The Cubs have been a consistent tenant at the top spot of our MLB Weekly Power Rankings, but it's fair to at least wonder if in a couple of more weeks, we'll be talking about the Giants like we did about the Cubs in the first month of the season.
While it's unclear what it would take to unseat the Cubs as No.1 -- a seven-game losing streak? Sweeps by the Reds or Braves or both? -- if the Giants keep this up and lose only once every 10 days, we may have to anoint co-No. 1s in the interim.
Biggest jump: The Dodgers leaped five spots, from 16 to 11. They began last week by sweeping the Reds, which really isn't that huge of a feat given Cincinnati's season-long struggles, but then the Dodgers held their own at Citi Field over the weekend, taking two of three amid loud, raucous crowds eager to celebrate the Mets' blowout 30th anniversary celebration of the 1986 World Series champions.
An 11 ranking just feels right for the Dodgers right now -- they're slightly above the middle of the pack, but far from playing at an elite level (with the exception of days Clayton Kershaw pitches).
Biggest drop: The White Sox (seventh to 12th) and Phillies (12th to 17th) each dropped five spots. Since sweeping the Twins early this month, the White Sox have lost six consecutive series, including a weekend sweep by the Royals that featured one soul-crushing ninth-inning debacle. Perhaps it was a little bold to think the White Sox were that complete of a team that they would barrel through the entire season without a hiccup. They still have the best pitcher in the American League in Chris Sale, and a productive veteran lineup. But a little regression was not unexpected.
Our top 5
1. Cubs: When you're checking the daily standings to see if a team is still on pace to possibly surpass the all-time single-season record for wins, that's a pretty good indicator that said team has done nothing yet to relinquish its top spot in the weekly rankings. The Cubs took two of three against the Cardinals before sweeping the Phillies, and they are on pace to win precisely 114.75 games this year. Rounded up, they're a game off the Mariners' record-setting 2001 pace of 116 wins.
2. Giants: The gap in the National League West is widening, thanks to a relentless push by the Giants that has resulted in 15 wins in 17 games. The pitching was carrying them through most of May, but the offense sprung to life in the past week, outscoring opponents 33-18 in series wins over the Padres and Rockies. Buster Posey single-handedly padded those numbers on Saturday, hitting a pair of three-run homers to cap a six-RBI day.
3. Red Sox: Chances are, the AL East will be a close race between at least three teams, with all five having a realistic chance to at least be in the mix down the stretch. But with almost two months in the books, the Red Sox are still chugging along, thanks to, as usual, their phenomenal offensive production. Their pitching is actually just in the middle of the AL pack in terms of ERA (4.21) and WHIP (1.31), so the question will be, can they keep pace in the division if/when the offense comes back to Earth a bit?
4. Mariners: Seattle has fallen out of first place in the AL West, but just by a hair, and there's still plenty to like about one of the few teams that got off to a scorching-hot start. The Mariners have cooled a bit lately, as evidenced by a head-scratching sweep at the hands of the 15-34 Twins. But still, they have the lowest ERA in the AL at 3.37, the lowest WHIP (1.19) and the lowest batting average against (.232). Their next big test will be next weekend when they visit the Rangers, with whom they're neck-and-neck at the top of the division standings.
5. Nationals: The Nats have had just a so-so couple of weeks, literally, turning in a 9-8 record in their past 17 games. But it wouldn't seem right to boot them out of the top five, given their opponents through that stretch have been three teams with winning records: the Marlins, Mets and Cardinals. These rankings are as much about how we think teams will fare over the long haul as they are about the here and now, and it would be foolish to believe the Nats are going to play .500 ball the rest of the season.