Los Angeles Dodgers' Will Smith, left, heads to first as he hits a solo home run while San Diego Padres starting pitcher Mike Clevinger watches during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Well, look who’s back on top.

Even in a week when the San Diego Padres acquired not only 23-year-old superstar Juan Soto but also Josh Bell, Brandon Drury and Josh Hader, the Los Angeles Dodgers showed their National League West rivals and the rest of the baseball world that they mean business.

During their weekend three-game set in L.A., the Dodgers swept San Diego and did so in commanding fashion. They outscored the Padres 20-4 in the series and got lights-out starting pitching from Tony Gonsolin, Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson.

In the teams’ 10 meetings this season, the Dodgers have won eight times, outscoring San Diego 55-18.

“This series, we made pitches when we needed to,” manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “Cody (Bellinger, who hit two home runs Sunday) obviously had a big day today and the long ball came into play today. But other days, we manufactured runs, which we did (Saturday) night. Just having different ways to win ballgames makes us tough to prepare for.”

Unlike other World Series contenders, the Dodgers were relatively quiet at the trade deadline. Their main moves were picking up right-hander Chris Martin and taking a flier on Joey Gallo. However, when you look at how L.A. performed against the team that many believe won the deadline — the Padres — there’s no denying who is the top team in Major League Baseball right now.

“It definitely feels good,” Bellinger told reporters. “With that, I think we’ve got nine more games against them and then potentially the playoffs. So this was a great win, a great series. We can’t take anything for granted.”

The Dodgers are playing their best baseball of the season, and they’re doing it without starters Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, who are on the injured list. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are having outstanding seasons, but L.A. is also getting a breakout campaign from Gavin Lux.

After years of being one of baseball’s top prospects, the 24-year-old Lux has found his form. The former first-round pick is slashing .297/.372/.427 with four home runs and 33 RBIs, but he’s been even better over the last 30 games with a .914 OPS.

For the first time since early May, the Dodgers were voted No. 1 by our MLB Power Rankings panel. Let’s take a closer look at this week’s rankings.

MLB Power Rankings

Rankings are determined by staff vote

Records and statistics are through August 7

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (75-33, Last week: 2): The Yankees have gotten much of the attention this season when discussing the best team in baseball, but the Dodgers have quietly regained the top spot. They hold a 15 1/2-game lead over San Diego in the NL West and are 41-17 since June 1.

2. New York Mets (70-39, LW: 4): Don’t look now, but the Mets are on a roll. Max Scherzer is back, and Jacob deGrom looks like the game’s most dominant starter again.

3. New York Yankees (70-39, LW: 1): Are they still the best team in the American League? Yes. Do they still have the makings of a team built to win the World Series? Yes. But the Bronx Bombers have yet to find their footing in the second half. And after getting swept by St. Louis, they face another tough test against the Mariners in Seattle.

4. Houston Astros (70-40, LW: 3): Trey Mancini is having a blast in Houston. In his first week with the Astros, he was a monster at the plate, hitting three homers with seven RBIs, including a grand slam.

5. Atlanta Braves (64-46, LW: 5): Dansby Swanson gets forgotten when discussing the top shortstops in free agency this offseason, but he’s putting together quite the year for the Braves. He is on pace for the highest hit total and batting average of his career, and he leads all shortstops in both defensive runs saved and outs above average.

6. Philadelphia Phillies (60-48, LW: 7): Here come the Fightin’ Phils! They were one of the league's biggest disappointments before firing manager Joe Girardi. Under Rob Thomson, though, Philadelphia has gone 38-19 to move into the second NL wild-card spot. And now, Bryce Harper could be back sooner than later.

7. San Diego Padres (61-50, LW: 9): They won the trade deadline by emerging victorious in the Juan Soto sweepstakes. But the Dodgers showed the Padres that they’re still the little brother in the NL West. The teams’ games will be must-see TV down the stretch.

8. Toronto Blue Jays (60-48, LW: 6): The Blue Jays always seem to be on the verge of a breakout, and then something happens. On Saturday, outfielder George Springer was placed on the injured list with inflammation in his right elbow. Springer’s latest injury is not what Toronto needs as it fights for the postseason.

9. St. Louis Cardinals (60-48, LW: 10): The Brewers didn’t take advantage of the trade deadline, and St. Louis has come out hot since. Not only did the Cardinals sweep the Yankees, but they’re now in first place in the NL Central.

10. Milwaukee Brewers (58-50, LW: 8): Rough week for the Brewers. They traded closer Josh Hader, much to the displeasure of the clubhouse. They also were swept by the Pirates, dropped two of three to the Reds and lost the NL Central lead to the Cardinals.

11. Tampa Bay Rays (58-50, LW: 13): They have struggled to find production in their lineup, but one Rays player who has had a solid season is Yandy Díaz. He will never be a power threat like his frame might suggest, but Díaz gets on base, doesn’t strike out and scores runs. Over his last 30 games, he’s slashing .297/.402/.450.

12. Seattle Mariners (59-51, LW: 11): The bad news is Julio Rodriguez is currently on the IL with a bruised wrist. The good news is that he’s expected to be back this week. The Mariners dodged a bullet.

13. Baltimore Orioles (56-52, LW: 17): They traded the heart and soul of their clubhouse when they sent Trey Mancini to the Astros at the deadline. While his presence will be missed, the O’s are still within striking distance of an AL wild card.

14. Minnesota Twins (57-51, LW: 12): The Twins quietly had one of the best trade deadlines of any team, acquiring starter Tyler Mahle, right-hander Michael Fulmer and closer Jorge López. Now they’ll hope that’s enough to extend their lead in the AL Central.


Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Triston McKenzie delivers during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

15. Cleveland Guardians (56-52, LW: 14): Triston McKenzie should be getting more attention for what he has done on the mound this season. The lanky right-hander is 8-8 with a 3.16 ERA and has quietly been one of the AL’s most consistent starters.

16. Chicago White Sox (55-53, LW: 16): They didn’t make a significant move at the deadline, only acquiring left-hander Jake Diekman from Boston. The Sox needed a jolt for a team that has looked lifeless, but they didn’t get one.

17. Boston Red Sox (54-56, LW: 18): They have given the keys to rookie Jarren Duran in center field, where things have not gone well defensively. The rookie outfielder has only played in 43 games and is already minus-6 defensive runs saved this season. A move to a corner might be needed.

18. San Francisco Giants (53-55, LW: 15): They overachieved a year ago and have come back to earth in 2022. Buster Posey isn’t walking through that door to save the Gigantes this time around.

19. Arizona Diamondbacks (48-59, LW: 21): Christian Walker is a slugger, but he might be the most underrated defender in baseball. He currently has 15 defensive runs saved and 11 outs above average, which lead all first basemen in baseball.

20. Texas Rangers (48-60, LW: 20): The Rangers are on pace to have a better season than they did last year. But after breaking the bank on Corey Seager and Marcus Semien last winter, they still have a long way to go to be a contender.

21. Miami Marlins (49-59, LW: 19): Sandy Alcantara is on another planet. The NL Cy Young Award front-runner has pitched seven innings or more in 15 of his last 16 games, compiling a 1.54 ERA and 110 strikeouts over that stretch.

22. Los Angeles Angels (46-63, LW: 22): They hit seven solo home runs in a game last week and lost 8-7. That’s a microcosm of how things have gone for the Angels in 2022.

23. Colorado Rockies (48-63, LW: 25): Giving a two-year extension to a 38-year-old closer isn’t something most teams do. But then again, the Rockies aren’t most teams.

24. Cincinnati Reds (44-63, LW: 26): The Reds were busy at the trade deadline in moving Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle and Brandon Drury. They also acquired one of the best prospects at the deadline in Noelvi Marte, who homered twice in his debut with the organization.

25. Chicago Cubs (43-64, LW: 23): Not moving Ian Happ or Willson Contreras at the deadline was a head scratcher. Contreras will be a free agent, but the Cubs can give Happ a qualifying offer this winter.

26. Pittsburgh Pirates (44-64, LW: 29): Oneil Cruz’s 113.9-mph home run against the Brewers last week was the hardest-hit homer by a Pirate this season.

27. Kansas City Royals (44-65, LW: 28): Salvador Perez is in the backstretch of his career, and no one knows if MJ Melendez is the heir apparent. Still, the rookie catcher is putting on a show with his power. Over his last 30 games, Melendez has seven homers and a .527 slugging percentage.

28. Oakland Athletics (41-68, LW: 27): Sean Murphy looked like he was due for a breakout season after a strong rookie campaign. After a slow start, he’s back to looking like one of the best backstops in the AL. He owns a .327/.402/.555 slashline over his last 30 games.

29. Detroit Tigers (43-67, LW: 24): The Tigers had pieces to trade at the deadline, but other than Michael Fulmer, things stayed quiet in Detroit. They probably shouldn’t have.

30. Washington Nationals (36-74, LW: 30): The Nationals traded 23-year-old superstar Juan Soto last week. If you thought they were bad before, the next two months will be … an adventure.

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