It’s the Boston Red Sox’s league and the 29 other Major League Baseball teams are just living in it. The Red Sox have topped our MLB Power Rankings for a few weeks now, and it doesn’t look like the team is willing to give up that spot any time soon.
The Houston Astros and New York Yankees haven’t even played poorly lately, but the Red Sox continue to separate themselves from the rest of the league. New York and Houston each went 6-4 over their final 10 games going into the All-Star break, but that wasn’t good enough. Boston still managed to pick up a few games on both teams to stay in the top spot in the rankings.
Elsewhere around the league, the Milwaukee Brewers are trapped in a free fall. After leading the National League Central all season, they have been passed by the Chicago Cubs. The Oakland Athletics, however, continue to make their surge. They are still looking up at the Seattle Mariners, but that race is getting closer by the day.
1. Red Sox (68-30; last week: 1)
The Red Sox are starting to break away from the pack. The team has gone 9-1 over its last 10 games. They have a 12-2 record in July, and have opened up a season-high 4.5 game lead over the Yankees in the AL East.
2. Astros (64-35; last week: 2)
Carlos Correa has been sidelined since June 25, and the Astros have increased their lead in the division. That speaks to just how deep of a roster the team has assembled. They can thrive without one of their best players.
3. Yankees (62-33; last week: 3)
New York has gone 6-4 over their last 10 games. That’s not bad, but it hasn’t been good enough to keep pace with the Red Sox lately. Still, the Yankees are in a great spot. Getting a starter at the deadline would be key. The team ranks 12th in rotation ERA.
4. Cubs (55-38; last week: 6)
The Cubs are streaking at just the right time. The team has gone 7-3 over their last 10 games. That has coincided with the Brewers going into a tailspin, which has allowed Chicago to open up a 2.5 game lead in the NL Central. That’s the team’s biggest division lead all season.
5. Mariners (58-39; last week: 4)
Marco Gonzales has really stepped up his game this season. The 26-year-old has turned himself into a solid mid-rotation starter. In 19 starts, he has a 3.41 ERA and one of the lowest walk rates in the majors. The M’s rotation could still use some help, but his performance has been huge.
6. Dodgers (53-43; last week: 8)
A strong June has led to an even stronger July. The Dodgers are 10-4 during the month and have a chance to get even better. The team is reportedly one of the favorites for Manny Machado. After a slow start, the Dodgers are inching closer to being the best team in the NL.
7. Brewers (55-43; last week: 5)
The Brewers are in a tailspin. The club has gone just 2-8 over their last 10 games while the division-rival Cubs have surged. While the recent struggles have been drastic, Milwaukee has gone just 19-22 since June 1. They may need to bring in reinforcements soon.
8. Athletics (55-42; last week: 10)
A strong July has the Athletics thinking about the postseason. The team’s 9-4 record during the month has them just three games out of a wild-card spot. Not bad for the team that entered the season with the lowest payroll in the majors.
9. Indians (52-43; last week: 7)
Cleveland will win the AL Central, but they look like underdogs once the playoffs begin. They might be able to gain an edge at the deadline. While nearly every other AL contender is looking for starters, they can dominate the relief market.
10. Phillies (53-42; last week: 12)
It might be tough to take down Max Scherzer, but Aaron Nola could make a run at NL Cy Young. He leads Scherzer in ERA and fWAR (barely) at the break. Even if he can’t do that, Nola has emerged as one of the best pitchers in the majors. That’s a big development for the Phillies moving forward.
11. Diamondbacks (53-44; last week: 9)
The D-Backs have alternated good and bad months. April and June has seen the club play .700 ball. In May, they were under .300. July has been better thus far, though the team is still under .500 for the month. They’ll need to find consistency soon, because the Dodgers are looking stronger than ever.
12. Rockies (51-45; last week: 14)
The Rockies are on a roll right now. The team has gone 8-2 over its last 10 games, and has jumped back into wild-card contention. If not for their division, the Rockies might be getting more attention. The NL West is the only division in baseball featuring four teams with at least 50 wins.
13. Braves (52-42; last week: 11)
14. Giants (50-48; last week: 13)
15. Rays (49-47; last week: 17)
The Braves have hit a skid going into the break. The team is just 3-7 over their last 10 games. At least they are still in a playoff spot. The Giants and Rays have both battled to over .500, but find themselves on the outside looking in within their stacked divisions.
16. Nationals (48-48; last week: 18)
17. Cardinals (48-46; last week: 16)
18. Angels (49-48; last week: 15)
The 5-5 club. All three teams have a .500 record in their last 10 games. Once the All-Star break is over, all three clubs will have to make important decisions. Should they go for it all in the second half? Or is it time to sell? That’s not a spot the Nationals should be in considering preseason expectations, but here they are.
19. Pirates (48-49; last week: 19)
20. Twins (44-50; last week: 21)
Both the Pirates and Twins have a lot of work to do to get back into their division races, but the clubs are surging right now. Both teams are 8-2 over their last 10 games. If they can keep it up as the trade deadline nears, things could get interesting.
21. Blue Jays (43-52; last week: 20)
22. Reds (43-53; last week: 24)
23. Padres (40-59; last week: 25)
24. Tigers (41-57; last week: 22)
Here are your firm sellers at the trade deadline. The Blue Jays, Reds and Padres are all stuck in tough divisions, so it makes sense to ship players out now. The Tigers aren’t in a strong division, but it doesn’t make sense for them to try to topple Cleveland.
25. Rangers (41-56; last week: 23)
26. Marlins (41-57; last week: 26)
27. Mets (39-55; last week: 27)
The Rangers and Marlins will part with talent at the deadline, but many are focused on the Mets. Will they actually deal Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom in the next few weeks?
28. White Sox (33-62; last week: 28)
29. Royals (27-68; last week: 29)
30. Orioles (28-69; last week: 30)
It’s a race for the No. 1 overall draft pick. The Orioles are trying to tank, going 4-6 over their last 10 games and even that’s not good enough. The White Sox have just three wins over that period while the Royals have two. The trade deadline will only make things uglier.
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