MLB power rankings: Blackmon fuels Rockies’ surge

Colorado outfielder Charlie Blackmon enters the week with a .402 batting average.

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Ryan Braun and Jean Segura could miss some time this week with minor injuries, testing the Brewers’ ability to play through some adversity in important divisional matchups.

While the Braves continue to roll, Freddie Freeman is putting together an excellent season. He leads the team in most offensive categories as the first month of play concludes.

The Rangers are showing their force after winning nine of their last 12 games, including a series sweep against the A’s in Oakland. Prince Fielder appears to be emerging from his troublesome start as well.

So far, the pitching is the keeping the Cardinals afloat, but if St. Louis wants to make a real run at another championship, its offense needs to step up.

The A’s fell flat in their first real test of the season when they were swept by the Rangers. Oakland gets another shot this week as it travels to Texas for three games that could prove important later in the season.

San Francisco is on a four-game winning streak entering the week and it continues to get contributions from nearly everyone on the roster, proving last season’s train wreck is behind them.

Adrian Gonzalez is the NL’s home-run leader through Sunday with eight dingers. The Dodgers are looking forward to the return of Clayton Kershaw, who should be back in the rotation after another rehab start.

Anibal Sanchez’s 15-day DL stint with a blister issue isn’t doing the Tigers any favors. The pitching staff that is 19th in the majors with an overall 3.97 ERA entering the week.

Masahiro Tanaka made his first month in the Majors look like a breeze compiling a 3-0 record with a 2.27 ERA in five starts after striking out 11 Angels in a no-decision Sunday night in the Bronx.

The Nationals have yet to build any traction but have the tools in their lineup to at least keep pace in the NL East with the Braves.

The pitching has been holding the team upright during the first month, but if the Royals are going to make a real run, the offense will need to find its way soon.

It’s tough to replace someone like Jacoby Ellsbury in the outfield, but Jackie Bradley Jr. has done well thus far, at least defensively. He’s still a work in progress at the plate.

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Troy Tulowitzki is off to a good start, but Charlie Blackmon’s .402 batting average with 17 RBI in 25 games is leading the offensively sound Rockies.

As the Brewers continue their surprising run to start the season, the Reds continue to fall further behind in the NL Central.

Some thought Albert Pujols’ best days were behind him after a rough ’13, but the slugger is hitting .340 with six homers and 14 RBI over the past two weeks, including his 500th career home run last week.

While the pitching staff is the part of the Orioles that could use some help, Manny Machado’s much anticipated return to the lineup could happen late this week.

Rookie Jose Abreu leads the majors with 10 home runs and 31 RBI. It will be interesting to see what happens as opposing pitching staffs adjust to him throughout the season.

The Rays had such high expectations entering the season, but they are sitting in last place in the AL East as of Sunday.

The offense might not be on par, put the pitching has been solid so far this season, led by the emergence of Dillon Gee along with Bartolo Colon’s continued success, save for a nine-run outing vs. the Angels.

If the Blue Jays can avoid injuries to their lineup, the production should improve. Edwin Encarnacion is showing signs of shaking off his slow start after a solid week at the plate.

Cleveland is struggling on both sides of the ball. Offensively the Indians are averaging fewer than four runs per game; the pitching staff ranks 20th in the league in team ERA.

Just as the Phillies are looking down and out, things pick up. During their 10-game road trip to the NL West, Philadelphia went 6-4 and saw the return of Cole Hamels to the rotation.

Lack of consistency has been a problem for the Twins’ pitching staff, but Phil Hughes has shown he can be a bright spot for the team after turning in two straight quality starts.

The Pirates looked to be on another postseason run after starting 6-3, but after dropping five consecutive series, they could be in trouble.

Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker are getting closer to returning to the rotation, something that couldn’t come soon enough for the struggling Mariners.

The Padres are hoping Cameron Maybin’s return to the lineup gives them a much-needed spark for their struggling offense.

Collin McHugh made his season debut striking out 12 batters in 6.2 shutout innings against the Mariners. He followed up the dazzling performance with another Sunday against the A’s, allowing just one run in 8.2 innings.

Jose Fernandez, in just his second major-league season, tied a career high with 14 strikeouts last week against the Braves and is leading Miami with a 1.99 ERA through Sunday.

The Cubs’ staff ace, Jeff Samardzija, is sporting a 1.53 ERA along with 27 strikeouts but is sitting with a 0-2 record entering Monday’s action due to the lack of run support.

Mike Bolsinger and Josh Collmenter have improved the starting pitching since the duo moved to the rotation, but the Diamondbacks are still in trouble after a very rough start.