Seattle Mariners

John McGrath’s Major League Baseball rankings

1. Los Angeles Angels (1): This ain’t the first rodeo for Halos’ manager Mike Scioscia, who dismisses the standings as “a distraction. We’ve got a long way to go.”

2. Baltimore Orioles (4): Orioles are a lock to clinch their first AL East title since the 1997 team that beat the M’s in the division series.

3. Washington Nationals (5): Nats began weekend with 17 as their magic number to clinch the NL East.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (3): Three and a half months after throwing first no-hitter of 14-season career, Josh Beckett is facing end-of-the-road hip surgery.

5. Oakland Athletics (2): A’s plans to qualify for once-presumed playoff berth begins with a healthy Coco Crisp returning to leadoff role.

6. Kansas City Royals (6): Speedster Terrance Gore, who spent most of the season in Single-A, understands his job as a pinch runner … sort of: “I’m here … to cause hazic, or havoc, whatever it’s called.”

7. St. Louis Cardinals (9): Redbirds are at their best when the stakes are highest, thanks to their tradition of causing hazic, or havoc, or whatever it is.

8. Seattle Mariners (8): Amid speculation he had succumbed to fatigue, Felix Hernandez dominated the A’s with pitches that had snap, crackle and pop.

9. Detroit Tigers (10): Three games vs. Giants at Comerica Park — a rematch of the 2012 World Series — one of the great showdowns of the interleague-play era.

10. San Francisco Giants (11): Darkhorse MVP candidate Hunter Pence went into the weekend leading the league in games, at-bats, runs and hits — and was second in triples, with 10.

11. Milwaukee Brewers (7): Crew occupied first place in NL Central for 150 consecutive days, only to wake up Friday four games behind the Cardinals.

12. Atlanta Braves (12): Despite being shut out three times in four games last week, Braves have to like wild-card chances against the reeling Brewers.

13. New York Yankees (13): Yanks following standard horror-movie script: Just when you presume Freddie’s dead and it’s safe to walk down Elm Street, he jumps out of a closet.

14. Toronto Blue Jays (16): Hot one week and cold the next, Jays stayed in the playoff race by sweeping the Rays.

15. Cleveland Indians (15): Jason Giambi, 43, has been “activated” — is that the right word? — from the Tribe’s 60-day disabled list.

16. Pittsburgh Pirates (14): Bucs’ recent (and uncharacteristic) dependence on homers has come at the expense of executing with runners in scoring position.

17. Miami Marlins (17): Giancarlo Stanton’s MVP chances likely hinge on whether voters are willing to make Clayton Kershaw the first NL pitcher to win the award since Cardinals’ Bob Gibson in 1968.

18. San Diego Padres (20): During his crash-course evaluation of team’s roster going forward, new GM A.J. Preller using September like a student cramming for an exam.

19. Cincinnati Reds (19): With 55 stolen bases, rookie Billy Hamilton in position to better Joe Morgan’s career-high seasons with the Reds in 1973 and ‘75, when he swiped 67.

20. Tampa Bay Rays (18): No plausible theory on why Rays, who’ve got a winning road record, began weekend 31-41 at The Trop.

21. Chicago White Sox (21): Lefty Carlos Rodon, No. 3 overall pick in the June draft, could break spring camp next year as a top-of-the-rotation starter behind Chris Sale.

22. New York Mets (23): Contenders’ lack of interest in starter Bartolo Colon can be linked to his age (41) and his contract (it guarantees him $11-million through next season).

23. Philadelphia Phillies (24): Former M’s GM Pat Gillick, 77, occupying interim role as team president while Dave Montgomery recovers from cancer surgery.

24. Minnesota Twins(22): Slumping prospect Aaron Hicks was ready to abandon switch hitting before he had a long talk with Hall-of-Famer Rod Carew, who convinced him to stay the course.

25. Chicago Cubs (25): Dartmouth grad Kyle Hendricks (6-1, 2.02 ERA, NL Rookie of the Month for August) appearing more-than-capable replacement for traded staff ace Jeff Samardzija.

26. Boston Red Sox (26): Sox pleased with work ethic of Cuban acquisition Rusney Castillo, likely to be called up after conclusion of Double-A playoffs.

27. Houston Astros (27): Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, who’s spent past eight seasons as Joe Maddon’s right-hand man, looking like early favorite to replace fired manager Bo Porter.

28. Arizona Diamondbacks (28): Tony La Russa’s first major move as baseball ops chief was to release GM Kevin Towers. Is manager Kirk Gibson next?

29. Colorado Rockies (29): Giant-killer Rox are 8-7 vs. San Francisco, with three comeback wins when trailing after eight innings.

30. Texas Rangers (30): Ron Washington’s resignation as manager Friday because of “personal reasons” was a setback for the Rangers, for baseball, and for anybody convinced that good guys aren’t destined to finish last.

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