Jon Lester gives the A's one of the bet rotations in the game. Credit: Getty Images
1. Oakland Athletics (68-43, previous: 1) – Many thought Oakland’s rotation was the best in the league even before last week's trade deadline. The A's added Jon Lester to the mix as well as Jonny Gomes in the outfield, but they did need to give up slugger Yoenis Cespedes in order to complete the blockbuster trade with the Red Sox. The Athletics still have a huge run differential of plus-165, which leads all of baseball by a wide margin. Oakland will continue a 10-game homestand taking on the Rays and Twins this week.
2. Los Angeles Angels (67-44, previous: 2) – It is rather strange that the Angels have the second best record in the entire league, but are in second place within their own division. Los Angeles has won seven of its last 10 games to trail only the A’s by one game. Besides Mike Trout at the plate, Jered Weaver is having another solid season with 12 wins, tied for third in the AL. The Angels will continue a home-and-home series with the Dodgers before hosting the Red Sox over the weekend.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (63-50, previous: 3) – After a six-game win streak, the Dodgers have dropped three of four games and now lead the Giants by just 1.5 games in the NL West. Adrian Gonzalez is quietly having a very good season as his 72 RBIs are second in the NL. The Dodgers will finish a home-and-home with the Angels before a weekend series against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
4. Baltimore Orioles (63-48, previous: 5) – Baltimore is quietly starting to pull away from the rest of the AL East as it has won seven of its last 10 games and now holds a four-game lead. Nelson Cruz has belted 29 homers for the O's this season, second most in the American League. Baltimore will play three games in Toronto before a weekend set in St. Louis against the Cardinals.
5. Milwaukee Brewers (61-51, previous: 4) – The Brewers are still in first place, but not by much as they are just a game ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central. Francisco Rodriguez has re-emerged as one of the best closers in the game as he has 32 saves – good for second in the National League. A tough six-game homestand is on tap as they will host the Giants and Dodgers.
6. Detroit Tigers (61-48, previous: 6) – There is no one in the AL Central giving the Tigers much competition as they are 4.5 games up, despite being only three games over .500 at home. Along with Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez is having another good season as his .322 average is fifth in the AL. The Tigers will continue a nine-game road trip with games against the Yankees, Blue Jays and Pirates.
7. San Francisco Giants (61-51, previous: 7) – Despite a 29-30 record at home, the Giants remain right behind the Dodgers in the NL West and are playing well of late as they have won four of their last five games. This was coming off of a six-game losing streak, so it seems San Francisco has gotten things back on track. The Giants will wrap up a 10-game road trip this week with games against the Brewers and Royals.
8. Toronto Blue Jays (60-53, previous: 10) – Even with all the injuries they have dealt with and having lost their last three games, the Blue Jays still only trail the Orioles by four games in the AL East. Edwin Encarnacion is still on the disabled list with a quad injury, but he still is third in the American League with 26 home runs. The Blue Jays will begin a six-game homestand against two first place teams – the Orioles and Tigers.
9. Washington Nationals (57-46, previous: 8) – Due to the recent downfall of the Braves, the Nationals have opened a three-game lead in the NL East. They have picked it up the past month or so, as their plus-76 run differential is the best in the National League. Everyone knows about their strong pitching staff, but Ian Desmond is having a solid offensive season as his 66 RBIs are fifth in the National League. Washington will take on the Mets before a showdown with the Braves over the weekend.
10. St. Louis Cardinals (59-51, previous: 12) – Being one game back of the Brewers in the NL Central, St. Louis made a pretty bold move at last week's deadline to gain a proven veteran pitcher in John Lackey. The Cards traded starter Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig to do so. Interestingly enough, Kelly will make his Red Sox debut against the Cardinals when St. Louis hosts the Red Sox this week. Lackey will not pitch in the series.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates (59-52, previous: 11) – Pittsburgh is just 1.5 games back in the NL Central, but it received some tough news earlier this week as it was reported that their leader Andrew McCutchen will miss 4-6 weeks with an oblique injury. This is obviously a huge blow and will be tough to overcome as McCutchen currently has a 5.2 WAR – third in the National League. The Pirates will open an eight-game homestand taking on the Marlins, Padres and Tigers.
12. Atlanta Braves (58-54, previous: 9) – It’s no secret that the Braves are struggling as they have lost six games in a row to allow the Nationals to gain some breathing room at the top of the NL East. It has been the offense that has been hurting, which is something many noted could come back to haunt them. Atlanta has scored just nine runs in its last five games. The Braves will look to snap the losing skid with a two-game set in Seattle and then a weekend showdown with the first place Nationals.
13. New York Yankees (58-53, previous: 18) – It’s been more of the same for the Yankees as despite all of their injuries to their pitching staff, they still remain in the hunt in the AL East, as they are just five games out of first place. David Phelps was the latest pitcher to go down as he was placed on the DL with right elbow inflammation after leaving Sunday night’s start against the Red Sox. The Yankees are in the midst of a seven-game homestand, taking on the Tigers and Indians.
14. Seattle Mariners (57-54, previous: 13) – Normally when a team is 10-plus games out of first place in their division, it would be assumed they have no shot at the playoffs, but that is not the case with the Mariners. The A’s and Angels are the currently the best two teams in baseball, so Seattle remains in the Wild Card mix. Their ace, Felix Hernandez, continues to impress as his 2.01 ERA is the best in the American League. The Mariners will open a nine-game homestand with games against the Braves, White Sox and Blue Jays.
15. Kansas City Royals (57-53, previous: 14) – Kansas City is among the best teams in the game at the moment as they have won seven of their last 10 games and have closed the gap on the Tigers to 4.5 games. A big reason why the Royals have been successful this year is their bullpen as they have a 3.29 ERA, the fourth best in the American League. Kansas City will wrap up a West Coast trip in Arizona before hosting the Giants over the weekend.
16. Cleveland Indians (57-55, previous: 17) – Cleveland has won four games in a row to trail the Tigers by 5.5 games in the AL Central. The Indians' pitching and defense has been exceptional of late as in six of their last eight games they have allowed three runs or less. The Indians will finish out a home-and-home with the Reds before a weekend series in New York against the Yankees.
17. Cincinnati Reds (56-56, previous: 19) – There have been plenty of ups and downs for the Reds this season, so it is fitting they are currently .500 on the season. Todd Frazier has 20 home runs on the year, which is good for fifth in the National League. Cincinnati will wrap up a home-and-home with the Indians before taking on the Marlins over the weekend.
18. Tampa Bay Rays (54-57, previous: 15) – It was an interesting week in Tampa as just as it seemed like the Rays were making a run to get back into the mix in the American League East, they suddenly traded David Price to Detroit in a three-team trade - and by many accounts didn’t receive much back in return. Tampa Bay will open a 10-game road trip with games against the A’s, Cubs and Rangers.
19. Miami Marlins (54-57, previous: 16) – Although the Marlins are 6.5 games out of first place in the NL East and seemingly have very little chance at a playoff spot, they are fun to watch on a nightly basis as they have slugger Giancarlo Stanton - who is leading the NL with 26 homers and 74 RBIs. They also have Henderson Alvarez, who quietly has the fifth-best ERA in the NL at 2.48.
20. Chicago White Sox (54-58, previous: 21) – Aside from their poor record this season, the White Sox do have two of the best young players in the game in Chris Sale and Jose Abreu. Abreu leads the AL in home runs and RBIs with 31 and 84, respectively, while Sale has a 2.09 ERA, second the AL.
21. New York Mets (53-59, previous: 20) – New York has lost two straight and seemingly has no chance at making a playoff push. Their pitching hasn’t been that bad this season, it’s been the lack of offense that has been the major issue. In their four-game weekend series with the Giants, the Mets scored a total of eight runs. The Mets will take on the first place Nationals and Phillies this week, both series’ coming on the road.
22. San Diego Padres (51-60, previous: 24) – San Diego has actually played pretty well the past few weeks, but it is too little, too late as they still remain double-digit games out of first in the NL West after struggling to score runs in the first half of the season.
23. Minnesota Twins (50-60, previous: 23) – Even by winning two straight games, the Twins are still double-digit games out in the AL Central. Rookie Danny Santana might give fans in Minnesota something to smile about as he had five hits in a win over the White Sox this past weekend.
24. Boston Red Sox (49-62, previous: 22) – There is no question the Red Sox are looking toward 2015 after they traded away virtually a third of their roster at the deadline, with the biggest move coming in the form of the Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes swap with Oakland in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes. Boston will use the remaining two months of the year to determine what exactly they have with their younger players, especially in the starting rotation.
25. Philadelphia Phillies (49-63, previous: 25) – Many thought the Phillies would be big sellers at the trade deadline, especially with the pitchers they have on their staff, but they did not make any moves at all. Philadelphia’s minus-76 run differential is the second worst in the National League, a major reason why they are in last place in the NL East.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks (49-63, previous: 26) – Arizona’s season got even worse over the weekend when it was learned first baseman Paul Goldschmidt will miss the rest of the season with a broken hand.
27. Chicago Cubs (47-63, previous: 27) – The Cubs are the only team in the NL Central with a negative run differential at minus-39. It will be interesting to see how aggressive they are in free agency this offseason as Chicago could be one of the favorites to land Jon Lester, with his connection to general manager Theo Epstein.
28. Houston Astros (47-65, previous: 29) – Houston has won three straight games, but still remain 20-plus games out of first place. The one bright spot is Jose Altuve - who leads the AL with a .339 average.
29. Colorado Rockies (44-67, previous: 28) – The season is getting worse and worse for the Rockies as they have lost four straight and are now in last place by themselves in the NL West. Troy Tulowitzski could get some interest this offseason from teams as his .340 batting average is leading the NL by a wide margin.
30. Texas Rangers (43-69, previous: 30) – The Rangers cannot wait for this season to end as even though they are the worst team in the game right now, they should be able to turn things around quickly for 2015.
*All stats and records are as of Tuesday, August 5.
Follow Metro sports writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter:@RyanHannable