mlb_rankings_945
Rank   Team Record   Change   Comment
1 Chicago Cubs Chicago Cubs 48-26
A one-win week usually finds a team at the bottom of the rankings, but the Cubs are different. Of the six losses since our last rankings, Chicago lost three by a combined four runs. The team’s 10-11 record in one-run games looks like a weak spot right now.
2 St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals 39-35
▲ 7
The Cards leapt a bit this week due to the statistical emphasis on run differential. They won four games this week, and the two games dropped were by one run each. Like the team above, the 6-13 record in close games is a weak spot. However, decades of data show that number to be luck dependent—and little correlation to team quality.
3 Boston Red Sox Boston Red Sox 41-34
▼ 1
Slight reversal here as the only two games Boston won last week were by one-run margins. Worse, the Red Sox fell four games out of first place in the American League East. Relief will come in the form of a nine-game home-stand that begins later this week.
4 Cleveland Indians Cleveland Indians 44-30
▲ 2
With its baseball club riding a nine-game winning streak right now, Cleveland is the center of the sports world after the Cavaliers won the NBA title in a huge upset. The Indians now have a five-game lead in the AL Central, too. Could the city win two titles in one year? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility.
5 Texas Rangers Texas Rangers 49-27
Up 10 games already in the AL West, the Rangers are cruising along unexpectedly. That 17-5 record in one-run games has something to do with it. Those close games can make or break your season. Fluke seasons help, too: 30-year-old Ian Desmond hasn’t posted an OPS over .800 since 2012, yet here he is, swinging the bat to an .898 tune right now.
6 Baltimore Orioles Baltimore Orioles 45-30
▲ 1
Riding a five-game winning streak currently, the Orioles have a four-game lead in the AL East over the Red Sox. Baltimore is also 6-4 against Boston this year. So why do we have the Orioles lower in our rankings? Simple: The Red Sox have a better run differential against a harder schedule this year. It’s the math, people, and it’s often misunderstood.
7 Washington Nationals Washington Nationals 44-32
▼ 4
Breaking a seven-game losing streak on Sunday was a relief to the Nats, and the team is still up three games in the National League East somehow. A 10-game home-stand starts on Monday for Washington, and that should help the team get its ducks in a row even if the first three games are against the division-rival New York Mets.
8 San Francisco Giants San Francisco Giants 49-28
Fluke seasons have helped the Giants win three World Series recently, which is interesting when they can’t put back-to-back playoff appearances together. Yet here they are again, up eight games in the NL West thanks to a 19-9 record in one-run games. Last year, they were 19-28 in one-run games and missed the postseason. See what we mean about the “luck” factor?
9 Toronto Blue Jays Toronto Blue Jays 41-36
▼ 5
Offensive slumps hurt Toronto, since the pitching isn’t always there. Last week demonstrates this, as the Blue Jays lost three games where they managed just two runs in each game. They’re 8-13 in one-run games and 13-7 in blowout games. That sounds about right. Toronto currently holds the final spot in the AL playoff scenario, and no team would want to face the Blue Jays in October.
10 Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers 41-36
▲ 1
Speaking of postseason slots, the Dodgers are one half game out of the NL playoff picture currently, and that has to make them happy considering all the bad luck the team has endured so far this season (12-14 in one-run games, for example). Clayton Kershaw is 11-2, and the rest of the rotation is just 14-22 right now. That’s a problem for L.A.
11 Houston Astros Houston Astros 39-37
▲ 5
A seven-game win streak came to an end on Sunday, but it was enough to propel the ‘Stros back into the AL playoff conversation. Ten games out in the division, Houston is just 1.5 games back in the wild-card chase. Watch out for this team, because the talent is there to make a World Series run in October.
12 Miami Marlins Miami Marlins 41-35
▲ 2
The steady consistency Miami is showing this year reflects Manager Don Mattingly’s ability. The Marlins have done all this, too, without All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon. Will they get better when he returns from his PED suspension? It’s an interesting question for a team that’s currently occupying the final NL playoff slot.
13 Seattle Mariners Seattle Mariners 38-38
▼ 3
With a 10-20 record over their last 30 games, the Mariners really have sunk their chances for the AL West. But again, the wild-card spots are within reach. Seattle is just 2.5 games out of the last postseason slot. Maybe it’s time for a managerial change in the Pacific Northwest if the Mariners can’t put a streak together before the All-Star break.
14 Chicago White Sox Chicago White Sox 38-38
▲ 7
A five-win week with two losses by just three runs combined gives the White Sox a big boost this week in the rankings. Chris Sale is 13-2 right now, and he has a real shot at getting to 15 wins by the All-Star Game. That would be impressive, but he also leads the league in innings pitched right now. The team would be wise to watch his pitch counts going forward to make sure he’s still sharp down the stretch if necessary.
15 New York Mets New York Mets 40-34
▼ 2
The good news for the Mets is that despite underperforming this year, they’re just three games out in the NL East while occupying the top wild-card spot still. But New York is still just 25-27 since April, so the team needs to turn that around soon. The Mets are second in ERA but just 28th in runs scored. The offense could use a boost.
16 Kansas City Royals Kansas City Royals 39-35
▼ 4
Anyone would be foolish to count out the defending champions, of course, so we never do. However, the last month has been a rollercoaster ride: W6, L8, W5, L4, etc. We’re dizzy just looking at it. Yet here the Royals are, just one half game out of a playoff spot. With a 5.15 ERA, though, Edison Volquez needs to improve for Kansas City … soon.
17 Colorado Rockies Colorado Rockies 36-39
▲ 2
A four-win week with three losses by one run each is always a bittersweet week. It could have been so much more, although it wouldn’t matter much for Colorado in terms of the division standings. But just 4.5 games out in the wild-card chase, the Rockies need to turn that 5-11 record in close games upside down the rest of the way.
18 Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh Pirates 37-39
It’s become a rough month for Pittsburgh, despite celebrating a Stanley Cup championship. With just eight wins in June, the Pirates have tanked hard. Yet the team is just four games out of a postseason berth. There is plenty of time to right the ship, but that 4.72 ERA for the rotation isn’t going to get that done anytime soon.
19 New York Yankees New York Yankees 37-37
▲ 1
Six wins in the last nine games have gotten the Yankees back to .500 on the season, but the team is buried in fourth place. The Bronx Bombers just got first baseman Mark Teixeira back from the disabled list, but it may not matter since he’s hitting just .179 this season.
20 Detroit Tigers Detroit Tigers 38-38
▲ 3
In the last 10 days, the Tigers have lost three straight, won four straight and lost three straight once more. Detroit is 12-0 this year against Miami, Minnesota and Seattle. The good news is that the next two games are against the Mariners, so maybe the Tigers can start another streak of sorts.
21 Arizona Diamondbacks Arizona Diamondbacks 36-42
▼ 6
Right on the cusp of deciding whether they’re buyers or sellers right now, the D’backs are six games out of the wild-card chase. June could be just the team’s third winning month in the last two years. There’s been a lot of losing in the desert lately, and signing Zack Greinke (10-3, 3.61 ERA) hasn’t changed that at all.
22 Tampa Bay Rays Tampa Bay Rays 31-43
▼ 5
An 11-game losing streak currently has the Rays buried in the AL East. Tampa Bay is 7-9 in one-run games, so it’s not been a matter of just being unlucky. The Rays just aren’t very good. Hopefully, an 11-game home-stand starting on Monday will help Tampa Bay change its fortunes, but we aren’t optimistic.
23 Oakland Athletics Oakland Athletics 32-43
▲ 2
The A’s were so close to a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels on the road before the bullpen once again betrayed them. That has been the Oakland problem for almost two seasons now, and even with a bad rotation this year, the bullpen investments haven’t paid off very much. It’s just too hard to win with a 4.61 ERA these days.
24 San Diego Padres San Diego Padres 33-44
Six wins in the last eight games gets the Padres just enough to hold serve in the rankings. San Diego hasn’t had a winning month in a year, but with another June win or two, the team could pull it off. Matt Kemp (16 HRs, 53 RBI), Wil Myers (17 HRs, 50 RBI) and Melvin Upton (11 HRs, 17 SBs) are having good seasons to help the Padres stay competitive, for the most part. Kemp and Upton could get traded, though.
25 Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee Brewers 34-41
▲ 1
Taking two of three from the Nationals over the weekend was a bright spot last week. The Brew Crew’s top three starters are 14-10 this year combined, but the rest of the rotation is 9-19 combined. Therein lies the biggest issue for Milwaukee going forward.
26 Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Angels 32-44
▼ 4
A walk-off win on Sunday busted a six-game losing streak for a team that couldn’t afford one. With just eight wins this month, the Angels have all but taken themselves out of the AL postseason chase. The team has a bloated payroll ($177 million) and not much to show for it. It should be time to gut the roster and start over.
27 Atlanta Braves Atlanta Braves 26-49
With eight wins in their last 11 games, the Braves are making a move upward. Overall this season, Atlanta has a winning record against just one team this season: Miami. Somehow, the Braves are 6-2 against the Marlins this year.
28 Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia Phillies 32-45
▲ 1
First, the Phils broke a nine-game losing streak last week, and then they turned around and beat Madison Bumgarner, too. Just goes to show, you never know in baseball. Odubel Herrera could end up as the Philadelphia All-Star representative this year. He already has as many HRs this year as he did all of last year.
29 Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati Reds 29-47
▼ 1
It was an ugly four-loss week for the Reds, where they were outscored by eight runs total. They are 20 games out of first place in the NL Central. Joey Votto still has an OPS under .800 currently, which is unreal for a guy with a lifetime .947 mark. Nothing has gone right in Cincinnati this season.
30 Minnesota Twins Minnesota Twins 24-51
Last Monday, the Twins played a football-score game against the Phillies, winning 14-10. Over the next four games, Minnesota scored 14 runs combined before exploding for seven runs against the Yankees on Sunday. Infielder Eduardo Nunez is on pace for a 20-20 season, while hitting over .300, too.

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