Angels again hold tight to No. 1 spot

Updated: September 22, 2014, 11:45 AM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

The Los Angeles Angels, who own baseball's best record at 96-60, remain atop our rankings for the fourth straight week.

The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles flip-flop spots from a week ago, with the Nationals moving up to No. 2 and the Orioles falling to No. 3. The Pittsburgh Pirates are this week's biggest risers, as they move up three spots to No. 8.

This week's voters: Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN The Magazine, David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot Blog Network/ESPN.com and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Most of the team comments come courtesy of the bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network. How do you rank all 30 teams? Go ahead and rank them yourself.

Tell us what you think about the Power Rankings. Use the hashtag #ESPNMLBPOWER.

2014 Power Rankings: September 22
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
Angels
96-60
--

Last Week: 1
The Angels enter the final week of the season looking to hold off the Orioles in order to claim home-field advantage throughout the postseason. With a magic number of five, the Halos play their final six games on the road vs. the Athletics and Mariners, against whom the club is a combined 15-17 this season. -- Justin Millar (@Justinmillar1), Halos Daily
2
1
Last Week: 3
The Nats' starting pitching is peaking at the right time and hasn't given up more than two earned runs in any of their past nine starts. They've been led by Stephen Strasburg, who has put up a 1.34 ERA and 0.802 WHIP in his last five games with 33 strikeouts. -- Harper Gordek (@harpergordek), Nationals Baseball
3
Orioles
93-62
1
Last Week: 2
The Orioles clinched the AL East last week and are now gliding to finish the season, resting the regulars and setting up their postseason rotation. -- Jon Shepherd (@CamdenDepot), Camden Depot
4
Dodgers
89-67
--

Last Week: 4
A wild 4-3 week saw the Dodgers score 54 runs while allowing 51. They lead the Giants by 4½ games, four in the loss column. Their 49 road wins match their most since 1988. Hyun-Jin Ryu played catch Sunday for the second time since receiving an injection in his inflamed left shoulder last Monday. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
5
1
Last Week: 6
The Cardinals clinched a playoff berth after eradicating the Brewers and Reds. But the flu bug has bitten multiple players, including lineup stalwarts Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams, as the club heads into the final week of play looking to clinch the NL Central. -- Matt Philip (@fungoes), Fungoes
6
Tigers
86-69
2
Last Week: 8
Detroit enters Monday with a 98.3 percent chance of making the playoffs, odds that should increase before the sun sets, with the Royals starting their day down two runs to Cleveland in the 10th inning, as they finish a previously suspended game. Despite what's been deemed a "rocky road," Detroit is on pace for 90 wins -- two more than that of their 2012 World Series team. -- Ryan Callery (@AdSal44), Walkoff Woodward
7
Giants
84-71
2
Last Week: 5
The Giants capped off a 2-4 week with an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Padres. At 4½ games behind the Dodgers in the West, San Francisco is a near lock to face Pittsburgh in the one-game wild-card playoff. Lingering injuries to Angel Pagan, Michael Morse, Brandon Belt and Tim Hudson loom large as October approaches. -- Andrew Tweedy (@WCBGiants), West Coast Bias
8
Pirates
84-71
3
Last Week: 11
Guess who has the second-best rotation ERA in the National League since the All-Star break? The Pirates appear to be peaking at the right time, if that's worth anything: They've won 13 of their past 16 and tied the Giants for the wild-card lead. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
9
2
Last Week: 7
The once-powerful A's went over four runs in a game on Sunday for the only the third time in September. Every team in the wild-card hunt is scuffling, though, so the A's enter the final week of the regular season with a two-game lead on a playoff berth. -- Jason Wojciechowski (@jlwoj), Beaneball
10
Royals
84-70
1
Last Week: 9
Disaster was avoided with a win over the Tigers on Sunday, but now they're 1½ behind Detroit with probably a loss to Cleveland in that suspended game also in the books. The Royals finish with those three games (plus the suspended game) in Cleveland and four in Chicago against the White Sox. Can they hold off Seattle for a wild card? -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
11
1
Last Week: 10
Heading into Saturday night's game, the Mariners had a chance to tie for the first wild card. Instead, 10-1 and 8-3 losses to the Astros in the past two days dropped them to 1 games behind the Royals for the second wild card, and their playoff odds have dipped to 12 percent. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
12
Indians
81-74
--

Last Week: 12
The Indians aren't quite dead yet. They took three of four from the Astros and two of three from the Twins to somehow stay in the race for the postseason. One big reason they're still alive is Corey Kluber, who has struck out 14 in each of his last two starts. -- Susan Petrone (@SusanPetrone), It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
13
Brewers
80-76
1
Last Week: 14
The Brewers' playoff hopes are barely hanging on after a pair of series defeats at the hands of the Cardinals and Pirates. The Brewers' offense has struggled mightily in September, averaging only 2.65 runs per game since the calendar turned. -- Ryan Topp (@RDTopp), Disciples of Uecker
14
Yankees
80-75
1
Last Week: 15
The Yankees' playoff chances remained on life support, as they went 4-3 against the Rays and Blue Jays last week. Derek Jeter snapped a 28 at-bat hitless streak on Wednesday and is heating up as his career comes to an end. He is 8-for-17 with three RBIs in the first four games of his final homestand, which concludes with four games against the Orioles this week. -- Katie Sharp (@ktsharp), It's About the Money
15
2
Last Week: 13
Now just one game over .500, the Jays are relegated to the role of spoilers, as they host both the Mariners and Orioles over the final week of the season. -- Matthias Koster, Mop-Up Duty
16
Rays
75-81
1
Last Week: 17
The Rays will finish the season with a losing record for the first time since 2007. That is quite the accomplishment considering their resources compared to those of their competitors. Andrew Friedman and his crew take pride in being able to ball on budget, which could lead to some creativity this offseason as they look to get back in the race for 2015. -- Tommy Rancel (@TRancel), The Process Report
17
Braves
76-79
1
Last Week: 16
Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until the fall. I shall take no joy, hold no ill will, father no resentment. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the fan in the darkness. I am the idiot who guards the realms of fair-weather fans. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come. -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County
18
Mets
76-80
--

Last Week: 18
The Mets swept the Braves in Atlanta for the first time since 2007, and have a 39-32 record going back to July 4. Jenrry Mejia is tied for first in the NL with 17 saves since the All-Star break, and Jeurys Familia is second in the majors with 14 holds in the second half. -- Joe Janish (@metstoday), Mets Today
19
Marlins
74-81
--

Last Week: 19
Miami scored seven runs in being swept in a four-game set (losing three by one run) at home by the red-hot Nationals. Marcell Ozuna, second on the team with 23 homers and 85 RBIs, suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday. One more loss will guarantee a fifth straight losing season. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
20
Padres
74-81
1
Last Week: 21
Unless the Padres win their final seven games, they're headed for their fourth straight losing season and sixth in seven years. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
21
2
Last Week: 23
After 900 feet worth of home runs Sunday, Avisail Garcia is hitting .308/.378/.492 in September after coming back from a torn labrum in mid-August. Yes, individual performances have been all that's worth paying attention to for a while. -- James Fegan (@TheCatbird_Seat), The Catbird Seat
22
Reds
72-84
2
Last Week: 20
The Reds finally won a game this week, on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball," no less. That snapped a six-game losing skid, highlighted by a miserable mid-week sweep at the hands of the last-place Cubs in which the Redlegs scored only one run in three games. Mercifully, the season is nearly over. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation
23
1
Last Week: 22
Hard-throwing Ken Giles picked up his first career save on Saturday. With 63 strikeouts in 43.2 innings and just 11 walks -- much-improved control from his minor league days -- there may be many more in his future, especially if the Phillies can trade Jonathan Papelbon in the offseason. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
24
Red Sox
68-88
2
Last Week: 26
You can blame the trades and injuries for a 25-36 record in the second half, but the Red Sox haven't had a winning month in any month and they have a losing record against all four AL East opponents. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
25
Cubs
69-87
--

Last Week: 25
If the Cubs have learned nothing else, they have learned that they have a good amount of potential depth in the back end of their rotation heading into 2015. Now it's time to bring in a front-line arm. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers
26
Astros
69-87
2
Last Week: 24
After mustering six runs in losing three of four to Cleveland, Houston dampened Seattle's wild-card hopes, taking two of three from them this past weekend. After setting the team record for hits in a season earlier in the week, Jose Altuve on Sunday passed Rod Carew for the most hits in a season by a second baseman since 1936. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
27
Twins
66-89
--

Last Week: 27
Unless they win out in the final week, the Twins will record their fourth straight 90-loss season, leaving plenty of questions about what sort of changes might be coming in the offseason. -- Nick Nelson (@nnelson9), Twins Daily
28
Rockies
65-91
1
Last Week: 29
They haven't played a meaningful game in months, but as 2014 comes to a close, the Rockies are offering fans a few pleasant teasers for what might be in store next year. On the club's final homestand, intriguing youngsters Corey Dickerson, Tyler Matzek and Eddie Butler all helped rack up lopsided victories that lifted the team out of last place. -- Ryan Hammon (@ryanhammon), Rockies Zingers
29
Rangers
62-93
1
Last Week: 30
For all the talk over the years about how the players played for Ron Washington, interim manager Tim Bogar has a scrappy roster of misfits playing the organization's best baseball of the season. The Rangers are winners of eight of their past nine games against the Braves, A's and Angels. -- Brandon Land (@one_strike_away), One Strike Away
30
2
Last Week: 28
The D-backs are locked in a tight battle with the Rangers for the first overall draft pick in 2015, which isn't exactly the race the organization intended to be in at season's end. Arizona has been outscored 43-22 in the last week, tallying only one win and six losses. Poor pitching continues to plague the club and promises to be a storyline heading into and throughout the offseason. -- Jeff Wiser (@outfieldgrass24), Inside the 'Zona

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