1. Cleveland Indians (93-57 overall record, No. 1 ranking last week) -- Their 22-game winning streak was snapped Sept. 15 by the Kansas City Royals, but a new one started the next day, buoyed by the return of left-handed reliever Andrew Miller. His health is essential to the Indians' chances for a crown.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (96-53, No. 2) -- They snapped an 11-game losing streak with a four-game winning streak. This week, they play two inferior teams: at the Philadelphia Phillies for four games, and then back home against the San Francisco Giants for three. The opportunity is there for them to regain their winning edge.
3. Houston Astros (91-58, No. 4) -- They have rebounded to go 11-5 since the acquisition of right-hander Justin Verlander. All he's done go 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA and .619 WHIP.
4. Chicago Cubs (83-66, No. 7) -- Their current six-game winning streak is a precursor of the real Cubs showing up to defend their World Series title. The timing couldn't be better.
5. Boston Red Sox (85-64, No. 5) -- The Red Sox organization received a slap on the wrist for the sign-stealing scandal that was brought to light by the New York Yankees. On the field, the big news is left-hander David Price's return. With not enough time to stretch him out to start, and with a big-time need in their bullpen for a left-handed set-up man, he could be what the doctor ordered.
6. Washington Nationals (90-59, No. 3) -- Right fielder Bryce Harper took batting practice Sept 17. Asked if he'd be ready for the postseason, all he could muster was "I hope so."
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (87-63, No. 6) -- Although they won't win the National League West and will face the sudden-death, one-game scenario in the postseason, their 20-6 run has been impressive.
8. New York Yankees (82-67, No. 8) -- It doesn't look like the Yankees can match the Indians and Astros during the course of a whole season, but with a 21-12 record during the past five weeks, they are building up a bit of a head of steam. That could translate into a confidence level that could make them a danger to play in the postseason. The Yankees' lineup is not an easy one to navigate through.
9. Minnesota Twins (78-71, No. 9) -- They start a huge three-game series in New York against the Yankees Sept. 18, and then have four-games in Detroit against the struggling Tigers. I never thought their patchwork rotation would hold up, but somehow it did.
10. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (76-73, No. 11) -- The Angels have their work cut out for them this week, as they host the red-hot Indians for three, and then travel to play the American League West-leading Astros in Houston.
11. Colorado Rockies (82-68, No. 10)
12. Milwaukee Brewers (79-70, No. 12)
13. St. Louis Cardinals (77-72, No. 13)
14. Seattle Mariners (74-76, No. 16)
15. Texas Rangers (73-76, No. 14)
16. Kansas City Royals (73-76, No. 17)
17. Baltimore Orioles (73-77, No. 15)
18. Tampa Bay Rays (73-77, No. 18)
19. Toronto Blue Jays (70-80, No. 21)
20. Miami Marlins (69-80, No. 22)
21. Pittsburgh Pirates (68-82, No. 21)
22. San Diego Padres (66-83, No. 19)
23. Cincinnati Reds (66-84, No. 24)
24. New York Mets (65-84, No. 23)
25. Atlanta Braves (67-81, No. 25)
26. Oakland Athletics (66-83, No. 26)
27. San Francisco Giants (58-93, No. 28)
28. Philadelphia Phillies (58-91, No. 29)
29. Detroit Tigers (62-87, No. 27)
30. Chicago White Sox (60-89, No. 30)