|Photo by USA Today|
By Steve Roney
After taking two of three from the Rangers thanks to David Ortiz's walk-off home run last night, the Red Sox move back into the top three as the top-ranked team in the American League.
Here's how Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman, Nats writer Chase Hughes, and I see the rest of the league shaking out:
1. St. Louis Cardinals (39-21; LW: 1) - Roney: After a stellar debut, Michael Wacha was roughed up a bit in his second start. If he can shake it off their rotation is even scarier.
2. Atlanta Braves (37-23; LW: 3) - Zuckerman: They've done a better job overcoming bullpen injuries than most expected.
3. Boston Red Sox (37-24; LW: 6) - Zuckerman: Clay Buchholz still undefeated, Boston still defying the odds after last year's disaster.
4. Cincinnati Reds (36-24; LW: 2) - Roney: Joey Votto's power has finally started to match his impressive average and on-base totals.
5. Texas Rangers (36-23; LW: 4) - Hughes: Texas has the best rotation in the American League and a top ten offense, no wonder they're winning.
6. Baltimore Orioles (34-26; LW: 12) - Zuckerman: Chris Davis is on pace for 97 homers, 246 RBI and a .734 batting average. Approximately.
7. Oakland Athletics (37-25; LW: 10) - Hughes: Josh Reddick is back and boosting an already dangerous lineup.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates (35-25; LW: 5) - Roney: They're in the middle of a 1-5 skid, but the shine still hasn't come off of their season -- a big departure from years past.
9. New York Yankees (35-25; LW: 8) - Zuckerman: If they can play this well while hurt, imagine what they might do once healthy?
10. Detroit Tigers (32-26; LW: 7) - Roney: At 29, Anibal Sanchez is having by far the best season of his career, striking out 11.3 batters per nine innings.
11. Arizona Diamondbacks (34-26; LW: 9) - Hughes: Arizona is starting to string together wins with two young stars in Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin leading the way.
12. Tampa Bay Rays (32-27; LW: 16) - Zuckerman: If they can get David Price healthy and right again, they can make their move in AL East.
13. San Francisco Giants (31-28; LW: 11) - Hughes: It looks like their starting pitching issues are starting to catch up with them.
14. Colorado Rockies (32-29; LW: 15) - Hughes: Colorado has predictably fallen back after their hot start with major troubles in the pitching department. Jorge De La Rosa (7-3, 3.10 ERA), however, is having a solid season.
15. Cleveland Indians (30-29; LW: 13) - Roney: Carlos Santana has cooled considerably, but is still on pace for a career season.
16. Philadelphia Phillies (31-30; LW: 17) - Zuckerman: 100 bucks to anyone who correctly predicted Domonic Brown would carry this lineup.
17. Washington Nationals (29-30; LW: 14) - Zuckerman: If they're going to make a move, they better do it soon.
18. Minnesota Twins (26-31; LW: 22) - Roney: Did anybody realize that Aaron Hicks, the fleet, .177-hitting center fielder, is second on the team with six home runs -- ahead of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau? Me neither.
19. San Diego Padres (28-32; LW: 19) - Hughes: Jedd Gyorko is starting to justify the preseason Rookie of the Year predictions.
20. Los Angeles Angels (26-34; LW: 20) - Hughes: They win eight straight and then lose four in a row. Both Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols look nothing like the stars they were just a year or two ago.
21. Seattle Mariners (26-35; LW: 25) - Hughes: King Felix and Hisashi Iwakuma are two legitimate studs at the top of their rotation. They alone aren't enough to offset Seattle's terrible offense, though.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers (26-33; LW: 21) - Hughes: Yasiel Puig sure looks good and could be the spark the Dodgers desperately need.
23. Chicago White Sox (25-33; LW: 18) - Roney: Chis Sale has been spectacular, but I worry about the innings on his young arm. He slowed in the second half last year, and it'll be telling if that happens again.
24. Kansas City Royals (25-32; LW: 23) - Roney: The Royals have gotten slightly more out of the plethora of blue-chip talent that they have, but both they and the Mariners seem to be filled with top prospects who can't turn the corner.
25. Toronto Blue Jays (25-34; LW: 24) - Zuckerman: You know it's bad when they're upset they had to place Ramon Ortiz on the DL.
26. Chicago Cubs (24-33; LW: 26) - Roney: After taking monster masher Kris Bryant No. 2 overall last night, they could have one extremely powerful infield (Castro, Rizzo) for years to come.
27. New York Mets (23-33; LW: 27) - Zuckerman: Matt Harvey is fun to watch pitch. The other four nights? Change the channel.
28. Milwaukee Brewers (22-37; LW: 28) - Roney: Should Ryan Braun be hit with an extended suspension as a result of the Biogenesis case, it'll be interesting to see if he bothers to appeal amid a pretty lost Brewers season.
29. Astros (22-39; LW: 29) - Hughes: Now out of their rotation, Brad Peacock is still struggling as a relief pitcher with a 8.77 total ERA on the year. Not the prospect we thought he was.
30. Marlins (16-44; LW: 30) - Zuckerman: If they weren't allowed to play the Mets, they'd be on pace for 32 wins this season.