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The Sun's national baseball writer, Peter Schmuck,...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Sun's national baseball writer, Peter Schmuck, ranks the major leagues' 28 teams.

Rank, Team, Previous rank, Comment.

1. Cleveland Indians -- 1 -- Red Sox just got a taste of what it might be like in playoffs.

2. Philadelphia Phillies -- 4 -- Van Slyke finally getting another chance to play on a winner.

3. Atlanta Braves -- 8 -- May be ready to run down the Phillies.

4. Cincinnati Reds -- 2 -- The rest of the NL Central is looking a little dog-eared.

5. Boston Red Sox -- 3 -- Tried to come back to the pack...and couldn't find it.

6. Montreal Expos -- 5 -- Rondell White c'est frapper magnifique.

7. Texas Rangers -- 6 -- Power shortage apparently is over.

8. California Angels -- 7 -- Season appears to be blessed.

9. Kansas City Royals -- 10 -- Despite Indian summer, Boone's managerial debut going very well.

10. Oakland A's -- 11 -- It'll take a lot more bash to produce '89 rehash.

11. Colorado Rockies -- 9 -- Bichette remains hot, but Rockies are not.

12. San Diego Padres -- 19 -- Still close enough for Larry Lucchino to do some California dreamin'.

13. Los Angeles Dodgers -- 14 -- Division is ripe for team with consistent pitching. Dodgers may be it.

14. San Francisco Giants -- 12 -- Making do without Matt Williams, but for how long?

15. Houston Astros -- 16 -- Still may ultimately be team that challenges Reds.

16. Chicago Cubs -- 13 -- Another victim of the Ohio baseball conspiracy.

17. Seattle Mariners -- 15 -- Not ready to roll over just yet.

18. Detroit Tigers -- 20 -- Cast as possible Cinderella team, but the shoe doesn't fit.

19. Toronto Blue Jays -- 22 -- In best position to make a run at Red Sox, but don't seem too excited about it.

20. New York Yankees -- 18 -- Over a barrel, they signed Darryl.

21. Milwaukee Brewers -- 24-- Rank among league's top five in team batting average and ERA, but AL Central is a no-win situation.

22. Baltimore Orioles -- 17 -- Hey, who turned out the lights?

23. St. Louis Cardinals -- 21 -- Torre firing, Zeile trade tantamount to NL Central concession speech.

24. Chicago White Sox -- 23 -- No question, this team misses Michael Jordan.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates -- 26 -- Paul Wagner now 1-10. Rest of pitching staff almost respectable at 18-21.

26. New York Mets -- 25 -- Marlins may not be able to hold them up much longer.

27. Florida Marlins -- 27 -- Those fish won't hunt.

28. Minnesota Twins -- 28 -- Losing TV ratings war to Mary Tyler Moore reruns.

Note: Statistics though Wednesday's games.

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