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 -- Heading for the century mark.

2. Atlanta Braves -- 2 -- One place where pitching still is 80 percent of the game.

3. Boston Red Sox -- 4 -- Could they actually be building toward an October crescendo.

4. Cincinnati Reds -- 3 -- Can thank Astros (1-12 vs. Reds) for cushy division lead.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers -- 8 -- Can pitch their way into playoffs, but will they?

6. Colorado Rockies -- 9 -- NL West race still up in the air.

7. California Angels -- 5 -- Should recover from Ripkenmania in time to save AL West title.

8. Kansas City Royals -- 10 -- Who are those guys?

9. Chicago Cubs -- 11 -- Need one more burst of energy for serious wild card bid.

L 10. Seattle Mariners -- 12 -- Still can get there from here.

11. San Diego Padres -- 15 -- Schedule in their favor this week.

12. New York Yankees -- 20 -- Have recovered sufficiently to go after final AL playoff spot.

13. Philadelphia Phillies -- 6 -- Not exactly rising to the occasion.

14. Texas Rangers -- 7 -- Never good idea to go into 1-9 slump down the stretch.

15. Chicago White Sox -- 22 -- Suddenly look like '27 Yankees: They hit well and they've been dead for a long time.

16. San Francisco Giants -- 17 -- Situation doesn't look impossible, but it is.

17. Oakland A's -- 14 -- Clubhouse dissension should lead to big offseason changes.

18. Montreal Expos -- 16 -- Stuck in the middle of polarized NL East standings. 19. Milwaukee Brewers -- 13 -- Sorry Bud, it's not going to happen.

20. Florida Marlins -- 19 -- Trolling for respectability.

21. Houston Astros -- 21 -- Amazing that they are still viable playoff alternative.

22. Baltimore Orioles -- 18 -- May petition league to use juiced Ripken commemorative balls rest of the way.

23. New York Mets -- 23 -- Building for a better tomorrow today.

24. St. Louis Cardinals -- 25 -- Bad week all around for the bird teams.

25. Detroit Tigers -- 26 -- Bungling bengals.

26. Toronto Blue Jays -- 24 -- Just preparing spoiled Toronto fans for NBA expansion team.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates -- 27 -- New ad campaign far more entertaining than team.

28. Minnesota Twins -- 28 -- Still a great place to go fishing.

:. Note: Statistics through Wednesday's game.

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