The Tampa Bay Rays, our previous No. 1 in these here Power Rankings, got swept at the hands of the Boston Red Sox as part of a four-game losing skid. So there was the throne, ready for the taking.
Cody Bellinger and the Dodgers came for it — with both their bats and their gloves.
The Dodgers made a statement by beating the Milwaukee Brewers in three of four games over the weekend, reclaiming the No. 1 spot and letting everyone know their appearance as an offensive juggernaut wasn’t an early-season fluke.
It was Bellinger who turned in the dramatic performance in Sunday’s win. He robbed Christian Yelich of a homer in the eighth inning, then hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth. It gave L.A. its sixth win in seven games after sweeping the Reds earlier in the week. The Dodgers continue to pound homers. They hit three Sunday and have 44 for the season, second to only the Seattle Mariners.
There were other teams worthy of the No. 1 spot. Take the Houston Astros, for instance, but after winning 10 in a row, the Astros lost three of four. The Mariners have the most wins, but we’re starting to see flaws. The top NL Central and NL East teams haven’t really separated themselves yet either.
Further down our rankings, it’s worth wondering if the Red Sox made a statement by sweeping Tampa Bay, but certainly not enough to crack the Top 10 this week after their dismal start. Or perhaps it was the Yankees who made a statement by continuing to win despite all the injuries. But they’re just a game over .500.
While we wait to see what the next week brings to all 30 MLB teams, here are this week’s power rankings.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (15-9; last week: 4)
The Dodgers’ offense keeps blasting away and it brings them back to No. 1 this week. Clayton Kershaw is back and looks promising on the mound — the strikeouts are there, at least. Cody Bellinger is playing like an MVP. There are many reasons to think L.A. is a legit team, but the most recent one is that it took three of four games against the Brewers, whom you’ll remember they went to seven games against in the NLCS last year.
2. Tampa Bay Rays (14-8; last week: 1)
The Rays dip to No. 2 this week, which isn’t bad or anything. But there are some costs to getting swept by the Red Sox. The Rays still have the best run differential in the league and second-best winning percentage. Can’t hate those things.
3. Houston Astros (13-8; last week: 2)
Look, if somehow the Texas Rangers finish the season as a good team, maybe I’ll write an apology note to the Astros for judging them too much for a series loss to Texas. I just don’t think the Rangers are good, so that torpedoed Houston’s chance at No. 1 this week.
4. St. Louis Cardinals (12-9; last week: 5)
The Paul Goldschmidt-led Cardinals offense continues to impress. They took two of three from the Mets over the weekend after losing a series to the Brewers. Those two teams meet again this week, so that’s a series to watch.
5. Milwaukee Brewers (13-10; last week: 4)
It’s a small margin that bumps the Cardinals ahead of the Brewers this week. Losing to the Dodgers wasn’t great and that -2 run differential is starting to stick out, especially when Christian Yelich has been so good.
6. Philadelphia Phillies (12-9; last week: 6)
It was another ho-hum week for the Phillies, who seem to be idling in this No. 6 spot. That isn’t a bad place to be. They’re 3-3 over their last six games, which includes a series loss to the Rockies and a series win over the Mets.
7. Cleveland Indians (12-9; last week: 13)
Francisco Lindor is back, which is great news for an Indians team whose offense hasn’t yet caught up to its pitching.
8. Seattle Mariners (16-9; last week: 9)
The Mariners continue to lead MLB in wins — and winning percentage. Their 11-2 road record is particularly impressive, but they’re 3-7 in their last 10 games and were swept this week by the Indians after getting swept last week by the Astros. Winning three of four over the weekend against the Angels helped.
9. Minnesota Twins (12-7; last week: 11)
The Twins’ record remains impressive. They might be higher than the Mariners if not for a good chunk of their wins coming against the Orioles, Tigers and Royals.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates (12-7; last week: 18)
Guess I gotta give the Pirates some love. It’s actually Pittsburgh that leads the NL Central, not the Cards or Brewers. I’m not bullish on them in the long term, but the early results have been good. They have the best ERA in MLB right now, which is impressive. The fact that the recent wins came against the Tigers and Giants is less impressive.
11. New York Yankees (11-10; last week: 16)
12. Atlanta Braves (11-10; last week: 8)
13. Washington Nationals (10-10; last week: 14)
14. New York Mets (11-10; last week: 7)
15. Boston Red Sox (9-13; last week: 17)
In theory, all of these teams have reasonable top-10 expectations this season, but one thing or another hasn’t gone their way. The Red Sox might be getting their act together, while the Yankees made the biggest jump after winning five of six despite having a whole team on the injured list.
16. Oakland A’s (11-13; last week: 10)
17. San Diego Padres (12-11; last week: 12)
18. Chicago Cubs (10-10; last week: 22)
19. Texas Rangers (12-8; last week: 20)
20. Arizona Diamondbacks (11-11; last week 21)
The Padres and the A’s each took big falls this week, as Oakland got swept by the Blue Jays and San Diego lost six straight to the Reds, Rockies and D-backs. That’s how you get closer to the bottom 10 than the top 10. The Cubs, who were off to a rough start, got some relief by beating up on the Marlins and D-backs.
21. Colorado Rockies (9-13; last week: 23)
22. Los Angeles Angels (9-13; last week: 15)
23. Toronto Blue Jays (11-12; last week: 26)
24. Detroit Tigers (10-10; last week: 19)
25. Chicago White Sox (8-12; last week: 28)
The Rockies and the Angels should, in theory, be better than this. The Rockies have started to turn it around, winning six of seven this week, but the Angels lost six in a row this past week to the Rangers and Mariners.
26. Cincinnati Reds (8-13; last week: 24)
27. San Francisco Giants (9-14; last week: 25)
28. Kansas City Royals (7-15; last week: 27)
29. Baltimore Orioles (8-15; last week: 29)
30. Miami Marlins (6-16; last week: 30)
Perhaps the biggest surprise at this point in the rankings? The Orioles have avoided being No. 30 yet again. They should send the lowly Marlins a cake to thank them.
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