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MLB Power Rankings, August 10

   by Al McMordie - 08/10/2015

The Cardinals have been perched atop our Power Rankings for months, but our Committee of One was tempted to move the Blue Jays ahead of them, by virtue of the Jays' 8-game win streak. However, experience has taught me that the Blue Jays would likely falter the minute they ascended to the mountaintop. But one more torrid week for Toronto will all but ensure a #1-ranking next Monday. Pittsburgh and Chicago also got out the broom this weekend, with sweeps of the Dodgers and Giants, respectively. And the Pirates are back in our Top 6 (at #5), while the Cubs are back in our Top 10 for the first time in two months.

(Money Line Power Ranking in Parentheses)

1. St. Louis Cardinals (-132) - The Cardinals took two of three from the Reds and maintained their six-game lead over the Pirates in the NL Central. How good is this team right now? The Cards are 31 games over .500 and if they just go .500 the rest of the way they will finish the season with 97 wins. (Last week: 1)

2. Toronto Blue Jays (-123) - David Price left no doubt that he can be a difference-maker for this team in his first two starts. The Blue Jays head into the final seven weeks healthy, stacked, and hungry for their first Division Title in 22 years. Their run differential of +129 is tops - even better than St. Louis. (Last week: 2)

3. Kansas City Royals (-116) - It's looking more and more like Kansas City will cruise to its second straight Playoffs as the Royals extended their lead in the AL Central to 11 1/2 games. If they keep going like this in the next three weeks, they will be the only division leader which can perhaps relax a bit in September. (Last week: 5)

4. Houston Astros (-116) - The Stros were embarrassed in the Battle of the Lone Star State, and got swept by the Rangers in three games in Arlington. SS Carlos Correa continued to make a strong push for AL Rookie of the Year with six HRs, nine RBI, and three steals in the past two weeks. (Last week: 3)

5. Pittsburgh Pirates (-113) - The Pirates may have dodged a bullet as tests revealed that AJ Burnett has an elbow ligament strain and does not require surgery. Don't try telling the Bucs that they have the second-best record in the NL Central because they actually have the second-best record in the entire League. (Last week: 7)

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (-113) - OF Joc Pederson, who set SoCal on fire in the first half of the season, is about as cold as a block of dry ice in an igloo right now. The Dodgers were unable to get out of Pittsburgh with a win, and now continue a tough stretch which includes eight games against the Nats, A's, and Stros. (Last week: 4)

7. New York Yankees (-112) - After beating up on inferior competition - the Red Sox and White Sox - they Yankees got a taste of their own medicine from the red-hot Blue Jays. Toronto swept by New York this weekend without much trouble and all of a sudden the Yanks' lead in the East is down to 1 1/2 games. (Last week: 9)

8. Baltimore Orioles (-111) - Teams can still pull off trades in August if the player clears waivers. And the way the O's starting pitching is going, they might just want to watch that waiver wire very carefully. With Chris Tillman still hurting (ankle) and Miguel Gonzalez struggling, Baltimore desperately needs pitching help. (Last week: 8)

9. San Francisco Giants (-111) - The Giants have been bitten hard recently by the injury bug, having put three players on the DL already in August. Two starters - Tim Hudson and the just-acquired Mike Leake - as well as 2B Joe Panik are on the shelf probably for the rest of the month. (Last week: 6)

10. Chicago Cubs (-107) - Will Dan Haren be enough to make the difference for Chicago's pitching the rest of the way? That remains to be seen. But a four-game sweep of the Giants to end the week has the Cubs in strong contention for a Wild-Card spot. Still, more pitching wouldn't hurt right now if they can find it. (Last week: 11)

11. Los Angeles Angels (-107) - The battle for bragging rights in the City of Angels wasn't much of a battle last week as the Dodgers swept past the Angels in three games. After winning player of the month for July, OF Mike Trout is struggling in August with a .148 BA and you have to wonder if his wrist is still a problem. (Last week: 10)

12. Washington Nationals (-105) - Things are looking up as Werth, Zimmerman, and Rendon have all returned from the DL and the Nats now have a proven, reliable closer in Jonathan Papelbon. But the best news is that SP Stephen Strasburg pitched a gem on Saturday with 12 strikeouts in his first start back since July 4. (Last week: 12)

13. New York Mets (-104) - After sweeping the Nationals at home last weekend, the Mets kept rolling earlier in the week, as they easily swept past the Marlins in Miami by a combined score of 25-8 over three games (before dropping two weekend games to Tampa). They are back home this coming week starting out with four games vs. the Rockies. (Last week: 13)

14. Oakland A's (-101) - Treading water in last place in the AL West, the A's must now head out on the road for seven very tough games in Toronto (3) and Baltimore (4). That very impressive run differential which reached almost +60 at one point in the first half is starting to evaporate, and now sits at +35. (Last week: 14)

15. Arizona Diamondbacks (-101) - Hopes that the D-Backs might be able to sneak into a wild card spot are fading fast. If they're going to make one last surge, now is the time with six games vs. the Phils and Braves coming up. They got Chase Anderson back from the DL last weekend, but he is hardly a difference-maker. (Last week: 15)

16. Tampa Bay Rays (+101) - Look up the definition of mediocre in the dictionary and you will likely see a picture of the 2015 Rays. Pretty much a .500 team all season, with a -9 run differential, there's nothing much to get excited about other than RHP Chris Archer, who is putting in a strong bid for the AL Cy Young. (Last week: 17)

17. Texas Rangers (+105) - Cole Hamels may not have to wait until next year to find himself in a pennant race as the Rangers are just 4 1/2 games back in the West after taking series against the Giants, Astros, and Mariners. They beefed up their offense a bit with the acquisition of 1B/DH Mike Napoli from Boston. (Last week: 18)

18. Minnesota Twins (+106) - A disastrous 2-10 run has dropped the Twins to double-digit games behind in the division for the first time this season. Minnesota is now closer (in terms of games) to the bottom of the AL Central than it is to the top. (Last week: 16)

19. Cleveland Indians (+106) - Like the Braves over in the NL, the Indians could ill-afford to lose their best hitter to injury. However they will have to try to survive without 2B Jason Kipnis who was forced to the DL with a sore shoulder. And like the Braves, they have a huge mountain to climb now. (Last week: 21)

20. Cincinnati Reds (+110) - He didn't make the All-Star team and he won't come close to winning an MVP this season, but 1B Joey Votto is having one of the biggest bounce-back campaigns of any player in MLB. He has 19 HR with a .309 BA and, since the break, a .641 on-base percentage with 29 walks and just 11 Ks. (Last week: 20)

21. Detroit Tigers (+110) - It's not what have you done, but what have you done lately, so the Tigers fired President and GM Dave Dombrowski, who had a 13-year tenure with the club. After finishing first in the AL Central four straight seasons (2011-2014), what's next for this puzzling franchise is anyone's guess. (Last week: 19)

22. Colorado Rockies (+114) - Colorado is in the middle of a brutal stretch of games and it doesn't look to get any easier with 10 of the Rockies' next 13 games going against the Nats and Mets. The good news is that Colorado likes what it sees from the three young pitchers it received from Toronto in the Tulowitzki trade. (Last week: 24)

23. Milwaukee Brewers (+114) - The Brewers are still hoping they can move at least one starter in August, and Matt Garza made a strong case that he can still help a contending team with a seven-inning gem against the Padres. Garza's not a bargain, but he's also not a free agent until 2018. (Last week: 25)

24. Chicago White Sox (+115) - Jeff Samardzija got rocked hard in two starts last week and now it seems all but certain that the ChiSox won't find a taker for their veteran starter. Samardzija will likely have to try his luck in the free agent market in the off-season, but his recent struggles will likely limit his choices. (Last week: 26)

25. Boston Red Sox (+116) - After a week that included trading Mike Napoli and cash to Texas for basically nothing (the proverbial 'player to be named later'), the BoSox's biggest concern turns to an off-the-field void. Boston needs to figure out who will be the new club President and CEO after Larry Lucchino announced he is leaving. (Last week: 27)

26. Seattle Mariners (+116) - The M's offense got going last week, plating 25 runs in three games. Of course those three games were in Colorado, where the Mariners took two of three from the Rox. But a move to the cleanup spot seems to have rejuvenated 2B Robbie Cano who is batting .333 for the month of August. (Last week: 28)

27. San Diego Padres (+116) - GM AJ Preller's decision not to go into 'selling mode' on the hope that his team could make a run isn't looking good after a week which saw the Pads lose six straight games to the Brewers and Phillies. If they can't beat those two clubs, then Preller better be thinking about Plan B (if he even has one). (Last week: 23)

28. Miami Marlins (+121) - 2B Dee Gordon is back from injury but it has hardly mattered. The Marlins finally won on Sunday, but are still on a prolonged skid where they've gone 3-13 in their last 16 games, to take them to the NL Cellar. The Phillies no longer are looking up at everyone! (Last week: 22)

29. Atlanta Braves (+122) - Could Freddie Freeman's second trip to the disabled list since July, combined with the players they traded away at the deadline, result in the Braves overtaking the Phillies at the bottom spot in our rankings? Only time will tell but don't bet against it. (Last week: 29)

30. Philadelphia Phillies (+129) - Apparently, nobody told the Phillies that their season was over, as they've unexpectedly come to life. This is the best that this team has played all season with several players, including 1B Ryan Howard and OF Odubel Herrera catching fire lately. But I need at least one more week of solid play before I move Philly out of our basement. (Last week: 30)

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