A's taking charge at the right time

Updated: September 23, 2013, 11:01 AM ET
Week:

ESPN.com

The Boston Red Sox hold on to the top spot in Week 26 of our Power Rankings, but the red-hot Oakland A's, winners of their second straight AL West crown, are right on their tails as the A's jump two spots to take over the No. 2 spot this week.

The Detroit Tigers, who are on the cusp of winning their third straight AL Central title, rise two spots to No. 3, while the Los Angeles Dodgers, the NL West champions, fall two spots to No. 4. The NL East champion Atlanta Braves also fall 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. 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 23
RANKTEAM / RECORD TRENDINGCOMMENTS
1
Red Sox
95-62
--

Last Week: 1
With their first division championship since 2007 wrapped up, the Red Sox are looking forward to the playoffs -- but make no mistake about it: there's plenty left to do. Sorting out the middle of their bullpen, making seriously difficult decisions about their rotation and picking and choosing between a plethora of attractive bench pieces are the main priorities. -- Hunter Golden, Fire Brand of the AL
2
2
Last Week: 4
Oakland clinched the AL West on Sunday when Texas lost, then celebrated by finishing a four-game sweep of Minnesota, pushing its September record to 16-5. -- Jason Wojciechowski, Beaneball
3
Tigers
91-65
2
Last Week: 5
Dropping the last home game of the season to the White Sox left the Tigers a little off their mark for the popping of division-title bubbly. However, if they hit their target at Minnesota this week and clinch their third straight AL Central crown, life will still be a beach for Detroit fans when the regular season ends in Miami. -- Ryan Callery, Walkoff Woodward
4
Dodgers
90-66
2
Last Week: 2
Most starts allowing two runs or fewer: Clayton Kershaw 23, Jose Fernandez 22, Jordan Zimmermann and Madison Bumgarner 21, Zack Greinke, Felix Hernandez and Patrick Corbin 20. Greinke has had 11 straight starts of two runs or fewer. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
5
Braves
92-63
2
Last Week: 3
The Braves finally clinched the NL East, and will spend the remainder of the season playing at home in an attempt to retain their current edge in home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs. Atlanta has been two different teams this season; at home it is an MLB-best 52-22, while on the road it is a pedestrian 40-41. -- Martin Gandy, Gondeee
6
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Last Week: 6
The Cardinals grabbed a ticket for the postseason lottery and look to lock up a first-round bye with their magic number for clinching the NL Central at five with six games left. -- Matt Philip, Fungoes
7
Pirates
89-67
--

Last Week: 7
The Pirates have gone 38-37 after a 51-30 start, yet they're still tied in the NL wild-card race with the Reds and up five games on the Nationals with six to go for the final wild-card spot. Their final series in Cincinnati will likely determine home field for the wild-card game. With the Cardinals up two and home for their final six, the division title seems unlikely. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
8
Reds
89-67
--

Last Week: 8
Cincinnati is likely just a wild-card team, but once in the playoffs, the Redlegs will have the game-changing speed of Billy Hamilton. Hamilton's major league debut has been everything he could have hoped for: he's hit .429/.500/.571 in his first 10 games, with 12 steals in 12 attempts. -- Chad Dotson, Redleg Nation
9
Rays
86-69
--

Last Week: 9
The Rays survived the longest game in franchise history on Friday (six hours and 54 minutes) and expanded their lead in the AL wild-card race. Left-handed pitching prospect Enny Romero was called up much sooner than expected, and then he delivered a good enough performance Sunday. -- Tommy Rancel, The Process Report
10
Indians
86-70
--

Last Week: 10
The Indians beat the Astros on Sunday to finish their sixth four-game sweep, the most four-game sweeps they've had in a season since 1954. The last time any team completed six in one season was 1961, when the Yankees did so. Two players who've struggled at times this season led the way offensively last week -- Nick Swisher hit .421/.520/.474 and Asdrubal Cabrera hit .364/.417/.500. -- Stephanie Liscio, It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
11
Rangers
84-71
--

Last Week: 11
Sunday's extra-inning loss dropped the Rangers to 5-15 in September. They do finish up with the Astros and Angels and they're 14-2 against the Astros and 11-4 against the Angels. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
12
1
Last Week: 13
Despite a below .500 record against other opponents, the bottom of the NL East was so awful that it almost helped the Nats reach the playoffs. They were a combined 17 games over .500 (37-20) versus the Mets, Phillies and Marlins. -- Harper Gordek, Nationals Baseball
13
Yankees
82-74
1
Last Week: 12
Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte pitched their final games at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, barring a miracle final week. Career: Pettitte 60.5 WAR, 19-11, 3.81 ERA in postseason; Rivera: 56.5 WAR, 8-1, 0.70 ERA in postseason. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
14
Royals
82-73
1
Last Week: 15
Justin Maxwell's extra-inning walk-off grand slam (the third in Royals franchise history) keeps KC's faint wild-card hopes alive. KC trails Cleveland by 3.5 games with seven left, all on the road, featuring a long flight to Seattle and then one back to Chicago. At 82-73, they've clinched their first winning season since 2003. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
15
Orioles
81-74
1
Last Week: 14
The rest of the nails in the Orioles' coffin are just for aesthetics. However, it is always great to be relevant three weeks into September. Good year. -- Jon Shepherd, Camden Depot
16
Angels
76-79
1
Last Week: 17
After series wins against Seattle and Houston, the Angels have not lost any of their past nine series. The Halos will look to play spoiler this week when they head to Texas to close out the season against the slipping Rangers. -- Hudson Belinsky, Halos Daily
17
1
Last Week: 16
The Dodgers celebrated their NL West title at Chase Field with a pool party, cannonballing their way into Arizona infamy. It's a good thing revenge is a dish best served cold, because the D-backs will have to put their plans for retribution on ice for at least six months. -- Ryan P. Morrison, Inside the 'Zona
18
Padres
72-83
4
Last Week: 22
Tyson Ross has been a bright spot since moving into the rotation on July 23, posting a 3.00 ERA and allowing a .200 batting average against. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
19
--

Last Week: 19
The Jays are in a battle ... for draft pick positioning. Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and now Colby Rasmus have been shut down for the rest of the season -- healing up and resting for 2014. The 4-A Jays finish up the season with one game against the White Sox and then three each against the Orioles and Rays. -- Matthias Koster, Mop-Up Duty
20
Giants
72-84
--

Last Week: 20
Quietly having a good year that nobody has talked about: Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 2.77 ERA, .203 average allowed). He has a 2.36 ERA since the All-Star break, but is just 3-4 in 12 starts. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
21
3
Last Week: 18
Chase Utley hasn't logged this much playing time in a season since 2009. His numbers have been trending up, as well, displaying power reminiscent of his prime. This is great news for the Phillies, who signed the second baseman to a two-year extension with options last month. -- Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley
22
Rockies
71-86
1
Last Week: 21
This week, the greatest Rockie of all-time will put on the uniform and take the field for the last time. Todd Helton doesn't get the credit he deserves on a national level, but Rockies fans know that the Toddfather is a Hall of Fame worthy player and it's been a blessing watching him play all these years. So long, Todd. -- Logan Burdine, Blake Street Bulletin
23
Mets
71-84
--

Last Week: 23
Mets shortstops, as a group, are batting .219 this year -- worst in baseball and the worst by the Mets in 20 years (they're also last among shortstops in home runs, with three). However, that's not even close to the lowest in team history; in 1977, the position batted only .189. -- Joe Janish, Mets Today
24
Brewers
69-86
--

Last Week: 24
After a dreadful start to the '13 season, the Brewers' starting rotation has turned it around in the second half. Their collective 3.61 ERA since the All-Star break ranks fourth in the National League. -- J.P. Breen, Disciples of Uecker
25
--

Last Week: 25
The Mariners have hit the wall in September, hitting .220 (29th in the majors) and posting a 4.35 ERA, 22nd in the majors. With two more losses, will finish with 90-plus losses for sixth time in 10 seasons. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
26
Cubs
65-91
--

Last Week: 26
Dale Sveum may be managing his final games with the Cubs as Theo Epstein was non-committal on Sveum's future in a recent news conference. -- Joe Aiello, The View From The Bleachers
27
Twins
65-90
--

Last Week: 27
Minnesota's starters were battered and brutalized during a four-game sweep in Oakland in which the A's totaled a staggering 39 runs. For this embattled Twins rotation, the end cannot come soon enough. -- Nick Nelson, Twins Daily
28
--

Last Week: 28
Current .394 winning percentage would be the franchise's worst since going 56-106 in 1970. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot
29
Marlins
57-99
--

Last Week: 29
Losing 13 of their last 17 puts the Marlins on the precipice of a 100-loss season. After Jose Fernandez's 12 wins, no other Marlins hurler has more than five, but they also have only one pitcher with 10 or more losses. -- Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
30
Astros
51-105
--

Last Week: 30
Amazingly, at 51-105 it appears the Astros will finish with more losses than they did in 2011 (106) and 2012 (107). Have lost nine in a row and have won just 23 of their past 81 games. -- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot

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