MLB Power Rankings: Cubs still scorching, Rangers too

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Break up the Cubs! After opting not to sell at the deadline, and instead buying a bit, Chicago took a series against the MLB-best Braves this weekend. 

The Cubs were one of a few playoff contenders to rise, while a few others tumbled. 

Here’s my latest top 10, with a few interesting factoids about each club.

1. Atlanta Braves (70-39; last week 1)

After a tough stretch for the Braves that saw them drop eight of 12 games, they responded by winning six of nine against playoff-hopeful teams. In those nine games, the Braves scored eight or more runs five times and at least five runs seven times. No one is questioning Atlanta’s offense, yet it’s worth noting the club continues to mash in every setting, against every team in any situation. The Braves have also returned to their winning ways at home, winning five of their past six at Truist Park. 

2. Baltimore Orioles (70-42; LW 2)

The Orioles’ 22-10 mark since July 1 is tied with the Mariners for MLB’s best. Since May 21 of last year, also known as the day catching prodigy Adley Rutschman was called up to the majors, Baltimore is a sizzling 137-97 (.585). Only the Astros have been better in the American League. It’s been evident for a few weeks now that no AL team is currently better than the Birds. 

3. Texas Rangers (66-46 LW 5)

The team with the best offense in the majors is in the midst of another hot stretch — only this one has been fueled by pitching. Amid winning six in a row, the Rangers have allowed a mere 14 runs, which is tied for the fewest runs per game during that span. This is Texas’ second six-game winning streak in the past three weeks.

4. Houston Astros (64-49; LW 4)

Yordan Álvarez and José Altuve are back. Will the Astros’ offense return with them? Houston recently had a 17-run outburst, but has otherwise scored just 46 runs over its past 11 games. That 4.18 mark would rank 24th for the season. It’s a troubling trend that’s worth monitoring for the reigning world champs, who haven’t hit at a high level for most of the year.

Yordan Álvarez smashes two-run HR to extend Astros’ lead over Yankees

Yordan Álvarez smashes two-run HR to extend Astros' lead over Yankees

5. Los Angeles Dodgers (64-46; LW 3)

Goodbye July, hello August. The Dodgers have won five of six to begin this month, this after losing five of seven to end the previous one. Their offense is still booming, ranking second in runs per game (7.67) and extra-base hits (32) and third in OPS (.958) in August. L.A. has also won 14 straight when scoring at least six runs.

6. Toronto Blue Jays  (63-50; LW 7)

The Blue Jays finally did it: After losing seven straight against the Red Sox to start the season, they went to Boston this weekend and swept their AL East foes. Over the three games, the Jays outscored the Sox 25-8 to create some much-needed separation in the wild-card race with Boston and New York.

Brandon Belt smashes a home run to get Blue Jays started versus Red Sox

Brandon Belt smashes a home run to get Blue Jays started versus Red Sox

7. Chicago Cubs (58-54; LW 10)

Since July 21st, Chicago has gone 13-3 and outscored its opponents by 42 runs. That’s nine more runs than the next-closest team. The torrid stretch has also put this team just 1.5 games behind the Brewers for first in the NL Central. The Cubs’ offense has been the catalyst, averaging an MLB-best 7.13 runs per game the past two weeks. No other team has topped 6.5. 

8. Tampa Bay Rays (68-46; LW 9)

The Rays turned things around this past week. They just didn’t gain any ground on the Orioles. Tampa Bay’s offense made some progress, however. It scored five-plus runs five times over the past seven games. That’s something the Rays pulled off just three times in the 13 games prior.

Highlights from Rays’ 10-6 win over Tigers on Sunday

Highlights from Rays' 10-6 win over Tigers on Sunday

9. Philadelphia Phillies (61-51; LW unranked)

The Phillies have been playing really well for two months. In fact, their 36-21 mark since June 1 is second only to the Braves in all of baseball. More impressive, perhaps, is that Philly is an MLB-best 20-10 on the road during this span. Moreover, only the Phils and Padres rank in the top eight in runs scored and runs allowed since June.

10. San Francisco Giants (61-51; LW unranked)

As bad as this weekend in Oakland was, it was just two games. And it doesn’t erase the fact the Giants are right in the thick of the NL wild-card race. That’s because San Francisco is 7-4 over its past 11 games and allowing an MLB-low 2.82 runs per contest during this stretch. The Giants are also 7-2 at home since the All-Star break.  

Out: Cincinnati Reds (6), Milwaukee Brewers (8)

Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @BenVerlander.


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