Red Sox slide into top spot

Updated: July 8, 2013, 3:38 PM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

After finishing up a 4-2 week, the Boston Red Sox rise two spots to take over the No. 1 position in Week 15 of our Power Rankings.

The Pittsburgh Pirates, last week's No. 1 team, fall to No. 2, while the St. Louis Cardinals also drop a spot to No. 3. The Oakland A's and Texas Rangers round out the top five.

This week's voters were Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN The Magazine and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Most of the team comments come courtesy of the fan bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network. Which teams do you think should be among baseball's top five? Go ahead and rank the teams yourself.

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

2013 Power Rankings: July 8
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
Red Sox
54-36
2
Last Week: 3
For folks wondering when Jacoby Ellsbury would finally hit for power again: In the past two weeks he's posted a meaty .379/.429/.490 stat line with three doubles and, yes, finally a home run. The Red Sox will need him to stay hot as they roll through Seattle before wrapping up the first half with a series against the formidable Oakland A's. -- Hunter Golden, Fire Brand of the AL
2
Pirates
53-34
1
Last Week: 1
An underwhelming 2-4 week against the Phillies and Cubs left the Pirates in a tie with the Cardinals for the NL Central lead. A.J. Burnett came off the disabled list Sunday and pitched well, but Neil Walker is having an MRI on his sore right side. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
3
1
Last Week: 2
The Cardinals silenced Albert Pujols (1-for-11 with a walk in three games) in the first meeting since the team's erstwhile first baseman left to sign with the Angels. St. Louis then swept Miami to move into a first-place tie with the Pirates in the NL Central. -- Matt Philip, Fungoes
4
1
Last Week: 5
The A's finished last week third in the AL in wins but placed just one player on the All-Star team. Fans expressed frustration, but this speaks to the depth of the roster and masterful mixing and matching by manager Bob Melvin. -- Jason Wojciechowski, Beaneball
5
Rangers
51-37
1
Last Week: 4
Ignore the 6-4 record: Derek Holland was a deserving All-Star with his 3.13 ERA and 107 K's in 112 innings, great numbers for pitching half the time in Texas. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
6
Braves
50-38
--

Last Week: 6
Justin Upton was among the starting outfielders via fan voting going into the final ballot. He lost his spot with good reason: He's hitting .219 with three home runs since May 1. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
7
Reds
50-38
1
Last Week: 8
Although they've had a nice first half, the Reds have won just one of their past six series. (Their only success in that stretch was a sweep of the defending champion Giants.) The All-Star break can't get here soon enough. -- Chad Dotson, Redleg Nation
8
Tigers
48-39
1
Last Week: 9
Detroit has outscored its opponents 52-27 to go 5-2 in July, all on the road, where it was 17-21 going in. The Tigers share the MLB lead in quality starts and are first in batting average. Max Scherzer will go for a 14-0 start to the season Monday against Cleveland, which trails the Tigers by 2 games in the AL Central. -- Ryan Callery, Walkoff Woodward
9
Yankees
48-40
3
Last Week: 12
Mariano Rivera blew his second save on Sunday and is now 29-for-31 in save opportunities. He's had a higher save percentage just twice -- 98 percent in 2008 (39-for-40, ironically the year the Yankees missed the playoffs) and 96 percent in 2009 (44-for-46). -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
10
Orioles
49-40
3
Last Week: 7
The Orioles find themselves tied for the second AL wild card and with four players in the All-Star Game. If Jim Johnson can reduce his blown saves in the second half from the seven he's had in the first half, this team will be in fine shape. -- Jon Shepherd, Camden Depot
11
Rays
49-40
2
Last Week: 13
Good teams should beat bad teams, which is exactly what the Rays did last week, going 6-1 against the Astros and White Sox. David Price returned to the rotation just in time. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner made two starts during the week, allowing one run while striking out 15 and walking none in 16 innings. -- Tommy Rancel, The Process Report
12
1
Last Week: 11
A five-game winning streak has pushed Arizona's lead in the NL West back up to 4 games. Now come three against the second-place Dodgers, followed by four more series against sub-.500 teams: the Brewers, Giants, Cubs and Padres. Good chance for Arizona to grow its lead. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
13
1
Last Week: 14
The Nats haven't lost a series in more than two weeks, averaging almost five and a quarter runs per game in that time. In their past eight games they've scored 56 runs. Is this team finally ready to live up to preseason expectations? -- Harper Gordek, Nats Baseball
14
Indians
46-42
4
Last Week: 10
The Indians continued their streaky brand of play, finishing up a sweep of the White Sox only to struggle against the Royals and Tigers. They managed to snap an overall four-game losing streak and a seven-game losing streak against Detroit on Sunday behind four home runs, two from Michael Brantley. -- Stephanie Liscio, It's Pronounced Lajaway
15
Dodgers
42-45
5
Last Week: 20
Yasiel Puig note of the week: Among players with 130 plate appearances, Puig has the eighth-highest "chase" percentage on pitches outside the strike zone. Twelve of his past 19 outs have been via the strikeout. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
16
Angels
43-45
5
Last Week: 21
Josh Hamilton's recent offensive surge, highlighted by late-inning home runs last week against the Cardinals and Red Sox, has fans excited, but a dearth of starting-pitching depth and the sloppy defense remain concerns going forward. --Jeff Mays, Halos Daily
17
Royals
41-44
5
Last Week: 22
Treaded water with a 3-3 homestand versus the Indians and A's. The offense was uneven, tallying 21 runs in the three games against Cleveland and 11 in the trio against Oakland. Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez represent the first Royals duo named to the All-Star team in 10 years. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
18
2
Last Week: 16
R.A. Dickey, during the Jays' early-season slump: "If we can get to .500 by the All-Star break, I feel that we can still take this thing down." Toronto, two games under .500, takes its 18-24 away record to Cleveland and Baltimore (both 25-17 at home) this week. -- Matthias Koster, Mop-up Duty
19
Rockies
42-47
4
Last Week: 15
July has not been kind to the Rockies. With Troy Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler expected to return from the disabled list soon, they won't have any more excuses. If things don't turn around, observers will note that the first week of July was the point when the Rockies' 2013 season officially went off the rails. -- Logan Burdine, Blake Street Bulletin
20
1
Last Week: 19
Despite taking two of three from Atlanta, the Phillies, 7 games back and three games under .500, are running out of excuses not to sell their valuable assets. Anything short of a sweep in the upcoming four-game set against the Nationals may be the final straw. -- Ryan Sommers, Crashburn Alley
21
Giants
40-47
3
Last Week: 18
The Giants, 3-13 in their past 16 games, limp into the final week of the first half. The defending champs are also 15 games under .500 on the road. -- ESPN.com
22
Padres
40-49
5
Last Week: 17
And just like that, a nine-game losing streak and the Padres look like sellers at the deadline. They've hit .217 during the losing streak and allowed a .315 batting average while getting outscored by 32 runs. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
23
Twins
37-48
--

Last Week: 23
The Twins are 1-6 on their current tour of the AL East, and this week they head to Tampa and New York. After hanging around .500 for much of the first half, Minnesota is quickly slipping back into 95-loss territory. -- Nick Nelson, Twins Daily
24
--

Last Week: 24
Since Nick Franklin's first start on May 28, only All-Stars Matt Carpenter and Jason Kipnis have more extra-base hits than Franklin's 15 among second basemen. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
25
Cubs
38-48
--

Last Week: 25
After a series win over the Pirates, Cubs fans turn their eyes to the Matt Garza watch. The highly coveted right-hander is scheduled to make two starts this week for the Cubs. Whether either one will happen before he's traded is anyone's guess. -- Joe Aiello, The View From The Bleachers
26
Mets
37-48
1
Last Week: 27
Since June 5, David Wright is hitting .360 (44-for-122) with 18 runs, 12 doubles, six home runs and 13 RBIs in 29 games. He will be the first Met to start the All-Star Game in his home park since Ron Hunt started at second base in Shea Stadium in 1964. -- Joe Janish, Mets Today
27
1
Last Week: 26
Times are tough for the White Sox as they've lost nine of their past 11 games. They currently sit 13 games back of the AL Central-leading Tigers. -- ESPN.com
28
Brewers
35-52
--

Last Week: 28
In what can only be described as a disastrous season for the Brewers, Kyle Lohse has proved to be one of the only bright spots on the mound. He owns a 2.11 ERA in his past seven starts (42 2/3 innings pitched). -- J.P. Breen, Disciples of Uecker
29
Marlins
32-55
1
Last Week: 30
The Marlins had won 16 out of 24 games before getting swept in St. Louis this past weekend. Rail-thin (6-foot-3, 177 pounds) right-handed pitching prospect Angel Sanchez is the centerpiece of the three-for-one deal that sent Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
30
Astros
32-57
1
Last Week: 29
Chris Carter, who leads the Astros in home runs (17), RBIs (46) and runs scored (41), is on pace to strike out a whopping 218 times this season. -- ESPN.com

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