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 -- Taking no prisoners.

2. Atlanta Braves -- 2 -- In just three weeks, NL East race has turned into a runaway.

3. Cincinnati Reds -- 3 -- Took Giants to the cleaners on Deion deal.

4. California Angels -- 5 -- Must think Ranger freefall was heaven-sent.

5. Colorado Rockies -- 4 -- Correct answer to age-old question: Where's the beef?

6. Houston Astros -- 8 -- Bagwell back in MVP form. Reds back in sight.

7. Boston Red Sox -- 6 -- Starting to feel some heat from traditional AL East rivals.

8. New York Yankees -- 19 -- Start spreading the news. Dramatic turnaround has Yankees back in business.

9. Orioles -- 9 -- Daily trade rumors apparently have improved morale.

10. Los Angeles Dodgers -- 10 -- Nomo injury highlights need for team manicurist.

11. Milwaukee Brewers -- 14 -- Actually were leading wild card race earlier this week.

12. Seattle Mariners -- 11 -- Hovering at .500 and hoping that help arrives soon.

13. Philadelphia Phillies -- 16 -- Pulling out of lengthy slump, but it may be too late.

14. Montreal Expos -- 22 -- Coming around, but no place to go.

15. Chicago Cubs -- 15 -- No longer a significant factor in NL Central race.

16. San Diego Padres -- 12 -- Still surprisingly viable in NL West.

17. Texas Rangers -- 7 -- Just hoping that bungee cord doesn't break.

18. Detroit Tigers -- 18 -- Retreating, but not out of it just yet.

19. Oakland A's -- 17 -- Bay Area bummers.

20. Chicago White Sox -- 23 -- If they went 63-0 the rest of the way and Indians stay on current pace, Sox would still finish second by five games.

21. San Francisco Giants -- 20 -- Misunderstood. Thought Reds ** were going to trade Deion Sanders TO Portugal after Darren Lewis deal.

22. Kansas City Royals -- 13 -- Must regroup soon to compete for wild card berth.

23. Toronto Blue Jays -- 21 -- Carter due to bust out of slump. Time to trade for him.

24. Pittsburgh Pirates -- 24 -- Plenty of great seats still available, and will continue to be.

25. Florida Marlins -- 26 -- Not much fight left in these fish.

26. St. Louis Cardinals -- 25 -- Not even Budweiser Clydesdales could pull them back into contention now.

27. New York Mets -- 27 -- Hesitant to trade Bonilla while they still have a chance to finish fourth.

28. Minnesota Twins -- 28 -- Have requested extra games against Orioles in 1996.

Note: Statistics through Wednesday's games

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