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Power Rankings: Calm before the storm

Tim Brown
Yahoo Sports

Maybe you didn't notice the Philadelphia Phillies scouts this week at Citi Field. They were the shirtless guys who'd painted letters on their chests spelling out BELTRAN.

The rankings (records are through Thursday's games):

1. Philadelphia Phillies (61-36; Previous: 1) – Halladay fine after becoming overheated at Wrigley, says in hindsight shouldn't have stood so close to Hendry's hot seat between innings.

2. Boston Red Sox (59-37; Previous: 2) – Sox manager Francona says team really didn't need "beauty sleep" after red-eye Tampa-to-Baltimore flight, though grants Youkilis could have used another hour or two.

3. New York Yankees (57-39; Previous: 3) – Girardi becomes suspicious in Toronto when Rogers Centre scoreboard flashes "Fastball 93" as Sabathia goes into windup.

4. Atlanta Braves (58-41; Previous: 4) – At trading deadline, Braves seek outfielder, reliever and APB on Dan Uggla(notes).

5. San Francisco Giants (57-42; Previous: 9) – Giants to visit White House, which Human Rights Watch views as further U.S. complicity in torture.

6. Texas Rangers (56-43; Previous: 11) – Chavez usually sits against lefties, though soothing for Washington to know the Endy's near.

7. Tampa Bay Rays (52-45; Previous: 5) – In tandem with Price signing souvenirs inscribed "I Gave Up DJ's3K," memorabilia dealers in negotiations with starlet who will sign, "I was DJ's3K."

8. Milwaukee Brewers (53-47; Previous: 6) – Melvin his usual aggressive self at trading deadline. In fact, Cardinals find him "a little handsy."

9. Los Angeles Angels (53-46; Previous: 18) – Angels privately mull finishing Dodgers now or letting them linger in pain for another year or two.

10. Pittsburgh Pirates (51-45; Previous: 17) – Pirates try to get this straight: So, at the same time every year, some teams try to get better? Thoughtfully stroke temple with forefinger.

11. Cleveland Indians (51-46; Previous: 10) – Tribe was hoping for more production from right field, but face the realization that that Choo has left the station.

12. Detroit Tigers (52-46; Previous: 12) – Tigers on Wednesday started rookie left-hander, a decision many agreed had come in Below their radar.

13. Arizona Diamondbacks (53-46; Previous: 7) – Arizonans particularly quiet during All-Star game. Most agree, it's not the heat, it's the timidity.

14. St. Louis Cardinals (51-47; Previous: 8) – Molina steals second base, sends word to dugout that it's really much closer than it looks.

15. Cincinnati Reds (48-50; Previous: 13) – Reds players agree their time is coming. You know, why else would Mr. Redlegs looks so happy?

16. Chicago White Sox (47-51; Previous: 16) – You know, it's one thing to take one on the chin in K.C., quite another to take one on the cheek.

17. Toronto Blue Jays (50-49; Previous: 20) – Outrun again in the AL East, Jays decide they must choose new course: better players or better binoculars.

18. New York Mets (49-49; Previous: 23) – Mets prepare for new era by trading Rodriguez, shopping Beltran and wrapping Bay in gauze.

19. Washington Nationals (48-50; Previous: 21) – Harper starts slow in Double-A, amazed at how many kisses he's been blown over 10 days.

20. Florida Marlins (47-52; Previous: 25) – McKeon down to two cigars a day, Cuba reassesses its national economy.

21. Minnesota Twins (46-52; Previous: 19) – Mauer gets long hug from Casilla after scoop at first base, now knows what he was missing after all those years in catcher's gear.

22. Colorado Rockies (47-52; Previous: 15) – Afraid of losing traction in the NL West, Rockies stuff Dinger under rear tires.

23. Seattle Mariners (43-55; Previous: 14) – M's hold team meeting to sort out catastrophic collapse, decide it's all still Milton's fault.

24. Oakland A's (43-55; Previous: 22) – Think they'll make a movie about the guy who comes in and cleans up this last-place team?

25. Los Angeles Dodgers (43-55; Previous: 24) – If it works for Tiger, maybe it works for the Dodgers: Club fires hitting coach.

26. San Diego Padres (44-55; Previous: 27) – Padres so excited over scoring 14 runs they go out and paint the town brown and yellow.

27. Baltimore Orioles (39-56; Previous: 26) – O's furious with Red Sox, which, in honesty, the Red Sox find kind of cute.

28. Kansas City Royals (40-58; Previous: 28) – Double-checked and, yes, Mission 2012 remains on course. Mission 2011, however, is a fireball.

29. Chicago Cubs (39-60; Previous: 29) – Quade: "The sun's been in the same spot for however long Wrigley's been here." Reaction: So has the World Series, and that hasn't helped.

30. Houston Astros (33-65; Previous: 30) – If Astros trade Pence, they must consider how fan will react. Maybe they'll just call him first.

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