MLB Power Rankings: Red Sox unseat Astros for No. 1 spot

Yahoo Sports

On the day the United States celebrates its biggest victory, our MLB Power Rankings are all about the win column.

The Boston Red Sox, whose 58 wins are the most in baseball, have unseated the Houston Astros for the No. 1 spot. The top three, rounded out by the New York Yankees, remains ever so close, as these three have no-doubt established themselves as the best three teams in the game.

Elsewhere this week: The A’s and Giants are looking good, while the Nats and Cardinals aren’t. Here’s the rundown of our full 30:

Boston Red Sox’ J.D. Martinez celebrates his two-run home run during the ninth inning of an interleague baseball game at Nationals Park Tuesday, July 3, 2018, in Washington. The Red Sox won 11-4. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Boston Red Sox’ J.D. Martinez celebrates his two-run home run during the ninth inning of an interleague baseball game at Nationals Park Tuesday, July 3, 2018, in Washington. The Red Sox won 11-4. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

1. Red Sox (58-29; last week: 2)
Despite dropping a series to the Yankees, Boston’s impossible to deny after sweeping the Angels and besting Max Scherzer over the past week. The Red Sox should be well represented at the All-Star Game.

2. Astros (56-31; last week 1)
With Carlos Correa sidelined, Houston’s offense disappeared over the weekend, scoring just seven total runs while losing three of four to the Rays at Tropicana Field. The hiccup was enough to cost the Astros our top spot, and in the process tightened up the AL West standings.

3. Yankees (55-28; last week 3)
The Yankees held serve at home against Boston, winning two of three in the highly anticipated weekend series. Overall though, the Yankees did more maintaining than climbing in the standings. The offense is still on a record-setting home run pace, but with Sonny Gray continuing to struggle could use another starting pitcher before the deadline.

4. Mariners (55-31; last week: 4)
After looking overmatched during a nine-game stretch against the Red Sox and Yankees, the Mariners have bounced back by winning eight straight. Seven of those wins came against the cellar-dwelling Orioles and Royals, but the banked wins are keeping the Mariners positioned as good bets to end the longest postseason drought among the four major sports.

5. Brewers (50-35; last week 5)
The Brewers are trying to navigate a stretch without their two big offseason acquisitions: Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. So far, so good, though that’s mainly thanks to their continued excellent starting pitching. Milwaukee leads the NL in quality starts.

6. Braves (49-35; last week: 6)
No team in the NL has made a louder statement this past week than Atlanta. After sweeping the Cardinals in St. Louis, the Braves stole the series opener from the Yankees in New York on Monday thanks to Ronald Acuña Jr.’s home run. With the dynamic rookie back in the lineup and their pitching staff holding steady, Atlanta has established itself as a contender.

7. Cubs (48-35; last week: 9)
The Cubs offense has erupted, scoring 51 runs during a current five-game winning streak. The torrid stretch comes with Kris Bryant still on the disabled list. In his absence, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo remained red hot, while Addison Russell and Jason Heyward have finally shown signs of life.

8. Diamondbacks (48-38; last week: 7)
Arizona takes a small step back after being swept at home by San Francisco over the weekend. The good news is this team is getting much healthier with the returns of A.J. Pollock, Robbie Ray and Shelby Miller, while the rest of the division still looks underwhelming.

9. Indians (47-37; last week: 8)
They are Cleveland’s last true hope now that LeBron James has left town again. The Indians primary focus right now is on getting healthy. Unfortunately, they’ve lost Danny Salazar to season-ending shoulder surgery, and it appears ace reliever Andrew Miller is still a ways away from a return too. Perhaps some pitching upgrades will be required.

10. Phillies (46-37; last week: 13)
Young right-hander Zach Efflin put the Phillies on his back in June, posting a 5-0 record with a 1.76 ERA over 30.2 innings. In games not started by Eflin in June, Philadelphia went 8-14.

11. Dodgers (46-39; last week: 10)
The Dodgers finally looked like the team we expected them to be in June, finishing the month with a 17-9 record. The surge was fueled by a historic month at the plate. The Dodgers slugged a franchise-record 55 home runs in June. The increased power coupled with the return of Clayton Kershaw has to have Los Angeles feeling pretty good.

12. Athletics (47-39; last week: 15)
A six-game win streak to close out June has the A’s on the fringes of the wild card. July will be the true test, though. The A’s will play 13 straight games against teams above .500 in the middle of the month. That stretch will determine whether they buy or sell at the deadline.

13. Giants (45-42; last week: 16)
San Francisco has been steadily moving up the ranks thanks to a stellar June. The momentum continued over the weekend with an impressive three-game sweep of the first-place Diamondbacks in Arizona. With Madison Bumgarner (2.51 ERA in five starts) back, the Giants are definitely poised to make some noise.

14. Angels (43-43; last week: 14)
The injuries are piling up for the Angels and so too are the losses. After finishing May just 4 ½ games behind Houston for first place, they’re currently 11 ½ out. They did receive good news Tuesday with Shohei Ohtani’s returning to the lineup. Unfortunately, he’ll be limited to hitting duties the rest of the season.

Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez (4) stands in the dugout during a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Nationals Park, Monday, July 2, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez (4) stands in the dugout during a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Nationals Park, Monday, July 2, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

15. Nationals (42-42; last week: 11)
A 9-16 June has the Nationals in a free fall. But wait, it gets worse. Since June 8, the Nationals have roughly the same record as the Mets. That’s not good!

16. Cardinals (43-41; last week: 13)
17. Rockies (43-43; last week: 17)
18. Rays (43-42; last week: 20)
19. Pirates (40-45; last week: 18)
20. Blue Jays (40-45; last week: 19)
21. Tigers (38-49; last week: 22)
22. Rangers (38-48; last week: 24)
The Cardinals take a dive after a tough week that included a sweep by the Braves. That puts them with our group of .500 hoverers and wish-they-could-be-.500 teams. The Cardinals (6.5 back in their division) and the Rockies (5 game back) have the best chance of getting out of here. The rest? It’s not looking good.

23. Padres (37-50; last week: 23)
24. Reds (37-49; last week: 25)
25. Twins (35-47; last week: 21)
26. Marlins (35-52; last week: 26)
27. Mets (33-49; last week: 27)
28. White Sox (30-55; last week: 28)
29. Royals (25-60; last week: 29)
30. Orioles (24-60; last week: 30)
Yes, you’re seeing that right. The Royals and Orioles are still hovering around 25 wins. The race for the bottom of the league seems solidified between these two — no matter how hard the Mets try. They’re gaining on the Marlins for last place in the NL East, by the way. The Twins, who enjoyed a slight jump last week, seem back where they belong this week.

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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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