Rick Porcello didn't make the AL All-Star team, but he leads the first-place Tigers in wins with 12. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)
Tony Paul goes around the league, with the 15th installment of his weekly Major League Baseball Power Rankings:
1. A’s (last week: 1): Best record in MLB, but the smallest division lead in the AL. Should be a fascinating second half out in the AL West.
2. Angels (3): That’s thanks to the mighty Angels, who are flexing their muscles – to the tune of a 9-1 record in their last 10 games.
3. Dodgers (2): How the heck is Clayton Kershaw not starting the All-Star Game? If the game means something, it’s a no-brainer.
4. Tigers (5): Tough loss to close out the half, but it still was a fine showing in the days leading into the break, especially sans Victor Martinez.
5. Brewers (4): Raise your hand if you said at the beginning of the season that the Brewers would have three All-Star starters. Liar.
6. Orioles (7): Surprising they’re up four games in the AL East, given how well the Blue Jays played for so long. But the tide has turned.
7. Nationals (8): They’re tied for first place in the NL East, even without Bryce Harper managing the team. Stick to playing outfield, bro.
8. Braves (6): Can’t think of any good reason they haven’t cut awful second baseman Dan Uggla yet. He hit .179 last year, .162 this year.
9. Cardinals (9): Big blow just before the break, with Yadier Molina’s thumb injury. Have to wonder if they’ll go sign A.J. Pierzynski.
10. Reds (14): Is there a starting pitcher who’s been more overlooked this year than Alfredo Simon? An All-Star nod should change that.
11. Giants (10): You don’t see that every day – or ever. Batterymates Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey both hit grand slams in one game.
12. Mariners (11): It’s hard not to see former Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon as an early AL manager of the year favorite.
13. Pirates (12): They’ve had injuries and free-agent departures, but Charlie Morton sure looks at home as the new ace of the staff.
14. Indians (16): LeBron James is going back to Cleveland. Yeah, that’s probably a bigger deal than Nick Swisher’s homecoming last year.
15. Royals (15): They needed Sunday’s win over the Tigers. Prior to that, they were 0-5 against Detroit in K.C., and it wasn’t pretty at all.
16. Blue Jays (13): Only injuries could derail them. And that’s what’s happened, to Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie.
17. Yankees (18): There were some who thought Brian McCann might hit 40 homers, playing at Yankee Stadium. Yeah, he has 10 so far.
18. Rays (19): I’d suggest that trading David Price would really alienate the fan base. But what fan base would you be speaking of, exactly?
19. Red Sox (17): Shocker. The team’s CEO publicly suggested replacing Jacoby Ellsbury with Grady Sizemore might not have been wise.
20. White Sox (20): The big arm injury to Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka makes Jose Abreu the new runaway favorite for rookie of the year.
21. Mets (24): Hey, look out. They’ve won eight of their last 10, and feel like they’re a trade or two away from being a legit threat.
22. Twins (22): They probably should’ve traded Josh Willingham when his stock was high. The run production has fallen fast.
23. Marlins (21): You can call the NL comeback player of the year race. That award is all Casey McGehee’s, with an NL-leading 115 hits.
24. Astros (26): Not the start the Astros were hoping for from Jon Singleton (.184 average, .638 OPS) after signing that big contract.
25. Padres (25): There isn’t likely to be any bigger winner at the trade deadline than the Padres, who will win the lottery in dealing two relievers.
26. Rangers (23): What a disaster. Their woes – injury, and performance – are making them a seller at the deadline, and they have pieces.
27. Diamondbacks (27): Can they please stop referring to Miguel Montero as Miggy. All due respect, there’s only one Miggy in baseball.
28. Phillies (30): They’re counting down the years until Ryan Howard’s contract is up. Two more, and they can’t come soon enough.
28. Rockies (29): Add them to the group of trade-deadline sellers who have plenty of enticing relief-pitching pieces to shop.
30. Cubs (28): They’re 2-8 in their last 10, since dumping their two best starting pitchers on the A’s. Still, the future sure appears promising.