1. St. Louis Cardinals (37-19, previous No. 1) – The Cardinals are still the best team in all of baseball after a 5-2 week and still in control of the talented NL Central. With two road wins, the Cardinals improved on their league leading 20-9 record on the road, which has been a major reason for their success. They will be tested this week with a four-game set against the Diamondbacks and then a three-game road series at Cincinnati.
2. Texas Rangers (35-21, previous No. 2) – Despite a .500 record this past week, the Rangers still remain second in the rankings, and the best team in the American League. Their lead in the AL West has been narrowed to two games, but with the outstanding pitching staff they have, they can jump out in front of a team at any time. The Rangers will embark on a six-game road trip this week against AL East opponents in the Red Sox and Blue Jays as they open the week with a 17-13 record on the road.
3. Atlanta Braves (34-12, previous No. 3) – Even with a 4-3 record last week, the Braves have been able to jump out to a 6.5 game lead in the NL East. After Sunday’s game, Braves pitching has allowed three runs or less in their last five games and are fourth in all of baseball with a 3.36 ERA. Atlanta opens the week at home against the surprising Pirates before taking to the West Coast for a seven-game road trip.
4. Cincinnati Reds (35-22, previous No. 5) – Taking two-of-three from the Pirates over the weekend moved the Reds into a tie with those Pirates for second place the NL Central. These wins came on the road, but the Reds have done most of their damage at home with a major league leading 20-7 home record. They will look to continue their hot play at home with a six-game homestand this week against the Rockies and Cardinals.
5. Boston Red Sox (35-23, previous No. 7) – A 4-3 week, including taking two-of-three from the Yankees propelled the Sox back into first place in the AL East. It appears the pitching is getting back on track as they allowed an average of just 2.43 runs per game this past week. Back atop the AL standings, they will be put to the test with a six-game homestand against tough AL West teams, the Rangers and Angels this week.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates (35-22, previously No. 6) – It’s too bad the Pirates are in the NL Central as if they were in any other division in the NL they would be in first place. Instead they are in a tie for second with the Reds going into Monday, 2.5 games behind the first place Cardinals. Their pitching continues to lead the way for them as in their last seven games they’ve held opponents to four runs or less in five of them. A six-game road trip awaits the Pirates this week, first to Atlanta against the first-place Braves then Chicago against the lowly Cubs.
7. Oakland Athletics (34-24, previous No. 15) – The Athletics are the hottest team in baseball at the moment, making the biggest jump of eight spots from last week. They went 6-1 this past week and have won nine of their last 10 going into Monday. Their offensive has been the key as they have averaged 5.3 runs per game over that stretch. They will be put to the test this week with seven-straight road games, but winnable ones against the Brewers and White Sox.
8. Baltimore Orioles (32-25, previous No. 10) – The Orioles are making a run at the top of the AL East by winning seven of their last 10 going into Monday. Their week was highlighted by taking three-of-four from the team across town, the Nationals. They will look to continue their hot streak with a three-game series against one of the worst teams in MLB, the Houston Astros, beginning Tuesday.
9. New York Yankees (31-25, previous No. 3) – Even though the Yankees got back Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis this week, things didn’t go too well on the field as they dropped out of first place and into third in the AL East. The Yankees are playing their worst ball of the season, losers of seven-of-eight, with the Indians coming to town for a three-game series to begin the week.
10. Arizona Diamondbacks (32-24, previous No. 11) – A 4-2 week has enabled the Diamondbacks to jump in front of the other NL West teams and into sole possession of first place. They took two-of-three in Chicago over the Cubs this past weekend, outscoring them 20-11. The Diamondbacks will face arguably their biggest test thus far with a four-game series at St. Louis.
11. Tampa Bay Rays (31-25 previous No. 14) – Tampa is also surging up the AL East standings as they’ve won seven of their last eight, despite their ace David Price being on the disabled list. They’ve allowed three runs or less in four of their last five games and will close out a nine-game road trip to begin this week against the struggling Tigers.
12. Cleveland Indians (30-26, previous No. 9) – Despite dropping seven of their last 10, the Indians are still just a half game behind the Tigers in the AL Central as they’ve also played poorly of late. The Indians offense has been hurting them as in all those losses as they’ve scored less than five runs, including three or less three times. The schedule doesn’t do them any favors with a nine-game road trip this week beginning with the Yankees on Monday.
13. San Francisco Giants (30-27, previous No. 11) – A 2-5 week dropped the Giants two spots in the rankings and out of the top spot in the NL West. Oakland took three-of-four to open the week and then the Cardinals took two-of-three over the weekend. The Giants are off Monday before traveling across the border for a brief two game series against the Blue Jays.
14. Colorado Rockies (30-27, previous No. 13) – It wasn’t the best of weeks for the Rockies as it began with them losing three-of-four against the Astros, including two games at home. They got back on track with two wins over the Dodgers over the weekend, but a tough three-game set at Cincinnati awaits them to begin this week.
15. Detroit Tigers (30-25, previous No. 8) – Losing four of their last five games after Sunday, the Tigers dropped seven spots in the rankings, the most of any team this past week. Despite their struggles they still are holding on to a slim half game lead in the AL Central. Their bats have cooled off considerably, as they only scored nine runs in a four-game series against the Pirates. The Tigers will look to get things back on track with a six-game homestand against the Rays and Indians this week.
16. Washington Nationals (28-29, previous No. 16) – It was a tough week all around for the Nationals. They went 2-5 and then ace Stephen Strasburg left his start early Friday night with a lat strain, although the team says a DL-stint isn’t likely. They are in second place in the NL East, but the Braves are running away with the division up 6.5 games as of Monday.
17. Philadelphia Phillies (27-30, previous No. 18) – The Phillies have been very inconsistent to open the year and the trend continued in their 3-4 week last week. The team is talented, and has the ability to make a run at a playoff spot, but they will need to get it together relatively soon. They have a good chance to get things going with three home games against the Marlins to open the week.
18. Los Angeles Angels (25-30, previous No. 17) – The Angels looked like they were primed for a big time turnaround last week, but things didn’t go quite as well this week as they went 2-5. Despite the talent in their lineup they haven’t scored more than four runs in their last six games. They will host the Cubs for a brief two-game set before going to the East Coast for a six-game trip.
19. San Diego Padres (26-30, previously not ranked) – The Padres make their debut in the rankings this week as they are currently in fourth place in the NL West, but just six games behind the first place Diamondbacks. They will have a chance to move up the division standings with their next seven games against NL West opponents, starting Monday, but all of them are on the road where they are just 10-16 this year.
20. Minnesota Twins (25-29, previously not ranked) – The Twins are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, going 6-1 in their last seven games. Their offense has been the key, averaging over 5.5 runs in these games. Although their next seven games are on the road they have the opportunity to move even further up in the rankings as they are against the Royals and Nationals.
*Stats and records through June 2
Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @hannable84