MLB Power Rankings: At Break, Pirates snatch top spot from Cardinals - Metro US

MLB Power Rankings: At Break, Pirates snatch top spot from Cardinals

The NL Central race is really heating up.
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1. Pittsburgh Pirates (53-35, previous No. 3) – The Pirates took three of four from the Cardinals to claim the top spot in our rankings and move within 2.5 games of St. Louis in the NL Central race. They’ve now won eight of 10 and extended their lead for the top Wild Card spot to 5.5 games.

2. St. Louis Cardinals (56-33, previous No. 1) – St. Louis still holds the best record and best home record in baseball.That should worry teams hoping to catch them as they’ve only played 42 home games so far compared to 47 on the road, and will get to balance that out in the second half of the season.

3. Kansas City Royals (52-34, previous No. 5) – Kansas City enters the break hot, as an 8-2 mark in their last 10 kept them from losing any ground to the Twins, who must be frustrated after posting their own 7-3 record.The Royals will celebrate four starters in the All-Star game this weekend.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (51-39, previous No. 4) – The Dodgers keep on keeping on, and enter the All-Star break with a comfortable 4.5 game lead on the Giants.The second half of the season could prove interesting however, if they can’t start winning on the road.The club is 18-22 away from home so far this season, and they’ve played ten less games there than in Dodger Stadium.

5. Los Angeles Angels (48-40, previous No. 9) – The Angels have taken advantage of the Astros’ struggles by posting a 7-3 mark in their last ten leading into the break and pipping Houston by a half game for the AL West division lead.That’s how you want to enter the break.

6. New York Yankees (48-40, previous No. 7) – The Yankees have also won seven of 10, and it’s helped them grab a little breathing room in the tightly packed AL East, as Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and Toronto all posted losing records over the same span.

7. Washington Nationals (48-39, previous No. 6) – The Nationals are still on top of the NL East, but a big series against the Dodgers looms after the break, and the Mets are playing good ball.A slip-up could change things fast, though Washington’s positive record against the teams in their division should ultimately see them through.

8. Minnesota Twins (49-40, previous No. 10) – The Twins posted a 7-3 record in their last ten games – and dropped a game back from Kansas City.The good news is they hold the top Wild Card spot, and are certainly playing better baseball than any of the other teams vying for that Wild Card race.

9. Houston Astros (49-42, previous No. 2) – Houston has done a ton right this season, but not much right the past week.They enter the break having lost six straight and eight of ten.That’s the worst streak in baseball.The All-Star break may have come at just the right time for Houston, as they surrendered the division lead to the Angels, and don’t even hold the top spot in the Wild Card standings.

10. New York Mets (47-42, previous No. 13) – The Mets have the best streak in baseball with four wins in a row. Overall they’ve won seven of the last ten to close to within two games of the Nationals in the NL East division race.If the Mets want to maintain their position in the postseason race in the second half, they’ll have to do something about their abysmal record away from Citi Field: 15-28.

11. Chicago Cubs (47-40, previous No. 8) – The division is slipping out of sight for the Cubs, as they’re unable to keep up with the blistering pace the Cardinals and Pirates are setting.They can still focus on solidifying their claim to the second Wild Card spot however, which they hold by a one game lead over the Mets as of now.

12. Tampa Bay Rays (46-45, previous No. 12) – Tampa Bay won their last three to right the ship and claim second place in the AL East heading into the break.They’ll have a chance to further establish that spot when they play Toronto first as the season resumes.

13. San Francisco Giants (46-43, previous No. 16) – The Giants had lost seven in a row just before the best pill in baseball appeared on their schedule: The Philadelphia Phillies.The Giants swept the Phils by a combined score of 27-9 to take a three game win streak into the All-Star break.

14. Detroit Tigers (44-44, previous No. 15) – Detroit has lost three in a row, all to soaring division rival Minnesota.That’s put some serious space between the Tigers and the division leaders, and if they aren’t careful, Detroit might not be in the Wild Card race either by the time Miguel Cabrera returns.

15. Baltimore Orioles (44-44, previous No. 11) – The Orioles dropped eight of 10 to fall all the way to third in their hotly contested division.The good news is they’re just four games out of first.When the season resumes they’ll get to duke it out with Detroit in a series for the #14 spot on this list.

16. Toronto Blue Jays (45-46, previous No. 14) – Toronto is in much the same ship as Baltimore, having dropped seven of 10.Their position in the division could change quickly and dramatically, for better or worse, when Tampa Bay comes to town after the break.

17. Boston Red Sox (42-47, previous No. 20) – All the turmoil above them may have been best for the Red Sox, who have won six of 10 and remain just 6.5 games out of first place.There may be four teams between that spot and them, but the Sox are playing better baseball than most of them.

18. Arizona Diamondbacks (42-45, previous No. 19) – The NL West is starting to slip away from Arizona.The Dodgers don’t show any signs of slowing down, the Giants are recovering, and Arizona just got swept by the Mets to go into the break 7.5 games back in the division.

19. Chicago White Sox (41-45, previous No. 25) – The White Sox have surprisingly won seven of their last ten, and are getting better results than the other teams with similar records.A big test is coming after the break however, when Kansas City arrives in Chicago.

20. Cleveland Indians (42-46, previous No. 22) – Cleveland has dropped two in a row and fallen into a tie with the White Sox for last place in the AL Central.The Indians need to find a way to win at home, where they have a 19-26 record compared to 23-20 on the road.

21. Texas Rangers (42-46, previous No. 17) – Things aren’t going well for Texas, who have a 2-8 mark in the last ten games.Despite their struggles, the Rangers remain just six games out of the division, and have a chance to make noise when they play the equally struggling Astros after the break.

22. Atlanta Braves (42-47, previous No. 18) – The Braves enter the All-Star break with the second worst losing streak in baseball. Dropping five in a row at the same time the Mets have been winning has seen space emerge between the two in the NL East race, and the Braves are on the wrong side of it.

23. Seattle Mariners (41-48, previous No. 23) – To call 2015 a disappointment for Seattle would be an understatement.They must take consolation in the poor play of Houston and Texas, and the fact that they are still just seven games back in the division.If they can find a way to win at home, where they are just 20-27, they could still make a run.

24. San Diego Padres (41-49, previous No. 21) – San Diego has won two in a row, but only four of the last ten. With just a one game lead on Colorado, they are in danger of falling into last place in an NL West race they hoped to be front and center in.

25. Oakland Athletics (41-50, previous No. 24) – Oakland is 5-5 in their last ten, and in a division where Houston and Texas are throwing up records like 2-8, that can make your spirits start to rise. Oakland is still a long way off however, and the other teams bad play can’t last forever.

26. Colorado Rockies (39-49, previous No. 28) – Colorado has won four in a row, and climbed to within one game of escaping last place in the NL West.Small victories to be sure, but at this end of the list, any positive is a positive.

27. Cincinnati Reds (39-47, previous No. 26) – You can excuse the Reds if they aren’t in a very All-Star mood as Cincinnati hosts the All-Star game this week.About the only thing the Reds have going for them are the friendly confines of their home park, where they have a 22-18 record.If Johnny Cueto departs at the trade deadline, things won’t get much brighter.

28. Miami Marlins (38-51, previous No. 29) – Giancarlo Stanton will be back, but too much damage may have been done already for the Marlins to overcome.Miami sits 11 games out of first place and 10 out of the Wild Card.At least they are in little danger of falling to last place in the division, occupied by the Phillies.

29. Milwaukee Brewers (38-52, previous No. 27) – The Brewers hot streak has cooled off, and even in the aftermath, they still sit with the second worst record in baseball and 18.5 games out of their division.

30. Philadelphia Phillies (29-62, previous No. 30) – The Phillies enter the All-Star break 9.5 games behind the second worst record in baseball.They may be in this spot for awhile, especially if Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon leave town at the trade deadline.

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