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MLB Power Rankings: Red Sox running away with the regular season

The Boston Red Sox are starting to create some separation at the top of the league. A week ago, it looked like the New York Yankees were slowly starting to make their move. The Red Sox put an end to that, sweeping their biggest rival in four games.

That puts the Red Sox in a dominant position in the American League East. Entering Wednesday, the team has a nine-game lead in the division, which is tied for the biggest lead in any division. They are nine games better than the Yankees, who we rank as the third-best team in baseball. That’s quite a feat.

There’s still plenty of season left, but it will be tough to dethrone the Red Sox from the top spot in the MLB Power Rankings. Anything can happen once the postseason begins, but the Red Sox should be considered World Series favorites at this point.

The Red Sox continue to distance themselves from the rest of the league. (AP Photo)

1. Red Sox (80-34; last week: 1)
A sweep of the Yankees has the Red Sox in even better shape in the American League East. The team now has a nine-game lead in the division. That number was just two a month ago.

2. Astros (73-42; last week: 3)
The Astros jumped out of their recent losing streak by winning six of their next seven games. The Astros came into the season with a deep roster, but that’s being tested now. Losing George Springer and Lance McCullers Jr. puts pressure on Houston to stay on top.

3. Yankees (70-42; last week: 2)
Getting swept by the Red Sox was a big blow to a Yankees team that appeared to be surging. While the club is in great shape, the A’s are suddenly threatening to take away the first wild-card spot from New York. It would help if Aaron Judge was able to return from his wrist injury soon.

4. Athletics (67-47; last week: 8)
The Athletics have lost just once since the last time we did this list, so they find themselves shooting up the power rankings. One-run games continue to fuel their dominance. They are 21-9 in those games in 2018 thanks to a strong bullpen.

5. Cubs (66-47; last week: 4)
Maybe Cole Hamels was exactly what the Cubs needed. In two starts with the team, he’s given up just one run over 11 innings. He’s struck out 11 and walked three in those starts, adding stability to a spotty Cubs rotation.

6. Brewers (65-51; last week: 6)
The Brewers splurging to acquire Christian Yelich and sign Lorenzo Cain has worked out thus far. By fWAR, Yelich and Cain are neck and neck as the best two players on the club this season. The pair has given Milwaukee the best top of the order in baseball.

7. Mariners (65-49; last week: 5)
After being in the second wild-card spot for a while, the Mariners were finally toppled by the Athletics. They’ll have to turn things around quickly. The M’s play 16 straight games against teams over .500 in August.

8. Indians (62-50; last week: 10)
As expected, Cleveland is absolutely destroying teams in the America League Central. The team has a 33-16 record against teams in their division. They are under .500 against the Yankees, Astros, Mariners and A’s, though, so there’s still work to be done.

9. D-backs (63-52; last week: 9)
The Diamondbacks might have a chance to break away in the National League West soon. The team will play 11 straight games against teams with sub-.500 records in August.

10. Dodgers (63-51; last week: 7)
The Dodgers find themselves fighting for a postseason spot in a surprisingly tough division. They not only have to topple the D-Backs and hold off the Rockies, but they also have to finish with a better record than the Brewers, Phillies and Braves to guarantee a postseason spot. A couple really good teams are going to miss out on the postseason in 2018.

The Phillies are in the postseason hunt, but plenty of teams are giving them a fight. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

11. Phillies (64-49; last week: 11)
12. Braves (61-49; last week: 12)
13. Rockies (60-53; last week: 13)

The Phillies, Braves and Rockies are all good teams in tough spots. At least one should make the playoffs, but it’s possible the other two will miss out. Two of those clubs also have to worry about the Nationals, who are making their push.

14. Cardinals (59-55; last week: 16)
15. Nats (58-55; last week: 19)
16. Giants (57-58; last week: 17)

The Cardinals, Giants and Nationals find themselves on the outside looking in, and would need a run in order to get back into their division race. Of all those clubs, the Nationals seem best equipped to make that happen. They’ve played better as of late, probably because Bryce Harper is hitting .345 since the All-Star break. So much for the Home Run Derby curse.

17. Pirates (58-56; last week: 14)
18. Rays (57-56; last week: 18)
19. Angels (57-58; last week: 15)

These three teams have a shot at finishing above .500, but it may not matter. The Pirates have to contend with both the Cubs and Brewers in the NL Central. The Rays aren’t topping the Yankees or the Red Sox. The Angels would have to get by three other teams. It doesn’t seem likely.

20. Twins (53-59; last week: 20)
21. Blue Jays (51-61; last week: 21)
22. Reds (50-64; last week: 22)
23. Rangers (50-65; last week: 23)
24. Mets (46-65; last week: 25)

These are the teams firmly stuck in rebuilds … regardless of what the Mets say. Nearly all those clubs sold off parts at the deadline, and could send more players out over waivers in August.

25. Tigers (47-67; last week: 24)
26. Marlins (47-68; last week: 26)
27. Padres (45-70; last week: 27)
28. White Sox (41-72; last week: 28)
29. Royals (34-79; last week: 29)
30. Orioles (34-79; last week: 30)

The worst of the worst. At least some of these clubs are deep into their rebuilds. Every team here was supposed to struggle in 2018, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, the fact that the Orioles already have a single digit elimination number in early August is jarring.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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