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Chicago Cubs' Jorge Soler (68) celebrates after hitting a three-run home run (credit: thestate.com)

For an explanation of how the SD Score is calculated, see below.

1– Chicago Cubs (69-41) SD Score +3.42; Record this week (6-0), Ranking Last Week – 1

Opponents – Marlins (3-0), at A’s (3-0)

A perfect week for the league’s best team.

2 – Washington Nationals (66-45); SD Score +2.50; Record this week (5-1), Ranking Last Week – 2

Opponents – at Diamondbacks (3-0), Giants (2-1)

The Nationals are playing real good ball as of late and look difficult to beat. The only concern is finding out how long Bryce Harper will be out after Saturday’s neck injury.

3 – Cleveland Indians (62-47); SD Score +1.57; Record this week (2-5), Ranking Last Week – 3

Opponents – Twins (1-3), at Yankees (1-2)

The Tigers keep inching closer as the Indians struggled this week. Losing 3 out of 4 to the Twins at home was disappointing.

4 – Texas Rangers (65-47); SD Score +0.13; Record this week (3-3), Ranking Last Week – 4

Opponents – at Orioles (1-2), at Astros (2-1)

The Rangers played well overall this week, but need more offense to avoid close game losses. Acquiring Jonathan Lucroy from Milwaukee should prove to be a big move as the playoffs loom near.

5 – Baltimore Orioles (63-47); SD Score +0.75; Record this week (4-2) Ranking Last Week – 7

Opponents – Rangers (2-1), at White Sox (2-1)

Baltimore had a nice bounce-back week, beating two good teams, especially Texas. Manny Machado (.304/.364/.537) continues to come up big.

6 – Toronto Blue Jays (63-49); SD Score +1.52; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 6

Opponents – at Astros (3-1), at Royals (1-2)

The Blue Jays are only a game behind Baltimore and continue to play well.

7 – San Francisco Giants (63-48); SD Score +0.91; Record this week (2-4), Ranking Last Week – 5

Opponents – at Phillies (1-2), at Nationals (1-2)

The Giants struggles continue. Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Nationals topped off a disappointing week.

8 – Los Angeles Dodgers (62-49) SD Score +1.04; Record this week (3-3) Ranking Last Week – 9

Opponents – at Rockies (1-2), Red Sox (2-1)

The Dodgers have cut the Giants’ lead in the NL West down to a game and are the leader in the NL Wild Card. The key is to keep winning and hope that Kershaw can return.

9 – Boston Red Sox (60-50); SD Score +1.78; Record this week (3-4), Ranking Last Week – 8

Opponents – at Mariners (2-2), at Dodgers (1-2)

The Red Sox continue to push towards the playoffs as they are only a half game out of the AL Wild Card and only 3 games behind in the AL East division race.

10 – Detroit Tigers (61-50); SD Score +0.48; Record this week (4-2), Ranking Last Week – 13

Opponents – White Sox (2-1), Mets (2-1)

The Tigers keep rolling and find themselves leading in the Wild Card race and also only two games behind the Indians in the AL Central.

11 – Miami Marlins (59-52); SD Score +0.22; Record this week (2-4), Ranking Last Week – 11

Opponents – at Cubs (0-3), at Rockies (2-1)

Getting swept by Chicago was a little tough on their week, but the Cubs are sweeping everyone right now.

12 – St. Louis Cardinals (58-53); SD Score +1.41; Record this week (2-4), Ranking Last Week – 10

Opponents – at Reds (1-2), Braves (1-2)

Unfortunately for St. Louis, playing the Braves and the Reds did not help as they only won two games this week.

13 – Seattle Mariners (57-53); SD Score +0.73; Record this week (5-2), Ranking Last Week – 14

Opponents – Red Sox (2-2), Angels (3-0)

Seattle had a better week this week as they overtook second place in the AL West.

14 – New York Mets (57-54); SD Score +0.06; Record this week (3-4), Ranking Last Week – 15

Opponents – Yankees (1-1), at Yankees (1-1), at Tigers (1-2)

Fortunately for the Mets, the MRI on Yoenis Cespedes’ hand revealed no further damage and if his rehab goes well, he can return on August 18th.

15 – Houston Astros (57-54); SD Score -0.02; Record this week (2-5), Ranking Last Week – 12

Opponents – Blue Jays (1-3), Rangers (1-2)

The Astros have cooled off and have fallen behind Seattle for third in the NL West.

16 – Colorado Rockies (55-56); SD Score +0.57; Record this week (3-3), Ranking Last Week – 16

Opponents – Dodgers (2-1), Marlins (1-2)

The Rockies didn’t have a great week, but it wasn’t a bad one either. Scoring a lot of runs helped their SD score and keep them at number 16.

17 – Pittsburgh Pirates (52-51); SD Score -0.16; Record this week (3-3), Ranking Last Week – 17

Opponents – at Braves (1-2), Reds (2-1)

Another week, another up and down period for Pittsburgh.

18 – New York Yankees (56-55); SD Score -0.68; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 18

Opponents – at Mets (1-1), Mets (1-1), Indians (2-1)

The Yankees continue to play well and beating Cleveland helped.

19 – Chicago White Sox (53-58); SD Score -0.91; Record this week (2-4), Ranking Last Week – 19

Opponents – at Tigers (1-2), Orioles (1-2)

The White Sox took another step back as they lost both series’ to playoff teams.

20 – Kansas City Royals (53-58); SD Score -1.25; Record this week (4-3), Ranking Last Week – 21

Opponents – at Rays (2-2), Blue Jays (2-1)

This week went a little better, but it’s just been a difficult season for the World Champs.

21 – Los Angeles Angels (49-62); SD Score -0.02; Record this week (2-4), Ranking Last Week – 20

Opponents – A’s (2-1), at Mariners (0-3)

The schedule continues to get harder as they play on the road against the Cubs, Indians, and Mariners.

22 – San Diego Padres (48-63); SD Score -0.75; Record this week (3-3), Ranking Last Week – 23

Opponents – Brewers (2-1), Phillies (1-2)

The Padres have played well, but now face a nine game road trip.

23 – Milwaukee Brewers (49-60); SD Score -1.31; Record this week (2-4), Ranking Last Week – 22

Opponents – at Padres (1-2), at Diamondbacks (1-2)

As great as last week was, this week was that much worse. They lost both series’ to inferior teams and they traded their star catcher. The Brewers are forced to look to next year.

24 – Philadelphia Phillies (52-61); SD Score -1.95; Record this week (4-2), Ranking Last Week – 25

Opponents – Giants (2-1), at Padres (2-1)

This was a better week for the Phillies as they beat up the Giants. There haven’t been a lot of bright spots for the Phillies this season, but they keep battling.

25 – Oakland A’s (48-63); SD Score -1.79; Record this week (1-5), Ranking Last Week – 24

Opponents – at Angels (1-2), Cubs (0-3)

The difficult weeks for the A’s keep piling up and this week was no different.

26 – Tampa Bay Rays (45-65); SD Score -0.87; Record this week (3-4), Ranking Last Week – 26

Opponents – Royals (2-2), Twins (1-2)

The Rays probably aren’t as bad as their record, but they’re not doing much to prove otherwise.

27 – Minnesota Twins (45-66); SD Score -1.11; Record this week (5-2), Ranking Last Week – 28

Opponents – at Indians (3-1), at Rays (2-1)

The Twins keep winning games. It’s too bad April and May were such bad months for them.

28 – Arizona Diamondbacks (45-66); SD Score -2.13; Record this week (2-4), Ranking Last Week – 27

Opponents – at Nationals (0-3), Brewers (2-1)

Arizona, like most of the bottom-dwellers, is just waiting for this season to end.

29 – Cincinnati Reds (45-65); SD Score -2.34; Record this week (3-3), Ranking Last Week – 29

Opponents – Cardinals (2-1), at Pirates (1-2)

The Reds had another decent week and could have done better, had they won the 2 one-score games that they lost.

30 – Atlanta Braves (41-70); SD Score -2.43; Record this week (4-2), Ranking Last Week – 30

Opponents – Pirates (2-1), at Cardinals (2-1)

The Braves have been playing the role of the spoiler, as they beat two teams that needed wins in a big way.

SD Score explanation:

Run production is one of the best measures of how a team is performing and how dominant or bad they are.

The formula takes each team’s runs scored and runs allowed totals and how many standard deviations from the league average they are.

Example: 1927 Yankees

The 27 Yankees score 975 runs (1927 AL average was 762 and SD of team runs for the AL was about 115). Take the difference from the league average (975-762=213) and divide by the SD (115), the 1927 Yankees were 1.85 SD above the league average in runs scored.

They allowed 599 runs (the SD in runs allowed for the 1927 AL was about 88.5), which was 163 runs less than the league average. 163/88.5 gives us a 1.84 SD above the league average in runs allowed.

Add 1.85 and 1.84 to get a final SD Score of +3.69 for the 1927 Yankees, which is amazing.

(SD ranking explanation found in “Baseball Dynasties: The Greatest Teams of All Time” by Rob Neyer and Eddie Epstein)