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Ned Dishman/Getty Images

With just over two weeks remaining in the 2012 MLB season, playoff races around the league are reaching their boiling points.

Most contenders took care of business this past week, so there was not much movement in this week's power rankings nor in the standings.

With that, here are this week's MLB power rankings. Be sure to check back here each Monday morning for an updated look at where your favorite team stands.

 

*Note: Rosters taken from MLBDepthCharts.com.

30. Houston Astros (48-99, Previous: 30)

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Bob Levey/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

4-3

 

Team Outlook

A winning week helped keep the Astros from reaching the 100-loss mark, as they took three of four from a streaking Phillies team to close out the week. 

Shortstop Jed Lowrie returned from injury last week, as he'll look to pick back up on what was a breakout season. They'll have a chance to play spoiler again this coming week as they take on the Cardinals and Pirates.

 

Current Lineup

2B Jose Altuve
SS Jed Lowrie
1B Brett Wallace
CF Justin Maxwell
C Jason Castro
LF Fernando Martinez
3B Matt Dominguez
RF Jimmy Paredes
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP Lucas Harrell
SP Jordan Lyles
SP Bud Norris
SP Fernando Abad
SP Edgar Gonzalez
SP Dallas Keuchel
CL Wilton Lopez

29. Colorado Rockies (58-87, Previous: 28)

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Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

2-4

 

Team Outlook

It's been a rough season for the Rockies, but it has not been without its bright spots as young players like Wilin Rosario (.259 BA, 24 HR, 64 RBI), Josh Rutledge (.291 BA, 8 HR, 32 RBI) and Jordan Pacheco (.301 BA, 4 HR, 45 RBI) have shown that there is some hope for the future.

Their pitching is still rough; some strong starts by Drew Pomeranz and Alex White down the stretch would be nice to build off of moving forward. With an MLB-worst team ERA of 5.15, there's no question their staff needs an overhaul this offseason.


Current Lineup

CF Dexter Fowler
SS Josh Rutledge 
LF Carlos Gonzalez
C Wilin Rosario
RF Tyler Colvin
1B Jordan Pacheco
3B Chris Nelson
2B D.J. LeMahieu
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation 

SP Jeff Francis
SP Drew Pomeranz
SP Tyler Chatwood
SP Alex White
SP Jhoulys Chacin
CL Rafael Betancourt

28. Chicago Cubs (58-88, Previous: 29)

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David Banks/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

4-2

 

Team Outlook

The Cubs have gone 7-2 in their last nine games, including five of six against the Pirates to put the latter team's playoff chances in serious jeopardy.

Rookie Anthony Rizzo (.300 BA, 14 HR, 43 RBI) continues to show the makings of a future superstar, while Alfonso Soriano reached the 100-RBI mark this past week as he continues to enjoy a resurgent season.

 

Current Lineup 

RF David DeJesus
3B Luis Valbuena
1B Anthony Rizzo
LF Alfonso Soriano
SS Starlin Castro
C Steve Clevenger
CF Brett Jackson
2B Darwin Barney
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP Travis Wood
SP Justin Germano 
SP Chris Volstad
SP Chris Rusin
SP Jason Berken 
CL Carlos Marmol

27. Cleveland Indians (61-86, Previous: 27)

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Jason Miller/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

2-5

 

Team Outlook

It's hard to believe that the Indians were legitimate contenders as recently as July, but they've gone just 10-34 since the beginning of August and now rank as one of the worst teams in the league.

Prospect Lonnie Chisenhall has moved into the everyday third base role and hit .333/.444/.600 in six games since being recalled. He'll look to win the starting job for next season with a strong performance down the stretch.

 

Current Lineup

RF Shin-Soo Choo
2B Jason Kipnis
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
C Carlos Santana
CF Michael Brantley
DH Russ Canzler
3B Lonnie Chisenhall
1B Casey Kotchman
LF Ezequiel Carrera 

 

Current Rotation

SP Justin Masterson
SP Ubaldo Jimenez
SP Zach McAllister
SP Corey Kluber
SP Jeanmar Gomez
SP David Huff
CL Chris Perez

26. Minnesota Twins (60-87, Previous: 26)

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Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

2-5

 

Team Outlook

The Twins offense has been one of the best in the American League this season, but they continue to have trouble winning games behind one of the worst rotations in baseball.

Joe Mauer (.321 BA, 10 HR, 77 RBI) is enjoying a terrific bounce-back season, and Josh Willingham (34 HR, 105 RBI) has been perhaps the best bargain signing of the offseason. If the Twins can address their starting pitching this offseason, they have the offensive core to be a contender again very soon.

 

Current Lineup

CF Denard Span
RF Ben Revere
C Joe Mauer
LF Josh Willingham
1B Justin Morneau
DH Ryan Doumit
3B Trevor Plouffe 
2B Jamey Carroll
SS Pedro Florimon Jr.

 

Current Rotation

SP Scott Diamond
SP Liam Hendriks
SP Samuel Deduno 
SP P.J. Walters
SP Esmerling Vasquez
CL Glen Perkins

25. New York Mets (66-80, Previous: 22)

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Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

1-5

 

Team Outlook

The Mets' second-half slide has been a big one, as they've gone 20-40 since the All-Star break. However, they have a good, young group of players that should help them return to contention.

The team is getting a glimpse at the future of their rotation alongside Matt Harvey. Prospect Jenrry Mejia has joined the rotation for the season's final month, and fellow top prospect Jeurys Familia is pitching out of the bullpen.

 

Current Lineup

SS Ruben Tejada
2B Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
1B Ike Davis
LF Lucas Duda
RF Mike Baxter
C Kelly Shoppach
CF Andres Torres
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP R.A. Dickey
SP Matt Harvey
SP Jon Niese
SP Jenrry Mejia 
SP Chris Young
SP Collin McHugh 
CL Frank Francisco

24. Miami Marlins (65-82, Previous: 23)

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Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

2-4

 

Team Outlook

The Marlins have undoubtedly been a huge disappointment this season. They have an interesting road ahead as far as building their team into a winner after spending and then selling big.

Catcher Rob Brantly (.317/.427/.508), who was acquired from the Tigers at the deadline, looks like he'll be a big part of the team's future. Slugger Giancarlo Stanton has matched his career best with 34 home runs this season, doing it in 92 fewer at-bats than he did in 2011 as he continues to emerge as one of the game's top young hitters.

 

Current Lineup

LF Bryan Petersen
CF Justin Ruggiano
SS Jose Reyes
RF Giancarlo Stanton
1B Carlos Lee
3B Greg Dobbs
2B Donovan Solano
C Rob Brantly
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP Josh Johnson
SP Mark Buehrle
SP Ricky Nolasco
SP Nathan Eovaldi
SP Jacob Turner
SP Wade LeBlanc
CL Steven Cishek

23. Boston Red Sox (66-81, Previous: 25)

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Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

3-3

 

Team Outlook

The Red Sox have had a long year and are well out of contention at this point, but they'll play a huge role in determining the postseason picture in the American League.

With six games each against the Rays and Orioles and three games against the Yankees, they could certainly do some damage to those teams' October hopes. The real fun for Red Sox fans will start this offseason though, as the team has roughly $80 million coming off of their payroll.

 

Current Lineup

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
LF Scott Podsednik
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B James Loney
RF Cody Ross
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
DH Mike Aviles
SS Jose Iglesias
3B Pedro Ciriaco

 

Current Rotation

SP Jon Lester
SP Clay Buchholz
SP Felix Doubront
SP Aaron Cook
SP Daisuke Matsuzaka
CL Andrew Bailey

22. Kansas City Royals (66-80, Previous: 24)

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Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

3-3

 

Team Outlook

The Royals have seven games against the Tigers and three against the White Sox down the stretch, as they have a chance to end the season on a positive note. 

Salvador Perez (.310 BA, 11 HR, 36 RBI) has looked fantastic over just 245 at-bats this season, and Billy Butler (.310 BA, 27 HR, 95 RBI) has taken his offense to the next level. Top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi was called up on Sunday, as he'll be auditioning for a rotation spot next season.

 

Current Lineup

CF David Lough
SS Alcides Escobar 
LF Alex Gordon
DH Billy Butler
C Salvador Perez
3B Mike Moustakas
RF Jeff Francoeur
1B Eric Hosmer
2B Johnny Giavotella

 

Current Rotation

SP Bruce Chen
SP Luke Hochevar
SP Luis Mendoza
SP Jeremy Guthrie
SP Will Smith
SP Jake Odorizzi
CL Greg Holland

21. Toronto Blue Jays (66-79, Previous: 21)

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Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

2-4

 

Team Outlook

The Blue Jays will no doubt be happy to put this injury-riddled season behind them in a couple weeks. They had the players to make some serious noise in the AL East this season but were hit harder by the injury bug then perhaps anyone else.

Edwin Encarnacion (40 HR, 102 RBI, .947 OPS) has been the breakout star of 2012 at the plate. The three-year, $27 million extension they signed him to is now looking like an absolute steal.


Current Lineup

3B Brett Lawrie
CF Colby Rasmus
1B Edwin Encarnacion
DH Adam Lind
SS Yunel Escobar
2B Kelly Johnson
C J.P. Arencibia
RF Moises Sierra
LF Rajai Davis

 

Current Rotation

SP Ricky Romero
SP Brandon Morrow
SP Carlos Villanueva
SP Henderson Alvarez
SP Aaron Laffey
CL Casey Janssen

20. Seattle Mariners (70-77, Previous: 20)

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Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

3-3

 

Team Outlook

The Mariners play nothing but contenders from here on out, with series against the Orioles, Rangers, Angels and A's before closing things out with another three games against the Angels.

With one of the best farm systems in all of baseball and a number of top prospects currently in the high minors, expect the Mariners roster to look dramatically different at this time next season as they begin their homegrown rebuild.


Current Lineup

2B Dustin Ackley
CF Franklin Gutierrez
3B Kyle Seager
C John Jaso
DH Jesus Montero
LF Michael Saunders
1B Justin Smoak
RF Eric Thames
SS Brendan Ryan

 

Current Rotation

SP Felix Hernandez
SP Jason Vargas
SP Kevin Millwood
SP Hisashi Iwakuma
SP Blake Beavan
SP Erasmo Ramirez
SP Hector Noesi
CL Tom Wilhelmsen

19. Arizona Diamondbacks (72-74, Previous: 18)

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Tony Medina/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

3-2

 

Team Outlook

The Diamondbacks remain on the fringe of the playoff picture, as they are currently 4.5 games back in the wild card. However, there are six teams ahead of them in the standings and a lot will have to break right for them to be playing in October.

Prospect Adam Eaton has taken over as the everyday center fielder after he hit .375/.456/.523 between Double-A and Triple-A this season. It will be interesting to see what they do with their rotation next season, as Daniel Hudson and Trevor Bauer will be in the running for a spot alongside their five current starters.


Current Lineup

CF Adam Eaton
2B Aaron Hill
LF Jason Kubel
1B Paul Goldschmidt
RF Justin Upton
C Miguel Montero 
3B Chris Johnson
SS John McDonald
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP Ian Kennedy
SP Trevor Cahill
SP Wade Miley
SP Patrick Corbin
SP Tyler Skaggs
CL J.J. Putz

18. San Diego Padres (71-76, Previous: 19)

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Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

5-1


Team Outlook

The Padres are 19-6 in their past 25 games, as they are now just six games out of the NL Wild Card and playing some of the best baseball of anyone in the league right now.

With a deep farm system—and after the decision to keep their veteran pieces at the deadline—the Padres could be right in the thick of things in the NL West next season. Third baseman Chase Headley (.284 BA, 28 HR, 104 RBI) has emerged as one of the best hitters in the league.

 

Current Lineup

RF Will Venable
2B Logan Forsythe
3B Chase Headley
LF Carlos Quentin
C Yasmani Grandal
1B Yonder Alonso
CF Cameron Maybin
SS Everth Cabrera
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP Edinson Volquez
SP Clayton Richard
SP Eric Stults
SP Andrew Werner
SP Casey Kelly
SP Andrew Cashner
CL Luke Gregerson

17. Pittsburgh Pirates (73-72, Previous: 15)

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David Banks/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

1-5

 

Team Outlook

The Pirates have hit the skids of late, going 3-12 in their last 15 games and falling behind the streaking Brewers and into fourth place in the NL Central.

While the offense has turned things around in the second half, the pitching has gone in the other direction, and the team has shuffled their rotation a number of times of late. That said, Jeff Locke is gaining some valuable experience and Gerrit Cole could win a rotation spot next spring as the rotation should be better down the line.


Current Lineup

LF Starling Marte
RF Travis Snider
CF Andrew McCutchen
1B Garrett Jones
2B Neil Walker
3B Pedro Alvarez
SS Clint Barmes
C Rod Barajas
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP A.J. Burnett
SP Wandy Rodriguez
SP Jeff Locke
SP Kevin Correia
SP Kyle McPherson
CL Joel Hanrahan

16. Philadelphia Phillies (73-74, Previous: 17)

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John Grieshop/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

4-3

 

Team Outlook

The Phillies used a seven-game winning streak to climb into the playoff picture but fell back to earth when they dropped three of four to the Astros to close out last week.

They're not getting any younger, but if they can stay healthy next season, they do still have the tools to compete. However, their farm system is thin; their window of contention may well be closing.


Current Lineup

SS Jimmy Rollins
LF Juan Pierre
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
C Carlos Ruiz
RF Domonic Brown
CF John Mayberry, Jr.
3B Kevin Frandsen
Pitcher 

 

Current Rotation

SP Roy Halladay
SP Cliff Lee
SP Cole Hamels
SP Kyle Kendrick
SP Tyler Cloyd
CL Jonathan Papelbon

15. Milwaukee Brewers (74-72, Previous: 16)

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Marc Serota/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

5-1

 

Team Outlook

The Brewers are 19-6 over their past 25 games, as they have passed the Pirates in the NL Central and finally pulled over .500 with a win against the Braves on Wednesday.

Ryan Braun is putting up another MVP-caliber season (.312 BA, 40 HR, 103 RBI, 24 SB); teamed with Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez, the team has one of the best middles of the order in baseball. Young starting pitching is reason for excitement too, as Wily Peralta and Michael Fiers look to be the real deal.


Current Lineup

RF Norichika Aoki
2B Rickie Weeks
LF Ryan Braun
3B Aramis Ramirez
1B Corey Hart
C Jonathan Lucroy
CF Carlos Gomez
SS Jean Segura 
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP Yovani Gallardo
SP Michael Fiers
SP Marco Estrada
SP Shaun Marcum
SP Wily Peralta
CL John Axford

14. Los Angeles Dodgers (76-71, Previous: 13)

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

2-4

 

Team Outlook

The Dodgers have as tough a schedule as anyone the rest of the way: They play the Nationals, Reds and Giants as well as the vastly improved Padres. Their only easy series is three games against the Rockies, against whom they've gone just 7-8 on the season.

Lack of a reliable starter behind Clayton Kershaw remains a big issue, as do the struggles of deadline acquisitions Adrian Gonzalez and Shane Victorino. In other words, they have their work cut out for them if they hope to make the postseason.


Current Lineup

2B Mark Ellis
LF Shane Victorino
1B Adrian Gonzalez
CF Matt Kemp
SS Hanley Ramirez
RF Andre Ethier
3B Luis Cruz
C A.J. Ellis
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP Clayton Kershaw
SP Aaron Harang
SP Chris Capuano
SP Josh Beckett
SP Joe Blanton
SP Stephen Fife
CL Brandon League

13. Tampa Bay Rays (78-68, Previous: 10)

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Rob Carr/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

1-5

 

Team Outlook

With a win over the Yankees two weeks ago, the Rays had pulled within 1.5 games of New York in the AL East, but they've gone 3-7 since then and now sit four games back for the second wild-card spot in the AL.

Six of their next nine games are against the Red Sox, so they have a chance to regain some ground. However, they wrap things up with series against the White Sox and Orioles in what will be a tough way to end the season.

 

Current Lineup

LF Desmond Jennings
CF B.J. Upton
RF Matt Joyce
3B Evan Longoria
SS Ben Zobrist
DH Luke Scott
1B Carlos Pena
2B Ryan Roberts
C Jose Molina

 

Current Rotation

SP David Price
SP James Shields
SP Alex Cobb
SP Matt Moore
SP Jeremy Hellickson
SP Chris Archer
CL Fernando Rodney

12. St. Louis Cardinals (77-70, Previous: 11)

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Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

2-5

 

Team Outlook

After sitting in third place behind the Reds and Pirates in the NL Central for much of the season, the Cardinals have once again made a late-season push to climb into the playoff picture.

Their next nine games are against the Astros, Cubs and the Astros again, as they have a great chance to put some distance between themselves and the field for the second wild-card spot. They are currently clinging to a one-game lead over the Dodgers.


Current Lineup

CF Jon Jay
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Matt Holliday
1B Allen Craig
C Yadier Molina
3B David Freese
2B Skip Schumaker
SS Pete Kozma 
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP Kyle Lohse
SP Adam Wainwright
SP Jaime Garcia
SP Jake Westbrook
SP Joe Kelly
SP Lance Lynn
CL Jason Motte

11. Detroit Tigers (77-68, Previous: 14)

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David Maxwell/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

4-2

 

Team Outlook

The Tigers continue to battle it out with the White Sox for the AL Central crown, as they currently trail the Chicago White Sox by just two games. With so many teams in the wild-card hunt, it will likely be the division or nothing for one of those teams, so there is a lot riding on these next two weeks.

Despite currently trailing, the Tigers could be considered favorites in the division as they have six games with the Twins and seven with the Royals once they finish up a three-game series with the A's to open this week.

 

Current Lineup

CF Austin Jackson
LF Andy Dirks
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder
DH Delmon Young
RF Brennan Boesch 
SS Jhonny Peralta 
C Alex Avila 
2B Omar Infante 

 

Current Rotation

SP Justin Verlander
SP Doug Fister
SP Max Scherzer
SP Rick Porcello
SP Anibal Sanchez
CL Jose Valverde

10. Los Angeles Angels (80-67, Previous: 9)

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Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

3-4

 

Team Outlook

The Angels climbed back into the playoff picture on the strength of an 11-1 stretch, but they've gone just 3-4 since and are currently 2.5 games back for the second wild card in the AL with no one between them and the Orioles.

They have a tough week coming up as they face the White Sox and Rangers. If they can weather that storm, six of their final nine games are against the Mariners.


Current Lineup

CF Mike Trout
RF Torii Hunter
1B Albert Pujols
DH Kendrys Morales
2B Howie Kendrick
SS Erick Aybar
LF Mark Trumbo
3B Alberto Callaspo
C Chris Iannetta

 

Current Rotation

SP Jered Weaver
SP C.J. Wilson
SP Dan Haren
SP Zack Greinke
SP Ervin Santana
CL Ernesto Frieri

9. Chicago White Sox (79-66, Previous: 12)

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Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

4-2

 

Team Outlook

With 12 combined games remaining against the Royals, Twins and Indians, the White Sox appear to be in decent shape to hold onto their two-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central.

The team has enjoyed unexpected levels of production from a number of players, and they will need guys like Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, A.J. Pierzynski and Jake Peavy to continue to play at a high level if they hope to hold off the Tigers and go anywhere in October.


Current Lineup

CF Alejandro De Aza
3B Kevin Youkilis
DH Adam Dunn
1B Paul Konerko
RF Alex Rios
C A.J. Pierzynski
LF Dayan Viciedo
SS Alexei Ramirez
2B Gordon Beckham 

 

Current Rotation

SP Jake Peavy
SP Chris Sale
SP Jose Quintana
SP Gavin Floyd
SP Francisco Liriano
CL Addison Reed

8. Baltimore Orioles (82-64, Previous: 8)

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Rob Carr/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

4-2

 

Team Outlook

One of the hottest teams in baseball of late, the Orioles have done everything in their power to keep pace in the AL East. They've got a favorable schedule the rest of the way, as their season-ending series with the Rays are their only remaining games against a team above .500.

After losing Nick Markakis to a fractured thumb earlier this month, the Orioles were dealt another blow this past weekend when DH/3B Wilson Betemit (.261 BA, 12 HR, 40 RBI) was lost for the season with a wrist injury.


Current Lineup

LF Nate McLouth
SS J.J. Hardy
CF Adam Jones 
C Matt Wieters
1B Mark Reynolds
DH Chris Davis
LF Lew Ford
3B Manny Machado
2B Robert Andino 

 

Current Rotation 

SP Wei-Yin Chen
SP Joe Saunders
SP Chris Tillman
SP Zach Britton
SP Randy Wolf
SP Miguel Gonzalez
CL Jim Johnson 

7. New York Yankees (83-63, Previous: 7)

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

4-2

 

Team Outlook

The Yankees have been forced to shuffle around their lineup with Mark Teixeira sidelined by a calf injury, but they will benefit from the return of Ivan Nova from injury. He certainly ranks as an upgrade over Freddy Garcia.

With seven more games against the Blue Jays, as well as a three-game series against the Twins, the Yankees appear to be in good shape to hold off the Orioles for the AL East title. Getting Teixeira back for playoffs and having Andy Pettitte pitch well upon his return would go a long way towards making the Yankees World Series contenders.


Current Lineup

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
DH Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
1B Nick Swisher
LF Raul Ibanez
3B Eric Chavez
C Russell Martin
RF Ichiro Suzuki

 

Current Rotation

SP CC Sabathia
SP Hiroki Kuroda
SP Phil Hughes
SP Ivan Nova
SP David Phelps
CL Rafael Soriano

6. San Francisco Giants (83-63, Previous: 6)

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Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

4-2

 

Team Outlook

The Giants have a comfortable lead in the NL West right now, as they are 7.5 games up on the Dodgers. Those two teams meet up to close out the season when the Giants could have a chance to play spoiler and keep the rival Dodgers out of the postseason.

Catcher Buster Posey (.333/.407/.545, 22 HR, 93 RBI) has to be viewed as a legitimate NL MVP contender, and the pitching staff remains one of the best in the game. Even Barry Zito (12-8, 4.21 ERA) is having a solid season as the team has not missed a beat despite the struggles of ace Tim Lincecum (9-14, 5.09 ERA).

 

Current Lineup 

CF Angel Pagan
2B Marco Scutaro
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Buster Posey
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
LF Gregor Blanco
SS Brandon Crawford
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP Tim Lincecum
SP Madison Bumgarner
SP Matt Cain
SP Barry Zito
SP Ryan Vogelsong
CL Sergio Romo

5. Atlanta Braves (84-63, Previous: 4)

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Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

3-3

 

Team Outlook

The Braves have had a firm hold on the first NL Wild Card spot for some time now, as they are currently seven games up on the Cardinals for the spot. 

They swept the Nationals to close out last week and pull within 5.5 games of the NL East lead. Despite the fact that they will likely wind up as the wild card, they have to be viewed as legitimate title contenders. Kris Medlen remains the biggest X-factor, as he has pitched like an ace since moving to the rotation but lacks the proven track record of success.

 

Current Lineup

CF Michael Bourn
LF Martin Prado
RF Jason Heyward
3B Chipper Jones
1B Freddie Freeman
C Brian McCann
2B Dan Uggla
SS Andrelton Simmons
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP Tim Hudson
SP Mike Minor
SP Kris Medlen
SP Paul Maholm
SP Tommy Hanson
CL Craig Kimbrel

4. Oakland Athletics (84-62, Previous: 5)

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Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

5-2

 

Team Outlook

There has been no hotter team in baseball since the All-Star break than the A's, as they've gone 41-19 after a 43-43 start to the season. Not only that, but they've also been particularly good of late, winning eight of their last 10.

The team lacks a true superstar but has gotten contributions from up and down the lineup all season long. It will be interesting to see how their incredibly young pitching staff—sans Bartolo Colon and Brandon McCarthy—handles the season's final weeks.


Current Lineup

CF Coco Crisp
DH Seth Smith
RF Josh Reddick
LF Yoenis Cespedes
1B Brandon Moss
3B Josh Donaldson
SS Stephen Drew
C Derek Norris
2B Cliff Pennington

 

Current Rotation

SP Tom Milone
SP Jarrod Parker
SP Brett Anderson
SP A.J. Griffin
SP Daniel Straily
CL Grant Balfour

3. Cincinnati Reds (88-59, Previous: 3)

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John Grieshop/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

4-2

 

Team Outlook 

The Reds have a bigger lead than any other division winner. They are 11 games up on the Cardinals in the NL Central and should be able to coast into the playoffs.

Having Joey Votto back makes them all the more dangerous, but manager Dusty Baker has to find a way to get Todd Frazier into the lineup. The NL Rookie of the Year candidate was bumped to the bench in favor of Scott Rolen when he returned from injury. There is no question it was a step down in production.

 

Current Lineup

2B Brandon Phillips
SS Zack Cozart
1B Joey Votto
LF Ryan Ludwick
RF Jay Bruce
3B Scott Rolen
CF Drew Stubbs
C Ryan Hanigan
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP Johnny Cueto
SP Mat Latos
SP Bronson Arroyo
SP Homer Bailey
SP Mike Leake
CL Aroldis Chapman

2. Texas Rangers (87-59, Previous: 2)

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

4-2

 

Team Outlook

The Rangers welcomed back catcher Mike Napoli this past week, as the team no doubt hopes he can match the fantastic numbers he put up last October, his first season with the team.

Yu Darvish has hit his stride of late, going 4-1 with a 2.32 ERA and 10.8 K/9 in his last six starts. He could be viewed as the ace of the staff right now and will be relied on heavily in the playoffs. The Rangers still need to hold off the charging A's though, as their division lead has shrunk to just three games. 

 

Current Lineup

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
DH Michael Young
LF David Murphy
C Mike Napoli
1B Mitch Moreland

 

Current Rotation

SP Derek Holland
SP Yu Darvish
SP Matt Harrison
SP Ryan Dempster
SP Martin Perez
CL Joe Nathan 

1. Washington Nationals (89-57, Previous: 1)

Hi-res-152109218_display_image
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Last Week's Record

3-3


Team Outlook

Despite shutting down Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals remain atop these rankings as they still have a fantastic pitching staff led by Cy Young candidate Gio Gonzalez (19-8, 2.95 ERA) and a well-balanced offensive attack.

They have a relatively tough schedule the rest of the way, facing off against the Dodgers, Brewers and Cardinals, along with six games against the Phillies. They should have no problem holding off the Braves for the division crown and bringing postseason baseball to our nation's capital for the first time since the 1933 Washington Senators.

 

Current Lineup

RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
Pitcher

 

Current Rotation

SP Gio Gonzalez
SP Jordan Zimmermann
SP Edwin Jackson
SP Ross Detwiler
SP John Lannan
CL Tyler Clippard

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