Cardinals hold tight to top spot

Updated: July 23, 2013, 3:25 PM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

The St. Louis Cardinals stay in the top spot for the second straight week in Week 17 of our Power Rankings.

The Boston Red Sox also remain at No. 2 for the second week in a row, and the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays (winners of five straight and 13 of their past 14 games) move up one spot to No. 3. The Pittsburgh Pirates (No. 4) and Oakland A's (No. 5) round out the top five.

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. 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 22
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
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Last Week: 1
Matt Holliday landed on the DL as 29-year-old rookie Brock Peterson debuted and received a standing ovation. The Cardinals took two of three from the Padres to begin the second half. -- Matt Philip, Fungoes
2
Red Sox
60-40
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Last Week: 2
This week's stretch could determine a lot for the Red Sox, who are desperately trying to gain some distance on the second-place Rays. A series win could give them a nice cushion heading into the trade deadline; a series loss would put them in second place after having spent much of the season in first. -- Hunter Golden, Fire Brand of the AL
3
Rays
58-41
1
Last Week: 4
The Rays picked up right where they left off. On the heels of a 14-2 streak heading into the All-Star break, Tampa Bay swept the Blue Jays in Toronto. The Rays are 20-4 in their past 24 games and hold the top spot in the AL wild-card race. They start a pivotal four-game series Monday in Boston, with first place in the East up for grabs. -- Tommy Rancel, The Process Report
4
Pirates
57-39
1
Last Week: 3
The Pirates are only 6-9 in July, and their offense has scored more than four runs three times in that stretch. They're still up three in the NL wild-card race and only two behind St. Louis in the NL Central. Will that Alex Rios trade happen before they begin their big five-game series versus the Cardinals? -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
5
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Last Week: 5
Bartolo Colon has made 13 straight quality starts dating to May 14, and he's not scraping by: He's averaging almost 7 1/3 innings while giving up fewer than 1.5 runs per start in that stretch. -- Jason Wojciechowski, Beaneball
6
Braves
55-43
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Last Week: 6
Braves outfielders have combined for a .700 OPS, 24th in the majors, and 105 RBIs, tied for worst. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
7
Orioles
56-43
3
Last Week: 10
The Orioles managed to sweep an uncharacteristically inept Rangers team. The Red Sox and Rays keep pacing the AL East, so the Orioles will need to maintain a high level of performance. -- Jon Shepherd, Camden Depot
8
Reds
55-43
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Last Week: 8
The Reds took two of three from the Pirates to begin the second half, but Cincinnati will need someone other than Shin-Soo Choo (.292/.426/.469) and Joey Votto (.317/.435/.500) to be a consistent threat if they hope to keep up with the division-leading Cardinals. -- Chad Dotson, Redleg Nation
9
Tigers
53-44
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Last Week: 9
In the past 14 days, leadoff man Austin Jackson has 13 K's and an OBP of .205. Starting 2B Omar Infante's (.309 BA) been out since July 3 and Justin Verlander continues to be alarmingly human. Despite these ills, Detroit remains 1 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland in the AL Central with GM Dave Dombrowski plotting another productive deadline addition, a la Doug Fister in 2011 (this time to the pen). -- Ryan Callery, Walkoff Woodward
10
Rangers
54-44
3
Last Week: 7
The Rangers have lost seven of eight to the Orioles and Tigers while scoring more than two runs just twice. Will they trade some prospects for a couple of hitters? -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
11
Dodgers
50-47
4
Last Week: 15
Matt Kemp returned to the lineup Sunday and hit sixth in the order. Nick Punto hit second. Don Mattingly isn't exactly helping here. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
12
Indians
52-46
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Last Week: 12
The Indians entered the second half with great starting pitching from Scott Kazmir, Corey Kluber and Justin Masterson. Unfortunately, the offense (and defense) didn't come through in the first two of a three-game series against the Twins, wasting Kazmir's and Kluber's strong starts. Masterson flirted with a no-hitter in the win Sunday. -- Susan Petrone, It's Pronounced Lajaway
13
Yankees
52-46
2
Last Week: 11
The Yankees are minus-52 runs worse than average on offense. Robinson Cano is plus-26 runs. There's a reason he's walking more than ever. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
14
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Last Week: 14
Haven't been out of first place since May 15, but begin the week just a half-game up on the Dodgers. One problem: They've been outhomered 101 to 80. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
15
2
Last Week: 13
A brief outburst, where the Nats scored 56 runs in eight games, left fans wondering if the bats had finally awakened. The answer? Still in a coma. The Nats have scored only 24 runs in the following 10 games, leading to a 2-8 record. -- Harper Gordek, Nats Baseball
16
1
Last Week: 17
General manager Ruben Amaro's position in the trade deadline marketplace is still up in the air. All Phillies fans can do is sit and wait as the direction of the franchise is determined in the next two series. -- Eric Longenhagen, Crashburn Alley
17
Angels
46-50
1
Last Week: 16
The Angels opened the second half with a series victory over the AL West-leading A's, but they still find themselves 10 games back. With the trade deadline looming, every loss gives GM Jerry Dipoto more incentive to sell. -- Hudson Belinsky, Halos Daily
18
Royals
45-50
1
Last Week: 19
James Shields is 4-7 despite having a 3.24 ERA. He's received no more than two runs of support in eight of his starts, including Sunday's 4-1 loss to the Tigers. Up next for the Royals: host the Orioles for four before a supposedly easy 10-game road trip versus the White Sox, Twins and Mets. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
19
Rockies
48-51
1
Last Week: 20
The Rockies have an opportunity with their current homestand against the Cubs, Marlins and Brewers to make up some ground in the NL West. It's a critical stretch of their season, one they must capitalize on. -- Logan Burdine, Blake Street Bulletin
20
Giants
45-52
1
Last Week: 21
In the NL West, 45-52 means the Giants are still in it, just 5 1/2 games out of first. They'll likely need some help from their division rivals, as they don't play in the division again until Aug. 26. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
21
3
Last Week: 18
Swept by the Rays to start the second half, the Jays now sit seven games under .500. It's time to start looking ahead to 2014. -- Matthias Koster, Mop-up Duty
22
2
Last Week: 24
Justin Smoak (.805 OPS), Nick Franklin (.788, grand slam on Sunday), Kyle Seager (.835) and Brad Miller (.830) are suddenly looking like a very good infield of the future ... and the present. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
23
Cubs
43-53
1
Last Week: 22
Move over Yasiel Puig, it's Junior Lake's turn to set baseball on fire. Lakesanity ... commence!!!! -- Joe Aiello, The View From The Bleachers
24
Mets
43-51
1
Last Week: 23
Matt Harvey is leading the NL in strikeouts (157), is second in WHIP (0.89) and is third in ERA (2.23). Left-handed batters also are hitting only .172 against him with a .456 OPS. -- Joe Janish, Mets Today
25
Padres
43-56
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Last Week: 25
The Padres haven't won two games in a row since June 20-21. They were 38-36 at that point, just 2 1/2 games out of first place. So, yes, it's been a very bad month of baseball. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
26
Twins
41-54
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Last Week: 26
In 17 appearances since the start of June, All-Star closer Glen Perkins has not allowed a run, and has held opponents to a .140 batting average, with an 18-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. -- Nick Nelson, Twins Daily
27
Brewers
41-56
1
Last Week: 28
Francisco Rodriguez continues to improve his trade stock. He's only given up one earned run in July, and his velocity has started to creep back to 92-93 mph. More importantly, though, he has a 24.6 percent swinging-strike rate on his re-discovered changeup. -- J.P. Breen, Disciples of Uecker
28
1
Last Week: 27
Jeff Keppinger has been playing a lot of first base and DH lately. Stop it. Really. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
29
Marlins
35-61
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Last Week: 29
Miami went the entire three-game series in Milwaukee without scoring a single run, including a frustrating 1-0, 13-inning loss Sunday. The Marlins established a franchise record of 37 consecutive innings without a run. The drought is the longest in the major leagues since the 1985 Astros went 42 innings. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
30
Astros
33-64
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Last Week: 30
The Astros came out of the All-Star break in full-on "going for the first pick again" mode: They allowed 36 runs and 19 walks in getting swept at home by the Mariners. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot

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