Nationals stay in No. 1 spot

Updated: August 27, 2012, 11:41 AM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

The Washington Nationals, despite being in the midst of a four-game losing streak, hold on to the top spot for the third consecutive week in our Power Rankings.

The Texas Rangers, fresh off a 5-2 week, jump three spots to take over the No. 2 position. The Cincinnati Reds, meanwhile, fall one spot to No. 3.

The New York Yankees hold tight to the No. 4 position for the second straight week, while the Tampa Bay Rays rise two spots to No. 5.

This week's voters were 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. Many of the team comments come courtesy of the fan bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network. Meanwhile, you can rank the teams yourself.

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

2012 Power Rankings: August 27
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
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Last Week: 1
The Nats have scored a combined 21 runs in their last 10 games against the Phillies, leading to a 3-7 record. -- Harper Gordek: Nationals Baseball
2
Rangers
75-52
3
Last Week: 5
The Rangers' climb back to the best record in the AL last week was aided by Adrian Beltre, who collected both a three-homer game and a cycle within a 72-hour span. -- Joey Matschulat: Baseball Time in Arlington
3
Reds
77-52
1
Last Week: 2
Joey Votto is scheduled to return from the disabled list this week; in his absence, Ryan Ludwick (.346/.410 /.700) and Todd Frazier (.317/.365/.538) have helped the Reds extend their lead in the NL Central to six games. -- Chad Dotson: Redleg Nation
4
Yankees
74-53
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Last Week: 4
The Yankees are hanging on to a slim four-game lead in the AL East even though they were swept by a possible playoff opponent in the White Sox. With 22 games in a row coming up against division rivals, that slim lead will be put to the test. -- Rob Abruzzese: Bronx Baseball Daily
5
Rays
70-57
2
Last Week: 7
The only thing that can slow down the Rays right now appears to be a hurricane and 50,000 Republican delegates. Otherwise, it was business as usual last week. -- Mark Heilig: The Ray Area
6
3
Last Week: 9
The White Sox had a perfect week, sweeping three each from the Yankees and resurgent Mariners. Each of the last four wins were by one run. One sour note: Gordon Beckham continues to struggle, now at .195/.264/.313 post-All Star break. -- Diane Firstman: Value Over Replacement Grit
7
Giants
71-57
1
Last Week: 8
Even with Tim Lincecum's continued inconsistency, Giants starters rank fourth in the NL in ERA, second in innings, second in batting average allowed and tied for second in strikeouts. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
8
Braves
73-55
5
Last Week: 3
The Braves have cooled down a bit, and haven't been able to keep up with the blistering pace the Nationals have set. They seem to mostly be playing for a wild card at this point, but should firmly have a grasp on it. Jason Heyward continues to quietly put up All-Star-level performance offensively, defensively and on the bases. He now sits one stolen base shy of a 20-20 season. -- Franklin Rabon: Capitol Avenue Club
9
2
Last Week: 11
The surging Cardinals took two of three from the Reds in Cincinnati this past weekend, with Jaime Garcia returning impressively to the rotation but All-Star Lance Lynn leaving it, as a three-game set with the Pirates looms. -- Matt Philip: Fungoes
10
Dodgers
69-59
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Last Week: 10
In a year filled with injuries and turnover, Andre Ethier is the one Dodger so far to start 100 games in 2012. Only Matt Kemp, A.J. Ellis and Mark Ellis have a chance left to cross that modest plateau before the season ends. -- Jon Weisman: Dodger Thoughts
11
2
Last Week: 13
A's fans are, of course, hoping that the team takes one of the two wild-card slots. Everyone else should be hoping for a four-way tie between Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Detroit and Oakland. The standings spread from top to bottom for those four? One game. -- Jason Wojciechowski: Beaneball
12
Tigers
69-58
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Last Week: 12
In earning his 14th victory of the season, Max Scherzer leads a Tigers staff that includes a healthy Justin Verlander. Scherzer's continued success can be credited to a league-leading K/9 rate, which is a byproduct of a current eight-game streak of at least eight strikeouts while throwing seven innings or less (not to mention a 6-1 record over that span). -- Josh Worn: Walkoff Woodward
13
Orioles
69-57
1
Last Week: 14
Five years and four days ago, the Orioles traded a pitcher with a 103 ERA+ (Steve Trachsel) to the playoff-bound Cubs for Scott Moore, Rocky Cherry, and Jake Renshaw. Trachsel proceeded to give up 16 runs in 17.1 IP. On Sunday, the Orioles acquired a pitcher with a 102 ERA+ (Joe Saunders) for reliever Matt Lindstrom and a player to be named later. -- Jon Shepherd: Camden Depot
14
Angels
66-62
1
Last Week: 15
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more disappointing 4-2 week. The Angels looked to be ready to roll back into playoff contention before a pair of weekend losses to the Tigers. With several teams between the Halos and a playoff spot, this team's chances slip further away with every loss. -- Hudson Belinsky: Halos Daily
15
Pirates
68-59
9
Last Week: 6
Andrew McCutchen still leads the NL in runs, hits and OPS+, but he's hitting just .234/.342/.330 in August and the Pirates have slumped to a 9-15 record in August. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
16
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Last Week: 16
Inexplicably, the Diamondbacks went 2-5 at home last week while playing the Marlins and Padres, and they scored 21 runs in those seven games. They're now 6 1/2 games out of the second wild card, with the Reds/Dodgers/Giants up next. Tyler Skaggs did have an impressive debut, tossing 6 2/3 innings on Wednesday, allowing just two runs on three hits in a win over the Marlins. -- Diane Firstman: Value Over Replacement Grit
17
3
Last Week: 20
After sort of/almost climbing into the wild-card picture with an eight-game winning streak, the Mariners were swept in Chicago, losing all three games by one run, including Friday's heartbreaker in which they had taken an 8-7 lead with a six-run ninth inning. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
18
Red Sox
61-67
1
Last Week: 17
The revamped Red Sox head out on a nine-game West Coast swing, beginning Tuesday. After those nine games, they'll finish the season by playing teams in the AL East exclusively. Daisuke Matsuzaka will return to fortify the rotation on Monday. -- Evan Brunell: Fire Brand of the AL
19
3
Last Week: 22
The Phillies are now 15-10 in August, with a sweep of the league-leading Nationals in their pocket, though it's too little, too late. In his past 10 starts, Cliff Lee has 67 strikeouts to just six walks. -- Ryan Sommers: Crashburn Alley
20
Brewers
59-67
4
Last Week: 24
The Brewers are 51-9 when leading after eight innings. A year ago, they were 81-1. Take away seven of those nine losses and the Brewers would be 66-60 and 3 1/2 out of the second wild card. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
21
Mets
59-69
3
Last Week: 18
The Mets can't get out of Flushing fast enough, as they've lost 16 of their last 20 home games and have won only one home series since the All-Star break. -- Joe Janish: Mets Today
22
Padres
59-70
5
Last Week: 27
Streaky San Diego: They've won seven straight after losing six of seven, preceded by winning seven of eight, which was preceded by losing seven of 10. They've already used 51 players, eight short of the record (which they already share). -- Diane Firstman: Value Over Replacement Grit
23
4
Last Week: 19
The Blue Jays have a 5-18 record in August. They can't wait to close the book on 2012. Jose Bautista returned for five plate appearances before being placed back on the DL. On the bright side, Brandon Morrow is back and J.A. Happ has strung together a pair of strong starts. -- Matthias Koster: Mop-Up Duty
24
Royals
56-70
1
Last Week: 25
Salvador Perez has a .815 OPS in 185 PAs. The last four 22-year-old catchers to post an .800+ OPS with at least 200 PAs: Brian McCann, Ivan Rodriguez, Ted Simmons and Johnny Bench. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
25
Marlins
58-71
4
Last Week: 21
The Marlins finished up their 11-game road trip by losing four of their last five games. -- David Gershman: Marlins Daily
26
Indians
55-72
3
Last Week: 23
The Tribe broke a nine-game losing streak with a win on Saturday night against the Yankees, and they came right back to finish the week with a loss. The Indians haven't won consecutive games against the same team since July 3 and 4 against the Angels. -- Susan Petrone: It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
27
Twins
52-75
1
Last Week: 26
Joe Mauer leads the AL with a .407 OBP (tied with Prince Fielder), which would be the lowest AL-leading figure since Dwight Evans had a .402 OBP in 1982. -- David Schoenfield: SweetSpot
28
Rockies
51-75
1
Last Week: 29
No Dexter Fowler, Todd Helton, Eric Young Jr., Troy Tulowitzki, Jason Giambi or Michael Cuddyer? No problem. Without many key ingredients, the Rockies have been hot as they've gone 10-4 over their past 14 games. This includes seven road games, where the Rockies are traditionally bad. -- Travis Lay: Blake Street Bulletin
29
Cubs
49-77
1
Last Week: 28
Chris Volstad got his first win of the season on Sunday. The last time he won, NASA was still flying manned missions into space. -- Joe Aiello: View from the Bleachers
30
Astros
40-88
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Last Week: 30
Lucas Harrell remains the only hope the Astros have for a win. Since the All-Star break, he's 3-3 with a 2.75 ERA. The rest of the Astros' starters are 1-20 with a 6.39 ERA. -- Austin Swafford: Astros 290