MLB Power Rankings: Cardinals continue to dominate
1. St. Louis Cardinals (41-22, previous No. 1) – There is no change at the top as the Cardinals continue to be the best team in all of baseball. Coming off their impressive 11-4, 10 inning win on Sunday night over the Reds they have won three of their last four and have a major league leading plus-98 run differential. The Cards begin a six-game road trip Tuesday, but with games against the Mets and Marlins they should have no trouble remaining No. 1 in the rankings come next week.
2. Atlanta Braves (39-24, previous No. 3) – A 7-3 record in their last 10 games is tied for the best in baseball and thus moves the Braves up a spot in the rankings. After sweeping the Pirates they were defeated by the Dodgers in the first two games of a weekend series, but bounced back by winning the final two, limiting the Dodgers to just one run in each of the games. Atlanta will continue its West Coast trip with a three-game series against the Padres.
3. Boston Red Sox (39-25, previous No. 5) – The Red Sox may be one of the biggest surprises in all of baseball following their 69-win season last year. Taking two of three from both the Rangers and Angels last week kept the Sox in first place in the AL East. Their starting pitching staff as a whole is beginning to come together and it’s no longer just Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester. The group allowed just 12 runs combined in the six games. The Sox will now begin a 10-game stretch against AL East opponents.
4. Texas Rangers (37-25, previous No. 2) — A tough 2-4 week against the Red Sox and Blue Jays on the road dropped the Rangers down two spots to No. 4. Their offense was the issue as they only scored more than three runs twice in the six games, with their highest being six coming on Sunday. They will look to get back into the top-three with an 11-game homestand where they are an AL leading 18-8 at home this year.
5. Oakland Athletics (38-27, previous No. 7) – The A’s played all of their games on the road this past week, finishing with a 4-3 record, and are now just behind the Rangers for first place in the AL West. A month ago this didn’t seem possible as the A’s were truly struggling, but their offense has been clicking as they entered Sunday scoring the fourth most runs in the AL. Oakland will now play its next six games at home against the Yankees and Mariners.
6. Cincinnati Reds (37-26, previous No. 4) – It wasn’t the best of weeks for the Reds as they’ve lost four of their last five going into Monday, including two of three to the Cardinals at home over the weekend. They’ve been outscored 39-18 in those five games. They do have a good opportunity to get back on the winning track with a four-game series in Chicago against the Cubs this week.
7. Pittsburgh Pirates (37-26, previously No. 6) – A major reason why the Pirates continue to play well is their pitching, both starting and out of the bullpen. After Sunday their bullpen ERA was 2.70, ranking first in the NL and team ERA is 3.22, good for third in the NL. The Pirates play their next six games at home against the Giants and Dodgers.
8. New York Yankees (37-26, previous No. 9) – The Yankees enjoyed a 6-1 week, but the Red Sox played solid ball as well so they could not gain any ground in the standings. Pitching and defense got it done for the Yanks as they allowed just one run in three of their last four games. They will wrap up their 10-game West Coast swing with games against the A’s and Angels this week.
9. Detroit Tigers (35-26, previous No. 15) – Despite their record, the Tigers have the best run differential in the AL at plus-82 and everyone knows they will be right in the playoff mix come September. They are aided by playing in one of the worst divisions in all of baseball, the AL Central, but still have beaten some quality teams along the way. The will open a six-game road trip against the Twins and Royals beginning Monday as they look to maintain their division lead.
10. Baltimore Orioles (35-28, previous No. 8) – Baltimore went .500 on its six-game road trip this past week and still remain in third place in the competitive AL East. Their offense continues to lead the way as going into Sunday they were fourth in the AL in runs per game with 4.87. If they want to get back to the playoffs for a second straight season their pitching, particularly starting pitching, will need to step up.
11. Tampa Bay Rays (34-28 previous No. 11) – If only the Rays were in another division as they’ve won 10 of their last 14 games but still remain in fourth place in the AL East. Inconsistent offense has been their Achilles heel as one night they will score double-digit runs and the next barely score two. The Rays will welcome the Red Sox and Royals to town for a seven-game homestand.
12. Arizona Diamondbacks (35-28, previous No. 10) – Although the NL West might be one of the worst divisions in baseball, it may be the most competitive where the Diamondbacks find themselves atop the standings. This could change in a blink of an eye as they are beginning a six-game stretch of games on the road – all against division opponents.
13. Colorado Rockies (34-30, previous No. 14) – A 4-2 week has propelled the Rockies to second place and they are threatening the Diamondbacks for first place. Their offense has led the charge as they are third in all of baseball in runs and fourth in batting average. The Rockies will play their next six games at home taking on the Nationals and Phillies.
14. San Francisco Giants (33-29, previous No. 13) — A 3-2 week has the Giants right there with the Rockies threatening the Diamondbacks. Pitching has been very good of late for the Giants as they’ve allowed three runs or less in four of their last six games. The Giants now begin a tough six game stretch on the road against the Pirates and Braves.
15. Washington Nationals (31-31, previous No. 16) — The Nats had two games rained out this week, but of the games they played they went 3-2, including sweeping a doubleheader with the Twins on Sunday. They still sit in second place in the NL East, but aren’t anywhere close to the first place Braves. With the wild card a more likely scenario than the division title down the road, they will take to the road for nine straight games beginning with the Rockies.
16. Philadelphia Phillies (31-33, previous No. 17) — The Phillies won five in a row before losing the final three games in their weekend series with the Brewers. Run production was the issue, as they didn’t score more than four runs in any of those losses. With a good starting rotation it will be the Phillies’ lineup that will need to get it going for them to make any sort of playoff push, or else some of their big names could be dealt.
17. Cleveland Indians (30-32, previous No. 12) – The Indians could possibly be one of the worst teams in baseball right now as they’ve lost seven straight games and have seen manager Terry Francona show rare frustrations. Lucky for the Indians they still remain in second place in the AL Central, but things don’t get any easier, opening the week with the Rangers.
18. San Diego Padres (29-34, previous No. 19) — San Diego went .500 this past week and therefore couldn’t move up in the NL West standings. Their offense has been impressive, scoring more than six runs in five of their last six games, but their pitching was their downfall. The Padres will embark on a six-game homestand taking on the Braves and Diamondbacks.
19. Minnesota Twins (27-32, previous No. 20) – The Twins got swept in a day-night doubleheader Sunday putting an end to a tough week where they went 2-4. Their bats have been cold of late as in their last six games they didn’t score more than five runs. The Twins do catch a break as they play their next nine games at home.
20. Toronto Blue Jays (27-35, previously not ranked) – Despite being in last place in the AL East, the Blue Jays still give opponents fits, showcased by taking two-of-three from the Rangers this past weekend and thus earing their first week in the rankings. They went 4-2 this past week, but will be put to the test with a six-game road trip against the White Sox and Rangers this week.
*Stats and records through Sunday, June 9
Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @hannable84