Braves catapult into top spot

Updated: August 12, 2013, 11:32 AM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

The Atlanta Braves, winners of 15 of their past 16 games, jumped two spots to take over the No. 1 position in Week 20 of our Power Rankings.

The Detroit Tigers, fresh off a recent 12-game winning streak, climbed four spots to No. 2, while the Pittsburgh Pirates fell one spot to No. 3.

The Boston Red Sox, last week's No. 1 team, fall three spots to No. 4, while the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were 6-1 last week, rise three 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. 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: August 12
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
Braves
72-46
2
Last Week: 3
Julio Teheran has a 1.13 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break. He's allowed just 15 hits in 24 innings pitched during that stretch. -- ESPN.com
2
Tigers
69-47
4
Last Week: 6
After winning 17 of its past 20, Detroit has the best winning percentage in the AL (.595) and the largest run differential in the league (plus-155). Miguel Cabrera continues to drive thesaurus.com traffic as we search for new superlatives. In his latest hyperbole-inducing feat on Sunday (in a loss), Cabrera became the first player to go yard on Mariano Rivera in consecutive at-bats. -- Ryan Callery, Walkoff Woodward
3
Pirates
70-47
1
Last Week: 2
Losing three in a row to the struggling Rockies hurt the Pirates, setting the stage for this week's series in St. Louis, Tuesday through Thursday. The matchups: Charlie Morton-Adam Wainwright, Gerrit Cole-Shelby Miller, Francisco Liriano-Lance Lynn. Liriano will be coming off that 12-hit, 10-run disaster in Colorado. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
4
Red Sox
71-49
3
Last Week: 1
After taking a little while to lock in, Stephen Drew has more than found his footing since June 11, putting together an impressive .324/.420/.541 batting line. Also hot? Jacoby Ellsbury, who has clubbed five of his seven home runs over that same period of time. Not hot? Dustin Pedroia, who's hitting .200/.288/.282. -- Hunter Golden, Fire Brand of the AL
5
Dodgers
67-50
3
Last Week: 8
On June 21, the Dodgers had the same record as the Cubs and Brewers. Since then, they've gone 37-8, the first NL team since the '53 Dodgers to win at least 37 games in a 45-game stretch. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
6
Rays
66-50
2
Last Week: 4
The Rays went 0-5 against the top two teams in the National League West. Rays starters failed to complete five innings in four of the five games. Despite the unsuccessful trip, Tampa Bay stands just three games behind the Red Sox in the American League East and tied for the top spot in the AL wild-card race. The Rays open a six-game homestand against the Mariners and Blue Jays on Tuesday. -- Tommy Rancel, The Process Report
7
Rangers
68-50
5
Last Week: 12
The Rangers have now won 12 of 13 to climb from six games down to one up in the AL West. Expect them to stay hot: Their next 18 games are against the Astros, Brewers, Mariners, White Sox and Twins. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
8
3
Last Week: 5
The Cardinals ended a brutal week with a win over the Cubs, but have entered the dog days of summer waiting for Yadier Molina to return from the disabled list. -- Matt Philip, Fungoes
9
2
Last Week: 7
Grant Balfour nearly blew the game on Sunday, but overall he's having, at 35, his best season since 2008. Add another data point in favor of the hypothesis that closers are made, not born. -- Jason Wojciechowski, Beaneball
10
Reds
65-52
1
Last Week: 11
After last weekend's beatdown at the hands of St. Louis, the Reds won four of five this past week. With Ryan Ludwick returning to his spot in left field, this may be Cincinnati's last chance to get back into the race for a second straight NL Central crown. -- Chad Dotson, Redleg Nation
11
Orioles
65-52
1
Last Week: 10
Solid hitting by Adam Jones and Chris Davis along with strong starting pitching from staff ace Chris Tillman and trade deadline acquisition Bud Norris have propelled the Orioles past the Indians in the race for a wild-card spot. The O's, however, still sit 1 1/2 games back in the wild-card race. -- Jon Shepherd, Camden Depot
12
Royals
61-54
1
Last Week: 13
The Royals took three of four from the Red Sox in impressive fashion and have now won seven series in a row. Next up: the Marlins, followed by a big five-game series in Detroit that includes a Friday doubleheader. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
13
Indians
63-55
4
Last Week: 9
After the Indians went 1-7 last week, including a four-game sweep by the Tigers, it brought back terrible memories of August 2012, when the Indians went 5-24. Some of the highlights from the miserable week include a blown save, an anemic offense and the Indians pitching debut of Ryan Raburn. -- Stephanie Liscio, It's Pronounced Lajaway
14
1
Last Week: 15
Wade Miley has lowered his ERA by more than a run since late June by allowing just 11 runs over his past eight starts. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
15
Yankees
59-57
1
Last Week: 14
Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run of the season on Sunday, but the big news is Mariano Rivera has blown three straight save chances for the first time in his career and allowed two home runs in the ninth on Sunday, just the third time as a reliever he's allowed two homers in one inning. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
16
--

Last Week: 16
Too little, too late? The weekend sweep of the Phillies is only the Nationals' second sweep of any series since early May. -- Harper Gordek, Nats Baseball
17
2
Last Week: 19
Mark Buehrle has had far more success pitching at home (3.09 ERA in 12 starts) than he has on the road (5.90 ERA in 12 starts) this season. -- ESPN.com
18
Angels
53-63
--

Last Week: 18
After a 2-4 week, the Angels find themselves 14 games behind Texas in the AL West. Jason Vargas is expected to return soon, and could give the team another asset to move through waivers. -- Hudson Belinsky, Halos Daily
19
2
Last Week: 21
Ken Griffey Jr. was enshrined in the Mariners' Hall of Fame over the weekend. The Mariners' all-time leaders in WAR (games played with the M's only): Griffey 70.4, Edgar Martinez 68.1, Ichiro Suzuki 56.8, Felix Hernandez 39.3, Randy Johnson 39.3, Alex Rodriguez 37.9, Jamie Moyer 34.6. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
20
Mets
54-61
3
Last Week: 23
Rookie Wilmer Flores flourished in his first week in the majors -- he drove in a run in five straight games and has nine RBIs in six games. -- Joe Janish, Mets Today
21
Rockies
55-64
4
Last Week: 17
Heading into the weekend, the Pirates had the best record in baseball. The Rockies have been one of the worst teams in baseball since July. Naturally, Colorado swept Pittsburgh. Baseball is weird. -- Logan Burdine, Blake Street Bulletin
22
Padres
53-64
2
Last Week: 20
The Padres actually have a winning record versus the Dodgers (7-6) and Diamondbacks (8-4), but are 3-10 against the Rockies and also went 8-12 in interleague play. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
23
Cubs
52-65
2
Last Week: 25
On this date last season, the Cubs had a .389 winning percentage. Now, the Cubs are playing at a .444 clip. Hey, it's progress. -- Joe Aiello, The View From The Bleachers
24
2
Last Week: 22
In 21 games since the All-Star break, the Phillies have gone from being 6 1/2 games out of the NL East lead to 19 1/2 games back, passed in the standings by the Mets in the process. Their run differential has dropped 50 runs over that stretch, from minus-45 to minus-95. Teams would be wise not to underestimate them in the quest for a protected 2014 draft pick. -- Ryan Sommers, Crashburn Alley
25
Giants
52-65
1
Last Week: 24
Over his past nine starts, Tim Lincecum has a 3.64 ERA -- which includes a blow-up eight-run start against the Reds -- and has held batters to a .212/.265/.373 line with a 69/14 SO/BB ratio in 59 1/3 innings. He's certainly helping his contract status for next year. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
26
Twins
52-63
--

Last Week: 26
The Twins found their power stroke over the weekend, scoring 19 runs on 11 homers in four games at U.S. Cellular Field. Rookie Oswaldo Arcia continues to electrify this lineup. -- Nick Nelson, Twins Daily
27
Brewers
51-67
--

Last Week: 27
The Brewers scored a combined 20 runs in two wins over the Mariners this past weekend, but in the third game scored none as they were shut down by Felix Hernandez for eight innings. -- ESPN.com
28
1
Last Week: 29
Pick a moment in time: OK, June 11. Since that day, the White Sox are 16-38. Only the Astros have fewer wins since then. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
29
Marlins
44-72
1
Last Week: 28
Since June 15, the Marlins have allowed the fifth-fewest runs in the majors. Who knew? -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
30
Astros
37-79
--

Last Week: 30
Something positive: Jarred Cosart has a 1.36 ERA in his five starts. Something negative: He also has 17 walks and just 14 strikeouts in 33 innings in those five starts. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot

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