Surging Tigers vault to top of Power Rankings
Coming off sweep of Red Sox, road warriors are 6-0 on current trip
The images are everywhere.
There's the video with Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera shaking hands with a young fan as he makes his way to the on-deck circle at Fenway Park. There are hilarious photos of Tigers players dressed in zebra-print Zubaz gear -- a brand of clothing made popular during the 1990s -- in the Boston clubhouse after sweeping the Red Sox.
The hottest team in baseball is also having the most fun.
There are plenty of reasons to smile if you root for the Tigers. Detroit is 6-0 on its current road trip, boasts an 11-game road winning streak and a 14-4 road mark this season. The Tigers also hold a seven-game lead in the American League Central. Cabrera, meanwhile, has returned to vintage form at the plate after an uncharacteristically slow start to the season.
But are the Tigers the best team in baseball, or does that distinction belong to the A's? The Giants, Brewers, Angels and Rockies are also in the mix.
What about the Braves, Yankees and Nationals?
For the fourth consecutive season, MLB.com has set up a panel of experts to vote on the top 15 teams each week. The group includes MLB.com vice president and executive editor Carlton Thompson, executive editor Matthew Leach, columnists Mike Bauman, Hal Bodley, Anthony Castrovince, Richard Justice, Tracy Ringolsby, Phil Rogers and Lyle Spencer, along with reporters Alyson Footer and Jesse Sanchez.
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Have your opinion counted by submitting your Power Rankings.
1. Tigers: Detroit has baseball's best record at 27-12 and boasts the second-best run differential, having outscored its opponents by 55 runs. The Tigers not only swept their way through Boston this weekend, but they trailed for only one inning.
2. Athletics: The A's pitching has been solid, and they lead the AL in runs, on-base-percentage and OPS, so it surprises no one that they have won eight of their last nine games and lead the AL West by 3 1/2 games.
3. Giants: Pitching is the heart and soul of the franchise, but the offense has been coming up big lately. Pablo Sandoval is hitting .389 (14-for-36) during his current nine-game hitting streak, raising his average from .171 to .220. He's hit three doubles and one home run while driving in five runs and scoring five in that stretch.
4. Brewers: Milwaukee is just 7-9 so far this month, and the club is looking to regain the magic that propelled it to a 20-8 mark and the top of the heap to start the season. The Brewers have averaged just 3.18 runs over their last 11 games, and that's a big reason why they've slipped a bit.
5. Angels: The Halos are optimistic a wave of reinforcements will push them past the A's and to the top of the standings in the AL West. Josh Hamilton, sidelined since April 8 after tearing a thumb ligament in his left hand, is on track to start a rehab assignment soon. Third baseman David Freese (fractured right middle finger) began his rehab assignment on Saturday, and outfielder Kole Calhoun (sprained right ankle) is also on his way back.
6. Rockies: The Rox lead the Major Leagues in almost every offensive category and are coming off an emotional walk-off win against the Padres on Sunday. They've still won only four of their last 10 games, but they're feeling confident heading into this week's showdown against the first-place Giants in the race for supremacy in the National League West.
7. Braves: Atlanta is 6-10 in May and 5-5 in its last 10 games, but still holds a half-game lead over the Nationals for the top spot in the NL East. The offense could use a boost. The Braves have scored two runs or fewer nine times in 16 games this month.
8. Yankees: The Bronx Bombers used a doubleheader split with the Pirates on Sunday to pull into sole possession of first place in the AL East for the first time in two weeks. Masahiro Tanaka has performed as advertised, posting a 2.17 ERA and a league-leading 0.91 WHIP, with 66 strikeouts to just seven walks in 58 innings pitched. He's also 6-0.
9. Nationals: The Nats remain in the hunt for the top spot in the NL East, but they were stung by the injury bug again when pitcher Gio Gonzalez was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with left shoulder inflammation. Gonzalez is the seventh Washington player -- a list made up of Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche, Denard Span, Wilson Ramos and Doug Fister -- to go on the DL this season.
10. Cardinals: The Cards, who came within one pitch of a five-game winning streak Sunday at Busch Stadium, have still won six of their last 10 games. Reliever Jason Motte, who missed all of last season and the first part of this year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, will likely return to the bullpen this week against the D-backs.
11. Dodgers: Los Angeles lost two of three to the D-backs over the weekend and Clayton Kershaw pitched less than two innings in his last start. The good news is Yasiel Puig is having an excellent month at the plate and Adrian Gonzalez continues to pound the ball to all fields.
12. Orioles: The O's trail the first-place Yankees in the AL East by a half-game, but they are still not sure when or if catcher Matt Wieters will return to the lineup. The catcher had an injection in his elbow last week and the club is hoping to find out by July 1 whether Wieters can return behind the plate this season.
13. Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey has pitched into the seventh inning eight times in 10 starts this season, but he's run into trouble when getting there. Dickey has a 23.63 ERA in the seventh, and the only other inning that comes close is the fifth, which sits at 9.64 ERA.
14. Marlins: Miami finished 4-7 on its recent road trip, including winning three of the last five games. According to reports, the club signed veteran infielder Miguel Tejada to a Minor League deal.
15. Royals: Alex Gordon and Billy Butler combined to go 7-for-8 with seven RBIs on Sunday, and the offense is starting to heat up after a slow start to a four-game series against the Orioles.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.