Every second week, CBCSports.ca's Mike Dennis breaks down the balance of power in Major League Baseball.
1. NEW YORK YANKEES[no change]
Record : 57-34
Last 10 : 8-2

Wondering how the Yankees could open up the largest lead in baseball while dealing with several key injuries? Look no further than Robinson Cano. Two homers, 8 RBIs on May 8, and now 21 homers, 54 RBIs and a .320 average for baseball’s most potent team.
2. TEXAS RANGERS[no change]
Record : 55-36
Last 10 : 5-5

The Rangers roll along and are starting to get their starters back. Colby Lewis gave up a run on 75 pitches in five innings in his return and Derek Holland rejoins the rotation. The AL leaders in hitting and second in earned run average add up to all-around consistency.
3. WASHINGTON NATIONALS[no change]
Record : 53-37
Last 10 : 5-5

The Nationals have plenty of big-name stars but how about former second-round draft pick Jordan Zimmermann? His record is only 7-6 but he has a 2.35 ERA and pitched at least six innings in all 19 of his starts.
4. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS[up from 13]
Record : 51-41
Last 10 : 6-4

It took about half a season for the Giants to reel in the Dodgers in the National League West and the guy hauling in the catch, is catcher Buster Posey. The 2010 rookie of the year is hitting over .300 and on track for 20 homers and close to 100 RBIs.
5. PITTSBURGH PIRATES[down from 4]
Record : 51-40
Last 10 : 6-4

When ace James McDonald coughed up five early runs against Colorado, the Pirates rescued him with a homer barrage to lead McDonald to his 10th win against three losses. Neil Walker fueled the recent offensive surge with a 17-game hit streak.
6. LOS ANGELES ANGELS[down from 5]
Record : 50-43
Last 10 : 4-6

The Angels couldn’t find a place to play Mark Trumbo at the start of the year but after 29 homers in his rookie year they knew he’d have to get him in somewhere. That somewhere has been in the outfield and with 26 homers and 65 RBI Trumbo spells trouble with a capital ‘T’ for opponents.
7. CINCINNATI REDS[up from 8]
Record : 52-40
Last 10 : 8-2

Joey Votto played hurt for awhile but isn’t blaming the Reds for mis-diagnosing his knee injury which will sideline him three to four weeks. Cincinnati will miss his .342 average and steady glove work as it battles Pittsburgh for the NL Central lead.
8. CHICAGO WHITE SOX[up from 10]
Record : 50-42
Last 10 : 5-5

A lot of people point to revivals this year by Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy as reasons for the White Sox to be leading the AL Central, yet the glue of the team is captain Paul Konerko. At 36 he’s had six 100-plus RBI seasons and remains as clutch a hitter as any with a .322 average.
9. LOS ANGELES DODGERS[down from 6]
Record : 49-44
Last 10 : 3-7

Matt Kemp came back in a big way with an extra-inning walk-off homer for the Dodgers who also welcomed back Andre Ethier to their lineup. Maybe just in time for the L.A. club which dropped seven of 10 games to fritter away their lead to the rival San Francisco Giants.
10. ATLANTA BRAVES[down from 7]
Record : 50-41
Last 10 : 8-2

The Braves beat up on some of the league’s lesser lights to hang fairly close to the front-running Nats in the NL East, but haven’t fared as well against the stronger clubs. San Francisco belted Jair Jurrjens in one start and clubbed two extra-inning homers off hanging Chad Durbin offerings to take the chop out of the Braves.
11. DETROIT TIGERS[up from 15]
Record : 49-44
Last 10 : 8-2

The Tigers have been stalking the White Sox with one of their main weapons being Doug Fister. When he came over from Seattle last year, Fister reeled off eight wins in nine decisions with a 1.79 ERA. He’s had three wins in July with only five hits and two runs allowed in his last 15 innings.
12. OAKLAND ATHLETICS[up from 19]
Record : 47-44
Last 10 : 8-2

The A’s have come out swinging in the second half of the schedule and find themselves in the wild-card race. Last year reliever Ryan Cook appeared in 12 games for Arizona and had a 7.04 ERA. Now as the Oakland closer, he’s had nine saves, allowing only 14 hits in 40 innings.
13. CLEVELAND INDIANS[up from 16]
Record : 47-45
Last 10 : 4-6

Oye como va Carlos Santana. Listen how it goes as his bat finally heats up, the Indians hope. The big catcher who belted 27 homers last year and knocked in 79, had a batting average around .220 with little power but is showing signs of awakening. Listen!
14. BOSTON RED SOX[up from 17]
Record : 48-45
Last 10 : 6-4

The Red Sox are cursed. No, not again. This was David Ortiz’s lament as he headed to the DL after injuring his heel running the bases. That was just after Boston put Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford back into the lineup and just before Dustin Pedroia came back from his latest thumb injury. Still number one in runs scored.
15. BALTIMORE ORIOLES[down from 12]
Record : 48-44
Last 10 : 4-6

The June swoon didn’t happen for the Orioles but July has been one thunderstorm after another on top of Boog’s Barbecue. Seventeen losses in 24 starts can be attributed to lots of things, primarily inconsistent pitching.
16. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS[down from 9]
Record : 47-45
Last 10 : 4-6

After leading a charmed life last year resulting in a World Series victory, things seem just a bit off for the Cardinals. Matt Holliday was hitting .315 after battling back from injuries only to be hit by a pitch. Adam Wainwright struck out nine in seven innings, but gave up three unearned runs in the first inning of a 4-3 loss.
17. TAMPA BAY RAYS[down from 14]
Record : 48-45
Last 10 : 5-5

A stretch of 7-16 for the Rays took the sunshine out of even manager Joe Maddon’s optimistic outlook. Maddon was tossed for arguing balls and strikes in a come-from-ahead loss to Cleveland. David Price, 12-4, with a 2.80 ERA is keeping Tampa Bay afloat.
18. NEW YORK METS[down from 11]
Record : 47-45
Last 10 : 3-7

Manager Terry Collins tried to head off a five-game losing streak with a team meeting but the Mets lost again anyway. A blood clot suffered by starter Dillon Gee and the absence of closer Frank Francisco, probably until August, has contributed to the slide.
19. TORONTO BLUE JAYS[down from 18]
Record : 45-47
Last 10 : 3-7

Even though they lost half their pitching staff the Blue Jays hovered around .500, thanks to keeping their everyday lineup intact. In a New York minute – actually one series against the Yankees – the Jays lost Jose Bautista for at least 15 days and saw Brett Lawrie flip into the third base camera bay, badly bruising his calf. Ouch!

20. MILWAUKEE BREWERS[up from 22]
Record : 44-47
Last 10 : 6-4

John Axford’s fall from grace wasn’t as literal as Lawrie’s but the closer from Port Dover, Ont., who led the NL with 46 saves a year ago, lost his ninth-inning job with the Brewers. Five blown saves will do that for you. K-Rod, Francisco Rodriguez, shakily replaces Axford.

21. MIAMI MARLINS[no change]
Record : 44-48
Last 10 : 4-6

The Marlins spent nearly $200 million US revamping their team with off-season acquisitions but that isn’t scaring them away from inquiring about taking on Carl Crawford’s multi-million dollar deal in a possible swap with Hanley Ramirez returning to the Red Sox. Won’t happen, according to informed sources.
22. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS[down from 20]
Record : 44-48
Last 10 : 5-5

July 28 is Justin Upton BobbleHead Day in Arizona. Do you think he’ll still be a Diamondback at that time? The D-backs dropped Upton from third to fifth in the lineup due to a major downgrade in his stats as compared to last year’s 31 homers, 88 RBIs, with a .289 average. He’d be a pricey purchase.
23. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES [up from 24]
Record : 41-52
Last 10 : 4-6

They’re coming back. The injured Phillies that is, not necessarily the team itself, in the NL East standings. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and then Roy Halladay after two months down due to injury. That home record with 10 more losses than wins won’t make their comeback any easier.
24. KANSAS CITY ROYALS[down from 23]
Record : 39-52
Last 10 : 2-8

Salvador Perez, the Royals’ prime backstop, returned to the lineup June 22 with a two-hit game. He had hits in 16 of his first 18 games back after injuring his knee in the pre-season. Perez has a career major league average of .341.
25. SEATTLE MARINERS[up from 26]
Record : 40-54
Last 10 : 5-5

In a five-game stretch the Mariners erupted for 30 runs, a veritable Mount St. Helens of offensive prowess. Not getting into the swing of things however, is Ichiro. The Japanese hit machine batted over .300 for 10 seasons in a row but hit .272 last year and was below that this year as his star loses its lustre.
26. CHICAGO CUBS[up from 27]
Record : 38-53
Last 10 : 7-3

Another piece of the rebuilding puzzle being engineered in Chicago by Cubs president Theo Epstein is about to make his U.S. debut. Highly touted Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, signed for nine years and $30 million, will play in the Arizona rookie league this week.
27. SAN DIEGO PADRES[up from 28]
Record : 38-55
Last 10 : 5-5

The Padres were welcoming enough to help Houston end a 13-game road losing streak with a shutout victory in San Diego. All streets weren’t paved with losses, though, as Huston Street notched his 15th save in 15 opportunities.

28. MINNESOTA TWINS[down from 25]
Record : 38-54
Last 10 : 3-7

You know you’re not having a good season when you strike out 15 guys and lose and follow that up with six innings of two-run ball only to drop your ninth decision in 12 tries. That’s Francisco Liriano of the Twins for you. More than a strikeout per inning and not much to show for it.

29. COLORADO ROCKIES[no change]
Record : 35-56
Last 10 : 4-6

Other than Derek Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez in the Rockies’ lineup where do Denver fans find solace as their club slides deeper into the abyss? Not with Jeremy Guthrie, who thought he had it rough pitching in the AL East with Baltimore for all those years. He has a 6.35 ERA in the National League for Colorado.
30. HOUSTON ASTROS[no change]
Record : 34-58
Last 10 : 2-8

Wandy wound up for his big chance with the stands filled with scouts looking for pitching help before the July 31 deadline. And what would the Astros’ Wandy Rodriguez do? Four innings, five hits, five earned runs. Yeah, that kind of help we can do without.