Updated: September 1, 2014, 11:14 AM ET

Angels back again in No. 1 spot


The Los Angeles Angels find themselves back atop our rankings after finishing off a four-game weekend sweep of the previously No. 1 Oakland Athletics (now our No. 4 team). The Angels, winners of six consecutive games, have the best record (83-53) in baseball.

The Washington Nationals move up one spot to No. 2, while the Baltimore Orioles, winners of four straight and six of their last seven games, also rise one spot to No. 3.

This week's voters: Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN The Magazine, David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot Blog Network/ESPN.com and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Most of the team comments come courtesy of the bloggers on the SweetSpot Blog Network. How do you rank all 30 teams? Go ahead and rank them yourself.

Tell us what you think about the Power Rankings. Use the hashtag #ESPNMLBPOWER.

Matt Shoemaker has been outstanding over his past three starts, as he pitched 21 2/3 scoreless innings. During that stretch, he's allowed just eight hits and three walks while striking out 22. -- ESPN.com
Three games against the Dodgers in Los Angeles to begin this week and then nothing but NL East teams for the Nationals for the rest of the season. That's not necessarily good news for the quest for home-field advantage as the Nats' known issues with the Braves (4-9 this year) extend on a more modest level to the Marlins (6-5) and Phillies (8-8). -- Harper Gordek (@harpergordek), Nationals Baseball
Wei-Yin Chen has quietly put together a solid second half. In seven starts, he's compiled a 2.84 ERA while issuing only 10 walks in 44 1/3 innings. -- ESPN.com
The A's overcame a very late five-game deficit against the Rangers in 2012, so the division isn't fully lost, but time and a broader view of history is not on their side. -- Jason Wojciechowski (@jlwoj), Beaneball
A 3-2 week in Arizona and San Diego kept the Dodgers 2 games in front of the streaking Giants. On Sunday, Hyun-Jin Ryu came off the disabled list and limited the Padres to four hits and struck out seven while not issuing a walk in seven innings. Ryu is 3-0 this year against San Diego, allowing two runs in 26 innings. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
Kansas City ended the week with three straight losses and trail Cleveland 4-2 in the 10th in Sunday night's suspended game. Ned Yost's refusal to use his best relievers more than one inning haunted him with extra-inning losses to the Twins (Bruce Chen) and Indians (Scott Downs). -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
A series win against the Yankees and a split in Chicago were enough to put the Tigers right back near the top of the AL Central. They're done with doubleheaders and play 16 of their last 22 games at home. Before that, however, they have to play a tough series in Cleveland against the surging Indians, and injuries continue to marginalize Miguel Cabrera. -- Grey Papke, (@walkoffwoodward), Walkoff Woodward
The Brewers finished off a disastrous road trip through San Diego and San Francisco by losing their final five games. The offense, defense, starting pitching and bullpen have all played a role in the team dropping eight of its last 10 overall. The team did add veteran reliever Jonathan Broxton on Sunday. He'll join the team in Chicago for a critical series against the Cubs. -- Ryan Topp (@RDTopp), Disciples of Uecker
The Giants are riding a season-high six-game winning streak. Buster Posey is hitting .455 with five home runs in his last 10 games, and Hunter Pence is hitting .467 during his current 13-game hitting streak. The Giants will face only two teams the rest of the season with a winning record: the Tigers and Dodgers (twice). -- Connor Grossman (@GiantsBaseball), West Coast Bias
They lost two of three at home to both the Rangers and Nationals to lose their wild-card lead, and Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma allowed a combined seven home runs in two starts. Eighteen of their final 27 games are on the road, but maybe that's a good thing: Seattle is 37-26 away from Safeco. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
After going 14-14 in August, the Pirates begin September with a 10-game road trip to St. Louis, Chicago and Philly. Neil Walker (.277 OBP in August) and Pedro Alvarez (.240 OBP) need to do a better job of getting on base. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
Matt Holliday put the Cardinals on his back with three home runs and nine RBIs in the final two games of their series against the Cubs. The Cards are now in a first-place tie with Milwaukee in the NL Central. -- Matt Philip (@fungoes), Fungoes
With the Atlanta offense still scoring the third-fewest runs per game in the majors, the Braves will have to continue to rely on their pitching staff to keep them in the playoff race. They face the Phillies and Marlins this week, as they look to keep winning series. -- Martin Gandy (@gondeee), Chop County
Last week started off great for the Yankees with a fifth straight win over Kansas City. They went 2-4 after that, though. They spent another week spinning their tires in the AL wild-card race. Starting pitching continues to be an unexpected strength as the backup brigade continues to churn out solid outings. The lineup just can't hit. -- Brad Vietrogoski, It's About the Money
The Indians are in the mix for the AL Central and the wild card thanks to strong pitching in August. They had the lowest staff ERA in the majors last month (2.40) and held opposing batters to the lowest OPS in baseball (.604). While the bullpen has been fairly strong for much of the year, the Indians have finally seen some stability in the rotation behind Corey Kluber. -- Stephanie Liscio (@stephanieliscio), It's Pronounced "Lajaway"
Blue Jays
Toronto went 3-3 last week, keeping their slim playoff chances alive. This upcoming week is pivotal, as the Jays hit the road for three games against the Rays and three more against the Red Sox. -- Matthias Koster, Mop-Up Duty
Since reaching the .500 mark, the Rays have dropped 10 of 15. In order to secure their seventh straight winning season, they'll need to win 16 of their final 25 games. -- Tommy Rancel (@TRancel), The Process Report
The Marlins had a 2-4 week, scoring a total of five runs in the four losses, and are now 6 games out in the NL wild-card race. Jarred Cosart's stats since becoming a Marlin: five starts, 3-1, 1.64 ERA, 33 innings, 27 hits, seven walks, no homers allowed. -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
This is not a team playoff contenders want to play right now as the Padres took two of three from both the Brewers and Dodgers last week. The bullpen continues to be lights out and Tyson Ross enters Monday's start riding a streak of 13 consecutive quality starts. -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
Ace righty Johnny Cueto continues to be perhaps the lone bright spot in an otherwise frustrating season for the Redlegs. Cueto is tied with Clayton Kershsaw for the MLB lead in wins (16), while sporting a 2.26 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. His 205 strikeouts are second only to Stephen Strasburg (210) in the NL. -- Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation
Lucas Duda is tied with Giancarlo Stanton for second in the majors with 12 home runs since the All-Star break. Duda is also tied for third in the NL with 26 homers, while also being third in the NL with a homer every 16.3 at-bats and fourth in the league with an RBI every 5.6 at-bats. -- Joe Janish (@metstoday), Mets Today
White Sox
The White Sox did yeoman's work in securing a top-10 draft pick in August, going 9-19 and getting outscored by 65 runs. The 167 runs their pitching staff yielded marked the second-worst month any pitching staff has had this season. And now here come the call-ups! -- James Fegan (@TheCatbird_Seat), The Catbird Seat
Ryan Howard is 12th in the majors in RBIs with 86, giving him a chance at his seventh 100-RBI season and first since 2011. Of course, he also has a slugging percentage of .386 and an OPS of .695 (115th out of 153 qualified regulars). -- David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot
At his current pace, Javier Baez would project for 42 home runs and 294 strikeouts over 162 games. -- Joe Aiello (@VFTB), View from the Bleachers
Red Sox
Even though he's not a frontline starter, Clay Buchholz has shown signs that he can pitch like one at times. The de facto ace had a week to remember (17.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 K), which included a complete-game shutout against Tampa Bay. If it wasn't for his wildly inconsistent track record, there'd be much less worry about him pitching next year. However, he's just one more enigma for 2015. -- Brett Cowett (@firebrand), Fire Brand of the AL
The Twins have lost seven of their past eight games. A last-place-finish seems more and more likely to happen for the third time in four years. -- ESPN.com
Took three of four against Texas, running their season record to 11-5 versus the Rangers. They're 48-74 versus all other teams. Finished August with a 15-14 record. With 49 stolen bases and 46 strikeouts, Jose Altuve is bidding to become the second player in franchise history to have more stolen bases than strikeouts in a full season (Cesar Cedeno in 1977 and '78). -- Diane Firstman (@dianagram), Value Over Replacement Grit
Brandon McCarthy has thrived in New York, but Vidal Nuno has the best ERA (3.23) and FIP (3.70) of any pitcher to start more than one game for the D-backs this season. Although his 61.1 innings are not a huge sample, Nuno could be playing his way into the 2015 rotation. -- Ryan P. Morrison (@InsidetheZona), Inside the 'Zona
Colorado's quest to play spoiler hit a bump as they lost three of four in San Francisco, bolstering the Giants' playoff chances last week. Tyler Matzek is 23 years old and is worth getting excited about. The lefty tossed 14 innings, giving up 11 hits and just two runs over two starts last week. -- J.J. Buck (@JBuck610) Rockies Zingers
In the coming weeks, it appears that Texas will "compete" with Colorado for the worst record in baseball, and therefore the top overall pick in next June's draft. If there's a silver lining, it could be that the Rangers may get a chance to play the role of spoiler in the AL West. -- Brandon Land (@one_strike_away), One Strike Away

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