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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 -- Martinez (8-0) hasn't lost a game in nearly a year.

2. Atlanta Braves -- 3 -- Second half will prove they're best team in National League.

3. Cincinnati Reds -- 5 -- Rejuvenated Rijo makes them just that much tougher.

4. Boston Red Sox -- 4 -- How long can they hold off rebounding AL East contenders?

5. Philadelphia Phillies -- 2 -- Let division lead slip away during 1-8 slump.

6. California Angels -- 8 -- Scoring runs so fast, it'll make your halo spin.

7. Houston Astros -- 7 -- All-Star snub should be just motivation Bell needs for second half.

8. Colorado Rockies -- 14 -- Trying to prove that pitching is not 70 percent of the game.

9. Los Angeles Dodgers -- 6 -- Couldn't handle streaking Braves.

10. Detroit Tigers -- 13 -- Is this really happening?

11. New York Yankees -- 11 -- Starting to look like AL East favorite again, though they still have some ground to make up.

12. Oakland Athletics -- 12 -- McGwire (23 HR) is keeping them above .500 by force of will.

13. Texas Rangers -- 9 -- Gonzalez has hit stride at just the right time.

14. Chicago Cubs -- 17 -- Playing well again, but it's a long way back to the top.

15. Montreal Expos -- 18 -- Don't give up on them just yet.

16. San Diego Padres -- 15 -- Could have moved up standings with a good series in Florida.

17. Seattle Mariners -- 16 -- Trivia quiz: Who was the last AL RBI leader named Edgar or Tino?

18. Kansas City Royals -- 10 -- Opportunity knocked last week, but no one answered.

19. Baltimore Orioles -- 22 -- Let lowly Twins get in way of major recovery.

20. San Francisco Giants -- 19 -- Could get Matt Williams back before it's too late.

21. Chicago White Sox -- 20 -- Went on 8-3 tear and didn't gain an inch on Indians. Forget it.

22. Milwaukee Brewers -- 23-- Just marking time until they get a new stadium.

23. Pittsburgh Pirates -- 24 -- There's light at the end of the tunnel. Steelers training camp opens soon.

24. Toronto Blue Jays -- 21 -- May be ready to unload some high-priced talent soon.

25. Florida Marlins -- 26 -- Have same payroll as University of Miami football team. So why can't they win?

26. Minnesota Twins -- 27 -- Have won just two series all year. Unfortunately, one of them was at Camden Yards.

27. New York Mets -- 28 -- Typical tale of woe: Kent finally gets hot, then gets hurt.

28. St. Louis Cardinals -- 25 -- Meet me somewhere else.

:. Note: Statistics through Wednesday's games

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