MLB power rankings

By Shawn Ramsey

1 Cardinals 59-37 +1

Adam Wainwright keeps on rolling, leading the strong Cardinals pitching staff that may get a boost soon from Chris Carpenter — who has started making rehab starts for St. Louis’ triple-A club in Memphis.

2 Red Sox 60-41 -1

The Red Sox resumed their quest to return to the postseason by kicking off the second half of the season against their most heated rival, the Yankees.

3 Pirates 58-39

The Pirates salvaged their series against the Reds by following their successful first-half blueprint — great pitching from Jeff Locke, with just enough offense to win.

4 Athletics 58-41

Bartolo Colon threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout to improve to 13-3 and avoid a sweep against the Angels.

5 Rays 59-41 +3

The Rays swept the struggling Blue Jays over the weekend and are set for a critical four-game series against the Red Sox, which could put Tampa Bay in first place in the AL East.

6 Tigers 54-44 -1

Justin Verlander was roughed up by the Royals Saturday, giving up five earned runs on eight hits. The Tigers hope it isn’t a sign of things to come for their ace.

7 Orioles 57-43 +3

Baltimore is showing it means business, kicking off the second half with a sweep of the Rangers in Texas behind Matt Wieters’ bat. The catcher went 6 for 12 with two RBI and four runs.

8 Braves 56-43 -1

Mike Minor pitched a complete game Sunday against the White Sox and still took the loss without any help from his lineup. If the Braves want to hold on to the NL East, the bats will need to heat up once again.

9 Reds 56-43

Three teams from the NL Central could be playing in October if the first-half trend continues for the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds.

10 Rangers 55-44 -4

Texas begins the second half the wrong way after getting swept by the Orioles at home.

11 Yankees 52-47

Mariano Rivera stole the show at the All-Star Game, pitching a perfect eighth inning. The Yankees closer even managed an unprecedented standing ovation at Fenway Park in as he closed out Saturday’s game in Boston.

12 Dodgers 51-47 +1

The Dodgers enjoyed a share of first place briefly on Sunday after sweeping the Nationals. That is an accomplishment, considering how far LA has come this season.

13 Indians 52-47 +2

The Tribe had a chance to overtake the Tigers in the division over the weekend but couldn’t take care of business against the Twins, losing two out of three on the road to start the second half.

14 Diamondbacks 51-48

The Diamondbacks are feeling the heat from the Dodgers after barely avoiding a sweep in the second-half opening series against the Giants.

15 Phillies 49-50 +1

The Phillies have a slim chance to take their division, so this team isn’t likely to be trading away Cliff Lee and Chase Utley at the deadline.

16 Nationals 48-51 -4

The Nationals were hoping a fresh start after the break would be good for the club, which was below expectations in the first half. But the resurgent Dodgers knocked them back under .500, making the hill a bit steeper.

17 Angels 46-51

Ten games out of first place entering the week; the Angels did start the second half right by taking two of three from the division-leading A’s.

18 Royals 45-51

Perhaps a break was just what the Royals needed. Kansas City stopped a five-game losing streak by taking down the division-leading Tigers on Friday and even bested Justin Verlander on Saturday to take a series win.

19 Mariners 47-52 +2

Seattle is on a seven-game winning streak after sweeping the Astros over the weekend. Rookie catcher Mike Zunino is providing stability behind the plate, but his bat hasn’t yet caught up to his stellar defense.

20 Cubs 44-53

Trade rumors continue to swirl around the Cubs, who have a different look to the roster now that Matt Garza is gone.

21 Giants 45-53 +2

Matt Cain could be on his way to turning things around after a disastrous first half. Saturday the Giants’ ace only pitched five innings, giving up two runs with four hits, but was good enough to earn the win against Arizona.

22 Rockies 48-52

The Rockies get a boost in their powerful lineup, which had recently been in a rut, with the return of Dexter Fowler to the leadoff spot after spending the past few weeks on the DL.

23 Twins 42-54 +2

The Twins did take two out of three from the Indians in the first series of the second half but only managed two hits in the finale against Justin Masterson.

24 Blue Jays 45-53 -5

Swept in the first series back from the All-Star break, with back-to-back losses from R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle; seems like the Blue Jays’ woes aren’t over yet.

25 Mets 43-52 -1

Matt Harvey started his second half by outdueling Phillies ace Cliff Lee on Sunday. And the Mets’ offense finally provided him with the support that eluded him for much of the season.

26 Brewers 41-57 +1

Three straight shutout wins to open the second half was a good thing for the struggling ball club, even if they came against the offensively anemic Marlins. Of course, the Ryan Braun suspension makes a down season even worse.

27 Padres 44-56 -1

The Padres are spiraling downward quickly, with just three wins in July entering this week. More bad news in San Diego: starting pitcher Jason Marquis was placed on the disabled list.

28 White Sox 39-57

Jake Peavy’s impressive Saturday return from the disabled list was rewarded by the lineup scoring 10 runs on 13 hits, which for the White Sox offense is a big deal.

29 Marlins 36-61

The Marlins couldn’t score any runs in three games against the Brewers over the weekend, showing exactly why the Miami hitters are ranked last in most offensive categories this season.

30 Astros 33-65

Eric Bedard allowed no hits in his start Saturday but pulled himself in the seventh due to a tiring arm. The Astros allowed four unearned runs and Bedard was pinned with the loss. How much more unlucky can Houston get?