Your Tuesday Morning Power Rankings

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1. Yankees (1): A bit of a blah week, but when the number two team loses five straight, you’re going to keep your number one ranking.

2. Rays (2): It’s way more important that they continue to hold off the Red Sox than it is for them to catch the Yankees. Wild Card teams do pretty darn good, historically speaking, so why burn yourself out? But yeah, I wish this were a legit pre-1994-style pennant race.

3. Rangers (4): Starting today they run through a Yankees-Red Sox-Rays gauntlet. With a big division lead, it’s a nice time for a test.

4. Padres (3): Dropping two of three to the Dbacks is nothing to be proud of, but doing it while the Giants were dropping three of four to the Braves made for nice timing.

5. Braves (8): Last night’s debacle notwithstanding, it’s been a pretty good week for Atlanta. Pushing the Mets that much closer to the brink is always satisfying, and taking care of the Giants was a nice gauge of where they currently stand.

6. Phillies (9): They’re on a stretch where 16 of 19 games are at home, with only a short trip up to New York to interrupt things.

7. White Sox (6): Detroit proved to be no competition while the
Orioles smacked them upside the head. This says more about the state of
the Orioles and the Tigers than it does the White Sox, methinks.

8. Twins
(7): They’ve made up four games since the middle of July, all without the benefit of Justin Morneau. And they may not be getting him back for a while. Tall order.

9. Reds (12): Grabbing Jim Edmonds didn’t pay off last night, but I like the move. I’m tempted to even call it inspired. I’ll just say, though, that if Walt Jocketty goes out and gets more former Cardinals it’s gonna start to look a little Single White Femaley to me.

10. Cardinals (11): They have their three top starters lined up to go after the Reds this week. Carpenter did his job last night. Garcia and Wainwright need to do their jobs tonight and tomorrow. If they do, the Cardinals have restored order. If, however, the Reds somehow manage to take both of those games, it’s time to get nervous.

11. Red Sox (10): They’re not going away, but you have to figure that the loss of Youk is going to eventually prove to be too much to bear.

12. Giants (5): Jonthan Sanchez predicted that San Francisco would take all three games against the Padres at home this weekend. Bold words, grasshopper. You get the first game on Friday night.

13. Blue Jays (13): Someone — I think on Twitter or something — said the other day “how many divisions would the Jays be leading right now if they didn’t play in the East?” I think my answer is “none.” If they weren’t in the East they wouldn’t have a 12-0 record against the Orioles. And while the Red Sox have hurt them (2-7), Toronto has played the Yankees and Rays fairly well (11-10). 

14. Athletics (15): I don’t know if they’ll ever have a decent, stable home but the young pitching has to give people hope.

15. Rockies (14): Winners of seven of ten, but it just feels like they’re not getting any traction at all.

16. Dodgers (18): Brutal schedule ahead: Phillies, Braves, Rockies and Reds.

17. Mets (20):  This rise in the rankings has less to do with anything good the Mets did than bad stuff the teams below them did. Sometimes your Power Ranking lot improves simply by stinking less than the next guy.

18. Marlins (19): Why do I find it hilarious that Wes Helms called a team meeting

19. Angels (16): Yeah, I know they’re playing better, but getting swept by the Orioles kind of puts the nail in the coffin of the season, ya know?

20. Tigers (17): A couple of weeks ago it was “can we hold on until Brandon Inge comes back?”  Well, he’s back and the answer was no. Not that his absence is what caused the tailspin. Basically, everything that could have gone wrong has, and this was a team that needed things to break right in order to make some noise this year.

21. Brewers (21): Signing Corey Hart and talking to Rickie Weeks about extensions and trading for Chris Dickerson seem to be the acts of a team that will be trading Prince Fielder this winter.

22. Nationals (22): I like that they’re honoring Andre Dawson tonight. Now, if they’d don some Expos uniforms on throwback night we’d really be getting somewhere.

23. Astros (24): The Astros have been scoring a ton of runs lately.

24. Royals (25): Zack Greinke is pessimistic, but I can think of way worse places to be than Kansas City right now. There’s talent there. Kyle Farnsworth has been banished. There’s hope.

25. Indians (26): I made brief reference to the Indians having reason to hope lately, but Paul Cousineau at The DiaTribe really puts that in perspective in this post. They’ve been winning and doing so against good competition.

26. Cubs (23): This season cannot end fast enough for Chicago. And there needs to be a serious, Astros-style purge of this roster this winter. Time to tear it down and start all over.

27. Orioles (last): In Buck we Trust. Five wins in the first six games, baby.

28. Diamondbacks (27): I’m kind of surprised that Luis Gonzalez is the first Diamondback to have his number retired. I mean, yeah, the hit in the 2001 World Series guaranteed that it would happen eventually, but what’s Randy Johnson so busy doing this summer that he can’t be so honored?

29. Pirates (last): Thankfully for the Pirates announcer shenanigans don’t count in the power rankings of that bush league act following the walkoff would have had them down in 126th place.

30. Mariners (last): When you get you manager fired you should probably be in last place.

Watch: Javier Baez snares a 106-MPH ground ball

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What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.

Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.