During a week that saw both an earthquake and a hurricane ravage the east coast, KP’s latest edition of MLB Power Rankings emerged with its closest race in weeks.

Just four points separate the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees this week, with Boston landing back in the top spot.  Meanwhile, in the fourth through sixth slots, the Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers are currently just three points apart.

And to top things off, this week’s big winner is the cash-strapped Los Angeles Dodgers, who jumped five spots and into the top 15.

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Adrian Gonzalez has been swinging a red-hot bat for the Boston Red Sox

KP’s MLB Power Rankings: August 29, 2011

Note: Records and point totals as of Monday morning and do not include night games

1. Boston Red Sox – 82-51 (210 points) – Last Week: #3

Sparked by the red-hot bat of Adrian Gonzalez (5 HR, 9 RBI’s, .393 average over the last seven days), Boston has regained the top spot, and the AL East division lead, too.

2. Philadelphia Phillies – 83-46 (206 points) – Last Week: #2

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Cole Hamels is back, Philadelphia

Recently sidelined with a dead arm, Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.62 ERA in 25 starts) is set to return to the Phillies rotation tonight.

3. New York Yankees – 79-52 (206 points) – Last Week: #1

Like Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Swisher has also slugged five home runs over the last seven days, which is tops in baseball during that span.

4. Atlanta Braves – 79-54 (128 points) – Last Week: #5

It’s safe to say that the 2011 season can be considered a sophomore slump for slugger Jason Heyward (.220 average, 13 HR, 36 RBI’s in 101 games).

5. Texas Rangers – 76-59 (127 points) – Last Week: #4

Since being acquired by the Rangers, Koji Uehara has struggled a bit, with a 0-2 record and a 6.23 ERA over 10 games and 8 2/3 innings.

6. Milwaukee Brewers – 81-54 (125 points) – Last Week: #6

The Brewers now hold a double-digit game lead in the NL Central, and through August, Milwaukee has an NL-best .277 team batting average.

7. Tampa Bay Rays – 73-59 (107 points) – Last Week: #7

In his most recent start, Tampa Bay SP David Price struck out a career-high 14 batters (including during the first seven outs of the game).

8. Detroit Tigers – 73-60 (84 points) – Last Week: #9

Justin Verlander (20-5, 2.38 ERA in 29 starts) has been so good this year; there is constant debate about him not just being named the AL Cy Young, but also the league’s MVP.

9. Arizona Diamondbacks – 75-59 (79 points) – Last Week: #11

Who could have predicted that Ian Kennedy (17-4, 3.03 ERA in 28 starts) would have the most wins in the National League at this point in the season?

10. Los Angeles Angels – 72-61 (74 points) – Last Week: #10

Could Jered Weaver be tiring down the stretch?  In two of his last four starts, Weaver has allowed seven or more earned runs (at TOR on 8/13 and at TEX on 8/28).

11. St. Louis Cardinals – 70-64 (69 points) – Last Week: #8

Fernando Salas (5-5, 2.34 ERA, 22 saves and 64 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings) has filled in nicely as the closer in St. Louis this season.

12. Cincinnati Reds – 67-66 (57 points) – Last Week: #13

Johnny Cueto (9-5, 2.05 ERA in 21 starts) has a better ERA than Jered Weaver, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum.

13. Chicago White Sox – 66-65 (43 points) – Last Week: #14

Recently called up, Dayan Viciedo homered in his first at-bat with the White Sox, and now the debate begins as to whether Adam Dunn should ride the pine permanently.

14. San Francisco Giants – 71-63 (29 points) – Last Week: #15

Carlos Beltran (.303 average, 1 HR, 4 RBI’s in 17 games with Giants) hasn’t been bad, but the team still continues to sputter offensively.

15. Los Angeles Dodgers – 62-70 (26 points) – Last Week: #20

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Matt Kemp is a member of the 30-30 club this season

Matt Kemp still has 30 games to go, and he’s already joined the 30-30 club this season (.320 average, 31 HR, 100 RBI’s, 34 stolen bases).

16. New York Mets – 62-68 (16 points) – Last Week: #17

There was a power outage in New York prior to Hurricane Irene.  The leading home run hitter on the Mets’ current roster is David Wright, who only has 11 HR’s on the season.

17. Toronto Blue Jays – 66-67 (14 points) – Last Week: #12

So much for a guy in the stands helping the Jays with signs: Toronto’s .228 team average in the month of August is the worst in all of baseball.

18. Colorado Rockies – 64-70 (10 points) – Last Week: #19

Carlos Gonzalez continues to swing a ridiculously hot bat.  Over the last seven days, “CarGo” leads all of Major League Baseball in both hits (13) and RBI’s (10).

19. Cleveland Indians – 65-65 (1 point) – Last Week: #18

Despite falling to third place in the AL Central and seeing its division deficit exceed six games, the Indians continue to push forward, recently acquiring Jim Thome from the Twins.

20. San Diego Padres – 60-74 (1 point) – Last Week: #16

The Padres have been improving offensively, and mostly due to the team’s speed.  In August, San Diego has more triples (13) and stolen bases (32) than any other team.

21. Pittsburgh Pirates – 62-71 (-21 points) – Last Week: #22

Neil Walker (.277 average, 11 HR, 76 RBI’s in 131 games) has been one of the steadiest second basemen offensively in the National League this season.

22. Oakland Athletics – 60-73 (-31 points) – Last Week: #23

Josh Willingham (23 HR, 79 RBI’s in 108 games this season) has provided a need power boost, but Oakland is still lacking offensively as a team in 2011.

23. Washington Nationals – 62-70 (-32 points) – Last Week: #21

Late-inning bullpen arms Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard have combined to strike out 144 batters over a combined 134 1/3 innings pitched.

24. Florida Marlins – 59-72 (-45 points) – Last Week: #24

He hasn’t posted a win in five August starts, but Javier Vazquez has posted a 3.00 ERA, held opponents to a .208 batting average and posted a 0.94 WHIP over 33 innings.

25. Kansas City Royals – 55-79 (-66 points) – Last Week: #26

Bruce Chen continues to be Kansas City’s most reliable starter.  In August, Chen is 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings.

26. Seattle Mariners – 56-76 (-80 points) – Last Week: #27

In five August starts with his new team, Charlie Furbush has posted a sub-par 6.38 ERA, while giving up 17 earned runs and a .298 average in 24 innings pitched.

27. Chicago Cubs – 57-77 (-86 points) – Last Week: #25

In five August starts, Matt Garza is 2-2 with a 2.40 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 30 innings, easily the most effective starter on the Cubs’ roster.

28. Baltimore Orioles – 53-78 (-104 points) – Last Week: #29

A six-game win streak last week, headlined by four-game sweep of the Twins, is what helped vault the Orioles out of the 29th spot for the first time in weeks.

29. Minnesota Twins – 56-77 (-111 points) – Last Week: #28

The season continues to fall apart for the Twins, as this past week, Minnesota not only dealt away slugger Jim Thome, but also got swept by the Orioles in a four-game home series.

30. Houston Astros – 44-90 (-162 points) – Last Week: #30

In the month of August, the Houston pitching staff has posted a 9-17 record and 4.55 ERA, while giving up 118 earned runs, 28 home runs and a Major-League leading 103 walks.

* All stats per MLB.com

 

Note: RED = Falling 3+ spots from last week, GREEN = Rising 3+ spots from last week

The Wife Hates Sports’ MLB Power Rankings system has a method to its madness, attempting to be different and not just rank by popularity and record.  It mixes a secret formula of six completely different categories, meshed into a points system.  The categories don’t just include team results regarding record, but how each team has performed recently, as well as incorporating some statistics on both a team’s offense and pitching staff, too.

 

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