Major League BaseBaLLpower rankings
At the All-Star break, here are the major-league power rankings by Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune:
1. N.Y. YANkEES
Alex Rodriguez was a mysterious DNP at the All-Star game, but he’s alive and well. A-Rod has three homers and 16 RBIs in 11 games in July, raising his RBI total to 70, third in the majors.
2. ATLANTA BRAvES
There’s nothing flashy about Bobby Cox’s team, but since a nine-game losing streak in April it has been the class of the NL, going 44-22 after April 29.
3. TAMPA BAY RAYS
The last team still operating with its original five-man rotation. Jeremy Hellickson is ready to step in, which could allow GM Andrew Friedman to trade a starter for the second year in a row.
4. TEXAS RANGERS
Yes, they’re rising, even after being swept by the Orioles in a four-game series. They’re a lot stronger than they were a week ago, thanks to the shocking deal for Cliff Lee. One nagging problem with the trade is that Arlington has been the toughest park for Lee to pitch in.
5. CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Not sure what flipped the switch, but it’s hard to argue with a 25-5 stretch. They’re one of nine teams with three hitters who have 49-plus RBIs, and five of those teams are positioned for the playoffs.
6. COLORADO ROCkIES
Their pattern of slow starts and recoveries is repeating itself. Amazing comeback series against the Cardinals, the kind that turns around a season. GM Dan O’Dowd faces a tough decision in replacing fading Todd Helton.
7. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia are the best combination of three starters in the NL, if not the majors.
8. BOSTON RED SOX
Held together by Kevin Youkilis’ will and bailing wire. They better get some of their big guns back soon.
9. SAN DIEGO PADRES
Fighting gravity. How can a team with so little win so much?
10. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Four-game sweep over the Reds was a good way to finish the first half, but the defending league champs face a long haul.
11. CINCINNATI REDS
Need a good start to the second half to show they’re ready to win. But if Edinson Volquez returns to his 2008 version, they’ll remain tough to beat.
12. N.Y. METS
Hoping for a lift when Carlos Beltran returns to center field, but it has been a long time since Beltran was a force.
13. DETROIT TIGERS
Split six games with the Twins over the last two weeks. They are that even.
14. L.A. DODGERS
The ongoing McCourt divorce continues to tie GM Ned Colletti’s hands on the trade front.
15. MINNESOTA TWINS
Very disappointing for almost two months now (22-28 since May 17). GM Bill Smith may need to chase Roy Oswalt.
16. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Rookies Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner are doing their part. You can’t say the same for Pablo Sandoval and Matt Cain.
17. L.A. ANGELS
You can argue they shouldn’t be this far below the Rangers, just as you can say the Tigers shouldn’t be so far behind the White Sox, but something is missing.
18. OAkLAND ATHLETICS
Billy Beane hopes some contender noticed the six shutout innings from Ben Sheets.
19. FLORIDA MARLINS
Add Ricky Nolasco to the list of pitchers who could be dealt before the deadline.
20. TORONTO BLUE JAYS
The power bats are back: 22 homers in the last eight games before the break.
21. kANSAS CITY ROYALS
Very quietly playing better since Ned Yost replaced Trey Hillman. 27-26 under Yost.
22. MILWAUkEE BREWERS
Corey Hart to the Rays for
23. CHICAGO CUBS
How has the counseling been going, Big Z?
24. HOUSTON ASTROS
Team Delusional finally has something to feel good about for the future. Unfortunately, outfielder Ariel Ovando is only 16.
25. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
An Adam Dunn re-signing is more likely than a trade of the slugger.
26. BALTIMORE ORIOLES
The Birds may actually be able to trade hot Corey Patterson for more than a bag of balls at the deadline.
27. SEATTLE MARINERS
After the Lee trade, the M’s have thrown in the towel.
28. CLEvELAND INDIANS
Hey, something good happened for the Tribe! LeBron James left town.
29. ARIzONA DIAMONDBACkS
Here’s an idea if Kirk Gibson doesn’t work out as manager — see if Bob Melvin is available.
30. PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Winless week before the break is blamed on the schedule: No games against the Cubs.
Best in the AL: New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been hot in July, smacking three homers and driving in 16 runs.
Best in the NL: Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones is hitting just .252, but the Braves are 44-22 since snapping a 9-game skid in April.