Sober Rankings

Happy Monday to everyone. What a great weekend of sports we had, from the NFL Draft, to the NBA playoffs, to the two biggest rivalries in baseball. To the MLB rankings…

1. Boston Red Sox (12-6) – They’re technically not even in first of the AL East, but after that 9-game home sweep, including beating the Yankees, they’re the hottest team in baseball. Kevin Youkilis is leading the majors with a ridiculous .439 BA, while Mike Lowell leads the league with 22 RBI, and Jason Bay is replacing Manny Ramirez as well as anyone could hope, hitting clutch home runs like the 9th inning game tieing home run against the Yankees Friday night. The one huge concern is Big Papi. He’s batting .222 with NO home runs. I know you can’t just drop him in the lineup yet, but Terry Francona really needs to consider it with every other starter swinging the bat better than Papi.

2. Toronto Blue Jays (14-6) – 20 games into the season, the Blue Jays have the best record in baseball. The Jays have yet to challenged by the Red Sox, Yankees or Rays, so we will find out if they’re for real during May. The Jays have scored the most runs in the majors at this point, and also own the league’s fifth highest team ERA. If they can keep this up, they may be able to hold their own against the Yanks and Sox juggernaut offenses.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (13-6) – They fell a little back to earth this week, but still are tied for the best record in the NL. Chad Billingsley is starting to look like a quality ace with his 2.05 ERA and leading the NL in wins (4). No one on the Dodgers has enjoyed having Manny Ramirez more than Andre Eithier. Eithier has 20 RBI already, second only to Albert Pujols.

4. St. Louis Cardinals (13-6) – What more can you say about Albert Pujols? This guy is just unbelievable. He leads the league with 7 home runs and 25 RBI, and is even batting .343! Ryan Ludwick continues his hot streak with 5 home runs and 19 RBI.

5. Seattle Mariners (12-7) – For Seattle it’s all about pitching. Seattle owns a 3.50 team ERA, second best in the AL. Felix Hernandez is off to a 3-0 start, while Jarrod Washburn has also enjoyed early success. Erik Bedard leads the staff with 29 strikeouts and a 2.02 ERA. The Mariners are only 20th in the league in total runs scored, however, so they’ll need to pick that up, since the pitching can’t be this great all year long.

6. Philadelphia Phillies (9-8) The defending champs put the Marlins in their place with a weekend sweep. The pitching has just been a disaster, but it’s always nice to have three former MVP’s to bail you out.

7. Florida Marlins (11-7) – I want to apologize to the Marlins. I completely jumped on their bandwagon, said they were for real. Said this team actually has a chance to challenge the Mets and Phillies in the NL East, and apparently jinxed them. The fish go 0-6 this week?! The good news is they can’t possibly be as bad as they played this week, and that they still lead their division. The bad news – they just got swept by the Phillies, a team they will see many more times this year.

8. Chicago Cubs (9-8) – They didn’t look good against the Cardinals, but at least won the last game of the series. This team is just loaded everywhere so that’s why they only drop to 8. Kosuke Fukudome is off to another good start batting .371, but the majority of the team is struggling. Milton Bradley’s .043 BA is at its own level, but Derrek Lee (.209) and Geovany Soto (.128) also need to step their games up.

9. Detroit Tigers (10-8) – They stay put this week because I’m still not quite sure what to make of them. Are they the team who lost in the World Series, or are they the team that finished dead last in the AL Central last year? The good news for them is their division is weak, and they have Miguel Cabrera – the best offensive power threat in the division.

10. Kansas City Royals (9-9) – Zack Greinke, 4 games pitched, 4 wins, 0 earned runs. At least Greinke was jinxed by me buying into him early this season like the Marlins were. This is a very talented young team with a pretty good pitching staff, and should be in it for the long haul in the AL Central. Not only is Greinke pitching so great, but the entire staff ERA is a 3.47, best in the AL.

11. Pittsburgh Pirates (11-7) – From the best pitching team in the AL, to the best in the NL. The Pirates have a microscoping 2.97 ERA, 50 points better than the Royals! Paul Maholm and Zack Duke have ERA’s less than 2.50, and imagine how great this staff will look when Ian Snell gets his stuff back together.

12. New York Yankees (9-9) – From a pure talent stand point they should probably be higher, from a record stand point they maybe should be a little bit lower, but as great as the weekend sweep was for the Red Sox, the Yankees have to remind themselves they were missing their best player. Also when Jacoby Ellsbury steals home on you, that’s not very good, but the best thing they can do is just forget that series even happened, erase it from their memory and they will be fine. They have the league’s worst ERA, yes worse than even Texas, at 6.26 and if that doesn’t change soon, it doesn’t matter how great of an offense they have.

13. Minnesota Twins (9-10) – As long as they stay in striking distance while Joe Mauer is gone they’re okay. Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau will have to do heavy lifting for most of the season if they want to be in position to make the playoffs.

14. Chicago White Sox (9-9) – Paul Konerko is really having a great start to his season, and Carlos Quentin leads the league with 7 home runs. The bullpen of Dotel, Linebrink and Jenks is exceptional, but aside from Mark Buehrle and John Danks, the problem is getting there. Gavin Floyd, Jose Contreras and Bartolo Colon all exceed 5.79 ERA’s.

15. Atlanta Braves (9-9) – Jair Jurrjens has the 4th lowest ERA in the league and is starting to take the next step in his game. Chipper Jones leads the offense as always.

16. San Diego Padres (10-8) – After losing two home games to the Pirates, the Padres are beginning to fall back down to earth. Adrian Gonzalez can’t carry the team all season, as proven last year. He will need help from Kouzmanoff and Headley. Jake Peavy is falling apart. His 5.74 ERA is a real concern if you’re a Padre fan because he may also be losing trade value on top of his poor performance.

17. New York Mets (8-10) – Johan Santana is pitching great with a .70 ERA. Carlos Beltran is hitting great with a .406 BA. But unfortunately for the Mets this is a team game, and their team ERA is 4.60 good for 19th. Their team BA is actually good, but their runs scored is not, 18th in the league.

18. Cincinnati Reds (10-8) – The Reds may feel slighted they come behind teams with losing records, but until Dusty Baker can prove to me his team is real, they won’t be ranked much higher than this. Aaron Harang is finding his form from two years ago, but the Reds offense is highly suspect. Only Joey Votto has put up good numbers with everyone else struggling big time.

19. Baltimore Orioles (9-10) – The Orioles are hanging just around the .500 mark. If they do this all season in the AL East, I would argue it’s a pretty successful year for them. Nick Markakis is absolutely on fire, and should be in the all star game no doubt (since we can already start voting.)

20. Texas Rangers (8-10) – If you go to any game with the Rangers involved, at least you know you’ll see runs scored. The Rangers 6.10 team ERA and league leading 38 home runs make the team must watch t.v. and maybe that’s why ESPN chose them as the Sunday night baseball game this week. Whoever passed on Ian Kinsler in their fantasy drafts because he doesn’t have power is kicking themselves right now, 7 home runs in 18 games.

21. Milwaukee Brewers (8-10) – Prince Fielder’s .222 BA is terrible. Only Ryan Braun and Mike Cameron are batting above .285… not too good for the brewcrew.

22. San Franciso Giants (8-9) – I pulled a reverse jinx on the Giants. I wrote about how terrible the offense was, and they still are dead last in runs scored, but the pitching staff is really picking them up. Not too many teams could be sitting at one game under .500 with the least runs scored in the league.

23. Oakland A’s (7-10) – Across the bay, Oakland is also having major offensive problems. The good thing for them is that the Angels are not looking good at all, but Texas’ run scoring ability may hurt Oakland head to head, and the Mariners are off to a great start. Then again, who knows? Maybe the Texas pitching staff is exactly what the A’s need to jumpstart their offense.

24. Los Angeles Angels (7-11) – Jered Weaver just pitched a shutout Sunday, but things are not looking too good otherwise. I don’t think the Angels will panic since they should be getting all of their injured pitchers back eventually, but how far behind will they fall?

25. Tampa Bay Rays (7-12) – The Rays are not sneaking up on anybody this year. Their pitching staff really needs to start playing better. That’s what got them to the World Series last year, and that’s what is letting them down so far this year.

26. Cleveland Indians (7-12) – That 5.98 team ERA is killing them. Cliff Lee has taken a major step back so far, and without him in Cy Young form, this team may not have what it takes.

27. Houston Astros (7-12) – Winning 2 of 3 against the Dodgers was the highlight of their young season. This team really needs to get going because they’re the oldest team in the majors and if they continue playing this poorly, they may be on cruise control the rest of the summer.

28. Colorado Rockies (6-11) – Brad Hawpe needs help from Garrett Atkins offensively if the Rockies are going to have any chance of staying competitive. Good news for them is the Dodgers are really the only team in the NL West that are head and shoulders above them.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks (7-11) – This may be a season to forget out in the desert. Things are already going bad, and with Brandon Webb out for six weeks, things are about to start getting even worse. How would you feel if you were Dan Haren with a 1.38 ERA and a 1-3 record to show for it?

30. Washington Nationals (4-13) – The Nats are just downright awful, I can’t say it any other way. 19 errors in 17 games, enough said.

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