7:14 PM CDT, June 24, 2013
Last week's ranking in parentheses.
1. Cardinals (1): Swept by the Rangers as powerful lineup produces only 26 runs during an eight-game lull. They nevertheless continue to lead the majors in runs in June.
2. Rangers (7): Seven strong innings by Martin Perez on Saturday provides a lift for a rotation that needed one. If he stays healthy, Joe Nathan could save 50-plus games.
3. Tigers (2): Bullpen issues remain a distraction, but they had a better record when Jose Valverde pitched (15-5) than in Justin Verlander's starts (9-7). The pitching staff is being tested, but the Tigers still took three of four from the Red Sox.
4. Pirates (8): With little fanfare, Pedro Alvarez (1.132 OPS in June) has been almost as hot as Yasiel Puig and Chris Davis.
5. Reds (3): A 22-strikeout week for Mat Latos, who beat the Diamondbacks and lost to the Pirates.
6. Red Sox (6): Dropped three of four in high-scoring weekend series in Detroit. The rotation misses Clay Buchholz, whose neck and shoulder remained too stiff to throw a bullpen session Saturday. He could miss two more weeks.
7. Braves (4): They've been shut out four times in June, including in back-to-back games at Miller Park last weekend. Evan Gattis' strained oblique could leave them without their most productive hitter (.894 OPS) through the All-Star break.
8. Diamondbacks (14): Time off during a suspension could wind up benefiting Ian Kennedy in the second half.
9. Blue Jays (19): No general manager is feeling better these days than Alex Anthopoulos, whose beefed-up team swept the Orioles and Rangers during a winning streak keyed by a lineup scoring 6.4 runs per game. Jose Reyes is due back Thursday for a weekend series in Boston.
10. Athletics (5): Big news of the week was San Jose suing MLB in an attempt to expedite stadium efforts.
11. Yankees (11): Raul Ibanez's eight home runs in June for the Mariners are five more than the Yankees have from any player and only three fewer than their team total. They shouldn't have let him leave after a magical run in October.
12. Orioles (9): The rotation needs a name-brand guy in his prime. Make it happen, Dan Duquette.
13. Rays (10): Wil Myers already has a grand slam but delivered only a .667 OPS in his first seven games.
14. Indians (18): Coming to U.S. Cellular Field for a doubleheader Friday.
15. Royals (12): James Shields is pitching like an All-Star yet has only two wins to go with a 2.92 ERA. The Royals are 5-0 in his last five starts, and he has had no-decisions in every one.
16. Rockies (15): Roy Oswalt is a better option than Jeff Francis. But like the Orioles, the Rockies need to deal for at least one proven starter to remain viable in the playoff race.
17. Nationals (16): Bryce Harper hopes to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday and believes he'll need six or seven games to regain confidence in his left knee, which probably will need surgery after the season, if not sooner.
18. Giants (17): Receiving a reality check after losing three of four to the Marlins at home. They are sixth in the NL in scoring, and only three NL teams have allowed more runs. The Giants are allowing 4.44 runs per game, up from 4.01 last season and 2.94 during the 2012 playoffs.
19. Padres (13): Victory over Clayton Kershaw was the highlight of a 3-4 week.
20. Twins (23): Kyle Gibson finally has been promoted. He'll join fellow University of Missouri products Max Scherzer, Aaron Crow and Nick Tepesch in the big leagues.
21. Dodgers (21): Bruce Bochy is right to say Puig was promoted too late to be a 2013 All-Star, but MLB should find a way to invite extra players like him for the Home Run Derby.
22. Angels (20): At the All-Star break last year, Josh Hamilton's slash line read .308/.380/.635. It's .207/.262/.378 as he returns after missing the weekend series against the Pirates with a right wrist injury serious enough to require an injection.
23. Phillies (22): Jonathan Papelbon had three blown saves last week, and each time his team won.
24. Brewers (24): Would Kyle Lohse be tradable if he started winning? He's owed $11 million in 2014 and '15.
25. Mets (29): Playing better since Ike Davis was demoted.
26. White Sox (27): It has been a great month for Adam Dunn (.276/.391/.618), who is suddenly on track for 44 home runs and 107 RBIs. He's the active leader in games without a playoff appearance. Will he interest a contender if he keeps this up?
27. Cubs (28): The 14-6 win over the Astros on Sunday marked their first double-digit scoring game; the Cardinals have had nine.
28. Mariners (25): Four blown saves by three relievers in a span of six games.
29. Astros (26): It's about to get ugly. After playing the Cubs, Brewers, White Sox and Mariners in their last four series, they play 17 games against the Cardinals, Angels, Rays and Rangers before the All-Star break.
30. Marlins (30): They at least should listen to offers for Giancarlo Stanton, who is hitting .288 with a .916 OPS in June. The Rangers are among the teams watching him closely.
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