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The Times' MLB rankings

The Times' MLB rankings
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) appears in relief during the eighth inning of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 20. (Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

Rankings the MLB teams from 1 to 30. Last week's ranking in parentheses, statistics are through Friday's games:

1. ST. LOUIS: The league's best team just got its best player back: Adam Wainwright. (1)

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2. TORONTO: The Blue Jays' run differential is almost 100 runs higher than the next closet team. (2)

3. PITTSBURGH: Gerrit Cole vs. Jake Arrieta in the National League wild-card game? Not bad. (3)

4. CHICAGO CUBS: The Cubs haven't won a postseason game at Wrigley Field since the Steve Bartman incident in 2003. (4)

5. KANSAS CITY: The Royals have led the division by eight games or more since July 27. (7)

6. DODGERS: Yasiel Puig's return would be "miraculous," assuming the Dodgers are actually better with him in the lineup. (6)

7. N.Y. METS: The Mets come limping into the postseason with a three-game sweep to the Phillies. (5)

8. TEXAS: In his first year in the job, Jeff Banister may be the American League Manager of the Year. (8)

9. ANGELS: Believe in destiny? No? Did you see the Angels win on Saturday? (10)

10. N.Y. YANKEES: After clinching, catcher John Ryan Murphy quipped, "Everybody's on the same page, and that page is drinking." (9)

11. HOUSTON: If the Astros continue to score 21 runs per game, they should have no problem making the postseason. (12)

12. MINNESOTA: There will be no three-way wild-card tie, so put away your spreadsheets and contingency plans. (11)

13. ARIZONA: If the Diamondbacks find any pitching next season, watch out. (19)

14. SAN FRANCISCO: Admit it, a little part of you thought the Giants would somehow sweep the Dodgers. (13)

15. BALTIMORE: Is the Orioles' window closing? A number of key players are free agents this offseason. (15)

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16. BOSTON: In the month after Hanley Ramirez's season ended, the Red Sox went 18-11. (20)

17. WASHINGTON: Jonathan Papelbon didn't know any better. The Nationals have been choking since they acquired him. (16)

18. CLEVELAND: Worry time in Cleveland. If the Cubs win the World Series, the longest drought would be the Indians'. (17)

19. TAMPA BAY: The Dodgers average home attendance is three times the Rays'. (14)

20. SAN DIEGO: Can last winter's offseason champions repeat? (22)

21. SEATTLE: Jerry Dipoto was named general manager of the Mariners, where he won't be paying millions for Josh Hamilton to play for a rival. Smart. (18)

22. DETROIT: Brad Ausmus will keep his job despite a woeful 2015 season. (23)

23. CHICAGO WHITE SOX: Chris Sale's 274 strikeouts breaks a 107-year White Sox record. (21)

24. MIAMI: Jose Fernandez has won his first 17 decisions at home. (25)

25. MILWAUKEE: The Brewers will head into 2016 with a young, promising manager and general manager. Now for some players. (29)

26. OAKLAND: Hat tip to the Athletics, the first team to employ a female coach.(24)

27. COLORADO: Nolan Arenado is the new Troy Tulowitzki. Near-MVP production, near-league-worst team. (28)

28. ATLANTA: The Braves became the second team ever to win five straight without scoring more than two runs. (27)

29. PHILADELPHIA: A glorious season for the Phillies. They don't finish last in the rankings! (30)

30. CINCINNATI: The Reds lost 13 in a row by a combined 57 runs. (26)

Follow Zach Helfand on Twitter @zhelfand

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