MLB Power Rankings: Giants, Blue Jays, Cardinals jump to the top
1. San Francisco Giants (32-18, previous: 3) – The Giants continue to roll, winners of four straight and seven of their last 10 games to get them back to the top spot in the rankings. Their plus-42 run differential is tied for best in the National League as they’ve outscored their opponents 25-13 in the last five games. The Giants will continue their series with the Cubs before going on the road for games against the Cardinals and Reds.
2. Oakland Athletics (31-20, previous: 1) – Oakland continues to play steady ball in the American League. The A’s plus-100 run differential blows away any other team in baseball by more than 50 runs. It’s their pitching that has been the key as their starters have a 2.83 ERA, the best in baseball. A tough test is on tap for the Athletics as they have three more games against the Tigers and will host the Angels this coming weekend in a battle of the top two AL West teams.
3. Toronto Blue Jays (30-22, previous: 11) – There is no hotter team in the American League than the Blue Jays right now as they have won seven games in a row and now sit atop the AL East standings on their own. Toronto is led by its offense as it has belted 73 home runs, by far the most in the American League. The Blue Jays will continue their 10-game homestand with games against the Athletics, Rays and Royals.
4. Milwaukee Brewers (30-22, previous: 4) – Milwaukee is in the midst of its first slump of the 2014 season as it has lost seven of its last 10, but the Brewers still remain atop the NL Central standings. The Brewers’ pitching has let them down of late as they’ve allowed five or more runs in five of their last eight games. After two more games with the Orioles at home, they will welcome the Cubs for three games, which should give them a good chance to get back to their winning ways.
5. St. Louis Cardinals (28-23, previous: 9) – Even after St. Louis’ loss on Monday to the Yankees, the Cardinals are still among the hottest teams in the National League, winners of seven of their last 10 games. The Cardinals’ pitching has regained their form as they currently hold a 3.24 team ERA, fifth in the NL. St. Louis is in the midst of an eight-game homestand as after the Yankees they will host the Giants and Royals.
6. Atlanta Braves (28-21, previous: 6) – It has been much of the same for the Braves as their pitching continues to lead them with a 2.95 starters’ ERA, the second best in the National League. Winners of six of their last 10 games, their offense is holding them back from opening up an even bigger lead in the NL East as they only average 3.44 runs a game, 14th in the National League.
7. Los Angeles Angels (28-22, previous: 7) – In most other divisions in the league, the Athletics would be running away with things, but the Angels haven’t allowed that to happen as they have been playing solid baseball. Averaging 4.84 runs a game, third the AL, has helped the Angels remain in striking distance and they will get even better offensively once Josh Hamilton returns from a wrist injury around the All-Star break.
8. Detroit Tigers (28-19, previous: 2) – After sweeping the Red Sox last weekend at Fenway Park, things have gone in the opposite direction as they have lost three in a row and seven of their last 10 games, including being outscored 34-6 in their last three games. Things don’t get much easier for Detroit this week as it has three more games with the Athletics and three more in Seattle.
9. Los Angeles Dodgers (28-24, previous: 12) – After Josh Beckett’s no-hitter on Sunday and with Hyun-Jin Ryu just six outs away from a perfect game the next day, the Dodgers could use this as momentum to get them back to first place in the NL West. They are 4.5 games behind the first place Giants, but if they can improve upon their 10-13 home record they could give San Francisco a lot to handle in the division.
10. Colorado Rockies (27-23, previous: 5) – If there were any doubts about the Rockies and their strong start, those have been put to rest, even with them losing six of their last 10 games and four of their last five. Colorado’s hitting has proven itself as being one of, if not the best offense in the game, but its pitching still needs to improve as it has a 4.19 ERA, 14th in the NL. The Rockies will wrap up an East Coast trip this week with games against the Phillies and Indians.
11. New York Yankees (27-23, previous: 8) – Following their extra innings win on Monday over the Cardinals, the Yankees are now on a three-game winning streak and have won seven of their last 10 games. The thing for the Yankees this season is that they are in the middle of the pack in a number of categories, both offensively and defensively and have been unable to gain separation in the AL East. After finishing their series against St. Louis, the Yankees will return home for a weekend series against the Twins.
12. Miami Marlins (27-25, previous: 10) – The Marlins continue to surprise many in the baseball world with a solid first two months of the season as they sit in second place in the NL East. They do need to start playing better away from home as they have a 20-8 home record, compared to 7-17 on the road. That road record will be put to the test as 11 of Miami’s next 14 games will be away from home.
13. Baltimore Orioles (26-23, previous: 14) – After losing four of five games, the Orioles have gotten things back on track, winning three of their last four. Right in the thick of things in the AL East, the O’s will look to get better pitching to improve upon their 4.16 team ERA, 10th in the AL. Baltimore has just begun a 10-game road trip with games against the Brewers, Astros and Rangers.
14. Texas Rangers (26-25, previous: 17) – The Rangers have started to play better of late – now that they have had a few players return from injuries – as they have won three straight games and six of their last 10. Playing in arguably the best division in baseball, they will need to start to get more consistent pitching as right now they have a 4.33 team ERA, 12th in the AL.
15. Seattle Mariners (25-25, previous: 16) – The Mariners had a great deal of success for a few weeks, but have fallen back to Earth as they are back to .500. Offense is a major problem for Seattle as their .234 batting average is the worst in the American League. The Mariners will continue their series with the Angels at home before hosting the Tigers over the weekend.
16. Chicago White Sox (26-27, previous: 24) – The White Sox are in second place in the AL Central, one of the worst divisions in baseball if you exclude Detroit. The White Sox’ powerful offense has been well publicized, but they cannot get any consistent pitching as their 4.71 team ERA is the worst in the American League.
17. Kansas City Royals (24-26, previous: 15) – Kansas City has lost six of its last 10 games and is not performing the way many expected them to after two months. The Royals’ offense has been their biggest flaw as they average just 3.92 runs a game, the second fewest in the American League. The Royals will finish their three-game set with the Astros before a weekend series against the hottest team in baseball in the Blue Jays.
18. Washington Nationals (25-26, previous: 13) – Washington seems to be on its way to another underachieving season as it has lost seven of its last 10 games and is now in third place in the NL East. The Nationals’ offense will need to be jumpstarted if they want to contend for a postseason berth. as currently they average 3.88 runs per game, 10th in the NL.
19. Cleveland Indians (24-28, previous: 23) – The Indians are playing better baseball of late, particularly in their series with the Tigers last week, but they still sit in last place in the AL Central. One positive to look at is their offense, as their .330 on-base percentage is fourth in the American League. The Indians will finish their series with the White Sox before hosting the Rockies for an interleague series over the weekend.
20. Minnesota Twins (23-25, previous: 18) – Things are starting to go in the wrong direction for the Twins as they have now lost four games in a row. Minnesota’s offense hasn’t done anything of late as in its last five games it has scored a total of eight runs. A tough stretch of games awaits the Twins as they will host the Rangers, followed road series’ against the Yankees and Brewers
21. Pittsburgh Pirates (23-27, previous: 27) – The Pirates are starting to get back to playing like they did for much of last season as they have won six of their last 10 games and five of their last six. Pitching and defense has been the key as they’ve limited their opponents to three runs or less in four of their last six games. The Pirates are currently beginning a 10-game road trip with stops in New York, Los Angeles and San Diego.
22. Tampa Bay Rays (23-29, previous: 26) – Tampa Bay is no longer in last place in the AL East thanks to the disastrous week by the Red Sox, but even so, things aren’t going great for the Rays. Tampa will get some players back from injuries soon, so they aren’t out of it yet by any means, but they’ll need to improve on their 3.96 runs a game, which ranks 13th in the AL.
23. San Diego Padres (23-29, previous: 19) – Losers of seven of its last 10 games, San Diego is back in the basement of the NL West with the Diamondbacks. The Padres have only managed 165 runs, the fewest in all of baseball. They’ll finish their series in Arizona before taking on the White Sox in Chicago over the weekend.
24. Cincinnati Reds (22-27, previous: 21) – After it appeared the Reds had turned a corner, they have gone back to their losing ways as they have lost three straight and six of their last 10 games. Their pitching was among the best in the NL, but they now have a 3.59 team ERA, ninth in the league. After being competitive the entire 2013 season, it’s been been pretty much the opposite so far in 2014.
25. New York Mets (22-28, previous: 22) – The Mets have lost seven of their last 10 games and after Monday’s loss they fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens and released reliever Jose Valverde. Their offense has been a major issue this season, ranking in the bottom third in the NL in most every offensive category. The Mets will play two games at home against the Pirates before departing for a 10-game road trip against the Phillies, Cubs and Giants.
26. Philadelphia Phillies (21-26, previous: 25) – Things aren’t getting much better for the Phillies as they have lost six of their last 10 games and have a 9-14 record at home. It’s been getting testy off the field, particularly involving closer Jonathan Papelbon and his availability. It led to a reportedly physical altercation with a reporter over the weekend. Their minus-36 run differential is second-to-worst in the National League. Philadelphia is currently on a nine-game homestand with games against the Rockies and Mets coming up.
27. Boston Red Sox (21-29, previous: 20) – Over Boston’s 10-game losing streak the offense averaged just 2.6 runs a game. Making matters worse, over the past week Felix Doubront, Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli were all placed on the DL. The silver lining for the Red Sox this season is that they are still in the division race, as no team has run away with it.
28. Arizona Diamondbacks (21-32, previous: 28) – The Diamondbacks have a brutal 7-18 record at home this season, leading to their poor start to the year. Arizona’s 4.56 team ERA is also the worst among National League teams.
29. Houston Astros (20-32, previous: 29) – Houston has started to play better of late, winners of three straight and six of its last 10. They do have a run differential of minus-49, by far the worst in the AL, which will need to be improved, but overall the Astros have showed some signs of organizational improvement.
30. Chicago Cubs (18-30, previous: 30) – Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija picked up his first victory since Aug. 24, 2013 in Monday’s win, as he came into the game winless, with a 1.46 ERA this season. He has been the lone bright spot for the Cubs and could be dealt as the trading deadline approaches.
*All stats and records are as of Tuesday, May 27.
Follow Metro sports writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter: @RyanHannable