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Power Rankings becoming battle of East vs. West

Scuffling A's, surging Angels sit atop list, but Beltways clubs have strong case

Power Rankings becoming battle of East vs. West play video for Power Rankings becoming battle of East vs. West

Terrific seasons by the A's and Giants have California fans dreaming of a Bay Bridge World Series.

Dodgers and Angels faithful would love to see a Freeway Series showdown in late October in their part of the state.

But is the best baseball really played out West, or is the sport headed toward a Beltways World Series between the Orioles and the Nationals on the other side of the country?

Have the beasts of the American League and National League East finally returned to form?

And how do all of those teams stack up against the Brewers, Royals and Cardinals?

That's where you come in.

For the fourth consecutive season, MLB.com has set up a panel of experts to vote on the top 15 teams each week. The group includes MLB.com vice president and executive editor Carlton Thompson, executive editor Matthew Leach, columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Richard Justice, Tracy Ringolsby, Phil Rogers and Lyle Spencer, along with reporters Alyson Footer and Jesse Sanchez.

What do you think? Agree, disagree? Have your opinion counted by submitting your Power Rankings.

1. Athletics: Nobody is panicking in Oakland, but it's hard to ignore the club's recent slump. The A's have lost a season-high five in a row and seven of their past eight, and it's resulted in a tie on top of the AL West with the Angels.

2. Angels: The Halos, who have won four of their past five games, now share the top spot in the AL West with the A's. They still need Josh Hamilton to break out of his recent funk. The slugger has five hits, and 18 strikeouts, in his past 38 at-bats. He's hit eight home runs in 72 games.

3. Nationals: It's an exciting time to be a Nats fan. The club has won six in a row, a stretch that includes back-to-back walk-off victories. It's also won eight of the past 10 games and leads the second-place Braves in the NL East by six games.

4. Orioles: The O's suffered their first back-to-back losses since June 28-29 this weekend in Cleveland, but they bounced back on Sunday with a win, their sixth victory in the past 10 games. Baltimore leads the AL East by seven games, and the club is 8-1 in games following a shutout loss.

5. Brewers: Including last weekend's sweep, NL Central-leading Milwaukee has defeated the NL West-leading Dodgers five times in six games over a span of 10 days. The 70-55 Brewers are already four victories shy of their total from all of 2013, with 37 games to play.

6. Dodgers: The NL West leaders lost all three games to the Brewers over the weekend in Los Angeles and have lost six of their past 10 games. It's time to start playing better at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers have the Majors' best road record (40-26), but they are just 30-30 at home.

7. Mariners: Seattle made a statement this weekend against Detroit and is officially making a run at an AL playoff spot. With 39 games remaining, the Mariners, who have won 11 of 14, lead the Tigers by a half-game for the second AL Wild Card spot.

8. Royals: The hottest team in baseball is seeking its eighth straight series win. Kansas City has won 20 of its past 25 games and leads Detroit in the AL Central by 1 1/2 games. Nori Aoki is doing his part. The outfielder's resurgence has mirrored the Royals' ascension in the standings. Aoki is hitting .322/.385/.437 since July 21, when Kansas City sat two games under .500.

9. Tigers: Detroit lost two of three to Seattle over the weekend and finds itself outside of the AL playoff picture. The good news? Once the Tigers play three games this coming week on the road against the Rays, they'll have just six games left outside of their division, all at home.

10. Giants: Sunday's victory against the Phillies allowed the Giants to close to within 3 1/2 games of the first-place Dodgers in the NL West while expanding their lead for the second NL Wild Card spot to 1 1/2 games over the Braves and Pirates. San Francisco is right behind St. Louis for the first NL Wild Card.

11. Cardinals: The Cards' offense has been putting it all together lately. After scoring four runs in fewer than half of their first 115 games this season, they have reached that mark in seven of their past eight. St. Louis trails first-place Milwaukee by three games in the NL Central.

12. Braves: The Braves entered their 10-game homestand in the middle of an eight-game skid, and they managed to go 6-4 against the Nationals, Dodgers and A's. Though they sit six games behind the Nats in the NL East, the Braves are just 1 1/2 games back in the battle to win the second NL Wild Card spot.

13. Pirates: The Nats notched a walk-off victory against the Bucs for the second straight game Sunday to give Pittsburgh an 0-5 road trip, sending the Pirates home on their first five-game losing streak since Sept. 18-22, 2012. The string of losses has the Bucs 5 1/2 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central -- the largest deficit the team has had since July 5. Pittsburgh trails San Francisco by 1 1/2 games for the second NL Wild Card spot.

14. Blue Jays: It's been a rough month for Toronto. The club is 4-11 in August after surging to start the second half of the season 11-3. What's more, the Blue Jays were a season-high 6 1/2 games ahead in first place in the AL East on June 6, but they sit four games out of the second AL Wild Card spot.

15. Yankees: Don't give up on the Yanks. Here's why: New York moved into second place in the AL East for the first time since Aug. 8 on Sunday, sitting seven games behind the Orioles. The Bronx Bombers are 3 1/2 games behind the Mariners for the second AL Wild Card spot.

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