While it was status quo atop our weekly MLB power rankings once again, there was plenty of shifting in the middle of the pack as teams continued to jostle for position in a crowded postseason picture.
Entering play Monday, no fewer than 20 teams were within six games of a playoff spot, which should make for a thrilling final six weeks of the regular season.
For now, just remember that these rankings are fluid and that teams rise and fall based on where they were ranked the previous week. If a team keeps winning, it will keep climbing—it's as simple as that.
Here's a look at where all 30 teams stand:
Miami Marlins (Up 5 Spots)
The Marlins are 7-2 in their last nine games, picking up series wins against the Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants and New York Mets.
That leaves them two games under .500 and six games back with three teams to pass to climb into the second wild-card spot in the National League.
FanGraphs now gives them a 6.3 percent chance of reaching the postseason—not exactly a vote of confidence, but a glimmer of hope nonetheless.
Giancarlo Stanton has been the obvious standout in the second half, posting a 1.272 OPS with 19 home runs and 39 RBI in 34 games.
However, improved starting pitching might be the biggest reason for the team's recent success.
Adam Conley (2 GS, 2-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.05 WHIP), Jose Urena (1 GS, 5.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER) and Justin Nicolino (1 GS, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER) all threw the ball well last week, and the decision to trade Tom Koehler might actually make the staff better down the stretch.
Miami has enough offensive firepower to make things interesting the rest of the way if its starting pitchers can continue to hold their own.
And with the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres next up on their schedule, the Marlins have a golden opportunity to continue climbing up the standings this week.
Minnesota Twins (Up 5 Spots)
It looked like a 10-15 month of July had spelled the end of the Minnesota Twins' chances of contending for a playoff berth in 2017.
However, they've pulled right back into the thick of things with a 13-6 August and are fresh off a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks. That leaves them five back in the American League Central and tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild-card spot.
Regardless of how the rest of the season plays out, this club has far exceeded expectations.
"Nobody really picked us to do anything this year," catcher Chris Gimenez told Shane Jackson of MLB.com. "Ever since spring training, we have been so close-knit as a group that we feel like we are capable of doing something pretty special here. We are starting to see some of the signs of what's to come."
Left fielder Eddie Rosario has led the way offensively this month, hitting .371/.400/.714 with six doubles, six home runs and 16 RBI.
Meanwhile, the bullpen has been rock-solid, and ageless wonder Bartolo Colon has been a nice addition to the starting rotation after being plucked from the scrapheap.
It's looking more and more like the AL wild-card race will come down to who gets hot at the right time, and the Twins certainly have momentum on their side.
St. Louis Cardinals (Down 6 Spots)
All right, so maybe I jumped the gun a bit by vaulting the St. Louis Cardinals all the way to the No. 7 spot in last week's rankings.
Still, these rankings are as much about recent performance as they are about the established body of work, and there's no denying the Redbirds were baseball's hottest team at this time a week ago.
But after dropping a two-game series to the Boston Red Sox and splitting a four-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis slid back to the periphery of contention in the No. 13 spot.
While its precipitous slide was largely a result of on-field performance, the injury to closer Trevor Rosenthal also played a part.
Rosenthal has brought much-needed stability to a fragile bullpen over the past few months, but he could be looking at a lengthy disabled list stint or even surgery with "concern about the integrity of the ulnar collateral ligament," according to president of baseball operations John Mozeliak (via Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com).
He'll get a second opinion sometime this week before the team decides how to proceed. If the Cardinals are without the hard-throwing reliever for an extended period of time, it would be an obvious blow to their playoff hopes.
Baltimore Orioles (Down 4 Spots)
Another week, another brutal showing by the Baltimore Orioles starting rotation.
Kevin Gausman, Chris Tillman, Wade Miley, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jeremy Hellickson combined to go 1-3 with an 8.10 ERA and 1.73 WHIP with one quality start in six games.
That effectively undermined an offense that plated 32 runs during that same span, and the team was forced to settle for one win against each of the Seattle Mariners and Angels.
Despite a plus-24 run differential this month, the Orioles have only managed a 9-10 record, and they're now four games under .500.
That's good enough for them to still be alive in the crowded AL wild-card picture, though, as they're just four games back for the second spot. But things are not trending in the right direction.
With 13 of their next 16 games at home, where they've gone 36-25 this year—compared to 24-39 away from Camden Yards—the time is now to make a move.
MVPs of the Week
AL MVP: Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
Stats: 10-for-26, 1 2B, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 4 R
After a wildly disappointing first half, Manny Machado is again performing at a superstar level for the Orioles.
The 25-year-old hit just .230 with a .741 OPS in the first half, but after a stellar last week, he's batting .345/.373/.595 with 11 doubles, eight home runs and 34 RBI in 36 games since the All-Star break.
The bulk of his damage came Friday, when he went 3-for-5 with three home runs and seven RBI and capped his big day at the plate with a walk-off grand slam.
The O's are fading fast in the AL wild-card race, but a red-hot Machado at least gives them a chance.
"Manny Machado is back, and it's a scary thought for the rest of the league, perhaps one that could change the game in the Orioles' American League wild-card hopes," Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com wrote.
NL MVP: Clayton Richard, San Diego Padres
Stats: 1 GS, W, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
Clayton Richard doesn't have overpowering stuff, but when he executes his pitches and keeps the ball down in the zone, he's plenty effective.
The 33-year-old did just that Wednesday, when he tossed his second complete game of the season, holding the Phillies to just three hits while recording 17 ground-ball outs on his way to a shutout.
"It's what we play for, moments like those," Richard told reporters. "To win, first of all, and then to be out there for the whole game—it's a lot of fun to do that. You have to give so much credit in a game like this. Defense was outstanding, and [Austin Hedges] was great behind the plate."
Richard now has a 58.5 percent ground-ball rate, second only to Marcus Stroman (62.6 percent) among all qualified starters.
It was the left-hander's third career shutout and first since Aug. 8, 2012, during his first go-around in San Diego. It was also the first shutout by a Padres pitcher since Andrew Cashner also blanked the Phillies on Sept. 15, 2014.
Stats of the Week
Let's dive into some of the better nuggets from around the league.
We'll start with the 44-year-old Colon, who became just the 18th pitcher in MLB history to beat all 30 MLB teams.
MLB Stat of the Day @MLBStatoftheDay
After defeating the Diamondbacks today, Bartolo Colon has now beaten all 30 @MLB teams. https://t.co/CPnoUqXkR72017-8-20 23:17:45
When Colon earned his first MLB victory on June 7, 1997, the D-backs were still about 10 months away from kicking off their inaugural season.
Stanton's home run streak was halted at six games Wednesday, but it was still good for a franchise record and the first six-game homer streak since Nolan Arenado's in September 2015.
Stanton also became the first player in Marlins history to post back-to-back 10-homer months, and his 11 home runs in the first 15 days of a calendar month tied him with Troy Tulowitzki (September 2010), Sammy Sosa (June 1998) and Ralph Kiner (September 1949) for the most ever, per the Elias Sports Bureau (via the Miami Herald).
With 45 home runs this season, he's on pace for 60.
Aaron Judge's second-half struggles continued. He's striking out at a 40 percent clip in August, and he tied an inauspicious record Sunday.
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Aaron Judge has struck out in 37 straight games, tying the MLB record set by Bill Stoneman across the 1971-72 seasons. (via @EliasSports) https://t.co/u3kWf5PqgJ2017-8-20 20:53:12
It's worth mentioning that Bill Stoneman was a pitcher.
And finally, let's put a bow on Sunday's Little League festivities.
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Lance Lynn is among 3 active MLBers who have played in Little League World Series and MLB’s World Series. @Cardinals-@Pirates, 7 ET/ESPN2017-8-20 17:25:00
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Yusmeiro Petit (1994 Coquivacoa LL, Maracaibo, Venezuela; 2014 Giants) & Michael Conforto (2004 Redmond North, WA; 2015 Mets) are the others https://t.co/ZsJnwSQx9D2017-8-20 18:15:40
Los Angeles Dodgers rookie standout Cody Bellinger (2007 Chandler National, Arizona) will look to join that group this year.
Must-See Upcoming Matchup
Washington Nationals vs. Houston Astros (Tuesday-Thursday)
With division leads of 14 and 12 games, respectively, the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros have all but punched their tickets to the postseason.
That said, their interleague matchup this week should still make for a compelling series as both clubs look to flex their muscles against a fellow World Series hopeful.
The two teams last met in 2014, when the Nationals swept a four-game season series from an Astros squad that was headed for 92 losses and still in the process of rebuilding.
Things figure to be a bit more competitive this time around.
It will be Tanner Roark vs. Charlie Morton in Game 1, Edwin Jackson vs. Mike Fiers in Game 2 and a battle of All-Stars in Game 3 as Stephen Strasburg takes on Dallas Keuchel.
Strasburg was activated from the disabled list Saturday after missing nearly a month with an elbow impingement. He looked sharp, allowing four hits and two earned runs while striking out eight and walking one over six innings.
Keuchel, meanwhile, has won his last two starts, allowing just nine hits and one earned run while striking out 10 and walking four in 13.2 innings.
Looking for someone to yell at about where your favorite team was slotted in the latest rankings? I'll meet you in the comments section.