Seattle Mariners

Despite losing Richards, Angels ascend to MLB rankings top spot

1) Los Angeles Angels (2): Losing ace Garrett Richards for the season was a blow, but you might remember that Halos won the 2002 World Series with a so-so rotation.

2. Baltimore Orioles (4): Manager Buck Showalter admits he’s got a bit of a “man-crush” on his first-place team.

3. Washington Nationals (5): Nats last week became first team since ’86 Astros with five walk-off victories in six games.

4. Oakland Athletics (1): Leadoff-hitting catalyst Coco Crisp went from July 8 to Aug. 18 without a multi-hit game.

5. Kansas City Royals (6): An MVP candidate? Left fielder Alex Gordon doesn’t boast gaudy numbers, but he’s the heart and soul of resurgent Royals.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (3): The strong get stronger: Star shortstop Henley Ramirez set to come off DL on Sunday.

7. Milwaukee Brewers (8): Arrested-development pitching sensation Mike Fiers, 29, pronounces last name “Fires,” not “Fears.”

8. St. Louis Cardinals (10): John Lackey gave memorabilia collector Pat Neshek a Babe Ruth autographed ball in exchange for the reliever’s No. 41.

9. Seattle Mariners (7): Mike Zunino can relate to the words of former second baseman Ron Hunt, plunked a season-record 51 times in 1971: “Some people give their bodies to science; I give mine to baseball.”

10. Detroit Tigers (9): Manager Brad Ausmus on David Price’s complete-game, one-hit, no-walk loss at Tampa Bay: “I guess I could have asked for a perfect game from him.”

11. San Francisco Giants (11): Why are Giants, winners of two World Series since 2010, so much more likable than 49ers, who last won the Super Bowl 20 years ago?

12. Atlanta Braves (17): Best quiet move before trade deadline was Braves’ release of second baseman Dan Uggla, clearing room for Phil Gosselin.

13. Toronto Blue Jays (13): Brandon Morrow, whose role was never defined with M’s, could return from DL in September as reliever.

14. Cleveland Indians (15): Shoddy defense is impeding Tribe’s ascent in AL Central.

15. Pittsburgh Pirates (12): Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker are back to stop the bleeding.

16. New York Yankees (14): Brandon McCarthy, 3-10 with the D-Backs, has been lights out since Yanks acquired him in early July.

17. Miami Marlins (16): Born in Seattle and educated at Gonzaga, Mike Redmond emerging as NL Manager of the Year possibility.

18. Cincinnati Reds (18): Joey Votto’s injury plagued season has limited the former MVP to 62 games.

19. Tampa Bay Rays (19): Season highlight was collecting one hit off former ace David Price, and winning 1-0.

20. San Diego Padres (20): Three weeks into August, Padres’ RBI leader was .204-hitting Jedd Gyorko, with 44.

21. New York Mets (21): After two seasons of stagnation, starter Zack Wheeler has gotten a grip — literally — on a difference-maker change up.

22. Minnesota Twins (22): Phil Hughes struggled with the 2013 Yanks, but he’ll draw some Cy Young Award votes in ’14.

23. Chicago White Sox (23): Former first-round draft choice Gordon Beckham, traded to Angels for next to nothing, looked like the real deal as a 2009 rookie.

24. Philadelphia Phillies (24): Philadelphia baseball fans in mourning ... over elimination of local team from Little League World Series.

25. Chicago Cubs (25): Catch him while you can: Uber-prospect slugger Kris Bryant will make Cheney Stadium debut at 5 p.m. Sunday.

26. Arizona Diamondbacks (26): Too bad outfield hopeful Ender Inciarte isn’t a closer.

27. Boston Red Sox (27): Successful bid to land Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo only race that mattered to defending world champs.

28. Houston Astros (28): ‘Stros couldn’t complete sweep in Bronx, but as Yanks’ fan Meat Loaf has noted, two of three ain’t bad.

29. Colorado Rockies (30): Slow-working starter Jorge De La Rosa, who’s put hitters to sleep while compiling 44-14 career record at Coors Field, worthy of nickname: “De-La-Berate.”

30. Texas Rangers (29): Ron Washington looking forward to managing healthy squad with top-tier talent — for a November exhibition tour of MLB stars in Japan.

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