Power Rankings shakeup: 10 of 15 move
Yanks keep top spot; Reds leap six spots; Cards fall five
With eight weeks of regular-season play remaining, there is always the chance that the unexpected can happen, and it often does.
That's baseball, folks, and this is why we love the game. It's unpredictably thrilling from week to week.
Remember Rocktober? How can you think of the Yankees and not think of October? Is there a Cinderella still waiting in the wings, or is this the year she does not get asked to the Fall baseball dance?
There are so many questions, so many scenarios and only two months to figure it all out. Here's what we know: the Yankees are on top in the AL East again, and nobody is surprised by it. By contrast, the Rangers are running away with the AL West, and it seems that everybody is.
Here's what we also know: the Padres and Giants don't just pitch the lights out anymore, they also hit them out as well. We've also discovered that the Reds, Rays, Cardinals and Braves are for real, you can never count out the Red Sox, and it appears that the Central divisions of both leagues are going to come down to the wire.
We've also learned that the Phillies will not go down without a fight.
We've seen power arms, power bats and power lineups throughout the season, but which team has all the power this week and which team is charging up for a power run next week?
MLB.com set up a special panel to help answer those questions and vote on the top 15 teams each week. Two former Major League players -- Larry Dierker and Jeff Nelson -- are part of the process, as is Carlton Thompson, vice president and executive editor of MLB.com. Cory Schwartz, MLB.com director of statistics, and columnist Jesse Sanchez are also part of the group, as is former big league GM and current MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette.
Results will be revealed every Monday through the rest of the regular season. Agree? Disagree? Comment down below and become part of the debate.
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The club is 26-17 in the AL East, long considered the best division in baseball, and the offensive milestones keep coming. Don't look now, but CC Sabathia is regaining his form. Questions about A.J. Burnett (back spasms) and Andy Pettitte (groin) remain.
The Padres have had strong starting pitching, a solid bullpen and just enough offense all season. Will that be enough to hold off the Giants? The clubs have 10 games left against each other, including three this weekend at AT&T Park.
The Rays have lost five in a row, but it's hard to bet against their starting rotation and that talented roster. David Price's next win will be his 15th of the season.
No team has been better at home than the Braves. They're 39-15 at Turner Field, and that record could get even better. Of their next 21 games, 12 are in Atlanta.
The team's offense often receives most of the praise but starting pitchers Cliff Lee, C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hunter and closer Neftali Feliz might be the biggest reasons the club returns to the postseason for the first time since 1999.
The pitching has been strong all season and when you add Jim Edmonds' bat to an already potent lineup, you can't blame the folks in Cincinnati for thinking about the postseason.
Questions surrounding Bobby Jenks' role as the team's closer could not have come at a worse time. J.J. Putz has stepped up nicely but the AL Central is still too close to call.
Orlando Hudson is back, Carl Pavano is regaining his form and the Twins have won seven of their last 10 games. Joe Mauer's sore shoulder has not slowed him down and he continues to be a force at the plate.
The hitting has caught up with the pitching in San Francisco and made the race for the NL West title a close one. The Giants keep winning. But so do the Padres.
Could a series win this week against the Reds set the tone for the final eight weeks of the season? The Cards sure hope so. The task in Cincy won't be an easy one. The Cardinals are 23-31 on the road this year.
Want resilience? The Phillies went 6-1 in their first week without Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino. The veteran (Raul Ibanez) and the rookie (Domonic Brown) are picking up the slack and the starting pitching has been as advertised.
The loss of Kevin Youkilis for the season is a big blow to Boston's playoff hopes, but Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek are weeks away from returning to the lineup. Can Carlos Delgado be the answer at first base? Only time will tell.
Remember Rocktober and the team that won 21 of 22 games to motor into the World Series in 2007? They do in Denver. How far can Ubaldo Jimenez and Carlos Gonzalez take them this year?
How would the fourth-best team in the AL East fare if it were in the AL West? The AL Central? We'll never know but we do know that Toronto can hit (Jose Bautista) and pitch (Brandon Morrow) with the best of them.
It's too early to tell if the acquisitions of Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot, Octavio Dotel and Scott Podsednik will be enough to climb back into the race. The line that separates the contenders from pretenders is surfacing in La-La land.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.