05/23/11 4:00 PM ET
Power Rankings: Tribe No. 1, Giants soar
Phillies, Reds drop; Cardinals make dramatic gain
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
Few predicted the Indians would lead the AL Central at this point of the season, while nobody is surprised the Phillies are on top of the National League East.
The Giants pace the NL West, but should they be worried about the D-backs?
Who thinks the NL Central will be decided during the final week of the season?
It's time to let your voice be heard.
Welcome to this week's edition of the 2011 version of the MLB.com Power Rankings, where fans can now rank their top 15 teams and view their picks right alongside the picks from the experts at MLB.com. Together, the picks from the fans and experts form the "MLB.com Power Rankings."
For the second consecutive season, MLB.com set up a panel of experts to 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. Former general manager and current MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette, along with MLB.com columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Dave Feldman, Alden Gonzalez, Marty Noble and Jesse Sanchez are also part of the group. Results will be revealed every Monday through the rest of the regular season.
Agree? Disagree? The power is yours.
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The Indians have owned at least a share of first place since April 7, leading the AL Central by as many as seven games. They're coming off a sweep of the Reds and are now a season-high 14 games over .500.
The Giants, who have won five in a row, swept the A's over the weekend and didn't allow an earned run in the first two games against them. They combined to allow just three runs in a remarkable 34-inning stretch last week.
Philadelphia's inconsistent offense is in line for a much-needed boost. Chase Utley, who has missed the entire season because of injury, is returning from the disabled list, and Shane Victorino, also on the DL, is set to return next week.
Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols pace the offense, but Yadier Molina is also chipping in. Since May 15, the catcher is hitting .577, including a stretch of four consecutive games with multiple hits.
The Yankees lead the big leagues with 71 home runs but have struggled at times with runners in scoring position. New York is hitting .200 (13-for-65) in those situations in its last eight games at Yankee Stadium.
The Red Sox have won eight of their last 10 games and are climbing their way up the standings in the AL East. Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .342 with 41 RBIs and nine home runs.
Hanley Ramirez has only four home runs in 43 games but Logan Morrison and Co. are picking up the offensive slack. Morrison, who returned from the 15-day disabled list on May 13, has reached base safely in all nine of his games since coming back from a foot injury.
The Rays have the most wins in the division (26) to start the week and they hope to add to that total this week, but they'll need more offense from slumping third baseman Evan Longoria. He has five hits in his last 34 at-bats and is hitting .227 for the season.
The Braves have managed to stay in the middle of the pack in the NL East despite their recent health problems. Nate McClouth has an oblique strain and Jason Heyward was placed on the disabled list with shoulder issues Sunday. Tim Hudson will miss his start Wednesday because of back problems.
The Reds have lost five in a row, the offense has struggled, and starter Edinson Volquez is not doing his bullpen any favors. Volquez has an 18.00 ERA in the first inning this season and a 3.51 ERA after the first.
Talk about home-field advantage. The Brewers are a force at Miller Park. The club is 16-6 at home and is hitting .291 in Milwaukee.
The Rangers have made their way back to the top of the standings in the AL West and will get an offensive boost this week when injured outfielders Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz return from the disabled list.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has his infused his old-school attitude and positive outlook into the clubhouse, and it's paying off on the field. They've won eight of their last 10 games.
Ubaldo Jimenez is 0-4 with a 5.44 ERA, and the Colorado offense has struggled behind him. The Rockies were 15-1 in Jimenez's first 16 starts of the 2010 season. Sunday's loss to the Brewers made them 1-7 in the right-hander's 2011 starts.
Jose Bautista leads the Major Leagues with 18 home runs, and his power is a big reason why the club is 23-23 for the season. The Jays are 8-11 against the AL East so far this season.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.