Every second week, CBCSports.ca's Mike Dennis breaks down the balance of power in Major League Baseball.

1. CINCINNATI REDS [up from 2]
Record : 80-52
Last 10 : 6-5

Joey Votto’s about to return so what do the Reds - the first team to reach 80 wins this season - do with Todd Frazier? Installed at first base in place of Votto, Frazier hit over .410 for a 21-game stretch and had 18 homers, 62 RBI in his Rookie of the Year bid. Lately, they’ve been playing him at third. Good idea.
2. TEXAS RANGERS [up from 4]
Record : 77-53
Last 10 : 7-3

How about Beltin’ Beltre! After a 32-homer, 105-RBI campaign last year, Adrian’s looking like Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio after ripping 12 hits in four games including a three-homer game and another where he hit for the cycle. Meanwhile Yu Darvish became the first Rangers’ rookie to post 13 wins.
3. WASHINGTON NATIONALS [down from 1]
Record : 79-51
Last 10 : 5-5

During a five-game skid that ended Wednesday with a win over Miami, the NL East-leading Nationals had a high volume discussion between GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson spill out into the clubhouse. Nothing to it was the club response.
4. NEW YORK YANKEES [down from 3]
Record : 75-55
Last 10 4-6

They used to talk about the ghosts at Yankee Stadium that helped the Bronx Bombers, how about advice from the DL? Injured closer Mariano Rivera offered some tips to Rafael Soriano after a blown save against the Blue Jays, and Soriano came back with his 34th save the next night.
5. ATLANTA BRAVES [Unchanged]
Record : 74-57
Last 10 : 4-6

Since 2010 the Braves are 17-0 in games that Kris Medlin starts. Lo and behold someone figured that out and Medlin was put back into the rotation at the end of July. He’s now working on a 28 1/3 scoreless innings streak.
6. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS [up from 8]
Record : 74-57
Last 10 : 8-2

The Giants didn’t flinch when their NL West compatriot Dodgers pulled off that quarter-of-a-billion-dollar roster upgrade. They won a game for only the third time this year when trailing after eight innings and stretched their lead over L.A. to four and a half games, the largest of the season.
7. BALTIMORE ORIOLES [up from 11]
Record : 72-58
Last 10 : 7-3

The Orioles are making all the moves as their presence in the Wild Card race, if not the AL East division battle, stretches into September. They signed a pair of National League lefties in Joe Saunders and Randy Wolf, but Saunders didn’t pitch any better in his debut against the White Sox than he did lately for Arizona.
8. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS [up from 12]
Record : 71-60
Last 10 : 6-4

Another team that refuses to go away, the Cardinals were locked in a battle for the second NL Wild Card spot with Pittsburgh. Leading hitter Javier Molina was belted at the plate by Josh Harrison of those Pirates, straining his upper back, neck and shoulder. Thankfully, no concussion for the St. Louis stalwart.
9. TAMPA BAY RAYS [down from 6]
Record : 71-60
Last 10 : 4-6

After four 1-0 losses in August and a record of 6-19 in one-run games, the Rays broke out in Texas with a two-homer game from Evan Longoria to end a four-game skid. Thankfully, they’ve got the best earned run average in the American League by a quarter of a run a game.
10. OAKLAND ATHLETICS [up from 15]
Record : 73-53
Last 10 : 8-2

Brett Anderson gave up four hits and a run, and then two hits and no runs in his first two starts for the A’s since Tommy John surgery in July 2011. Grant Balfour returned to closing and saved his first eight opportunities and Josh Reddick is closing in on a 30-homer season after starting the season with a career total of 10 home runs.
11. CHICAGO WHITE SOX [Unchanged]
Record : 72-58
Last 10 : 7-3

Chris Sale’s record fell to 15-5 and his ERA rose to 2.81 after a rare four-inning misfire against the Orioles. The White Sox pulled the 23-year-old early in Baltimore to save him for a Sunday night match-up in Detroit against Justin Verlander as Chicago tries to strengthen its AL Central lead.
12. DETROIT TIGERS [up from 13]
Record : 63-55
Last 10 : 5-5

Speaking of the defending AL MVP and Cy Young award winner Verlander, he surrendered eight runs and 12 hits in a 9-8 slugfest loss to K.C. Still, he’s 12-7 on the year after allowing only six runs in consecutive games against the Yankees, Rangers, Orioles and Blue Jays.
13. LOS ANGELES DODGERS [down from 7]
Record : 70-62
Last 10 : 3-7

The Dodgers moved heaven and earth and several stacks of gold bullion to pay for the contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and don’t forget Nick @Shredder Punto, from Boston, but maybe they should move those outfield fences that Matt Kemp crashed into twice in as many days. He’s worth a lot of dough, too.
14. PITTSBURGH PIRATES [down from 9]
Record : 70-60
Last 10 : 4-6

The Pirates tossed back-to-back shutouts at division-rival St. Louis to reaffirm they intend to hang tough in the National League Wild Card race. Pittsburgh also made Ontario’s own Erik Bedard walk the plank, releasing the lefty after he claimed a share of the league lead for most losses with 14.
15. LOS ANGELES ANGELS [down from 14]
Record : 69-62
Last 10 : 7-3

Too bad for the Angels that they only played the Red Sox six times this season because they’ve used a BoSox sweep to remain alive in the Wild Card chase. Twenty-one-year-old Mike Trout, a shoo-in as Rookie of the Year, became the first rookie with 25 homers and 40 steals in a season.
16. SEATTLE MARINERS [up from 22]
Record : 64-68
Last 10 : 6-4

Since June 17 the Mariners’ King Felix Hernandez has an ERA of 1.40 that includes four 1-0 shutouts in his last dozen starts. That gives the Seattle ace five shutouts on the season, the most in the AL since 1989. Now if he can share some that expertise with the rest of the Mariners’ staff.
17. BOSTON RED SOX [Unchanged]
Record : 62-70
Last 10 : 3-7

That landmark cleansing of the Red Sox's roster pulled off by GM Ben Cherrington has the Boston club looking like Pawtucket North, with half the starters up from Triple A. After unloading a quarter of a billion dollars in salaries to the Dodgers, the club with the 100-year-old stadium launches its rebuilding mode.
18. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS [down from 16]
Record : 65-67
Last 10 : 3-7

Any playoff aspirations for the Diamondbacks wriggled away after their recent 2-8 home stand that saw Arizona slip below .500. Even Wade Miley (14-9) is losing quality starts of late.
19. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES [up from 20]
Record : 62-69
Last 10 : 6-4

Nice to see Ryan Howard and Chase Utley hitting over .300 since escaping from the disabled list but the Phillies are headed for their worst finish since the turn of the century (that would be 2000) when they posted a record of 65-97.

20. MILWAUKEE BREWERS [down from 25]
Record : 62-68
Last 10 : 8-2

Shaun Marcum gave up a couple of first-inning runs to the Cubs Thursday in what might be his last start for the Brewers. He was 13-7 last year but suffered an elbow injury in June and despite an ERA a little over three, Milwaukee put him on waivers.

21. SAN DIEGO PADRES [up from 24]
Record : 61-71
Last 10 : 9-1

So what do you want for $800 million US? That’s what new ownership paid for the Padres, and while the ink was drying on the contract San Diego ran off eight wins in a row and nine of 10 victories. Rookie Casey Kelly impressed with six shutout innings in his first start.
22. NEW YORK METS [down from 19]
Record : 61-70
Last 10 : 4-6

If you’re going to meet the Mets, meet the Mets, step right up and greet the Mets (their old theme song) then say hello to Matt Harvey. He set a club record with 43 strikeouts in his first six starts and had a 3-3 record with a 2.76 ERA.
23. TORONTO BLUE JAYS [down from 18]
Record : 59-71
Last 10 : 3-7

I guess the Blue Jays figured if Ricky Romero could almost win a game for the first time in a dozen starts then they’d better go ahead and beat the Yankees. They did, two out of three, to take their first series since the end of July in Detroit.
24. MIAMI MARLINS [down from 23]
Record : 59-72
Last 10 : 4-6

Most of the reasons for coming out to see the Marlins in Miami are called Giancarlo Stanton. The NL Player of the Week since coming off the DL on Aug. 7 had 10 homers and 22 RBI in his first 20 games back. He’s up to 29 homers on the season, many of them moon shots.
25. KANSAS CITY ROYALS [up from 26]
Record : 54-71
Last 10 : 5-5

Last year Alex Gordon finally had his breakthrough season with the Royals by slamming 23 homers, 87 RBI, with a .303 average and a Gold Glove in left field. He consistently hits the ball hard no matter the opposition.
26. CLEVELAND INDIANS [down from 21]
Record : 55-76
Last 10 : 1-9

The Indians are consistent, too. Consistently piling up lengthy losing streaks. They’re 11-35 since the all-star break and have dropped 14 of 15 to fall 21 games below .500. At least they stopped their scoreless streak that reached 24 innings.
27. COLORADO ROCKIES [up from 29]
Record : 53-76
Last 10 : 7-3

While waiting for offensive star Troy Tulowitzki to make his September return from the DL, the Rockies rocked out 15 wins in a 23-game stretch. They nearly overcame a nine-run deficit with the Dodgers with a seven-run eighth inning but fell a couple of runs short.

28. MINNESOTA TWINS[down from 27]
Record : 53-78
Last 10 : 2-8

Best news in the Twin cities besides the 33 homers socked by Josh Willingham would be that Minnesota will host the 2014 All-Star game. Now they’ve got to work on having more than the mandatory one player representing them at the game.

29. CHICAGO CUBS [down from 28]
Record : 50-80
Last 10 : 3-7

The Cubs’ Starlin Castro celebrated signing a seven-year, $60-million contract with the club with a couple of hits and RBI to raise his average to .277 with 65 runs batted in. Chicago’s only player with a higher average is Anthony Rizzo, a year older at 23 and likely the next big signing for the Cubbies.
30. HOUSTON ASTROS [Unchanged]
Record : 40-91
Last 10 : 1-9

Jed Lowrie is expected to return from his knee injury in September. The only knock against Lowrie, obtained in a trade last year with Boston, is he can’t stay healthy. Lowrie had 14 homers in 80 games in the first half for the Astros.