Sober Rankings

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (35-17) – The Dodgers 20-9 record in May is the club’s best record since 1962. The Dodgers remain among the league leaders in both offensive and pitching categories. They’re batting an MLB best .287, while pitching an NL best 3.77. The Dodgers also lead the NL in runs scored (279), RBI (264), and total hits (508).

2. New York Yankees (29-21) – The Yankees have capitalized on two poor streaks by the Red Sox and Blue Jays taking over first place in the AL East for the first time this season. The last person you think about in the Yankees lineup is Robinson Cano, but he has been the most consistent hitter all year long, batting .314. Xavier Nady finally came back from the DL giving the Yankees just another bat they needed…

3. Boston Red Sox (29-22) – The debut of the new Red Sox lineup started with a bang. Eight runs were scored on the Blue Jays. With that said, Boston’s pitching staff has not been meeting expectations so far. They only have a 4.46 team ERA, and when Tim Wakefield’s 4.55 ERA is leading the starting staff… you know you’re not in good shape.

4. Texas Rangers (30-20) – The bombs keep flying. The Rangers lead the league in home runs with 83. Meanwhile, the pitching keeps progressing. Brandon McCarthy has come out of nowhere to improve his record to 5-2, while his ERA has dropped nearly two full runs to 4.35. McCarthy only gave up one run in his last two outings, while picking up two wins.

5. Philadelphia Phillies (28-20) – Ryan Howard is stepping his game up, hitting four home runs in the last seven days, while also plating four runs, nine RBI, and… I probably don’t have to tell you this, but… you guessed it… one stolen base! The Phillies lead the NL in home runs (68), slugging percentage (.466) and OPS (.811). The Phillies also have the least errors in the majors.

6. Milwaukee Brewers (30-20) – Trevor Hoffman continues to have his dream season. He still has a 0.00 ERA, accumulating 13 more saves to add to the record in the process. Yovani Gallardo is just a stud… there’s no other way to say it. Gallardo has the seventh most strike outs (65) in the NL leading his team in strike outs, ERA and wins.

7. Detroit Tigers (28-21) – Miguel Cabrera, batting .355 continues to be the reason why the Tigers are doing so well to go along with some timely pitching. The Tigers had a 3.57 ERA in the month of May, the best in the AL. Justin Verlander had five wins and recorded a 1.52 ERA, while Edwin Jackson had four victories of his own and a 2.34 ERA. 20-year-old Rick Porcello came out of nowhere with five wins in five starts and a 1.50 ERA in the month.

8. Toronto Blue Jays (29-24) – During this recent Blue period for the Jays and their fans, the pitching has fallen apart. During the last seven days, the team has a 6.24 ERA. The Blue Jays will hope this is just a rough patch they can overcome because the still have 30 quality starts this season, the most in the majors.

9. St Louis Cardinals (29-21) – The Cardinals just remain consistently good every year. It doesn’t hurt to have Albert Pujols going crazy, of course, but last week the pitching was dominate. They had a 2.39 ERA for the week. Chris Carpenter is coming back strong, he’s 3-0 with a microscopic 0.62 ERA.

10. New York Mets (28-21) – Carlos Beltran’s power numbers are down a bit, but he does have the best batting average in the NL. David Wright is also batting a healthy .333, yet he only has three home runs, half of Beltran’s. This means Beltran + Wright * 2 is still less than Adrian Gonzalez!

11. Cincinnati Reds (26-23) – The Reds can’t afford to lose Joey Votto for too long even though they’re playing great baseball lately. Votto leads the NL with a .357 BA. The pitching may be able to deal with the departure of Votto for a short time though. Johnny Cueto is pitching lights out with a 2.53 ERA, Bronson Arroyo has contributed seven wins and Aaron Harang has the tenth most strike outs in the NL with 61.

12. Chicago Cubs (25-24) – The Cubbies aren’t playing too well lately, but still remain in striking distance for the NL Central crown. The bats are really faltering. Their team BA has dropped to .251 now, which is 24th in the league. Who thought a lineup featuring Derek Lee, Milton Bradley, Alfonzo Soriano and company would be hitting so poorly?

13. Los Angeles Angels (25-24) – During the last week, the pitching, which usually is the catalyst for success for the Angels has failed them. Ervin Santana had a 21.32 ERA in the two games he pitched last week, while Brian Fuentes blew a three run lead in the ninth.

14. Minnesota Twins (25-27) – Who else would I talk about other than the M&M boys on this team? Joe Mauer, hit .414 in the month of May with 11 home runs and 32 RBI. Player of the month may be due to Mauer. Meanwhile, Justin Morneau hit .361 with 9 home runs and 28 RBI himself.

15. Chicago White Sox (24-25) – The White Sox offense has been on a tear this past week, hitting .335, scoring 45 runs on 45 RBI (both the most in MLB over that time.) That’s quite the contrast with the team BA for the total season of .257, and total runs scored (212), which is 24th in the league.

16. Tampa Bay Rays (25-28) – The Ray offense is surely not letting them down. They have scored 294 runs this season, the most in the majors, and have 279 RBI, also the most in the league. When you’re under .500, if one thing is working, the other can’t be, right? That’s absolutely correct. The pitching staff has a 4.67 ERA. The team has gone 2-5 since getting back to .500.

17. San Francisco Giants (25-24) – The Giants have pitched lights out the last seven days, going 5-1 in that stretch. The total team ERA is 2.17 during that time span. Tim Lincecum had a great outing, but what else is new for last year’s Cy Young winner?

18. San Diego Padres (25-25) – Has there ever been anyone under the radar as much as Adrian Gonzalez? This guy is literally carrying this team on his back. He’s got 20 home runs already to go along with 40 RBI. Those 20 home runs are only six less than the entire Giant team!

19. Kansas City Royals (23-27) – The Royals pitching continues its downward spiral. Zack Greinke is over a 1 ERA for the first time, but the rest of the staff is a major concern. The Royals had a 6.33 team ERA last week, and have now fallen from the best ERA in the league to 10th.

20. Atlanta Braves (25-25) – Rafael Soriano had a great May with a 1.54 ERA. The team ERA is now 4.11, good for ninth in the league, while the team BA is .262. Nothing too special either side, just about average, and oh look, their record is exactly that.

21. Baltimore Orioles (23-28) – The Orioles hit 11 home runs in the past week led by Luke Scott, who has six of those home runs and 14 RBI in that span. The pitching also stepped it up last week with a 3.18 ERA, which was the second best in the AL.

22. Seattle Mariners (24-27) – The Mariners bats are finally starting to come alive. Ichiro Suzuki is having another great season putting the ball in play. He has a .354 BA, good for fourth in the majors. This team may be able to get back into the AL West hunt as long as the bats can keep producing.

23. Florida Marlins (23-28) – If you thought the Marlins .244 team BA was bad, the 4.68 team ERA is even worse considering has well they started. At least Hanley Ramirez is living up to his potential. He had a .359 BA in the month of May.

24. Cleveland Indians (22-30) – The Tribe find themselves a little bit higher in the Sober Rankings than usual. Maybe it’s a bit because of my feeling they have to get better at some point, but maybe it’s also because the team below them are even worse. This 5-2 stretch may be fool’s gold, or it may be a sign of things to come. Cleveland needs all the good news they can get after the Cavs crashed out of the NBA playoffs.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates (22-28) – Did anyone see the Pirates parrot shoot a hot dog up into the press box before the game this week? The announcer in the booth caught in on the fly, and it was quite remarkable. Any way they can sign the parrot to a 10 day contract? He’s got to be accurate, and he might have a big arm…

26. Arizona Diamondbacks (22-29) – Dan Haren’s 2.54 ERA is the fifth best in the NL. He also has 71 strike outs, which is sixth in the NL, yet he is only 4-4 this season. That’s because the bats in his lineup are just downright awful.

27. Houston Astros (20-28) – Miguel Tejada, Hunter Pence, and Carlos Lee are actually all performing well enough to win. The problem is, the unquestionable leader, Lance Berkman, is batting a discouraging .230 and the power numbers for the entire team are lacking.

28. Colorado Rockies (20-29) – Two NL West managers have now been fired. Clint Hurdle, who won the NL just two years ago is now jobless. I’m not sure what the Rockies management is thinking. They do realize they let their best player, Matt Holliday go, don’t they?

29. Oakland A’s (19-29) – The A’s are just happy the Nationals exist. Otherwise they would be the laughing stock of the league this season. The .241 team BA is pathetic and embarrassing. Also their .355 slugging percentage (worst in MLB) is quite a problem.

30. Washington Nationals (13-36) – I’ll semi-ignore their 48 errors in 48 games (an improvement from last week), and focus on Adam Dunn’s four home runs and nine RBI in the last week. Dunn is quietly putting together an excellent season. He’s batting .276 (up 28 points from his career BA) with 16 home runs and 42 RBI.

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