Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

As the dog days of August continue, there's a cruel reality washing over some fan bases: This team just doesn't have what it takes. Maybe I'm talking about Diamondbacks fans or Reds fans or Padres fans (again). Maybe it's the Yankees. Whomever it might be, we're into that stretch of the season where the proverbial cream rises and, with the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, there likely isn't much help to be found for those teams missing a certain something. 

And while I'll go negative at times, I mostly try to be a positive guy, so let's go in the opposite direction and give some props to the teams who have looked, of late, up to the challenge of pushing hard down the stretch. For some of these teams, it's a division title with hopes for a deep playoff run. For others they are looking for a wild-card berth and still others are putting up a successful season just being in the race. Regardless, it's all positive vibes right now in the following clubhouses: 

  • The Dodgers are now 12-1 this month and they'll have the NL West sewn up here in a few weeks. They were actually 2 1/2 games back after a loss on the Fourth of July. They've gone an MLB-best 24-8 since then and their lead in the West is approaching double digits. 
  • After dabbling in mediocrity for much of the season, the Mariners have really turned it on. They are 16-6 since July 19 and that has pushed them to just 1 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. 
  • The Cubs were supposed to be sellers. Even just a few days before the trade deadline, many people believed at least Cody Bellinger would be traded and likely a host of others. Instead, the Cubs are an MLB-best 18-7 since July 17. They've gone from non-contenders to a legitimate NL Central threat and sit just a half-game out of the final NL wild-card spot. 
  • The Rangers have been awesome all season, but we've got to mention them. After losing seven of their last nine in July, they are now 10-2 in August and nearly stole one from the Giants on Sunday. 
  • The Astros have been trying their damnedest to run down the Rangers in the AL West, as they've won nine of their last 13. Of course, that's lost them ground. 
  • Finally, a tip of the cap to the Orioles. I said the Rangers have been awesome all season and that applies here as well, but they've really gone into overdrive in the last five weeks or so. Since July 4, the Orioles are 24-10. 

As I noted earlier, these teams are in various stages. The Dodgers remain in World Series-or-bust mode. Making the playoffs will be a success for the Orioles and you could argue just contending is a successful season for the Cubs. The main point here is to give each team its due, as they are hitting their stride at the right time. 

Biggest Movers
4 Dodgers
3 Rays
1 Braves The franchise record for wins in a season is 106 (1998). The Braves right now are on pace to win 105 games. -- 104-58
2 Dodgers I assume most Dodgers fans know this, but many fans of other teams likely have no idea. Do you know who leads the Dodgers in stolen bases this season? It's Freddie Freeman! He has 16. 4 100-62
3 Orioles The Cedric Mullins heroics in the ninth and 10th innings Sunday were the types of things that happen amid a special season. Enjoy it, Baltimore. Those of you who hung around through those atrocious years certainly earned it. 1 101-61
4 Rangers Remember when the Dodgers traded for Max Scherzer and he went 7-0 in 11 starts, all 11 of which were Dodgers wins? He's 2-0 in two Rangers wins so far. -- 90-72
5 Astros It had been more than eight years between MLB home runs for Jon Singleton when he went deep in the second inning on Friday. And then he did it again in the third inning. Baseball! -- 90-72
6 Rays It was a 3-3 week, but it took two walk-off wins to avoid 1-5 at home against the Cardinals and Guardians. The Shane McClanahan news really puts a damper on dreams of a deep playoff run, too. Yes, it could still happen, but it's just that much harder without him. 3 99-63
7 Blue Jays The offense entered the weekend in a pretty decent funk. They were able to get four runs on Saturday, but then erupted for 11 runs on 14 hits Sunday. Maybe they can carry that one moving forward, because they should be a better offensive team than they've shown for much of the year. -- 89-73
8 Mariners How absurdly on-brand was it that the Mariners scored zero runs on the night they honored Felix Hernandez? Sometimes the script just writes itself, huh? 2 88-74
9 Phillies In 18 starts for the Tigers this year, Michael Lorenzen never went more than seven innings. In his first start for the Phillies, he went eight. Next time out, he threw a no-hitter (yes, all nine innings). Baseball! 1 90-72
10 Brewers Huge week on tap for the Brewers. They have three games in L.A. (actual L.A., which means the actual good team out there in the Dodgers) before three in Texas (Rangers). Pushing that lead back up to 3 1/2 games in front of this schedule was very advisable. 2 92-70
11 Giants What an amazing bounce-back win on Patrick Bailey's walk-off homer Sunday. This came after a gut punch to lose the lead in the ninth and then a balk to give the Rangers the lead in the 10th. The Giants had lost six of seven before that. 2 79-83
12 Cubs For whatever reason, the Cubs' woes on Sunday continue. They are now 5-15 on Sundays and 55-42 every other day of the week. 1 83-79
13 Red Sox Trevor Story is back and went 4 for 4 with three doubles on Sunday in a Red Sox win. The Red Sox had gotten brutal production from the position all season before his return, so this is a Story worth watching. 2 78-84
14 Twins The Twins lost three of four to the Tigers, a series that included the Twins being shut out twice. Pathetic. Then they won two of three in Philly. Good grief. Baseball! 2 87-75
15 Marlins Once upon a time, there are questions from scouts on the future durability of Sandy Alcantara, due to his spindly frame. He led the majors in complete games, innings pitched and batters faced last season. This season, he leads the majors in complete games, innings pitched and batters faced. Man, I *love* an old-school workhorse. 4 84-78
16 Reds They are now 3-9 in August, but still totally within striking distance. They just need to turn things around very quickly. 3 82-80
17 Yankees Remember when the Yankees were on a historic pace in the first half last season? They went 35-35 after the All-Star break, 3-6 in the playoffs and they are now 60-58. Add it all up, and they are 98-99 in well over a full season sample. At some point, you're just mediocre. 3 82-80
18 Angels They are now 3-9 since the trade deadline and sit 6 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. We can probably start preparing the Ohtani Farewell Parade. -- 73-89
19 Diamondbacks They had lost nine in a row heading into Saturday. They've now won two in a row! Let's not get too excited. They only beat the Padres. 1 84-78
20 Padres What happened to Slam Diego? The Padres have zero grand slams this season. 3 82-80
21 Guardians Here's how bad this offense is. Kole Calhoun was in the minors for another team just over a week ago. Ramon Laureano was designated for assignment by the A's just over a week ago. Laureano hit third on Sunday with Calhoun in the cleanup spot. -- 76-86
23 Nationals I didn't include the Nationals up top because they aren't contenders, but they've been rather formidable lately. They are now 15-8 since July 19. -- 71-91
24 Cardinals Adam Wainwright remains stuck on 198 wins. If he was only one win away, I'd say maybe he'll luck into one. Two away, though? Given his performance this season, that just ain't happening. Maybe move him to the bullpen and try to have him gut out three outs in a tie game and vulture a win? -- 71-91
25 Tigers I know they aren't very good, but the personnel looks considerably worse than the record here. Why? Well, they've gone 21-13 against fellow AL Central teams and 26-25 against teams under .500. -- 78-84
26 Mets The Mets haven't come in last place since 2003. That team had three Hall of Famers on it! Can you name them? -- 75-87
27 White Sox The White Sox had won two straight series before the sweep at the hands of the Brewers. Still, this is a pitiful baseball team. -- 61-101
28 Rockies In a four-game series against the Dodgers, Rockies hitters struck out 49 times and walked twice. -- 59-103
29 Royals The Royals are on pace to go 52-110. That would be the worst record in franchise history by four games. (Continued in A's comment ... ) -- 56-106
30 Athletics (Continued from Royals comment) The A's are 4 1/2 games worse than the Royals. -- 50-112