With last week’s ranking in parentheses:
1. Los Angeles Angels (1): Halos on pace to clinch division early enough to take their foot off the pedal during season-ending series at Safeco Field.
2. Baltimore Orioles (2): Amphetamine-linked 25-game suspension of first baseman Chris Davis latest challenge for team that’s already lost catcher Matt Wieters to elbow surgery and third baseman Manny Machado to knee surgery.
3. Washington Nationals (3): Rafael Soriano out, Drew Storen in when Nats face closing time.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers (4): Renewal of incomparable rivalry with Giants this weekend merely a warmup for another three-game showdown in L.A.
5. Kansas City Royals (6): The shoulder injury Danny Duffy appeared to suffer during one-pitch outing last week not as serious as feared.
6. San Francisco Giants (10): Giants’ secret to September success? Duh. Beat the beatable teams at AT&T Park.
7. St. Louis Cardinals (7): Streaky second baseman Kolten Wong, base-running goat of 2013 World Series, could help determine whether Redbirds return to playoffs.
8. Detroit Tigers (9): If Anibel Sanchez is able to rejoin rotation during the final week, Justin Verlander will be Tigers’ No. 5 starter — and likely headed to bullpen if they reach the playoffs.
9. Seattle Mariners (8): Pregame suggestion: Show video-board clip of Lou Piniella’s Safeco Field speech on Aug. 10, when he implored M’s “to kick some butt … it can be done. You guys are good. Believe in yourselves.”
10. Oakland A’s (5): Going into weekend, the four A’s attempting to replace Yoenis Cespedes in left field were batting a collective .200, with no homers and two extra-base hits.
11. Toronto Blue Jays (14): Melky Cabrera’s season-ending finger injury another example of the idiocy of diving into first base.
12. Pittsburgh Pirates (16): Bucs could become first team in history to advance to postseason without a winning streak longer than four games.
13. Cleveland Indians (15): Manager Terry Francona on season-long slump of second baseman Jason Kipnis: “If he gets hot for the last two weeks, we’re a different team.”
14. New York Yankees (13): Recovering rookie ace Masahiro Tanaka, scheduled to throw simulated game Monday, not ruling out comeback before the end of the month.
15. Atlanta Braves (12): Since start of 2013 season, Braves are 23-12 against Nats — and 4-0 vs. Stephen Strasburg.
16. Milwaukee Brewers (11): Crew on Thursday won two games in a row for the first time in more than three weeks.
17. Miami Marlins (17): Seems unfair that Giancarlo Stanton’s MVP candidacy might be doomed by beanball.
18. New York Mets (22): Former Mets executive Leigh Castergine alleges she was wrongfully dismissed on the basis of “sex, pregnancy, marital status and retaliation.” And we were told the 2013 Mariners had a dysfunctional front office?
19. Cincinnati Reds (19): All that’s certain about Joey Votto, limited to 62 games with a quad strain, is that he turned 31 last week.
20. Tampa Bay Rays (20): Principal owner Stu Sternberg is determined to trim payroll in 2015.
21. San Diego Padres (18): Ex-Seattle prospect Rene Rivera has rejuvenated career as Padres’ regular catcher.
22. Chicago White Sox (21): Lefty Chris Sale, with a 1.99 ERA, gaining ground on Felix Hernandez in AL Cy Young race.
23. Philadelphia Phillies (23): Right-handed power hitter Maikel Franco, Phils’ minor league player of the year, auditioning for job at third base.
24. Houston Astros (27): Mariners couldn’t get pesky ’Stros out of Safeco Field fast enough.
25. Boston Red Sox (26): Sox still see him as an outfielder, but rookie Mookie Betts will finish season at second base due to injuries to Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt.
26. Chicago Cubs (25): Cubs’ next eagerly awaited game? The 2015 season opener at Wrigley Field, vs. the Cardinals.
27. Minnesota Twins (24): Ricky Nolasco, the Twins’ prize acquisition in free agency, is winless in seven starts since July 1.
28. Colorado Rockies (29): Closer LaTroy Hawkins, in 20th big-league season, approaching 1,000 career appearances.
29. Arizona Diamonbacks (28): Reno Aces’ advancement to PCL championship series has stalled September call-ups to big club.
30. Texas Rangers (30): There’s talent at the top: Assistant GM Thad Levine a candidate to replace Kevin Towers in San Diego.