This week's MLB power rankings encompass just one weekend's worth of games coming out of the All-Star break, so there won't be as much shuffling as we've seen in past weeks.
However, there was still some notable movement.
The Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates continue to push their way into the National League playoff picture, while the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants are trying their best not to fall out of the race.
The American League side of things remains stacked at the top with the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros and New York Yankees once again occupying the top three spots and the Cleveland Indians maintaining their stranglehold on the AL Central lead. How aggressive will fringe contenders be at the deadline knowing they're essentially playing for one wild-card spot?
As always, these rankings remain a fluid process. 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 an updated look at where all 30 teams stand heading into this week's action.
Teams That Impressed
The Pittsburgh Pirates are surging up the standings.
After a 40-48 start to the season, they've gone 11-1 with a plus-39 run differential in their last 12 games, trimming the deficit to four games for the second NL wild-card spot in the process.
Corey Dickerson (66 PA, 1.222 OPS, 6 HR, 10 RBI), Starling Marte (69 PA, 1.105 OPS, 6 HR, 15 RBI) and Gregory Polanco (69 PA, .877 OPS, 6 HR, 13 RBI) have all been swinging a hot bat since the start of July.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Rockies have also made a notable push of late, going 15-4 in their last 19 games with a plus-45 run differential.
They were eight games back in the standings at the start of that run, and they're now just two games back in the NL West and 1.5 games back in the wild-card race.
Tyler Anderson (3 GS, 1-0, 1.35 ERA) and Kyle Freeland (4 GS, 1-0, 3.22 ERA) have continued to do the heavy lifting atop the rotation, and the team might need to seek out some rotation help at the deadline if it's serious about making another playoff push.
Further down the rankings, the Miami Marlins (2-1), Toronto Blue Jays (3-0) and Kansas City Royals (3-0) all picked up series wins to earn an up arrow.
Teams That Disappointed
The Milwaukee Brewers lost six games in a row to close out the first half of the season. They were unable to get things rolling coming out of the break, as they dropped two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Brewers are hitting just .236/.312/.381 during the month of July, while the pitching staff has posted a 4.39 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.
The San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks have gone 6-9 and 7-8, respectively, in their last 15 games, opening the door for the aforementioned Rockies to surge up the standings. The NL West is shaping up to be quite a battle, though everyone is chasing the Dodgers at this point following their acquisition of Manny Machado.
On the AL side, the Tampa Bay Rays (1-2) and Los Angeles Angels (1-2) both took series losses to kick off the second half, and their status as fringe playoff contenders took a hit.
With the Baltimore Orioles suffering another series sweep, they're now on pace for a staggering 116 losses.
MVPs of the Week
Hitter: Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
Stats: 9-for-17, 2 2B, 6 HR, 10 RBI, 8 R
It's easy now to forget just how bad Matt Carpenter was at the plate earlier this season.
The veteran third baseman was hitting a brutal .155/.305/.274 at the end of April and found himself in danger of losing playing time as a result.
How the tables have turned.
The 32-year-old is the hottest hitter on the planet right now, with a .355/.481/.922 line in July that includes seven doubles and 10 home runs in 77 plate appearances.
After a huge series against the Cubs that included a five-hit, three-homer game Friday, he now ranks seventh in the majors in OPS (.975). He's also tied for the NL lead with 25 home runs—well on his way to surpassing his career high of 28—as he's quickly forcing his way into the NL MVP conversation.
Pitcher: Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks
Stats: W, 8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K
Starting pitching has not been the same strength for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season that it was a year ago.
Taijuan Walker is out for the season following Tommy John surgery, and Robbie Ray has struggled since returning from an oblique strain.
However, Zack Greinke has been his usual steady self atop the staff.
The 34-year-old is fresh off his fifth All-Star appearances, and he's gone 11-5 with a 3.05 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 137 strikeouts in 129.2 innings.
His most dominant start of the season came Sunday when he struck out 13 over eight innings against the Colorado Rockies.
That was his highest single-game total since he also struck out 13 versus the Braves back on July 30, 2014, when he was a Dodger.
If the D-backs are going to make a return trip to the postseason, Greinke will need to be on top of his game the rest of the way.
Video Highlights of the Week
Longest Home Run: Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers (472 feet)
Joey Gallo doesn't always make contact.
The 24-year-old is hitting .187 on the season and striking out at a dizzying 35.7 percent clip.
But when he does make contact, the ball tends to go a long, long way.
Of his 61 hits this season, 24 have left the yard, with his longest homer coming Friday when he creamed this 472-foot bomb off Cleveland Indians closer Cody Allen.
He also has 466-foot and 453-foot blasts to his credit this season, and he had the third-longest homer of the season last year in the form of a mammoth 490-foot shot off Los Angeles Angels starter Garrett Richards.
There's a good chance he won't finish the season above the Mendoza Line, but another 40-homer season is well within reach.
Best Defensive Play: Joey Wendle, Tampa Bay Rays
We've seen a healthy mix of diving catches, home run robberies and cannon-armed throws in our "best defensive play" section so far this year.
Now, we can add a stellar glove flip to the mix.
Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Joey Wendle dug deep into his bag of tricks to get an out on this play, as he had to charge hard and didn't have the time or the angle to make a normal throw to first base.
Instead, he shoveled it from a good 40 feet away, and it was right on the money.
Justin Bour is not the most fleet of foot, but it was an impressive play nonetheless and a deserving recipient of our top defensive honor for the week.
Wendle has played an above-average second base all season with 2 DRS and 8.4 UZR/150 in 488.2 innings of action at the position.
Must-See Upcoming Matchup
Washington Nationals vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Monday-Wednesday)
It's put up or shut up for two teams that are quickly slipping out of contention in the National League.
The Washington Nationals have limped along at an 12-23 clip over their last 35 games, leaving them with a .500 record and a six-game deficit to overcome in the NL East standings.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers have gone 1-8 with a minus-23 run differential over their last nine games. In the process, they've gone from a 1.5-game lead to a 3.5-game deficit in the NL Central race.
With that in mind, this series could prove to be a significant momentum swing for either team.
The Brewers will miss Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg in this three-game set, while the Brewers will have arguably their top trio of starters going.
The pitching matchups are slated as follows:
- Gio Gonzalez (19 GS, 6-6, 3.72 ERA) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (21 GS, 8-3, 3.68 ERA)
- Jeremy Hellickson (13 GS, 4-1, 3.29 ERA) vs. Junior Guerra (18 GS, 6-6, 3.23 ERA)
- Tanner Roark (19 GS, 3-12, 4.87 ERA) vs. Freddy Peralta (7 GS, 4-1, 2.65 ERA)
This is a make-or-break stretch for both teams with the deadline rapidly approaching.