1. Los Angeles Dodgers (30-15) – The Dodgers love them some home cooking! The Dodgers are 18-5 at home this season, the best in the MLB. The Dodgers lead baseball team batting average (.286) and ERA (3.74). They also lead the NL in hits, RBI and runs scored. Orlando Hudson may be the best free agent signing any team made this off season. Hudson continues to play a gold glove caliber second base, while leading the team with a .372 BA and .410 OBP.
2. Boston Red Sox (26-18) – The Red Sox finally move into first place in the AL East for the first time this season. They did it by sweeping the Blue Jays at home. The Sox know how to get on base better than anyone. They lead the AL with a 3.60 team OBP, and Kevin Youkilis leads the pack. He has .496 OBP in his 31 games this year. Absolutely ridiculous! This means he’s getting on base just about every other time he comes to the plate.
3. New York Yankees (25-19) – While the Sox are excelling at OBP, the Yankees excel at OPS (on base plus slugging). The Yankees lead the league with .826 OPS. Every single Yankee who has played at least 40 games has more than an .814 OPS… quite impressive. Mark Texiera raised his BA 55 points the last 10 games by batting .462 (18-39). Texiera has also smashed 6 home runs and 15 RBI in that period.
4. Toronto Blue Jays (27-20) – The Blue Jays are in an unfamiliar position for the first time this season, looking up at the Red Sox. The Jays have lost six games in a row, and it’s because the bats that carried them thus far, are starting to let them down. In the six game losing streak, the Jays only scored 10 runs. That’s scoring less than two runs a game during that span, the rest of the season the Jays scored more than six runs a game. (234 runs in 37 games)
5. Texas Rangers (26-17) – The Rangers are starting to show they’re a contender. They still lead the league in home runs (73), but it’s the pitching that has gotten decidedly better in recent weeks. The Rangers team ERA of 4.41 is the 15th best, but they were just 29th a couple of weeks ago. Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla have led the charge. Padilla threw two one hitters in a row, cutting his ERA from 10.00 after his first two games this season, all the way in half to 4.71. Millwood has a 3.12 ERA.
6. Detroit Tigers (24-18) – The Tigers’ pitching staff has really been carrying them during their seven game wining streak last week. The team ERA is the second best in the AL at 3.94. Edwin Jackson has the fourth best ERA (2.55) in the AL. Dontrelle Willis has actually come back well so far with two quality starts in his last two outings. (13 IP, 3 ER)
7. Philadelphia Phillies (24-19) – Even though the Phillies are 8-2 their last 10 games, the pitching is quite a problem. The 5.19 ERA, second worst in the NL, may be the reason why the Phillies can not defend their crown. And what has happened to Brad Lidge? The guy who went perfect last year has already blown four saves this year, and has an ugly 10.38 ERA.
8. St. Louis Cardinals (26-18) – The pitching staff carried the Cardinals during their sweep of the rival Cubs. The Cardinals have the second best team ERA 3.76 in the majors, and only gave up two runs during that sweep. If Chris Carpenter can stay healthy, they may be a force to be reckoned with in the wide open NL Central. Carpenter hasn’t given up an earned run in his 15 innings this year.
9. Milwaukee Brewers (26-18) – The Brew crew’s pitching staff really let them down, while getting swept by the Twins this weekend. Manny Parra needs to step his game up. He can’t be giving up eight earned runs in three innings. 41-year-old Trevor Hoffman still has a 0.00 ERA with 11 saves though.
10. Los Angeles Angels (23-20) – The Angels are starting to get healthy. Winning two of three at Dodger Stadium was a huge victory for them. Jered Weaver’s stellar play continues. He has a 2.52 ERA, good for third in the AL. He also ranks third in WHIP, and has thrown two complete games – something rare for pitchers nowadays.
11. New York Mets (23-20) – Johan Santana’s 1.50 ERA and 75 strikeouts lead the Mets. Francisco Rodriguez has been worth every penny so far, but is experiencing severe back spasms that he actually had to be hospitalized for. The Mets have two hitters in the top five BA in the NL, Carlos Beltran (.361) and David Wright (.350). The team as a whole bats (.283), only .003 behind the Dodgers.
12. Tampa Bay Rays (23-23) – At some point this team has to go on a huge run – they’re just loaded. The Rays lead the majors with 249 RBI, and Evan Longoria is a big reason why. Longoria has 49 RBI in just 44 games – the best in the MLB. They also lead the league in runs scored (263) because Carl Crawford is seemingly always on base, and always swiping a base to get into scoring position. Crawford leads the league with 28 SB.
13. Kansas City Royals (22-22) – The Royals pitching staff still leads the AL in ERA (3.83), but has actually dropped from first place overall for the first time. Former first overall pick Luke Hochevar’s nightmare of a season seems to be never ending. Maybe the Royals should consider sending him back down to AAA, but he did only give up four earned runs in his last game… that’s an improvement.
14. Atlanta Braves (23-20) – The Braves seem to just be hanging around this year. No one really talks about them, yet they continue to play consistent baseball. Sweeping the Blue Jays may prove to be the exact kind of momentum they need going to the west coast against two very beatable teams, Giants and DBacks. The Braves pitching staff is providing them with the chance to contend this summer.
15. Cincinnati Reds (23-20) – Joey Votto leads the NL with a .371 BA, and MLB with a .479 OBP. The team ERA of 4.01 is impressive and will be a major contributing factor if the Reds are going to make the NL Central a four-horse race. The Reds have a pivotal stretch in the next two weeks, playing all NL Central teams in that time. In two weeks time, we will have a great indicator of where the Reds stand in this division.
16. Minnesota Twins (22-23) – The Twins offense has exploded their last four games scoring 43 runs. Joe Mauer’s ridiculous play is just getting better. Mauer has a .438 BA, 1.400 OPS, 10 home runs and 29 RBI in just 22 games. The other half of M&M, Justin Morneau, is also playing great. Morneau has the best OPS in the AL (1.076).
17. San Diego Padres (22-22) – Nine games, nine wins for the Padres. The Padres got the triple sweep during their nine game home stand. They still aren’t doing it offensively, they have the second least runs in MLB, and the worst team BA (.232), but are getting it done with pitching and defense. There obviously has to be concern that the Padres are looking to trade the league leader in strike outs, Jake Peavy with 79, but maybe this will fuel the fire for the Padres. They go on the road this week against the Dbacks and Rockies – two very winnable series.
18. Chicago Cubs (21-21) – While the Padres are going in one direction, the Cubs are going the exact opposite. They’ve lost seven in a row, including being swept by the Padres. In the losing streak, the bats are really struggling scoring only 10 runs. The Cubs are 23rd in the league in runs scored, a stat no one would expect 42 games into the season. They also have the third worst team BA (.243).
19. San Francisco Giants (20-23) – The offense can’t score. They have the least runs scored in the league (164) and an absolutely abysmal 24 total home runs. Raul Ibanez has 17 and Adrian Gonzalez has 16. They also have the least RBI (153) of anyone in baseball. The good news for Giant fans is they do have great pitching. Tim Lincecum has 76 strike outs.
20. Seattle Mariners (21-24) – The Mariners offense is lacking. They’ve scored the second least runs in the AL. At least they have adequate pitching led by Felix Hernandez (66 strike outs), which is third best in the AL. The 13-million-dollar-man Adrian Beltre is playing like the 13-dollar man hitting .215 this season.
21. Florida Marlins (20-25) – The Marlins go on the road to play the Phillies and Mets this week. This is an early make or break part of the schedule for the fish. If they struggle this week, they may just pack it in the rest of the season. The Marlins team ERA has fallen all the way to 4.94, 24th in the league. Ricky Nolasco is struggling with a horrific 9.07 ERA.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates (20-24) – The Pirates have the most quality starts out of their starting pitchers in the league with 26. Their problem is hitting. They don’t have one everyday player with a batting average more than .300. They will face the struggling Cubs and Astros this week.
23. Chicago White Sox (19-24) – The White Sox offense is pathetic. They have scored the least runs in the AL (167), and just lost Jake Peavy because Peavy vetoed the trade. Even with Peavy, they would have still needed to fix the hitting. Peavy can’t bat in the AL unless Ozzie was thinking of putting him in the DH spot.
24. Houston Astros (18-24) – The Astros are having an ugly offensive season to go along with a mediocre (at best) pitching season. The only bright spot remains Wandy Rodriguez. Rodriguez has a 1.83 ERA (third best in MLB), and has a quality start in eight of his nine games pitched.
25. Baltimore Orioles (18-26) – The Orioles are in trouble. With all the firepower in the AL East, they just can’t match up on a daily basis. Their AL worst 5.57 ERA definitely doesn’t help matters, but how well would you do if you had to face the Red Sox, Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays all season long?
26. Arizona Diamondbacks (19-25) – The Diamondbacks disappointing season continues. During the next two and a half weeks, they do get a shot at redemption. They play the Padres twice, Dodgers and Giants in that time span.
27. Colorado Rockies (18-25) – Huston Street has actually pitched very well as of late. Street has seven saves and hasn’t given up an earned run since April 24. Unfortunately for the Rockies, is hard getting him in save situations when your best starters has a 4.25 ERA.
28. Cleveland Indians (17-28) – Even though last season’s Cy Young, Cliff Lee, is 2-5, his ERA is actually pretty good (3.04) in stark contrast to the rest of the staff. The Tribe have a 5.49 team ERA, and can’t seem to find a fifth starter with four different pitchers making at least one start in that position.
29. Oakland A’s (16-25) – The A’s offensive woes were anything but predictable considering they brought in Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi and Orlando Cabrera. It seems this may be the way the season goes for them, however, with no everyday starter hitting above .300.
30. Washington Nationals (13-30) – And it’s time for our favorite part of the Sober Rankings, guess how many errors the Nationals have? 45 errors in 43 games. That is correct, they still are making more than on error a game, and therefore are still on the level of a high school team.
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