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. Boston Red Sox -- 5 -- Not even they could blow it now.

2. California Angels -- 1 -- Still hammering away at thin AL pitching.

3. Atlanta Braves -- 3 -- Have won 20 games in their final at-bat.

4. Cleveland Indians -- 2 -- Beating Orioles doesn't count.

5. Cincinnati Reds -- 4 -- Bowden making all the right moves.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers -- 6 -- Should win NL West if they cancel the rest of their promotional schedule.

7. New York Yankees -- 7 -- Will have to settle for a walk on the wild card side.

8. Texas Rangers -- 11 -- Healthy Gonzalez could lead late-season rush.

9. Houston Astros -- 8 -- Losing front office war to Reds.

10. Seattle Mariners -- 10 -- Griffey's return improves playoff possibilities.

11. Colorado Rockies -- 9 -- Losing altitude fast.

12. San Diego Padres -- 14 -- Lucchino's revenge: Padres still could win NL West.

13. Chicago Cubs -- 12 -- Need Astro flameout to earn wild card.

14. Montreal Expos -- 17 -- Building toward a big 1996.

15. Milwaukee Brewers -- 15 -- Still having dilusions of adequacy.

16. Kansas City Royals -- 13 -- Recently set season high with 11 roster moves in one day. 17. San Francisco Giants -- 21 -- Williams almost back, but odds still stacked.

DTC 18. Oakland A's -- 24 -- Raiders first home game in just a couple of weeks. 19. Florida Marlins -- 22 -- Third place still possible.

20. Baltimore Orioles -- 18 -- Bungee cord must have snapped.

21. Detroit Tigers -- 20 -- This might be enough to send Sparky home for good.

22. Chicago White Sox -- 23 -- Frank Thomas still worth the price of admission.

23. Toronto Blue Jays -- 19 -- Need closer to rebound in 1996.

24. Philadelphia Phillies -- 16 -- Only No. 1 team in Power Rankings history to drop into bottom five the same season.

25. New York Mets -- 26 -- Embryonic team could grow into a contender in '97 or '98.

26. St. Louis Cardinals -- 27 -- Busch league.

27. Minnesota Twins -- 28 -- Even have worst home record in baseball.

28. Pittsburgh Pirates -- 25 -- In fierce battle with Cardinals and Mets for next year's No.1 draft choice.

Note: Statistics through Wednesday's games.

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