Brandon Inge, left, whom the Tigers designated for assignment in July and summoned from AAA in August, is hugged by teammate Miguel Cabrera after hitting a walk-off solo home run against Minnesota on Sept. 10. ((Duane Burleson/Associated Press))

Every second Friday,'s Mike Dennis breaks down the balance of power in Major League Baseball.
Record : 97-51
Last 10 : 7-3

Injured players come and go and Roy Halladay throws his 66th career shutout to help the Phillies clinch a playoff spot, the earliest in club history. The win put Halladay's record at 18-5 making him the first Philly pitcher to have back-to-back 18-plus win seasons since Steve Carlton in 1979 and '80.
2. NEW YORK YANKEES[up from 3]
Record : 90-58
Last 10 : 5-5

Nice milestone for the Yankees' Mariano Rivera notching his 600th career save to move to within one of Trevor Hoffman's major league record. On the future watch, the Yankees started catchers Jesus Montero, 21, and Kevin Romine, 22, in back-to-back games. Montero had three homers in his first nine games in the bigs.
3. DETROIT TIGERS[up from 7]
Record : 87-63
Last 10 : 9-1

Yes, the Tigers are more than just Justin Verlander. You don't have a 12-game winning streak, their longest since 1934, with just one spectacular starting pitcher. A 45-21 record in the AL Central reduced the Tigers' magic mumber for clinching the division to two.
Record : 87-63
Last 10: 7-3

17 wins in 20 games for the surging Snakes have put the world champion Giants in the rear-view mirror for Arizona. Their new second baseman – you may have heard of him, Aaron Hill – hit .333 in his first 18 games in the desert.

5. MILWAUKEE BREWERS[down from 4]
Record : 87-63
Last 10 : 4-6

The Brewers avoided being swept in a four-game home series against the Phillies as Yovani Gallardo equalled a career-high 12 strikeouts. They still have the best home record in baseball and a single-digit magic number for clinching the NL Central over St. Louis.

6. BOSTON RED SOX[down from 2]
Record : 86-63
Last 10 : 2-8

The numbers are on the side of the Red Sox in terms of clinching a playoff spot, even as they swoon in September with a rash of injuries and a suspect rotation. A split at Fenway against Tampa Bay could help Boston run out the clock and stifle visions of 1978's late-season collapse.
7. ATLANTA BRAVES[down from 5]
Record : 86-64
Last 10 : 4-6

A 2-6 road trip didn’t ease the Braves' path to a wild card berth in the NL as the team struggled without starters Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens, who had a 1.87 ERA at the all-star break. Hanson is coming back, but a balky knee may keep Jurrjens sidelined.
8. TEXAS RANGERS[down from 6]
Record : 74-58
Last 10 : 4-6

The Rangers have been dealing with holding off the Angels in baseball's winner-take-all division, the AL West. David Murphy's done a nice job replacing Nelson Cruz, who was activated from the DL this week. Murphy went 4-for-4 with two homers as the Rangers won two games in a row for the first time since September 1-2.
9. TAMPA BAY RAYS[up from 11]
Record : 83-66
Last 10 : 7-3

Rays manager Joe Maddon has certainly earned his Letter Sweater, the outfit worn by his team during a recent road trip. That's because Joe refuses to believe his Rays can't catch Boston for the wild card spot and they'll have a golden opportunity with a four-game showdown at Fenway Park with the teams separated by four games.
10. LOS ANGELES ANGELS[no change]
Record : 82-67
Last 10 : 7-3

The Angels are only 26-25 in their AL West division which explains why they can't quite close the gap on the Texas Rangers. Los Angeles is 56-37 in games started by the Big Three: Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana.
11. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS[up from 14]
Record : 81-68
Last 10 : 7-3

The Cards are putting Chris Carpenter to work since he signed that two-year $21 million US extension. They've rearranged their rotation so the big right-hander gets one extra start in the final two weeks of the season. A hand injury to Matt Holliday isn’t helping their slim hopes of reaching the playoffs.
12. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS[down from 8]
Record : 80-70
Last 10 : 7-3

Too little, too late as two home runs by Carlos Beltran led the Giants to a win. The outfielder acquired from the Mets missed 13 games after joining the Giants who put together their first four-game win streak since the all-star break in September as the Diamondbacks slithered out of sight.
13. TORONTO BLUE JAYS[up from 15]
Record : 75-74
Last 10 : 6-4

The Blue Jays are sticking close to .500 as they close the season with games against the Yankees and Rays that carry playoff implications. A couple of good signs: Ricky Romero, 15-10, has nearly identical stats as Boston's Jon Lester who's had four 15-plus win seasons in a row. And J.P. Arencibia not only has the team record for homers by a catcher (23), but he's only one away from Eric Hinske's rookie record by any position player.
14. CHICAGO WHITE SOX[down from 13]
Record : 73-76
Last 10 : 3-7

The White Sox had a 6.14 ERA against division-rival Detroit before allowing three runs in the top of the ninth to force extra innings where they lost again to the Tigers, 6-5. Ozzie Guillen has been tweeting quite a lot in Spanish, no doubt warming up for a job interview with the soon-to-be Miami Marlins.
15. CLEVELAND INDIANS[down from 12]
Record : 72-75
Last 10 : 2-8

The Indians were rewarded for their strong first-half of the season with a schedule that has them playing 18 games in the final 16 days. They ran out of steam just after the all-star break as injuries and pitching woes scuttled their recovery hopes.
16. LOS ANGELES DODGERS[up from 21]
Record : 73-76
Last 10 : 5-5

Clayton Kershaw got some revenge and his 19th win over the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday. Kershaw hit the D-backs' Gerardo Parra, who lingered at the plate after homering the night before. Though Kershaw was tossed from the game, the bullpen preserved the win. The last 20-game winner for the Dodgers was Ramon Martinez in 1990.
17. CINCINNATI REDS[down from 16]
Record : 74-76
Last 10 : 5-5

Juan Francisco spent most of this season with Cincinnati's AAA team after having knee surgery. He showed what the Reds were missing with a massive 502-foot homer to right field that left Great American Ball Park entirely.
18. NEW YORK METS[up from 20]
Record : 71-79
Last 10 : 2-8

You might say that Johan Santana not wanting to pitch his rehab game for Class A Savannah because he didn't trust his stuff is a sign of the times for the New York Mets.
19. COLORADO ROCKIES[down from 18]
Record : 70-79
Last 10 : 4-6

The Rockies were pleased by the efforts of greybeards Kevin Millwood (3-2 record) and Mark Ellis (.285 average). However, not being in contention for post-season and a sub-.500 record were causes for concern.
20. WASHINGTON NATIONALS[down from 17]
Record : 71-77
Last 10 : 7-3

Brad Peacock strutted his stuff to lead the Nationals to their 70th win of the season. He's Washington's minor league player of the year. One of these days the Nationals are going to be a good club.
21. OAKLAND ATHLETICS[up from 23]
Record : 68-82
Last 10 : 4-6

You could say 119 errors, second only to the Chicago Cubs is one of the reasons why the Moneyball A's aren’t a box office hit this season. Oakland gets to finish out its schedule with 10 of the final 13 games against teams battling for the playoffs.
22. PITTSBURGH PIRATES[down from 19]
Record : 68-82
Last 10 : 4-6

Make that 19 losing seasons in a row for the Pirates as they extend their major sports record for most consecutive seasons below .500. On July 19, they were seven games above the break-even mark and in first place in the NL Central, but went on to drop 38 of the next 54 contests.
23. FLORIDA MARLINS[up from 27]
Record : 67-83
Last 10 : 4-6

Make that two losing seasons in a row for the Florida Marlins. No doubt they're missing the punch provided by their top two home run and RBI guys - Mike Stanton, who's been hampered by a hamstring injury and and Logan Morrison, who just returned from injury and is filing a lawsuit against the team for sending him to the minors.
24. CHICAGO CUBS[no change]
Record : 65-85
Last 10: 5-5

The National League's hits leader Starlin Castro is closing in on the 200-hit mark. The rest of the team? How about those (National Football League) Bears!.
25. KANSAS CITY ROYALS[up from 28]
Record : 65-86
Last 10: 7-3

A flu-ridden Luke Hochevar limited the Twins to five hits and two runs as the Royals matched their season-high win streak of four games to move four games ahead of the Twins. Hochevar evened his record at 11-11, extending his career-best for wins.
26. SAN DIEGO PADRES[down from 22]
Record : 63-87
Last 10 : 2-8

Who has the best average in the big leagues since the all-star break? Why, it's the Padres' Nick Hundley (.413). Meanwhile, San Diego lost 17 of 20 games and doesn't have a hitter in double figures in homers.
27. SEATTLE MARINERS[down from 26]
Record : 62-87
Last 10 : 4-6

Which was more unlikely? That the Mariners' Luis Rodriguez, hitting below the Mendoza line (.200) would hit a walk-off homer in the 12th to beat the Yankees, or that the win would go to Steve Relabar, who began this season as a substitute teacher?
28. BALTIMORE ORIOLES[up from 29]
Record : 60-88
Last 10 : 5-5

Leave it to the guy leading the American League in losses (17) to lead the Orioles to a win over wild card contender Tampa Bay. It was the third win in his last five starts for Jeremy Guthrie (8-17) who is shooting to win 10 games for the O's.

29. MINNESOTA TWINS[down from 25]
Record : 59-89
Last 10 : 1-9

Outscored 24-10 on a 0-5 road trip you can’t help but get the feeling that the Twins have mailed it in for the remainder of the season. Minnesota had a major league-worst minus 168 runs differential.

30. HOUSTON ASTROS[no change]
Record : 51-98
Last 10 : 4-6

The Astros beat the Phillies two out of three in a bizarro series matching teams with nearly opposite records (Philadelphia 95-51; Houston 51-98). Bud Norris pitched for the Astros in the only loss, 1-0. That’s the fourth time he's lost a 1-0 game this season.