway to gain much ground on them of late as they trail by 2.5 games after Sunday. Their pitching has been outstanding of late, holding opponents to two runs or less in four of their last seven games. They will host the Pirates for a four-game series this week.
5. Atlanta Braves (41-28, previous No. 2) – Atlanta took the final two games of its weekend series with the Giants, but those were its only two wins of the week. In turn, they drop three spots here. The Braves were outscored 21-12 in their four straight losses to the Padres and Giants. The Braves have a golden opportunity to get back on the winning track as they will play five games in four days against the Mets.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates (41-28, previously No. 7) – The Pirates continue to hang tough in the difficult NL Central, trailing the Cardinals by just three games after Sunday. As has been the case in the past few years their pitching has led the way, especially now with young phenomenon Gerrit Cole joining the rotation. Their staff is third in the NL in ERA (3.34) as of Sunday, but things will get very challenging for the Pirates as they begin a nine-game road trip taking on the Reds, Angels and Mariners.
7. Baltimore Orioles (40-30, previous No. 10) – Baltimore is coming off an impressive weekend series against the Red Sox as they won three-of-four and now are in second place in the AL East standings. Their offensive has picked it up as of late as they are now third in the entire American League, averaging 4.86 runs per game going into Sunday. A difficult stretch awaits the Orioles with their next six games away from Camden Yards against the Tigers and Blue Jays.
8. Detroit Tigers (38-29, previous No. 9) – After struggling a few weeks back, the Tigers have turned things around and now have a stranglehold on the AL Central. They have won seven of their last 10 after Sunday’s win, including taking two-of-three at Minnesota over the weekend. Detroit will now be at home for their next 10 games where they are 22-10, taking on the Orioles, Red Sox and Angels.
9. Texas Rangers (38-31, previous No. 4) - Texas had the worst week of the top teams in the rankings and thus dropped five spots. The Rangers have lost six in a row after Sunday, including being swept at home by the Blue Jays over the weekend, in which they were outscored 24-4 in the four-game series. They have now fallen out of first place in the AL West and trail the A’s by three games, who they host for four games this week.
10. New York Yankees (38-31, previous No. 8) – It wasn’t the best of weeks for the Yankees as they lost five in a row on their West Coast trip before topping the Angels on Sunday. They just cannot seem to catch a break on the injury front, as it appears Mark Teixeira reinjured his wrist, which forced him to miss the first month and a half of the season. The Yankees return home Tuesday for six games against the Dodgers and Rays as they look to move up the AL East standings.
11. Colorado Rockies (37-33, previous No. 13) – After a .500 week the Rockies now sit a half game behind the NL West leading Diamondbacks, but have won four of their last seven and are playing good baseball of late. They are second in the National League in runs per game with 5.03 going into Sunday. Colorado will be put to the test as it is set to begin a nine-game road trip traveling to Toronto, Washington and Boston.
12. Arizona Diamondbacks (37-32, previous No. 12) – Despite being swept by the Padres over the weekend, the Diamondbacks still lead the NL West, although by the slimmest of margins. This division is one of the most balanced in all of baseball as every team is above .500 except the Dodgers. Their offense has also been the key to their success as they average 4.40 runs per game, the fifth most in the NL. The Diamondbacks will play their next six games at home as they host the Marlins and Reds this week.
13. Tampa Bay Rays (36-33, previous No. 11) – A 2-5 week has the Rays in fourth place in a very competitive American League East. Their offensive has been scuffling of late as they’ve scored three runs or less in four out of their last five games. Their next 10 games are against AL East opponents, first with three games in two days in Boston starting on Tuesday.
14. San Diego Padres (35-35, previous No. 18) - The Padres made the biggest jump of any team this week, moving up four spots thanks to their six-game win streak. Despite being in fourth place in the NL West, they are just two games out of first place going into this week. Their next six games will give them a good chance to improve on that fourth place mark as they are all against division opponents.
15. Washington Nationals (34-34, previous No. 15) – Even though the division leading Braves struggled this week the Nats couldn’t gain any ground as they went .500 and still trail by six games after Sunday, but they did get Stephen Strasburg back from the disabled list Sunday in their 2-0 loss to the Indians. They will travel to Philadelphia for three games to begin the week before hosting the Rockies for four games next weekend.
16. San Francisco Giants (35-32, previous No. 14) - It wasn’t an ideal week for the Giants as they lost four of six games and are now in third place in the competitive NL West. The silver lining has been their offense, which has been pretty good of late, scoring six or more runs in six of their last 10 games. The Giants will open a seven-game homestand beginning with the Padres on Monday.
17. Philadelphia Phillies (33-37, previous No. 16) - The Phillies are hurtin’ as of late as after Sunday they have now lost eight of their last 10 games, all of which came on the road. They still remain in third place in the NL East, but still well back of the first place Braves. Their next six games are against NL East opponents as the Nationals and Mets will all make trips to Citizens Bank Park.
18. Cleveland Indians (34-34, previous No. 17) – The Indians were a top-10 team a few weeks back, but now are barley cracking the rankings. Even though they are in second place in the AL Central, they’ve lost nine of their last 14 after Sunday. Pitching has been the biggest issue for the Indians as they have the third highest ERA in all of the American League. They do have a chance to pick up a few games as they host the Royals and Twins this week.
19. Toronto Blue Jays (27-35, previous No. 20) – The Blue Jays are easily the best last place team in baseball as the Rangers found out the hard way this past weekend with Toronto taking all four games. They’ve won eight of the last 10 and will now be at home for their next six, taking on the Orioles and Rockies.
20. Los Angeles Angels (30-39, previously not ranked) – Despite being one of the best teams on paper, the Angels just cannot get anything going and still remain in third place in the AL West, not anywhere near a playoff spot. Even with their powerful lineup they are right in the middle of the AL in runs per game with 4.46. They will continue their 10-game homestand with games against the Mariners and Pirates this week.
*Stats and records through Sunday, June 16
Follow Metro MLB writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @hannable84