The Cincinnati Reds have taken over the number one spot in the TSN.ca MLB Power Rankings, the first time this season that they have reached the peak.
Having clinched the NL Central with a 92-61 record, the Reds have been putting forth a real team effort, particularly in the second half, with a 45-23 record and significant contributions from unheralded veterans like righthanded starter Bronson Arroyo (6-2, 3.50 ERA, 1.19 WHIP in second half) and left fielder Ryan Ludwick (14 HR, 46 RBI, .312 AVG, .971 OPS in second half).
The Reds vaulted over the slumping Washington Nationals, who have lost six of nine, and the Texas Rangers, who are welcoming CF Josh Hamilton back to the lineup Monday after he was sidelined last week with an illness.
Making a move up at this late stage of the season, the New York Yankees climbed from nine to five, thanks to a seven-game winning streak and the much-needed return of veteran lefty Andy Pettitte to the starting rotation.
Going the other way, last week's number one, the Oakland Athletics, slipped all the way to nine after losing ace lefthander Brett Anderson to a strained oblique. The A's have been remarkable, staying in a playoff spot despite injuries and suspensions costing them starters but they could be life and death to hold onto their spot now that Anderson is on the shelf.
The Toronto Blue Jays have been free-falling in the second half of the season, ranked at a season-low 27th this week. This was a team that ranked among the top dozen teams after 10 weeks, but it has been steadily downhill since.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.