Red Sox storm their way to No. 1

Updated: September 9, 2013, 10:52 AM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

The Boston Red Sox, who scored a whopping 59 runs in their past six games, take over the No. 1 spot in Week 24 of our Power Rankings.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who despite losing four straight games still have a commanding lead in the National League West, drop one spot to No. 2, while the Atlanta Braves, who continue to have the best record in the National League, also fall one spot, to No. 3. The Detroit Tigers hold tight to the No. 4 spot for the second straight week, and the St. Louis Cardinals, fresh off a three-game weekend sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, rise two spots to No. 5 to 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 them yourself.

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

2013 Power Rankings: September 9
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
Red Sox
87-58
2
Last Week: 3
In spite of lingering injury issues with Jacoby Ellsbury, it would be a gross understatement to say the past week was a good one for the the Red Sox. Their offense exploded, scoring 59 runs in six games, and they took the series from the Tigers and Yankees, while the Rays fell 7.5 games back in the division. A series win in Tampa this week should all but sew up the division. -- Hunter Golden, Fire Brand of the AL
2
Dodgers
83-59
1
Last Week: 1
The Dodgers have lost four straight for the first time since losing eight in a row May 1-10. Remember when Adrian Gonzalez was an on-base machine? With just 39 walks, his OBP is a decent-but-not-great .336. From 2009 to 2011, he had a .403 OBP. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
3
Braves
85-57
1
Last Week: 2
The Braves hit a speed bump in Philly, highlighting not only how cold their offense can be at times but how poorly they play on the road. In a race that's important to them -- best record in the NL for home-field advantage -- they're still No. 1, but getting everyone healthy actually is the most important thing for the team right now. -- Martin Gandy, Gondeee
4
Tigers
82-61
--

Last Week: 4
As much as I sympathize with concerned fans, this is not September 2009 (when Minnesota erased what was a seven-game lead to steal the division from the Tigers). The .222 September batting average for Miguel Cabrera won't stick, and Detroit still has two of the top three AL pitchers in ERA (Anibal Sanchez first at 2.61 and Max Scherzer third at 2.88). -- Ryan Callery, Walkoff Woodward
5
2
Last Week: 7
Michael Wacha rises to the rotation, Adam Wainwright returns to form and the Cardinals return to first place. -- Matt Philip, Fungoes
6
2
Last Week: 8
Brandon Moss is one of just 10 American League hitters with at least a .500 slugging percentage, thanks in large part to a strict platoon that's caused 85 percent of his plate appearances to come against right-handed pitchers. -- Jason Wojciechowski, Beaneball
7
Pirates
81-61
2
Last Week: 5
Getting swept in St. Louis keeps the Pirates stuck on 81 wins, but a playoff spot is still a virtual certainty. They'll seek to break their four-game losing streak (tying their longest of the season) in Texas, before the schedule eases with the Cubs and Padres coming to Pittsburgh. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
8
Reds
82-62
2
Last Week: 10
Just when it looked like the Reds were dead in the water, they won three of four against St. Louis and then swept the Dodgers. Can't do much better than a 6-1 week against two first-place teams. -- Chad Dotson, Redleg Nation
9
Rangers
81-61
3
Last Week: 6
Derek Holland is winless in his past six starts, although it's his past four that leave cause for concern, with nearly as many walks (13) as strikeouts (15), and 13 extra-base hits allowed. He's been struggling while throwing his curveball: .321 average and four home runs allowed in those four starts. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
10
Rays
78-64
1
Last Week: 9
The Rays wrapped up a horrendous 3-7 West Coast trip with a 4-1 victory on Sunday against the Mariners. Despite the recent slide, they still hold a two-game lead in the race for the American League's final playoff spot with 20 games to go. -- Tommy Rancel, The Process Report
11
Orioles
76-66
1
Last Week: 12
The Orioles are two games behind the Rays for the second AL wild-card spot with three weeks to go in the regular season. It's a good position to be in, but it's crowded with Cleveland, the Yankees and Royals right with them. -- Jon Shepherd, Camden Depot
12
Indians
76-66
1
Last Week: 13
If the Indians hope to maintain their push for the second AL wild card, they will need production from their slumping hitters in the final 20 games. Since the All-Star break, Asdrubal Cabrera is hitting just .201/.247/.317 and Michael Bourn is hitting .219/.295/.309. In September, Cabrera is hitting .056, Bourn .174, and Drew Stubbs .176. -- Stephanie Liscio, It's Pronounced Lajaway
13
Yankees
76-67
2
Last Week: 11
With two blown saves in the Red Sox series -- both in games he entered in the eighth inning -- Mariano Rivera has seven saves and five blown saves (although he managed to win two of those games) since the beginning of August. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
14
Royals
75-68
1
Last Week: 15
The Royals were at 64-64 and eight games out of the final wild-card spot on Aug. 24. Since then, they've gone 11-4 and gained 4.5 games on that wild card. Baltimore, Cleveland and the Yankees are still in front of them in that race, however. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
15
1
Last Week: 16
The good news: Only the Dodgers have as good a record as the Nats in the past month (19-9). The bad news: The team they have to catch, the Reds, are tied for the second-best record during that time (19-11). -- Harper Gordek, Nationals Baseball
16
2
Last Week: 14
The D-backs have scuffled, going 3-4 in the past week and scoring only 17 runs in their past seven games. Only a pinch-hit single by Eric Chavez saved the team from the embarrassment of a perfecto by former Arizona castoff Yusmeiro Petit. -- Ryan P. Morrison, Inside the 'Zona
17
Angels
67-75
--

Last Week: 17
It may be too late for the Angels to make a playoff push, but the club has won 12 of its past 16 games and could play spoiler against one of its AL West rivals down the stretch. -- Hudson Belinsky, Halos Daily
18
3
Last Week: 21
Taking a better-safe-than-sorry approach, the Jays shut down Jose Bautista, who is battling a nagging hip injury. At this point, the club is a mixture of veterans and youngsters jockeying for playing time in 2014. -- Matthias Koster, Mop-Up Duty
19
1
Last Week: 20
The easiest thing to find is a right-handed batter who can hit lefties, yet the Mariners are a pathetic .228/.290/.361 against left-handers. Leading culprits: Justin Smoak (all 16 of the switch-hitter's home runs are from the left side), Nick Franklin (.592 OPS) and Michael Saunders (.202 batting average). -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
20
Rockies
66-78
2
Last Week: 18
The Rockies were hoping to make a little progress on their road record before the season is over, but getting swept by the Padres during the weekend pretty much killed any hope of that. -- Logan Burdine, Blake Street Bulletin
21
1
Last Week: 22
Cody Asche has had a mostly successful major league audition, both at the plate and in the field, and is looking to put any potential hot corner competition for 2014 -- yes, even Maikel Franco, if he sticks at the position -- on notice. -- Paul Boye, Crashburn Alley
22
Mets
64-77
3
Last Week: 19
Justin Turner is 7 for his past 17 (.411), has scored a run in each of his past four games, and has two home runs and four RBIs in the past three. -- Joe Janish, Mets Today
23
Padres
65-77
1
Last Week: 24
In the scramble to finish with one of the 10 worst records and have their first-round pick protected, the Padres hurt themselves by sweeping the Rockies over the weekend. Not that they?d actually pursue one of the top free agents. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
24
Giants
64-79
1
Last Week: 23
To put the terrible season in even more perspective, the Giants can't blame injuries: Four starters have made 24-plus starts, and only Angel Pagan is among the projected regulars who has suffered a significant injury. They've just been bad. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
25
Brewers
62-80
--

Last Week: 25
One of the bright spots for the Brewers has been young second baseman Scooter Gennett, who is hitting .331/.368/.535 with six home runs in only 154 plate appearances. However, almost all of his numbers have come against right-handed pitching. He's only managed .095/.136/.095 against lefties in his brief big league tenure. -- J.P. Breen, Disciples of Uecker
26
Twins
61-80
--

Last Week: 26
Searching for answers in the rotation, the Twins could desperately use some positive signs from September call-up Scott Diamond, who went 5-0 with a 2.06 ERA in Triple-A following his demotion in August. -- Nick Nelson, Twins Daily
27
Cubs
60-82
--

Last Week: 27
Junior Lake leads all rookies in hits (58) since the All-Star break. -- Joe Aiello, The View From The Bleachers
28
--

Last Week: 28
Chris Sale leads AL starting pitchers in WAR. There's something positive. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
29
Marlins
53-88
--

Last Week: 29
The Marlins' offense perked up a bit, scoring 30 runs in six games, but it was good for only a 3-3 week. Miami still doesn't have a 20-homer or 50-RBI man yet. Since June 1, Jose Fernandez: 17 starts, 113.1 IP, 62 hits (not a misprint!), 34 walks, 130 strikeouts, three homers allowed and opponents are batting .159/.231/.213 against him. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
30
Astros
47-96
--

Last Week: 30
The Astros had a .351 winning percentage in the first half, but have fallen to .286 in the second half. That means the young guys aren't actually getting any better. Enjoy the next few years, Astros fans! (Oh, wait ... prospects!) -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot

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