Seattle Mariners

John McGrath’s Major League Baseball rankings

With last week’s ranking

in parentheses:

1. Los Angeles Angels (1): Although Matt Shoemaker’s oblique strain is minor, there’s only so many injuries a depleted pitching rotation can withstand.

2. Baltimore Orioles (2): Adam Jones was the headliner, but the more consequential piece of the M’s still-crazy-after-all-these-years trade for Erik Bedard turned out to be effective starting pitcher Chris Tillman.

3. Washington Nationals (3): Upon clinching the division, Nationals’ next goal is to secure home-field advantage.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (4): Rookie Carlos Frias, who gave up eight runs in the spottiest of spot starts at Colorado, became the first modern era pitcher to allow 10 hits without recording three outs.

5. San Francisco Giants (6): Late July acquisition of Jake Peavy from Boston, which reunited the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner with former San Diego manager Bruce Bochy, saved Giants’ season.

6. St. Louis Cardinals (7): No diminished back-to-school crowds for midweek September dates in St. Louis, where every 2014 home game has drawn at least 40,000.

7. Detroit Tigers (8): Split-second decision by center fielder Ezequiel Carrera — the wrong one — cost the Tigers a season-defining comeback victory at Minnesota.

8. Kansas City Royals (5): When a career .276 hitter without power takes White Sox ace Chris Sale deep — here’s to you, Lorenzo Cain — it might be a sign the stars are aligned.

9. Seattle Mariners (9): Utility outfielder Endy Chavez has earned at least one vote for the M’s “Unsung Hero” trophy annually determined by the Seattle branch of the baseball writers association.

10. Oakland Athletics (10): Winning two out of three during showdown series at Safeco Field didn’t provide the A’s with the momentum bump they anticipated.

11. Pittsburgh Pirates (12): For first time in club history, nine Bucs have hit at least 10 homers.

12. Milwaukee Brewers (16): If Brew Crew’s final-week comeback falls short, blame can go to a seven-game skid before the All-Star break and a 1-13 stretch between Aug. 20-Sept. 9.

13. Cleveland Indians (13): A Sept. 1 score book call ruled an error was changed to a hit Wednesday, fattening the ERA of Cy Young candidate Cory Kluber from 2.45 to 2.58.

14. Toronto Blue Jays (11): Slow but certain fade from wild-card race could cost John Gibbons his job as manager.

15. New York Yankees (14): Scoring seven runs during first six games of road trip reduced Yanks from fringe contenders to crabby spoilers.

16. Atlanta Braves (15): Groundbreaking ceremony at suburban SunTrust Park last week coincided with a more solemn event 12 miles away: Grave digging of Braves’ playoff hopes.

17: Miami Marlins (17): Top catching prospect J.T. Realmuto, a late call-up after the Southern League championship series, has played a major role on two teams that won minor-league titles.

18. New York Mets (18): Despite rumors, Mets are denying plans to replace the United Nations’ building on their logo with that of the skyscraper located at 601 Lexington Avenue. Whew!

19. Tampa Bay Rays (20): After throwing a pitch that hit Derek Jeter — on the same night they honored the retiring Yanks’ shortstop — Rays became league leaders in bench-clearing confrontations.

20. San Diego Padres (21): Among the major pro sports leagues in North America, Padres shortstop Alexi (”Little Ninja”) Amarista, at 150 pounds, might be the lightest athlete. Baseball is so cool.

21. Cincinnati Reds (19): Johnny Cueto will get two more chances to win 20 games for the first time.

22. Chicago White Sox (22): If manager Robin Ventura stays true to his plan to close out September with six-man rotation, Chris Sale won’t face the Royals in the season finale.

23. Philadelphia Phillies (23): Jonathan Papelbon’s obscene gesture to Phils fans was the last straw of an irrevocably broken marriage.

24. Houston Astros (24): Jose Altuve’s 211th hit of the year broke the team’s single-season record, held since 1998 by presumptive Hall of Famer Craig Biggio.

25. Chicago Cubs (26): Cubs pleased with the bat of first-round draft choice Kyle Schwarber, but the Indiana University product needs to fine-tune his catching skills. Wrigley Field ETA: 2016.

26. Boston Red Sox (25): Less than a month after signing a $72 million contract, Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo made his big-league debut Wednesday.

27. Minnesota Twins (27): Symptom-free after an Aug. 13 concussion, outfielder Byron Buxton, MLB’s No. 1 overall prospect, preparing for fall instructional league.

28. Arizona Diamondbacks (29): Former A’s ace Dave Stewart, now a player agent, looking like a front-runner in GM job search conducted by somebody familiar with him: Tony La Russa.

29: Colorado Rockies (28): Rockies’ only 2014 “accomplishment” will be avoiding first 100-loss season in franchise history.

30. Texas Rangers (30): Three-game sweep of free-falling A’s last week was more bitter than sweet.

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