MLB power rankings

By Jase Bandelow and Eric Luchetti

Cincinnati takes over the top spot, but the margin between the top teams is getting smaller as the season heads toward the final month.

1 Reds 78-52 +1

Losing two of three to the defending World Series champs should remind the Reds that no lead is safe. Can they get hot again and avoid a collapse?

2 Nationals 77-50 -1

Injuries caused the Nationals to be swept at the hands of the Phillies. Luckily the roster should be healthy sooner rather than later.

3 Yankees 74-54

CC Sabathia looked sharp in his return from the DL, limiting the Indians to just one run in 7.1 innings pitched.

4 Rangers 76-52 +1

Adrian Beltre definitely earned his AL Player of the Week honors, hitting for the cycle in one game and belting three home runs in another.

5 White Sox 71-56 +5

Addison Reed registered three saves and a win last week as the White Sox swept the Yankees and the Mariners.

6 Dodgers 69-60 +2

They got better. A lot better. Does anything else really need to be said?

7 Braves 73-56 -3

Inconsistency has been a term often used for the Braves this season, but Fredi Gonzalez has a team that can play with anyone when it is clicking.

8 Giants 71-57 -1

Calling up Eli Whiteside gives the Giants some flexibility in making sure Buster Posey gets through the rest of the season and possibly a playoff series.

9 Rays 70-58 -3

In a series that could determine one of the two AL wild-card spots, the Rays lost two of three to the A’s.

10 Athletics 70-57 +2

Grant Balfour has been outstanding at the back end of the bullpen since regaining the role on Aug. 11, having closed out seven consecutive opportunities heading into this week.

11 Orioles 70-57

The addition of Joe Saunders was a nice pick-up. Add that to the fact that lefty Zach Britton has been nearly unhittable in his last two starts heading into this week, and the O’s should feel good about their postseason hopes.

12 Tigers 69-58 +1

A huge week for the Tigers, winning five of six. Unfortunately they still lost a half-game on the White Sox in the AL Central.

13 Cardinals 71-57 +1

Adam Wainwright appears back to his dominant form following Tommy John surgery, as the Cardinals continue a tough road trip through Pittsburgh and DC.

14 Pirates 68-60 -5

You have to feel bad for the Pirates, who have tanked since the 19-inning victory in St. Louis.

15 Angels 66-62 +1

Albert Pujols missed the last four games last week due to a calf injury. If the Angels want to compete for the wild card, they will need a healthy No. 5 back in the lineup.

16 Diamondbacks 64-65 -1

Tyler Skaggs had an impressive debut, but the D-backs need a lot if they want to continue to fight for a wild-card spot.

17 Red Sox 62-67

Let the makeover begin. The Red Sox shipped out Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, the injured Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for James Loney, cash and prospects.

18 Mariners 62-67 +2

The Mariners had won eight in a row before running into the buzzsaw that is the Chicago White Sox and getting swept over the weekend.

19 Phillies 61-67 +2

Cliff Lee finally got a W at Citizens Bank Park, and the Fightin’ Phils have shown some life since trading away Pence and Victorino.

20 Mets 59-69 -2

GM Sandy Alderson expressed his intention of keeping David Wright and R.A. Dickey in New York for the long term. But will they stay if the Mets continue to lose?

21 Brewers 60-67 +4

The Brewers already have lost more games than they did in all of 2011.

22 Padres 60-70 +5

Don’t look now, but the Padres are playing respectable baseball. Still hard to overcome a 19-40 start to go along with 15 different starting pitchers.

23 Marlins 58-71 +1

Seeing the Dodgers acquire big names while competing for a playoff spot first-hand had to sting every member of the Marlins front office. Ahhh, what could have been.

24 Royals 56-71 -1

The Royals had been one of the hottest teams in August, that is until they won just two games last week.

25 Blue Jays 57-70 -6

The Blue Jays’ downward spiral continues, having lost seven in a row heading into this week.

26 Rockies 52-75 +3

Even with Carlos Gonzalez struggling, the team put together a solid road trip in New York and Chicago.

27 Twins 52-76 -1

It has to be considered a plus when the Twins head to Oakland and Texas for a week and still come away with two wins.

28 Cubs 49-78

Congrats to Chris Volstad, who notched his first victory since July 10, 2011. Hopefully the next one is a little easier.

29 Indians 55-73 -5

The Tribe’s second-half woes continue, having won just one game last week.

30 Astros 40-88

Hey Astros fans, you think seeing Roger Clemens pitch in Minute Maid this year would brighten your spirits? Nope. Didn’t think so.