Here are this week's MLB power rankings:
1. Houston Astros (85-47, No. 2 last week):
The Astros bounced back with strong week against two lesser weights. The rotation -- led by right-handers Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Gerrit Cole -- projects to be a difference maker in the postseason.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (86-46, No. 3): The Dodgers' bullpen depth may be the way to keep pace with the Astros.
3. New York Yankees (85-47, No. 1): I love what the offense is capable of, but in all my years watching postseason baseball, I don't recall a rotation this weak winning anything.
4. Atlanta Braves (80-52, No. 4): The Braves have gone 10-2 the past two weeks, capped off by a huge sweep of the Mets at Citi Field Aug. 23-25. They're due to get shortstop Densby Swanson and left fielder Austin Riley back soon. Outfielder Nick Markakis is four weeks into his recovery from a broken wrist, and it seems like he'll be ready to go around Sept. 10-15.
5. Washington Nationals (73-57, No. 5): Dave Martinez's evolution as a skipper was important throughout the 19-31 start. Now the attention shifts to the job of roster construction by GM Mike Rizzo. If ace right-hander Max Scherzer can get back to his optimal level of performance, the Nationals will be a dangerous postseason player.
6. Minnesota Twins (79-51, No. 6): No matter what happens from this point forward, Twins executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine should be proud of where there are just two years into their leadership. But the pitching from top to bottom just isn't championship-caliber.
7. St. Louis Cardinals (71-58, No. 10):
I can't take a bow for my
early-season No. 4 ranking
, because I didn't stick with the Cardinals through their first-half funk. But the Cards' 25-13 mark during the past six weeks stamps them as a team that may be peaking.
8. Cleveland Indians (76-55, No. 7): It looks to me as if the Indians exhausted themselves getting back into the playoff hunt. But with no Corey Kluber, no Trevor Bauer and no Carlos Carrasco, it's hard to imagine they can make a meaningful run if they punch a ticket into October.
9. Oakland Athletics (74-55, No. 9): Manager Bob Melvin will get every last drop from the squeeze. Just looks like there isn't enough juice.
10. Tampa Bay Rays (76-56, No. 8): Early on, it looked like a magical season was possible. But with no help from right-hander Tyler Glasnow since May 10 and lefty Blake Snell since July 21, the magic dust has stopped sprinkling. Glasnow is due to throw batting practice Aug. 27, while Snell is hoping to come back in September after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow in late July.
11. Chicago Cubs (69-61, No. 12)
12. New York Mets (67-63, No. 11)
13. Milwaukee Brewers (67-63, No. 13)
14. Philadelphia Phillies (67-62, No. 14)
15. Boston Red Sox (70-62, No. 15)
16. San Francisco Giants (65-65, No. 16)
17. Chicago White Sox (60-70, No. 23)
18. Texas Rangers (64-68, No. 19)
19. Arizona Diamondbacks (65-66, No. 17)
20. Los Angeles Angels (63-70, No. 18)
21. Cincinnati Reds (60-69, No. 21)
22. San Diego Padres (60-69, No. 20)
23. Seattle Mariners (56-75, No. 24)
24. Colorado Rockies (58-73, No. 22)
25. Pittsburgh Pirates (55-75, No. 26)
26. Toronto Blue Jays (53-80, No. 25)
27. Kansas City Royals (46-85, No. 27)
28. Miami Marlins (47-82, No. 28)
29. Baltimore Orioles (43-88, No. 29)
30. Detroit Tigers (39-89, No. 30)