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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 -- Two so-so weeks notwithstanding, it's still an Indian summer.

2. Philadelphia Phillies -- 2 -- Early-season explosion no fluke, as recent 8-2 run clearly illustrates.

3. Atlanta Braves -- 3 -- Keeping pressure on streaking Phillies.

4. Boston Red Sox -- 5 -- May have rejuvenated Yankees to deal with soon.

5. Cincinnati Reds -- 4 -- Threatening to let Astros back into NL Central race.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers -- 13 -- Rampaging running mates -- Karros and Piazza -- have carried Dodgers to top of standings.

7. Houston Astros -- 15 -- Padre deal pays off: Derek Bell has become major offensive force.

8. California Angels -- 8 -- Showing surprising character in absence of Chili Davis.

9. Texas Rangers -- 7 -- In a great spot if Angels unravel.

10. Kansas City Royals -- 9 -- Solidly in second place, and likely to stay there for some time.

11. New York Yankees -- 20 -- Finally appear to be turning the corner.

12. Oakland Athletics -- 10 -- Stottlemyre (6-1) is having a major impact on suspect pitching staff.

13. Detroit Tigers -- 18 -- Go figure. Second-place Tigers just won't go away.

14. Colorado Rockies -- 11 -- Denver still a mile high, but Rockies have gotten much closer to sea level.

15. San Diego Padres -- 12 -- Palm trees in the outfield are nice touch.

16. Seattle Mariners -- 17 -- E. Martinez (52 RBIs) filling offensive void left by Griffey.

17. Chicago Cubs -- 16 -- The dream appears to be over.

18. Montreal Expos -- 6 -- Free-falling, for no apparent reason.

19. San Francisco Giants -- 14 -- Not playing well at all, but it wouldn't take much to turn things around in weak NL West.

20. Chicago White Sox -- 24 -- Coming around, but the damage already is done.

21. Toronto Blue Jays -- 19 -- Falling apart faster than SkyDome.

22. Orioles -- 22 -- If they hold on long enough to get healthy, there's still hope.

23. Milwaukee Brewers -- 21-- Still playing well on road (15-13), but ready to drop another notch in AL Central.

24. Pittsburgh Pirates -- 25 -- Escaped from NL Central cellar, but only because Cardinals wanted so badly to get in.

25. St. Louis Cardinals -- 23 -- New manager. Same old song and dance.

26. Florida Marlins -- 27 -- Swam upstream long enough to get out of NL East basement, if only momentarily.

27. Minnesota Twins -- 28 -- Equally feeble at home or on the road.

28. New York Mets -- 25 -- Worse than ever, if that's possible.

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