A.L. Power Rankings: The Red Sox are NOT last!
1. Kansas City Royals
(38-25, last month: 1) - The Royals are good, but are they eight-starters-in-the-All-Star-Game good? Heck no. The report today is that MLB voided 60-65 million ballots over fraud concerns, so it'll be interesting to see how many votes somebody like second baseman Omar Infante (.228 average, 0 HR, 18 RBI) ends up with. In other words, he better not be on the All-Star team. But the Royals continue to play great baseball.
2. Houston Astros
(40-28, last month: 4) - You wanna hack 'em? Hack 'em! The Astros can't be stopped from shocking the baseball world! Look at these guys; right now, they're just mashing all over the league. Their 97 home runs is tops in the American League, by 13 over the Blue Jays. And they've won five in a row. Texas, man.
3. Detroit Tigers
(34-32, last month: 2) - Yes, the Twins are technically ahead of the Tigers in the A.L. Central, but I'm not ready to say they have more power than Detroit. Why? Because Victor Martinez returns Friday night and he can take Detroit's offense to the next level. If Martinez gets going in the middle of that lineup, that's all the Tigers need to push past the Twins . . . and beyond.
4. Minnesota Twins
(36-30, last month: 6) - In the beginning of the year I wrote off the Twins. I completely underestimated them. Now? I have to give them some respect for their first half of the season. But I don't think it's going to last. In fact, their offense is pretty weak: They rank 10th in the league in team batting average (.247), 13th in home runs (50), 10th in RBI (257), and 13th in slugging percentage (.682).
5. Toronto Blue Jays
(36-32 last month: 7) - Do you like offense? Then you'll love the Blue Jays. These guys lead MLB in runs with 376, or 71 more than the second-ranked A's. They're also the only team in MLB with over 1,000 total bases (1,028). Pitching is holding them back. Their 4.13 team ERA ranks 22nd in MLB, and 13th in the AL. They should be buyers at the deadline.
6. New York Yankees
(36-30, last month: 3) - Ready for the most fake moment in sports? Tune in when A-Rod records his 3,000th hit this weekend at Yankee Stadium. You've got a player who cheated for what we can assume was most of his career, being celebrated by a team and a fanbase that wanted nothing to do with him. Congrats all around! It doesn't get more fake than this weekend, folks.
7. Tampa Bay Rays
(38-30, last month: 8) - Am I going to get crap from people for ranking the Rays this low? Probably. But I ain't here to make friends. I'm sorry that the Rays have barely any offense to speak of. I love their pitching -- Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi are nice -- but it's asking a lot to carry the team on their shoulders. Shoutout to manager Kevin Cash for getting this team where it is.
8. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
(34-33, last month: 5) - The Angels have had trouble winning on the road lately, but with three games in Oakland starting tonight, they can get back to .500 in that department. How about Albert Pujols leading the A.L. in home runs? He's got something left after all.
9. Baltimore Orioles
(34-32, last month: 11) - After a five-game losing streak, the Orioles ripped off 11 wins over the next 14 games. They're coming off a 2-1 loss in Philadelphia and now meet a Blue Jays team in Toronto ready to knock them around. Trailing the Jays by just a game, this is a big series for the O's to prove they belong in A.L. East discussion.
10. Texas Rangers
(36-31, last month: 15) - The Rangers took three of four over the N.L. West-leading Dodgers and now travel to Chicago to play the basement-dwelling White Sox. It wasn't long ago the Rangers were near the bottom themselves, but a strong record on the road (21-15) has helped them climb the ladder.
11. Cleveland Indians
(31-34, last month: 14) - All of Cleveland can now turn its attention away from the Cavaliers and over to the Indians. Ahhh! Turn back! Serious question: Would you rather watch the Indians play, or watch Game 6 of the this year's NBA Finals over again? A 13-19 record at home doesn't make for a fun night at the ballpark.
12. Seattle Mariners
(30-37, last month: 9) - Ah, yes, the Mariners. The West's underachieving version of the Red Sox, albeit with a smaller payroll. Lots of hype surrounding this Mariners team coming into the season. What's worse? Nelson Cruz has gone cold. He's batting just .218 with zero home runs and three RBI in June after a scorching April and May. Without him, they're toast.
13. Boston Red Sox
(29-39, last month: 10) - They can't hit. They can't pitch. THEIR PETS' HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!!! It seriously feels that way this season for the Red Sox, who can't do anything right. They can't even go to the bathroom during a game the right way (right, Pablo Sandoval?). This team is hurting, but unlike the others at the bottom of the rankings, seems to have the talent (and the division) to dig out.
14. Oakland Athletics
(29-40, last month: 13) - This one is kind of hard to figure out: The Athletics have the worst record in the majors, but actually have a plus-36 in run differential. Huh? That tells me they find ways to lose games -- and when you see that they lead MLB in errors with 65 in 69 games, you know why they are where they are.
15. Chicago White Sox
(28-37, last month: 12) - It must be pretty miserable being a White Sox fan right now. The team across the city is having all the fun. Walk-off wins all over the place, prospects up the nose. Seven straight losses for the White Sox, who may be waiving the white flag soon in a tough A.L. Central.