The Rangers stepped up to the test of facing Oakland and Detroit in back-to-back series last week, going 5-2, including teeing off on Justin Verlander on Thursday night for eight runs in 2 2/3 innings to help grab the league’s best record.
2. Cardinals 28-16 —
The Cardinals have the National League’s best record, and now that the bullpen has started to turn things around, the Redbirds are looking nearly unstoppable as they continue to take down opponents.
3. Yankees 28-16 —
Curtis Granderson was the first injured veteran to come back from the DL for the Yankees lineup; but who needs starters when your replacements can continue to carry the load?
4. Red Sox 27-18 +4
After playing their way through a rough patch, the Red Sox appear to be back on track, putting together a five-game winning streak last week as David Ortiz continues to tear through opposing pitching staffs.
5. Indians 26-17 +6
Watch out for the Tribe. The busy offseason is finally starting to pay off, as the Indians are the hottest team in the league right now after dethroning the Tigers for first place to make the AL Central very intriguing.
6. Pirates 26-18 +6
Excellent pitching led by A.J. Burnett and Jeff Locke paired with a good hitting lineup has gotten the Pirates to where they stand today in the rankings as they look to sneak past the Reds and Cardinals in the NL Central.
7. Reds 27-18 +2
The Reds should be considered serious contenders in the NL, but the Cardinals, and even the Pirates, are causing problems, making the road to the playoffs more difficult for Cincinnati.
8. Braves 26-18 -1
After slumping the past few weeks against tough opponents, the Braves will play several sub-.500 teams to hopefully regain some of the confidence the team had at the beginning of the season with their 12-1 start.
9. Tigers 23-19 -3
Before the season, the Tigers were thought to be a lock in the AL Central. Now the division-rival Indians, and even the Royals, are keeping things interesting.
10. Diamondbacks 26-19 +3
Prior to the season, the Giants thought their only competition would be the Dodgers in the NL West. They were wrong, as the Diamondbacks look like they are making themselves comfortable in first place.
11. Giants 25-20 -6
The Giants are learning the hard way that winning doesn’t come automatically after being World Series champs twice in three years. The NL West is looking tougher than most expected it to be.
12. Orioles 23-21 -8
Not a good week in Baltimore for the Orioles as they were swept by the Padres and Rays at home. Luckily it is just one week out of several in the season, and the O’s have plenty of time to work out their problems.
13. Rockies 24-21 +3
The Rockies aren’t playing as dominantly as they were to start the season, but Colorado should still be considered a legitimate contender with a healthy Troy Tulowitzki leading a powerful lineup.
14. Rays 23-21 +1
The Rays keep finding ways to win, and last week’s sweep of the Orioles showed this team means business. Matt Moore has developed into an ace in Tampa Bay with his undefeated record this season.
15. Nationals 23-22 -5
The Nationals might not have been as powerful as they were expected to be so far, but they have at least managed to keep pace with the Braves in the NL East.
16. Athletics 24-22 +1
The A’s showed they still have some fight in them after sweeping the Royals at home, and now Oakland turns around to face the dangerous Rangers for the second time in two weeks on the road.
17. Royals 20-21 -3
Earlier in the season, the Royals looked like they were finally ready to jump back into contention, but things have slowed since then. The team has the stats, but now need to find ways to win to stay in the race.
18. Phillies 21-24 —
After several years of contention, the Phillies find themselves at a crossroad. Is it time to rebuild or should they stick with veterans like Chase Utley and Cliff Lee for another year to see what happens?
19. Padres 21-23 +5
The Padres aren’t expected to contend this season as they are still in a rebuilding phase, but they could make things interesting out west in the NL if they continue to play good baseball.
20. Mariners 20-25 -1
Just when things were starting to possibly look up for baseball in Seattle, the Mariners stumble against the red-hot Indians after starting the road trip with an impressive series win at Yankee Stadium.
21. Blue Jays 18-26 —
Could the new-look Blue Jays finally be turning the corner? The lineup looked impressive against the Giants, but followed the two-game sweep with two lousy games in New York against Yankees.
22. White Sox 20-23 +5
If the lineup can ever get the ball rolling to start backing the stellar pitching staff, the White Sox could find themselves back in contention in the AL Central.
23. Twins 18-23 -3
The Twins’ resurgence appears to have been short lived after losing a series to the division rival White Sox and getting swept at home by the Red Sox as the rotation continues to struggle.
24. Dodgers 18-25 +1
Clayton Kershaw hasn’t missed a step as he continues his dominance of lineups, but the rest of the team, especially the lineup, needs to help pick up some slack. The Dodgers ace can’t be there every day to bail them out.
25. Angels 17-27 +1
Angels fans are experiencing déjà vu with this team compared to last season. Both had high expectations only to fall completely flat out of the gates. Hopefully it isn’t too late to catch up in the standings.
26. Cubs 18-25 +2
The Cubs are starting to show some signs of life after all. The pitching staff has gotten it together with Travis Wood and Scott Feldman leading the way and Matt Garza’s return this week is good news for Chicago as well.
27. Brewers 17-26 -5
Going into the season, the Brewers were expected to at least be in contention for first or second place in the NL Central, but Milwaukee hasn’t looked like they have the potential to be anywhere close to those predictions so far.
28. Mets 17-25 -5
Despite a few bright spots, such as Matt Harvey and David Wright, the Mets are struggling big time. The pitching and hitting staffs as a whole are both having problems resulting in more losses.
29. Marlins 13-32 —
With the first quarter of the season in the books, the Marlins are among the worst in baseball as they were tied with the Astros as of Sunday for the league’s worst record.
30. Astros 13-32 —
The Astros are right where everyone expected them to be: last place. Despite Jose Altuve, this team has mostly been a disaster. The rotation is by far the worst in baseball with no sign of a turnaround in sight.