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MLB Standings Update: Rays Rise To Top Of AL East, With Assists From Cleveland And Kansas City

As we near the middle of May, the Indians have seen their momentum slowed by back-to-back series in which they lost two of three. The Royals are still hanging in there and the Tigers are coming on strong. In the AL East, the Rays have managed to overtake the Yankees for the top spot.

As the weekend begins, here is another look at the standings in baseball, and at who plays whom in the American League over the next three days.

American League Central -

Cleveland Indians 23-13 .639 0 Games Behind -- The Indians have lost two series in a row to come back to the pack a bit after dropping two of three to Tampa Bay. Now the Seattle Mariners come to town for three games beginning Friday night.

Kansas City Royals 20-17 .541 3.5 Games Behind -- The Royals come off of having gone into Yankee Stadium and winning two of three from New York. Kansas City now goes to Detroit for three in a battle for second place in the Central against the Tigers.

Detroit Tigers 20-18 .546 4 Games Behind -- The Tigers are hot, having won five in a row after taking two from the Twins earlier this week. Detroit welcomes Kansas City to Motown for three games this weekend, with the winner of the series finding themselves in second place come Monday.

Chicago White Sox 15-23 .395 9 Games Behind -- The White Sox managed something that the Indians were unable to in two trips into Anaheim -- Chicago took two of three from the Angels. Now the Sox head up the coast for three games in Oakland.

Minnesota Twins 12-23 .343 10.5 Games Behind -- The Twins had a short first four days of this week, playing only two games, both against the Tigers, and both losses, to sink firmly into the Central cellar. This weekend the Twins entertain the Toronto Blue Jays for three games.

American League East -

Tampa Bay Rays 22-15 .595 0 Games Behind -- The Rays have completed a comeback from a 1-8 start to vault to the top of the East after taking two of three in Cleveland. Tampa Bay goes back home to Florida now for three games against Baltimore.

New York Yankees 20-15 .571 1 Game Behind -- After losing two of three to Kansas City, the Yankees find themselves looking up at the Tampa Bay Rays. Now comes a fun weekend for one and all as New York hosts Boston for three games against the Red Sox.

Baltimore Orioles 17-19 .472 4.5 Games Behind -- The up-and-down Orioles are up again after sweeping three from Seattle at home, but now have the unenviable task (ask the Indians) of facing Tampa Bay for three games in a weekend series.

Boston Red Sox 17-20 .459 5 Games Behind -- The Red Sox keep getting to the cusp of .500 and dropping back, as they did again this week by being swept in a two-game mini series in Toronto. Now Boston gets to have fun and play three games in the Bronx against the Yankees.

Toronto Blue Jays 17-20 .459 5 Games Behind -- Toronto got a little energized by winning two in a row at home against the Red Sox to stay within five games in the East, and now head to Minnesota for three games against the stumbling Twins.

American League West -

Los Angeles Angels 21-17 .553 0 Games Behind -- The Angels slipped in their series at the beginning of the week, losing two of three at home against the White Sox, and now head to Texas for an important three-game set with the defending AL champion Rangers.

Oakland Athletics 19-18 .514 1.5 games Behind -- The Athletics split two games in Texas before the scheduled third game of their series with the Rangers was washed out, and find themselves tied for second in the West as they return home for three games with the White Sox this weekend.

Texas Rangers 19-18 .514 1.5 Games Behind -- The Rangers were on fire in the early going, but now find themselves only a game above .500 after splitting a pair with Oakland. Now the Rangers entertain Los Angeles for a big three-game set against the first place Angels.

Seattle Mariners 16-22 .421 5 Games Behind -- Seattle comes off of being swept in three games in Baltimore, and now take on the Indians for three in Cleveland, after having been swept by the Tribe earlier this season in Seattle.

In the National League Central, the St.Louis Cardinals (22-16) lead the way, with the Cincinnati Reds (20-17) within a game and a half. Then there is a drop-off to the Pittsburgh Pirates (18-19) in third. The Chicago Cubs (16-20) are fourth, with the Milwaukee Brewers (16-21) a half-game back in fifth. The Houston Astros (14-23) are sixth, 7 1/2 games behind the Cardinals.

The National League East has the Philadelphia Phillies (24-12) on top with the best record in the majors. The Florida Marlins (21-15) have slipped back a bit, followed by the Atlanta Braves (21-18). The Washington Nationals (18-19) are next, 6 1/2 games behind the Phillies, with the New York Mets (17-20) another game back and in last place.

Finally, in the National League West, the world champion San Francisco Giants (21-16) have overtaken the free-falling Colorado Rockies (19-16). The Los Angeles Dodgers (18-20) trail their ancient rivals by 3 1/2 games, with the Arizona Diamondbacks (15-21 next, and the San Diego Padres (15-22) last in the West, six games back of the Giants.

And there you have it. Please check back on Monday for the results from this weekend, and a preview of a week that starts with a lot of two-game series in the American League

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.