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MLB Power Rankings: No. 1 spot a jinx lately and it's the Nationals' turn

by | Baseball Writer

Four weeks ago, the Cubs held the top spot in the Official Power Rankings, just as they had every week of the season. They would go 3-4 in the next week as the beginning of their three-week tailspin and lose their spot to the ...

Rangers:The Rangers were number one in the Official Power Rankings three weeks ago. But then they lost five of their next six (and still haven't really recovered) and their spot at the top to the ...

Indians: The Indians, who were red hot at the time, having won 16 of their previous 18. Of course, after taking over the top spot, they lost four of their last five games before the All-Star break and lost it to the ...

Giants: The Giants, who had won eight of their previous 10 games. So that was a natural pick for the top team at the All-Star break. They had the best record and were red hot. The All-Star Game, by the way, was held in San Diego, home of the Padres. The Padres aren't very good, but they swept the Giants, meaning the latter needs to be knocked from the perch of number one.

Where left to turn with what is becoming a karmic power of jinx for the number one team? Who do I curse? I know, I know. I'm biased and hate your favorite team and love whatever team fits your narrative of outrage against the evil media, so the choice won't be from the position of merit but instead my hidden agenda.

That team is the Washington Nationals. They have flaws, but so does every team. They've lost two in a row, but won five straight before that. They are one game behind the Giants for the most wins in baseball, but have not been swept by the Padres within the last few days. I fully expect Bryce Harper to have a huge second half while I honestly don't think Daniel Murphy is going to slow down (by the way, Nats fans, Brandon Phillips should be your favorite player due to vetoing a trade to the Nats that would have meant no signing of Murphy). The rotation will be excellent once Joe Ross is healthy again and I believe GM Mike Rizzo will get bullpen help within the next two weeks.

It's a very good, well-rounded ballclub -- not unlike the previous four number ones. So it's their turn. Once they lose five in a row at some point in the next week (they already have a head start), I'll have to pick a different one. The Snyder Curse is strong, apparently.

Please feel free to contact me with comments either on Twitter (@MattSnyderCBS) or via email: matt.snyder@cbs.com.

Daniel Murphy
Will the Nationals be able to avoid the jinx of the No. 1 spot in our Power Rankings? (USATSI)


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