What better day to take some time and evaluate where teams stand than the day after the All-Star Game?
As we (im)patiently wait for the second half of the season to get underway, some teams are riding high and looking to keep the good times rolling, while others are watching their playoff chances slowly slip away.
Sure, looking at records will give you an idea of who the best teams in baseball are, but teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, who have won 14 of their last 16 games, are much more scary to play than the 54-41 Texas Rangers.
So who's playing the best baseball right now? Let's take a look.
1. St. Louis Cardinals (57-36)
The Cardinals have been atop the MLB power rankings for most of the season and will remain there until another team can consistently win the way they have.
With a 7-3 record in their last 10 games, they don't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
2. Boston Red Sox (58-39)
With the most wins in the MLB and sitting atop the AL East, the Red Sox are in great shape to contend for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The team's only glaring weakness—a subpar bullpen with an ERA over 4.00—has already been addressed, as the team added Matt Thornton to the mix well before the trade deadline.
3. Tampa Bay Rays (55-41)
The Rays have vaulted themselves into the top three after a torrid finish to the first half of the season. They went 16-4 in the final 20 games and are now just 2.5 games behind the Red Sox.
It remains to be seen if they can keep up the impressive play when the schedule gets tougher. Their last 20 games have been against the likes of the Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins.
For now, they're the hottest team in baseball.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates (56-37)
The good news? The Pirates have the second-best record in baseball.
The not-so-good news? They're just 4-6 in their last 10 games.
With a lineup that's only generating 3.84 runs per game, they'll need to rely heavily on pitching to carry them through the season. Given the success of Francisco Liriano and Co. this season, that's not a horrible proposition.
Still, four of those six losses came in games in which they scored just one run. A move for one more bat would move them up the rankings even further.
5. Oakland Athletics (56-39)
The Athletics are doing things in the most Oakland Athletics way possible. Before Yoenis Cespedes' all-out assault on baseballs at the Home Run Derby, the team had few marketable stars. Grant Balfour was the only player representing the team at the All-Star Game, yet the team has the fourth-best record in the league.
Only the Rays have a better record in their last 10 games than the Athletics' 7-3 mark.
6. Atlanta Braves (54-41)
The All-Star break couldn't have come at a better time for the Braves. Injuries to B.J. Upton, Jason Heyward and Jordan Schafer have left the Braves with a shallow outfield. However, the team has been resourceful and maintained its lead in the NL East.
Rebounding from those injuries puts the Braves in danger of falling down from this position, but for now they've proven their worth as a top National League team.
7. Detroit Tigers (52-42)
The Tigers are all but guaranteed to be a strong player in October. They're the team to beat in the AL Central, and the one-two punch of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander is still among the scariest in baseball.
Add in the fact that the Detroit lineup is either first or second in runs, batting average, on-base percentage and third in slugging percentage, and there's an argument to be made the Tigers could be even higher on this list.
8. Texas Rangers (54-41)
The Rangers' pitching staff has an ERA of 4.50 in July—that's generally a recipe for disaster. Fortunately for them, their 17 home runs on the month is tied for the third-highest mark.
As long as their bats continue to come through, they'll make it difficult for Oakland to overcome them in the AL West.
9. Cincinnati Reds (53-42)
The Reds finished the first half at 53-42, which would be great if they weren't in the NL Central. The Reds find themselves behind both the Pirates and Cardinals at the break.
Fortunately, the Reds' pitching staff should give them a shot at upsetting both teams down the stretch. Opposing teams are hitting just .202 against them in July.
10. Cleveland Indians (51-44)
The Indians are keeping up with the Tigers in the AL Central on the strength of a surprisingly good lineup. The team is in the top 10 of the majors when it comes to runs (fifth), on-base percentage (fourth) and slugging (eighth).
Catcher Carlos Santana is looking like a breakout second-half candidate, upping all of his numbers across the board from June to July. Roll Tribe indeed.
11. Baltimore Orioles (53-43)
The Orioles live and die by the long ball. They're hitting just .226 as a team in July while ranking third in the league in home runs with 17 in the same span.
You can afford to play like that when Chris Davis is anchoring the lineup. He has six home runs himself this month, and the Orioles are right in the highly competitive race to win the AL East.
12. Los Angeles Dodgers (47-47)
Yes, the Dodgers are just .500 on the season. But they're the hottest team in the NL West and improving both on the mound and at the plate.
They're hitting .288 for the month of July, which is good for third in the league, and the pitching staff boasts an ERA of 2.48, good for second. Yasiel Puig may be getting all of the spotlight, but the whole team has stepped up.
13. New York Yankees (51-44)
How the Yankees continue to win is one of the great unsolved mysteries in the world right now. They're averaging just 3.93 runs per game this season, yet they've managed to survive losing Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis for extended periods of time.
14. Washington Nationals (48-47)
Does that make any sense? Of course not.
But neither do the Nationals. They have one of the most talented rosters in baseball but can't seem to win consistently.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks (50-45)
The D-backs may be in first place in the NL West, but there's not a whole lot to love about the way the team has been playing of late. For the month, it is 21st in batting average at .237. On the mound, just two of its five starters—Patrick Corbin (2.35) and Wade Miley (4.01)—have an ERA of under 4.50.
16. Philadelphia Phillies (48-48)
The Phillies may be among a myriad of teams that are right at .500 right now, but they are just one of five teams that have tallied nine wins or more in July. That's thanks in large part to a pitching staff that has an ERA of 3.00 so far in the month.
If there arms continue that kind of pitching the rest of the way, they'll be a dangerous team moving forward.
17. Colorado Rockies (46-50)
This is a team with potential to be much higher on the list. Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer are the heart of a lineup that is one of the best when healthy. It ranks in the top 10 in runs, slugging, batting average and on-base percentage.
However, remaining healthy has been an issue, and the team is just 5-8 in July.
18. Toronto Blue Jays (45-49)
Well this isn't where we thought the Blue Jays would be at the All-Star break. After making big moves in the offseason, the first half of the season was a dud. Either they'll hope players like Josh Johnson—who has an ERA of 5.16 this season—can improve, or they may need to be sellers at the trade deadline.
19. Seattle Mariners (43-52)
In terms of overall record, the Mariners are just bad. But taking a look at their July numbers, there's hope for the M's yet.
The lineup has the No. 2 batting average (.289) and most home runs (22) this month, which has helped them to a 8-5 record. Their odds of making the playoffs are right next to zero, but a second-half surge would be a huge momentum boost for next season.
20. Los Angeles Angels (44-49)
How does a lineup that boasts Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton not end up as one of the top teams in baseball? When Pujols and Hamilton fail to hit above .250 and the pitching staff is awful.
The Angels have a 4.92 ERA in July.
21. San Francisco Giants (43-51)
Tim Lincecum's first career no-hitter may wind up being the highlight of the season for the Giants. The injury-ravaged team is as bad as the club has been in a long time. The weak NL West offers the Giants a glimmer of hope moving forward.
22. Chicago Cubs (42-51)
The Cubs will likely be sellers at the trade deadline—there's no way they'll be catching the Cardinals, Pirates or Reds in the NL Central. However, a 7-6 July record indicates things aren't all bad in the Windy City.
23. New York Mets (41-50)
Matt Harvey started his first All-Star Game at the age of 24. Letting go of R.A. Dickey turned out to be a good decision. And that's where the good news stops for the Mets. This is a franchise to watch in the future, but there's not much going for it this season.
24. Kansas City Royals (43-49)
Nothing to see here. Just another young Royals team that can't quite put it together. Only the Houston Astros have a worse July ERA.
25. Milwaukee Brewers (38-56)
The Brewers are getting decent hitting (.255 July average) and decent pitching (3.87 July ERA). But it's not converting into wins. They're just 6-8 this month.
26. Chicago White Sox (37-55)
The White Sox's season is a lost cause despite a talented roster that should at least be pushing Cleveland, but a 5-8 record in July shows they can get some wins.
27. San Diego Padres (42-54)
The Padres are just plummeting right now. They're 2-12 in July with an ERA of 4.92. Their play over the whole season keeps them ahead of the last few teams, but they are playing just as poorly right now.
28. Miami Marlins (35-58)
On the bright side, the Marlins have made it difficult to put them in the bottom two by going 6-7 so far in July.
28. Minnesota Twins (39-53)
Let's focus on the positive. Every passing day is one day closer to Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton being a part of the lineup.
30. Houston Astros (33-61)
It's a good thing this franchise had the No. 1 pick the last two seasons. It desperately needs a silver lining, and that's exactly what Mark Appel and Carlos Correa are.
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