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After the same 1-2 at the top of the rankings for six straight weeks, theres a bit of a shakeup today, with the Texas Rangers moving up to No. 2 ahead of the Washington Nationals?and right behind the Chicago Cubs. Texas has won nine of 11 and is 2? games ahead of the Cleveland Indians for the best record in the AL. The No. 2 ranking is the highest for Texas all season.While their playoffs hopes might be running on fumes, the Kansas City Royals (No. 15 to No. 13) and New York Yankees (No. 16 to No. 14) both continue to move up the rankings.At the bottom of the rankings, the Atlanta Braves have moved out of the last spot for the first time since Week 12. The Braves have won six straight games and no longer have baseballs worst record. That distinction now belongs to the Minnesota Twins, the new No. 30 team in the rankings.This weeks voters are Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Eric Karabell of ESPN Fantasy, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN, David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot Blog Network/ESPN.com and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Most of the team comments come courtesy of the SweetSpot Blog Network.Past rankings: Week 21?|?Week 20 |?Week 19 |?Week 18 |?Week 17 |?Week 16 |?Week 15 |?Week 14 |?Week 13 |?Week 12 |?Week 11 |?Week 10 | ?Week 9 |?Week 8 |?Week 7 |?Week 6 |?Week 5 |?Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason1. Chicago CubsRecord: 88-48 Week 21 ranking: No. 1In 16 innings in their four-game series against the Giants, Cubs relievers gave up no runs, striking out 17 and giving up only three hits and two walks. --?Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers2. Texas RangersRecord: 82-55 Week 21 ranking: No. 3In back-to-back series against the Mariners and Astros, the Rangers seized control of the AL West, all but assuring that they can shift their focus toward wrapping up the best record in the American League. --?Brandon Land (@onestrikeaway), One Strike Away3. Washington NationalsRecord: 79-57 Week 21 ranking: No. 2Daniel Murphy continues to rake against his former team. After hits in all three games this past weekend, Murphy has a hit in every game (16) he has played against the Mets this season. In those 16 games hes hitting .397 with seven homers and 21 RBIs.?-- ESPN.com4. Cleveland IndiansRecord: 79-56 Week 21 ranking: No. 5The Indians entered the last month of the regular season with a full head of steam, sweeping the Twins and Marlins. Old favorite Coco Crisp returned to the club, and ace Corey Kluber was named the AL pitcher of the month for August. #RollTribe.?--?Susan Petrone, Its Pronounced Lajaway5. Toronto Blue JaysRecord: 77-59 Week 21 ranking: No. 4Francisco Liriano has been temporarily moved to the bullpen to see if hes a viable option there in the postseason. Toronto was 33-19 during July and August before starting September 1-2. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit6. Boston Red SoxRecord: 76-60 Week 21 ranking: No. 7After getting back to a tie for first in the AL East on Saturday, the Red Sox fell back behind the Blue Jays with a tough loss to the As on Sunday. Boston was shut out Sunday after scoring 27 runs in the first two games in Oakland. -- ESPN.com7. Los Angeles DodgersRecord: 76-60 Week 21 ranking: No. 6Clayton Kershaws rehab assignment Saturday went well enough that hell start Friday night against Miami. Los Angeles, just four games over .500 since the All-Star break, can thank the Giants majors-worst record over that span for putting them in first.?--?Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit8. Baltimore OriolesRecord: 74-62 Week 21 ranking: No. 9Is Kevin Gausman maturing precisely when the Orioles need him most? Since the All-Star break, Gausman has posted a 2.73 ERA in nearly 60 innings while striking out about 10 batters per nine innings. He already has surpassed his career high in innings pitched by more than 30, and hes showing no signs of slowing down.?--?Matt Kremnitzer (@mattkremnitzer), Camden Depot9. San Francisco GiantsRecord: 73-63 Week 21 ranking: No. 8Despite posting one of baseballs worst records in the second half, San Francisco finds itself only three back of Los Angeles. In perhaps a postseason preview, Madison Bumgarner got the best of Jake Arrieta and the Cubs on Saturday in an outstanding game.?-- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the Zona10. Detroit TigersRecord: 74-62 Week 21 ranking: No. 11Its been an up-and-down first season in Detroit for Justin Upton, but hes gotten hot at a good time with seven homers and 18 RBIs in his past 14 games. Over that stretch, the Tigers are 10-4.?-- ESPN.com11. St. Louis CardinalsRecord: 71-64 Week 21 ranking: No. 10It was a so-so week (3-3) for the Cardinals at a bad time of the season for that. With the Mets playing better, St. Louis hold on the final wild-card spot in the NL is down to just one game. -- ESPN.com12. Houston AstrosRecord: 72-64 Week 21 ranking: No. 12The Astros are essentially out of it in the AL West race (9? games behind the Rangers), but seven wins in their last 10 games has kept them in the wild-card hunt, where they are two games behind the Tigers and Orioles.?-- ESPN.com13. Kansas City RoyalsRecord: 70-66 Week 21 ranking: No. 15As well as the Royals have played over the past few weeks, it looks like it might be coming a little too late in the season. After losing two of three to the Tigers, Kansas Citys playoff chances stand at just 2.6 percent.?-- ESPN.com14. New York YankeesRecord: 70-65 Week 21 ranking: No. 16With a sweep-averting win Sunday afternoon against Baltimore, the Yanks playoff chances are a scant 2.6 percent. The Yankees need only 11 wins in their final 27 games to avoid their first losing season since 1992, much to the dismay of so many who wrote this team off so long ago. With AL player of the month Gary Sanchez leading the way, the not-so-distant future looks bright. -- Jason Rosenberg,?Its About the Money15. New York MetsRecord: 71-66 Week 21 ranking: No. 18In his first 24 games as a Met, Jay Bruce batted .162, striking out 26 times. However, he has hit safely in his past five games, batting .421 (8-for-19) with one double, two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored.?-- Joe Janish, (@metstoday), MetsToday.com16. Pittsburgh PiratesRecord: 67-67 Week 21 ranking: No. 17In limited duty, Matt Joyce?(posting a .924 OPS) has been a key reason why the Pirates are still in the hunt for the playoffs. In high leverage situations this year, Joyces OPS has been .963.?-- Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the Zona17. Seattle MarinersRecord: 69-67 Week 21 ranking: No. 13Robinson Cano reached another milestone when he doubled Saturday, becoming only the fourth player in MLB history with 30-plus doubles in 12 or more consecutive seasons. The pitching staff gave up 50 runs in a 1-5 week. The bad probably outweighed the good.?-- Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the Zona18. Miami MarlinsRecord: 68-69 Week 21 ranking: No. 14On Saturday, Miami fell back to .500 for the first time since May 1. The offense has collapsed, scoring only 57 runs in 19 games between Aug. 15 and Sept. 4. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit19. Colorado RockiesRecord: 65-71 Week 21 ranking: No. 20For the feel-good story of the week we head to Colorado, where 29-year-old Stephen Cardullo hit the first homer of his career on his birthday (Aug. 31) in the first game of a doubleheader against the Dodgers. He followed it up by hitting a grand slam in the second game. Cardullo, who made his big league debut on Aug. 26, spent the past four seasons in independent ball before signing with the Rockies in January.?-- ESPN.com20. Chicago White SoxRecord: 65-71 Week 21 ranking: No. 19Its not hard to imagine a 2017 version of the White Sox that could contend, especially with Carlos Rodon looking like yet another top-of-the-rotation starter. Since recording only one out in his third start of the season, Rodon has averaged more than six innings per start, with a 8.51 K/9 and 2.49 BB/9. --?Ryan P. Morrison (@ryanpmorrison), Inside the Zona21. Los Angeles AngelsRecord: 61-75 Week 21 ranking: No. 26The Angels have won eight of 10 and are playing .500 baseball (23-23) since the All-Star break. Albert Pujols continues to climb up the all-time homer list, hitting Nos. 587, 588 and 589 over the weekend.?-- ESPN.com22. Philadelphia PhilliesRecord: 60-76 Week 21 ranking: No. 21The Phillies announced Saturday that they are shutting down Vince Velasquez for the season after the righty reached 131 innings. It was an encouraging first season in Philly for Velasquez, who went 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA and 152 strikeouts.?--?ESPN.com23. Tampa Bay RaysRecord: 58-77 Week 21 ranking: No. 25Since the All-Star break, the Rays have seen their positional players post the sixth-highest WAR in the game, according to FanGraphs, which pairs nicely with the ninth-best starting pitching. Unfortunately, the 4.20 ERA allowed by the relievers comes in 23rd, and is an obvious position to improve upon for next years club. --?Jason?Hanselman?(@sandykazmir), The Process Report24. Milwaukee BrewersRecord: 60-76 Week 21 ranking:?No. 22Milwaukees starting pitching shined a few times this week. Matt Garza?had a dominant start against St. Louis, going seven innings, striking out eight and giving up only one run. Junior Guerra followed that up with a strong showing in his first start since coming off the disabled list, throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings on a pitch count against Pittsburgh.?-- Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3), Disciples of Uecker25. Oakland AthleticsRecord: 58-78 Week 21 ranking: No. 23Before Sundays 1-0 walk-off win over the Red Sox, the As had lost five straight, getting outscored 40-8. -- ESPN.com26. Cincinnati RedsRecord: 57-78 Week 21 ranking: No. 24The Reds were officially eliminated from the NL Central title race this week, and their sixth World Series championship will have to wait until next year. --?Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation27. San Diego PadresRecord: 56-80 Week 21 ranking: No. 27Veteran shortstop Alexei Ramirez was released on Sunday after logging a .240/.275/.330 slash line for the season. The Padres still hope to get Tyson Ross (shoulder soreness) on a mound again this season.?-- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit28. Arizona DiamondbacksRecord: 58-78 Week 21 ranking: No. 28Center fielder A.J. Pollock wasted no time in reacclimating to the majors. In his first seven games back, he hit .321/.406/.429 with a homer and four steals. Playing five of his first seven games at Chase Field or Coors Field has helped, though he very much appears to be in midseason form.?--?Jeff Wiser (@OutfieldGrass24), Inside the Zona29. Atlanta BravesRecord: 54-83 Week 21 ranking:?No. 30A winning record since the beginning of August and a six-game winning streak. Atlanta can now sport a legit lineup in which the first seven batters all have an OPS of .720 or higher. That Matt Kemp-aided offense is scoring enough runs to take pressure off Atlantas young pitching. Good results are following.?-- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County30. Minnesota TwinsRecord: 51-86 Week 21 ranking: No. 29The goal for Minnesota in September is getting top prospects Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios on track so they can end their tough rookie seasons on good notes. Buxton is off to a promising start, with six extra-base hits (three homers) in four games since being recalled. Berrios returns to the rotation Monday.?-- Nick Nelson (@NickNelsonMN), Twins DailyHenrik Lundqvist Jersey . Note: The Calgary Flames announced Tuesday that Sean Monahan would not be made available to Canadas World Junior team. Jeff Beukeboom Jersey . 10 Texas A&Ms offence dominated as usual against SMU. http://www.cheapnewyorkrangersjerseys.com/?tag=adidas-mike-gartner-jersey . Laudrup revealed Thursday he was notified of his dismissal in "the briefest of letters which gave no reasons why such hasty and final action was deemed necessary. Harry Howell Jersey . - Derek Wolfe says hes finally healthy after suffering a seizure in November that doctors now believe was related to the spinal cord injury he suffered in the preseason. Ondrej Pavelec Jersey . JOHNS, N.NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans had a bye week while players around the rest of the league wore cleats on a day carved out for players to make a statement for a cause.Despite missing the My Cause My Cleats weekend, the Titans initially were not granted permission to wear their individualized shoes beyond warm-ups Sunday, when they return to action against Denver at Nissan Stadium.But later Monday, NFL senior vice president of communications Natalie Ravitz told ESPN that the league had reversed course.We have spoken to both the Titans and Browns, Ravitz said. Players from the two teams on a bye last week can participate in My Cause/My Cleats in Week 14.At least two Titans, cornerback Jason McCourty and tight end Delanie Walker, planned to wear their special cleats anyway.McCourty and his twin brother,?New England Patriots?safety?Devin McCourty, have a joint charity called Tackle Sickle Cell. Devin wore his shoes during the Patriots home win over the Rams on Sunday.I believe you should be [allowed], so Ill be wearing mine for the game, Jason said.Walkers cleats honor MADD and Delanie Walker Gives Back.Even though players are now allowed to wear specialty cleats, some players may not have gone through the process of getting them made because of the leagues initial stance. And it may be too late for them.We should be able to, us and Cleveland, Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo?said bbefore the league reversed course.dddddddddddd He would have had shoes designed to show his support for leukemia and lymphoma charities.Receiver Andrew Hawkins, the Cleveland Browns player rep, said before the reversal that while he hoped the league relented, he wouldnt be surprised if players wore My Cause cleats regardless.If they fine guys for wearing them, I think thatd be a black eye for the NFL, Hawkins said. Especially since its all about good causes and everything.Most Browns players said they hadnt had time to think about what shoes they would choose because they were under the impression the league would not reconsider.Browns offensive lineman?Joe Thomas said that, if permitted, he would wear cleats representing Team Rubicon, a charitable organization founded by Jake Wood, his former teammate at Wisconsin. The charity uses veterans for rapid responses to disasters, and has helped in places like Haiti (to assist earthquake victims) and Greece (refugees).When the Titans played Minnesota on Sept. 11 to open the season, linebacker Avery Williamson wore cleats honoring victims and responders on the 15th anniversary of the attacks on the United States.Despite reports that hed be fined, he ultimately was not.ESPNs Pat McManamon contributed to this report. ' ' '
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