1. Chicago Cubs (last week’s ranking, 1): If they’re relying on the likes of Joel Peralta to protect two-run leads in the National League playoffs, the Cubs have next to no chance of advancing to their first World Series since 1945.
2. Texas Rangers (2): Despite blowing 7-3 lead over Yankees in ninth inning, GM Jon Daniels still has faith in back end of bullpen.
3. Cleveland Indians (5): During 13-game winning streak Tribe took into weekend, starting rotation was a combined 10-0, with a 1.86 ERA and .165 opponents batting average.
4. San Francisco Giants (3): They didn’t use DH at Oakland on Thursday, and ace Madison Bumgarner was more impressive at the plate than he was on the mound.
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5. Baltimore Orioles (6): O’s have power — and hitter-friendly home ballpark — to challenge 1997 Mariners’ season record of 264 home runs.
6. Washington Nationals (4): With two homers and seven RBIs Thursday, shortstop Danny Espinosa squeezed a few weeks of offensive production into one game.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (8): Bud Norris won’t replace the injured Clayton Kershaw, but who could? Dodgers are 14-2 when Kershaw starts, 29-35 when he doesn’t.
8. Kansas City Royals (10): Outfielder Paulo Orlando began the weekend hitting .337, but lacked minimum at-bats required to qualify among league leaders.
9. Houston Astros (13): Key to Astros’ June surge was patience the front office exercised during early-season struggles.
10. Boston Red Sox (7): If Sox were an NCAA football program, they’d be facing a three-year bowl ban over violations regarding international signings.
11. Toronto Blue Jays (9): R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball still is dancing for him at age of 41.
12. Miami Marlins (12): Good news for Fernando Rodney is that Padres traded him into a playoff race. The bad news? The bow-and-arrow act will be limited if his role is as an eighth-inning bridge to closer A.J. Ramos.
13. New York Mets (14): Reliever Addison Reed was laboring so slowly Thursday night against the Cubs, three generations of insects hatched in between one of his pitches.
14. Detroit Tigers (15): Seven-run comeback in top of ninth at Tampa Bay last week concluded with Cameron Maybin’s bases-clearing double, the only extra-base hit of rally.
15. St. Louis Cardinals (11): Cards’ 13-14 record in June was only second losing month — out of 26 — under manager Mike Matheny.
16. Chicago White Sox (16): Rookie Tim Anderson hit three singles and made a web-gem play at shortstop Thursday, but the highlight was drawing the first walk of his career after 98 plate appearances.
17. Seattle Mariners (18): Kyle Lewis’ Golden Spikes Award — college baseball’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy — made the Mercer University product the second M’s draft choice to receive the honor. (The other: Florida’s Mike Zunino in 2012.)
18. New York Yankees (17): Yanks saw split of four-game series against Texas last week — and a 39-39 record — from a glass-half-full perspective.
19. Pittsburgh Pirates (20): The tumble Pirates radio broadcaster Bob Walk took over the back of a recliner chair at Safeco Field, just as the TV camera was zooming in on him, summed up first half of Bucs’ season.
20. Colorado Rockies (19): Third baseman Nolan Arenado on team’s 13-14 record during start-and-stop June: “We kind of gave this month away.”
21. Arizona Diamondbacks (21): D-Backs avoided putting Zack Greinke on disabled list, but they’ll proceed with caution on ace’s strained oblique muscle.
22. Milwaukee Brewers (22): Crew went to St. Louis this weekend with ambition of winning its first series against Cards in more than two years.
23. Oakland Athletics (27): Dillon Overton’s second big-league start got him a ticket to Triple-A Nashville, where he’ll work on polishing the change-up he’ll throw in his third big-league start.
24. Philadelphia Phillies (26): After deals that sent Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon and Chase Utley elsewhere over past 11 months, Phils won’t be big splashers at trade deadline.
25. Tampa Bay Rays (23): Rays became first home team in 94 years Thursday to surrender a five-run lead to Tigers in the ninth inning.
26. San Diego Padres (25): No housecleaning trade should include Wil Myers, a budding star at age 25.
27. Los Angeles Angels (24): Their June record of 8-19 was team’s worst since 1980.
28. Cincinnati Reds (28): Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart are the kind of trade chips capable of restocking a farm system.
29. Atlanta Braves (29): Braves managed to acquire some value from the Dodgers for pitcher Bud Norris, who put together five solid starts in June.
30. Minnesota Twins (30): Terry Ryan on coping as GM of league’s worst team: “I don’t know how many games we are under .500. I don’t look at the standings. I don’t want to see the standings.”