Though half of baseball’s six divisions are out of reach, with the AL East (Yankees), AL West (Astros) and NL West (Dodgers) running away with things, things are tight elsewhere.
The Twins lead the AL Central, three games ahead of the Guardians and four ahead of the White Sox. The Braves trail the Mets by just 1 ½ games entering Monday, having once faced a double-digit deficit. In the NL Central, the Brewers have a 2 ½-game cushion over Cardinals.
NIGHTENGALE’S NOTEBOOK: Handicapping the division races
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In this week’s MLB power rankings, the Dodgers jumped ahead of the Astros to second place behind the Yankees and the Nationals fell from 29th to 30th, last in baseball.
Here’s how USA TODAY Sports’ eight-person panel voted this week:
Rank (movement from last poll)
Last poll was July 11.
1. New York Yankees (–)
- Making the trip to Citi Field for a two-game Subway Series starting Tuesday.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (+1)
- Eight-game winning streak could get much longer this week with games vs. Nationals, Rockies.
3. Houston Astros (-1)
- The AL West leaders won the first five games of the second half, vs. Yankees, Mariners.
4. New York Mets (–)
- Buck Showalter wouldn’t announce when or where Jacob deGrom will pitch next.
5. Atlanta Braves (–)
- Austin Riley is hitting .420 with 10 HR and 20 RBI through 20 games in July.
6. San Diego Padres (–)
- Manny Machado was the first Padres 3B voted to start All-Star Game since Ken Caminiti in 1997.
7. Toronto Blue Jays (+5)
- Set a franchise record with 28 runs vs. Boston on Friday – and had 25 through five innings.
8. Milwaukee Brewers (–)
- Aaron Ashby signs a five-year deal that could buy out his first two free agent years.
9. Tampa Bay Rays (+5)
- Tampa Bay signs outfielder Roman Quinn to a major-league deal.
10. Minnesota Twins (–)
- Tough week ahead with road trip to Milwaukee and San Diego.
11. Seattle Mariners (+2)
- Swept at home by the Astros coming out of the All-Star break.
12. St. Louis Cardinals (-1)
- Unvaccinated Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado won’t be able to play in Toronto.
13. Cleveland Guardians (+3)
- Shortstop Amed Rosario is hitting .342 (40-for-117) in his last 30 games.
14. Philadelphia Phillies (-7)
- It’s possible that Bryce Harper returns before the end of August.
15. San Francisco Giants (+2)
- Carlos Rodon reaches 110 innings on the season, giving him the right to opt out of his contract.
16. Boston Red Sox (-7)
- Five-game losing streak complicates the front office’s trade deadline ambitions.
17. Baltimore Orioles (-2)
- The Orioles went 31-21 in 52 games following Adley Rutschman’s debut.
18. Chicago White Sox (+1)
- Liam Hendriks on Tony La Russa: “You have to remember why he’s in the Hall of Fame.”
19. Miami Marlins (-1)
- All-Star second baseman Jazz Chisholm moved to the 60-day IL with a stress fracture in his back.
20. Texas Rangers (–)
- All-Star lefty Martin Perez has won eight consecutive decisions and is unbeaten in 17 starts.
21. Colorado Rockies (+1)
- Kris Bryant through 16 July games: .338 average, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 1.065 OPS.
22. Arizona Diamondbacks (-1)
- It’s 2022 and Madison Bumgarner called Victor Robles a “clown” for admiring a home run.
23. Pittsburgh Pirates (+1)
- Reliever Colin Holderman, acquired for Daniel Vogelbach, had looked great in 15 games for the Mets.
24. Los Angeles Angels (-1)
- Don’t let Shohei Ohtani distract you from the fact that the Angels haven’t made the playoffs since 2014.
25. Chicago Cubs (+1)
- This could be the last few weeks of Willson Contreras in a Cubs uniform.
26. Detroit Tigers (-1)
- Starter Michael Pineda heads back to the injured list.
27. Cincinnati Reds (–)
- Subject of trade rumors, Tyler Mahle sharp in his return from a shoulder injury.
28. Kansas City Royals (–)
- Nick Pratto started his career with seven hits in seven games.
29. Oakland Athletics (+1)
- Ramon Laureano is among the Oakland players who could be dealt.
30. Washington Nationals (-1)
- Juan Soto’s availability has shaken up the trade market.