With each passing day, the All Star Break is getting closer and the battles in each division are getting tighter. The National League Central and the American League East have some of the most talent in the sport and the chances of seeing each of those divisions get three playoff spots this postseason is high. In the middle of the 14th week of the season, what are the top five teams in the league?
Ranking (Last Week), Team, Record
1. (NR) Pittsburgh Pirates, 51-31
The Pirates were the first team to reach 50 wins this season and they are playing like a team convinced that they can win the NL Central and make it deep into October. As I mentioned yesterday, the Pirates a great team that can go far, but their offense leaves a lot to the imagination and could struggle when they face a stacked pitching rotation in the playoffs.
2. (4) Boston Red Sox, 51-34
The Red Sox have won 7-of-10 and have extended their lead in the AL East to 3.5 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox have one of the best offenses in all of baseball and have a stellar pitching staff to match. They have a +83 run differential, the best in the AL and will need to keep that number where it is if they want to stay at the top of the tough division.
3. (5) Atlanta Braves, 49-34
The Braves are surging after sweeping the division leading Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend and overall, have won 6-of-7. Their offense seems to be coming around, which is something many pundits have questioned. Their pitching staff is talented and anchored by young studs Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran.
4. (1) St. Louis Cardinals, 51-31
After dropping seven of their past 10 games, the Cardinals have dropped from the top spot on The First Pitch power rankings to the fourth spot. They have the best run differential in baseball at +108 but will need to see more consistent play if they want to keep up with the Pirates and stay ahead of the Cincinnati Reds.
5. (NR) Oakland Athletics, 49-35
The AL West leaders have won 6-of-10 and are just 0.5 games ahead of the Texas Rangers in the division. Bartolo Colon continues to impress fantasy players with his amazing play this season, going 11-2 with a 2.79 ERA and the offense has been paced by Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Céspedes.
Team on the rise: Los Angeles Angels
Who dropped out: Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds