Detroit takes first place in the Power Rankings for a second straight week, but the red-hot Dodgers, Mets and Cardinals are all nipping at the Tigers' heels.

By SI.com Staff
April 20, 2015

The Tigers remain atop the Power Rankings for a second straight week, but three National League teams are close behind. The Dodgers, Cardinals and Mets are all jockeying for space behind Detroit, with Los Angeles and New York riding some long win streaks into the top five.

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It's no surprise that the Tigers are still No. 1, given their 10–2 record and powerful offense. Detroit is averaging a major-league-best 5.67 runs per game thanks in part to MLB's second-best OPS (.855). But the Dodgers, Cardinals and Mets can make strong claims to the top spot as well. Los Angeles has an MLB-best .885 OPS, has won seven straight games and boasts the game's hottest hitter in Adrian Gonzalez, who entered Monday's action batting .469/.527/.939 in 55 plate appearances. St. Louis has the league's best ERA at 1.91 through 99 innings. And New York, which enters the week on an eight-game winning streak, is led by a rotation that has a sparkling 2.84 ERA, 74 strikeouts and just 11 walks through 79 1/3 innings. Nonetheless, the Tigers took four of this week's six first-place votes, with the Dodgers and Mets splitting the other two.

At the bottom of the rankings, the first two weeks have been a brutal slog for the Brewers, who are 2–10 and sit in last place in the NL Central. Milwaukee has lost five straight games and has scored a league-low 30 runs this year while allowing 65, second-worst in baseball. All-Star centerfielder Carlos Gomez is on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, but just as problematic for the Brewers are ice-cold starts by fellow All-Stars Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy. Braun hasn't shown any signs that his weak 2014 was a fluke, batting just .237 with no extra-base hits so far this season. Lucroy, meanwhile, has only seven hits in 42 at-bats for a putrid 32 OPS+. The rotation has been even worse: Matt Garza has a 5.40 ERA and 9/9 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 16 2/3 innings, while second starter Kyle Lohse has been pounded for 18 earned runs and four homers in 15 2/3 innings.

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Elsewhere in the rankings, a lot of teams took big jumps or falls as the league continues to settle itself in the early going. A three-game win streak and the resurgence of Alex Rodriguez (.316/.447/.711 in 47 PA) has the Yankees all the way up to 15th after debuting at 27th last week. Another AL East team, meanwhile, took a big plunge, as the Blue Jays dropped from fifth to 14th. Toronto lost five of its seven games last week, with series losses to the Rays and Braves, thanks to a feast-or-famine offense: The Jays scored 19 of their 32 runs in their two wins, but were otherwise shut down by Atlanta and Tampa Bay pitchers. Toronto's 70 runs scored are best in baseball, but the team's .246 average and .319 on-base percentage are closer to league average.

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