Phil Rogers' MLB power rankings

Pitching pushes Rangers to the top

1. Rangers (3): No question that this is the deepest pitching staff — starters and bullpen — in the American League. Ron Washington and Mike Maddux are turning Koji Uehara into another weapon for the middle innings.

2. Nationals (1): Dropped their last seven games to the Braves and Phillies. A post-Stephen Strasburg shutdown collapse would be like something from the pen of Poe.

3. Reds (4): Johnny Cueto's three-game losing streak will be quickly forgotten if he turns in a couple of strong starts as Dusty Baker gets his guys ready for October. The bigger issue is getting Aroldis Chapman back on track.

4. Athletics (7): Can they overtake the Rangers? They have seven games left with the two-time defending AL champs and would love to avoid the one-game wild-card playoff.

5. Braves (5): Kris Medlen has been the hottest pitcher in the majors, if not the best, since the All-Star break. He and his fellow pitchers held the Nationals to six runs in three games over the weekend.

6. Yankees (9): They are 1-4 in CC Sabathia starts since he came off the disabled list. Ivan Nova's successful return, the pending return of Andy Pettitte and the continued success of Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda lessen Sabathia's significance, however.

7. Orioles (6): Randy Wolf, who was released by the Brewers, moves into Jason Hammel's spot in an already thin rotation. The lineup looks better all the time, however.

8. Rays (2): Rookie Chris Archer may have pitched his way onto the playoff roster, if the Rays can make the playoffs. They just don't score enough runs to enjoy easy wins.

9. White Sox (10): Adam Dunn's return is huge. The Sox are 25-11 when he hits a homer. And welcome back, Matt Thornton. You were missed.

10. Angels (8): They have six games left against the Rangers, who would love to knock them out of the wild-card race.

11. Giants (11): Buster Posey just might steal the NL's Most Valuable Player award. Who can beat him?

12. Tigers (12): Lost their last 10 one-run games, including Sunday's ninth-inning crusher in Cleveland, and Monday's pivotal game in Chicago.

13. Brewers (15): Think of Marco Estrada and Wily Peralta as Zack Greinke and Randy Wolf. Oh, yeah, Ryan Braun could win a second consecutive MVP, couldn't he?

14. Cardinals (13): The cavalry (Chris Carpenter) is coming!

15. Phillies (16): Vaunted pitching staff allowed the Astros to score 24 runs in four games over the weekend. Was that the momentum stopper it seemed?

16. Dodgers (14): Clayton Kershaw's hip injury could be a death blow for a team that already had lost Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly, and opted not to meet the Cubs' asking price for Ryan Dempster.

17. Padres (20): Impressive second half (37-23) continues. They've matched the Giants' record in the second half, and among NL teams only the Reds, Nationals and Braves have more wins since the All-Star break.

18. Diamondbacks (17): Justin Upton has been out-homered by his older brother, B.J. That wasn't supposed to happen.

19. Mariners (21): With another one or two bats, this could be a dangerous team.

20. Pirates (18): Slapped around by the Cubs when it mattered.