Sober Rankings

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (18-8) – Don’t look now, but the Dodgers have the best record in baseball. They stayed perfect at home after sweeping their weekend series against the Padres Sunday without Manny, Blake, Martin or Kemp even in the lineup. Scary. The series included two walk off victories, and the Dodgers are now 10-0 at Chavez Ravine. This is only the fourth time in history a team has started 10-0 at home, with Joe Torre’s Atlanta Braves ironically being the last to accomplish such a feat in 1983.

2. Toronto Blue Jays (18-9) – They stay atop the AL East for another week. Aaron Hill’s clutch play is constantly underestimated. He’s batting .361 with 6 homers and 22 RBI already this season, and had a game winning hit against the Orioles. On the pitching side, of course Roy Halladay is putting in his normal cy young type performance, but Scott Richmond is really surprising the league. This guy is 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA. Pretty good for someone who spent three years in an independent Canadian league after not getting drafted because he was deemed “too old” by scouts (25). Richmond has more victories than his two AL East rivals’ aces, C.C. Sabathia and Josh Beckett combined! If he keeps this up, we may see a Disney movie about him in the near future!

3. St Louis Cardinals (17-8) – The Cardinals are second in the NL in runs scored, trailing the Dodgers by only one, and also second in team ERA with a combined 3.57. When you can click on both sides of the game like the Cardinals are, you generally win games. Yadier Molina and Chris Duncan are both helping Albert Pujols out with their more than .300 BA’s.

4. Boston Red Sox (15-10) – The Sox need to be careful, they just lost 3 of 4 to the Rays and now have to go to Yankee Stadium. What are the chances one game lasts less than four hours in the new stadium, where balls seem to be flying out, especially to right field, at rapid pace. Is it possible that David Ortiz may actually hit his first home run? He’s been miserable this year, and what’s most alarming is his inability to catch up to the fastball. He’s 1-12 this year when he goes for the high heat and 3-12 when he goes fishing for the low ones. The only pitch he can hit at this stage is belt-level pitches, which he’s 9-24.

5. Seattle Mariners (15-10) – If Sunday’s epic victory didn’t show how much this team wants it, I don’t know what will. The Mariners hit a home run to tie the A’s in the bottom of the ninth, then went down three in the 13th, only to tie it up once more. They finally prevailed in the 15th in walk off fashion. The pitching continues to impress, with Erik Bedard finally living up to his big contract from a year ago, and the team leading the AL with a 3.60 ERA.

6. Kansas City Royals (14-11) – Come on Greinke, did I see you give up not one run, but two runs in your last start? What the heck? Greinke may have finally given up a couple runs, but he still won that game and is 5-0. The dominant pitching performances are also continuing throughout the entire staff and bullpen minus Sidney Ponson, (didn’t I tell KC he wasn’t a good idea?) Regardless of Ponson, this team has a legitimate chance to win their division, and may for once, be buyers when the trade deadline comes along.

7. Chicago Cubs (13-11) – After falling under .500, the Cubs quickly rebounded to win three in a row against a good Marlin team. Right now, the hitting and pitching sits in the middle of the pack, but with all their talent, it seems they have nowhere to go, but up. Ryan Theriot’s power surge, hitting two home runs in two at bats, after previously going 620 at bats in between home runs may be a little bit of a fluke, but his .323 BA isn’t. This guy can flat out hit.

8. New York Yankees (13-11) – The Yankees really need to solve the pitching problems. In a league where they have to play the other two highest scoring teams, the worst ERA in baseball, 5.93, is unacceptable. Seriously, the have the worst ERA! It’s even worse than the Rangers or the Nationals, which is unbelievable. The Yankees do get the Red Sox at home though, which will be a pivotal series for them early in the season. Can the Yankees erase the memory of getting swept at Fenway and continue holding on until A-Rod gets back in a few weeks?

9. Detroit Tigers (13-11) – Miguel Cabrera is second in the league in batting and continues to lead his team offensively with a seven game hitting streak in tact. They need Justin Verlander to pitch great, and he did his last outing, throwing eight pitches in excess of 99 mph, while recording 11 strikeouts and only giving up one earned run. It will also be interesting to see if Armando Galarraga and Edwin Jackson can keep up their great starts.

10. Florida Marlins (14-11) – The Marlins still sit in first place by a narrow margin after only going 3-7 their last 10 games. The supposed ace of the staff, Ricky Nolasco is really struggling with a 7.03 ERA, while the closer Matt Lindstrom has a 8.00 ERA. This is a really bad sign for the fish, and they might want to look into finding another closer as soon as possible. The good news for them about Nolasco, is they figure he has to get better from here on out, and Josh Johnson and Chris Volstad are stepping up during his struggles.

11. Tampa Bay Rays (11-15) – Call me crazy for putting them up here because of their record, but not because of their lack of talent. 3 of 4 wins against the Red Sox has them going back in the right direction for the first time this year. Let’s see if they can keep the momentum going against their AL East rivals the next week and a half. They play nine more games against the east in a row including four with Baltimore, two with the Yankees and another series with the Red Sox. By the way, Carl Crawford’s 6 stolen base performance on Sunday gave him more steals in the game than the Atlanta Braves have had (4) this entire season!

12. Philadelphia Phillies (12-10) – The starting pitching has been abysmal. The lowest ERA in the staff is 4.83 by Brett Myers. The closer Brad Lidge is having a rough year so far after last year’s dream season, yet still the defending champs find themselves two games over .500. This is in large part due to their NL leading 31 homers and Raul Ibanez’s superb play. (8HR, 21 RBI) What a great pick up he has been.

13. Texas Rangers (12-12) – The Rangers find themselves this high on pure entertainment value alone. Their 44 team home runs is leading the rest of the league by 9, while their team ERA continues to struggle. If you ever want to see a good old fashion slug fest, this is the team you should try to see at all costs. If you ever want to see a great pitcher’s duel, beware of the Rangers. It’s amazing that in this lineup of huge bats everywhere, the second baseman, Ian Kinsler is leading every offensive category. Also, is it possible? Could it be? Is Andruw Jones back? So far he’s gone .333 and has a .500 OBP in his 39 at bats.

14. Chicago White Sox (12-12) – No one on the pitching staff has started out that greatly, but Jose Contreras started out just down right awful. 0-4 with a 8.31 ERA is never what you want to see out of one of your best starters. Ozzie says he’s not going to give up on him, but maybe at 37, his career is coming to an end. The good news is offensively, where the White Sox have six hitters with double digit RBI’s already.

15. Cincinnati Reds (13-11) – They are really struggling to score runs, but the pitching staff has stepped it up early in the season. Johnny Cueto is off to another good start this season and is fourth in the majors with a 1.65 ERA. Micah Owings is becoming a bit of a concern. He’s 1-3 in his four starts, and maybe, just maybe, Dusty Baker should go Rick Ankiel and teach Owings how to become an outfielder considering he’s pinch hit on four separate occasions this year.

16. Milwaukee Brewers (13-12) – The Brewers have really come on strong their last 10 games going 7-3, but at some point you have to worry about the hitting after Yovani Gallardo literally won a game single handily against the Pirates pitching 8 innings of shutout ball with 11 strikeout, while also hitting a home run in the game. The final score, 1-0 the Milwaukee Gallardos.

17. Minnesota Twins (12-13) – The Twins have to feel good about Joe Mauer coming back into the lineup. Mauer’s gone 7-10 since his return, and should have the Twins headed in the right direction. And no one on this planet must be happier than Justin Morneau, who now has a little less of a load to carry on his back.

18. San Francisco Giants (12-11) – The Giants are actually hot, going 7-3 their last 10 games, and they’re doing it with pitching. If Barry Zito can keep up his performance from his last three starts, this team may become very dangerous. Zito’s only given up three earned runs his last three starts as opposed to 10 his first two starts. Zito still hasn’t recorded a win yet because the Giant’s offense is the worst in the league, with 10 runs fewer than the second worst team, the Astros. 82 runs in 23 games is never a good omen.

19. Pittsburgh Pirates (12-12) – So who has the best team ERA in the majors? The Pirates with a 3.44 ERA. The starting pitchers are dominating with a league leading 15 quality starts in 24 games. The problem is, are they for real? You would have to argue they aren’t in a division with the Cubs and Cardinals at this point, especially considering that even with their league best ERA, they’re only .500.

20. Los Angeles Angels (10-13) – The Angels are still within striking distance of the Mariners. John Lackey and Ervin Santana are getting ready to come back, and the last thing Mike Scioscia’s going to do is worry. The angels do face tough competition the next couple weeks though against rival Oakland, the upstart Royals, the best team in the AL so far, the Jays, and finally the Red Sox finish the gauntlet.

21. Atlanta Braves (11-13) – Atlanta is a team that’s really struggling to score runs. Derrek Lowe continues to be worth his $60 million contract, while Jair Jurrjens has the fifth best ERA in baseball, 1.89. Unfortunately for the Braves, none of the everyday players is batting over .300. Even Chipper Jones has a .294 BA.

22. New York Mets (10-13) – Whether you like or hate the Mets, you have to feel bad for Oliver Perez. This guy was signed to a huge contract instead of going after Derek Lowe, and he hasn’t panned out so far. His 9.97 ERA has relegated him to a role in the bullpen, and that’s not going to help anybody. Perez will most definitely be booed by the New York crowd the next time he steps onto the field.

23. Houston Astros (11-14) – Despite Wandy Rodriguez’s 2.19 ERA and five quality starts, his record is only 2-2. This is just a microcosm of how bad the Astros offense has been, only San Francisco’s is worse. Lance Berkman’s .184 BA is terrible and a big reason they’re struggling so much, but at least 6 of his 16 hits are homers!

24. Arizona Diamondbacks (11-14) – Dan Haren is really all that seems to be keeping this team together at this point. He’s made six quality starts in his six appearances, has a 1.47 ERA, and has the most strikeouts in the MLB (47), but he actually only has a record of 3-3. There’s only so much he can do when his offense is batting .229, the worst in the majors.

25. San Diego Padres (11-14) – It seems as though the Padres have maxed out, and two walk off loses against the Dodgers can’t help. The good news is Jake Peavy threw 8 innings of shutout ball against the best offense in the NL, so maybe his trade value will start getting better before the deadline, when the Padres will probably be forced into trading him away.

26. Oakland A’s (9-13) – Sunday’s loss to the Mariners had to sting. You can’t give games away like that to a division rival, or anybody for that matter. Any time you get a three run lead in extra innings – that should be enough. Matt Holiday is really struggle with his .233 BA, while Jason Giambi is struggling worse with a .213 BA. So much for those big off season acquisitions at this point.

27. Baltimore Orioles (9-16) – The Orioles are starting to fall apart in an ultra competitive league. They’ve gone 2-8 their last 10 games, including their current six game losing streak. The one bright spot continues to be Nick Markakis, who should be representing the O’s at the all start game this year.

28. Colorado Rockies (9-14) – Todd Helton is having another good year. Jason Marquis has been a great surprise, but Ubaldo Jimenez, Manny Corpas and Aaron Cook have all been disasters with ERA’s higher than 6.58!

29. Cleveland Indians (9-16) – They’re just lucky the Nationals exist because they really should be the worst ranked team. Talk about not meeting expectations. What’s happened to this team since their heart breaking defeat in Game 7 of the ALCS? Their 5.81 ERA is the second worst in the MLB. Carl Pavano clearly wasn’t the right answer, and even Cliff Lee is struggling.

30. Washington Nationals (6-17) – Time to go to the error count… 22… That’s 22 errors in 23 games. Congratulations! You have less than one error per game. I think that’s enough time spent on the Nats. Oh, wait… Ryan Zimmerman has a 21 game hitting streak?! What the heck! Ryan get the heck out of there, and take Adam Dunn while you’re at it…


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