Sober Rankings

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (39-20) – When you have baseball’s best ERA (3.63) and baseball’s best BA (.280), there’s probably a good chance you’re going to have the best record. Andre Eithier’s bat is starting to come alive again, which is huge for the men in blue. Eithier had two walk off hits against the defending champion Phillies.

2. New York Yankees (33-23) – Mark Teixiera has bounced back nicely from his abysmal .200 BA in April to raise his to .286 now. Teixiera leads the Yankees in home runs and RBI. Nick Swisher has kind of had a roller coaster ride in New York. His first eight games he hit .455, his next 35 games he only hit .175, but his last 12 games he’s hit .353.

3. Boston Red Sox (33-24) – The Red Sox lost their first series in Fenway against the Rangers since 1997. With that said, this is obviously a different Ranger team. Daisuke Matsuzaka is a major concern. He’s 1-4 with a 7.33 ERA. Big Papi is still hitting under .200, but at least he went .300 last week and doubled his season’s home runs to two.

4. Philadelphia Phillies (33-22) – The Phillies should feel good about themselves considering they very well could have swept the Dodgers in L.A, but lost on two Andre Eithier walk off hits. The Phillies lead the NL in home runs (78) and RBI (290). Raul Ibanez is leading the team with three former MVP’s in home runs, BA and RBI.

5. Texas Rangers (33-23) – Everyone knows about Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler, but what Nelson Cruz has done in his last 18 games – 10 home runs and 20 RBI – is the most in the majors in that time period. Cruz (17 homers) actually leads the team with the most homers in MLB. Who would’ve guessed that?

6. Toronto Blue Jays (32-27) – It seems like Roy Halladay could legitimately win the Cy Young every year, but compare his first 13 starts from this year with 2003, the year he won it. In ’03, Halladay was 7-2 with a 4.40 ERA, 69 strikeouts and one complete game. This year he is 10-1 with a 2.52 ERA, 88 strikeouts and three complete games.

7. Milwaukee Brewers (33-24) – The Brewers continue to play consistently well as a team. The Brew crew are led by their 67 home runs, which is second best in the NL. Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are doing the heavy lifting, but Mike Cameron is also contributing to the power. These three have contributed 39 of those homers.

8. New York Mets (30-25) – Livan Hernandez’s win against his former team was nothing new Sunday. Hernandez is 7-0 with a 2.47 ERA against the Nationals. Pitching well against everybody is Johan Santana whose 2.00 ERA leads the NL. Francisco Rodriguez hasn’t blown a save all season, but J.J. Putz (5.22 ERA) hasn’t met expectations so far.

9. St Louis Cardinals (31-26) – Albert Pujols leads the majors in everyone’s new favorite stat, on base plus slugging percentage, with a ridiculous 1.137. He’s also third in the NL in home runs (18) and RBI (51). The problem is the rest of the Cardinals are struggling to hit homers, none have made it to double digits yet.

10. Detroit Tigers (30-25) – Miguel Cabrera’s power numbers aren’t exactly as high as the leaders in the league, but his batting average is third best in the majors. He also still leads the team in slugging percentage, but Curtis Granderson and Brandon Inge have unexpectedly hit more long balls.

11. Chicago Cubs (28-26) – Alfonso Soriano hit his 14th career lead off home run this weekend, which is second most in baseball history. The Cubbies offense (.235 BA) has played poorly, but the pitching (1.78 ERA) has picked them up in the last week, allowing them to go 3-2.

12. Tampa Bay Rays (29-29) – How are the Rays getting back into the thick of things? That’s easy, they’re finally starting to pitch well again. In the past week, the team’s ERA was 2.45. The Rays went 4-1 last week because of that. The starters only gave up four earned runs in 34.1 IP.

13. Los Angeles Angels (28-27) – That Angel bullpen has been quite a problem that Mike Scioscia hasn’t had to deal with in the past. The bullpen’s ERA is an AL worst 5.87. Jose Arredondo and Jason Bulger combined to give up six runs in two innings Sunday.

14. San Francisco Giants (29-26) – The Giants had a rare power burst this past week hitting .275, while the pitching continued to shut down the opposing teams. Randy Johnson recorded his 300th career victory in front of a tiny crowd in Washington that seemed to be rooting for the Giants more than the poor Nats.

15. Cincinnati Reds (29-27) – The Reds are just hanging around after two months. The team ERA is a 3.75, which is good for sixth in the majors. Johnny Cueto continues to impress with his 2.43 ERA and a victory this past week.

16. Minnesota Twins (28-30) – If you thought Joe Mauer’s ridiculous streak was going to level out, think again. Mauer hit .391 last week and is still over .400 for the season. Mauer also has 35 RBI in 34 games played. Meanwhile, Justin Morneau’s 52 RBI in 58 games is not too shabby either.

17. Atlanta Braves (27-28) – It’s been an eventful week for the Braves to say the very least. First, starting with the PR nightmare of letting Tom Glavine go, who has done everything asked of him for that franchise. Juxtapose that with the signing of Nate McLouth just hours later. McLouth will make $15.75 million over the next three years, while Glavine was only due $1 million. That raised many eyebrows across the league. Chipper Jones hit .500 in his last six games with three home runs and 11 RBI.

18. Seattle Mariners (28-29) – The Mariners pitching staff led the majors with a 1.47 ERA last week against two pretty good offenses in the Orioles and Twins. Erik Bedard recorded two victories, while the bullpen only gave up one run in 18.1 IP all week

19. Chicago White Sox (26-30) – The White Sox have been terrible at getting runners in scoring position across the plate. Let’s look at last week as an example. During the past six games they were 2-39, in the weekend series against the Indians they were 2-21 and Sunday they were 1-11.

20. Oakland A’s (25-30) – The A’s have made a significant jump in this week’s Sober rankings. That’s because they’re 7-3 their last 10 games, and are currently on a six game winning streak. The question is… is this a sign of things to come? Are they finally meeting expectations? Or is this just a nice mirage under the scorching hot desert sun?

21. Florida Marlins (27-31) – The Marlins have gone from major surprise to major disappointment in just two months. They lead the league in strikeouts. Their hitters have struck out 487 times, while their team BA ranks third worst in the NL.

22. San Diego Padres (26-30) – Believe it or not, yesterday’s 18 inning marathon against the Diamondbacks was nothing new for the Padres. Since 2008, San Diego has seen four 16+ inning games. The rest of the league has only seen one such game in that time.

23. Pittsburgh Pirates (26-30) – Jason Bay, Xavier Nady and Nate McLouth. Pirate fans, that could be your outfield right now. Instead your team just traded the third man, in what could have been the best outfield in baseball. If you’re a Pirate fan though, look at the bright side, you’re only four under .500.

24. Houston Astros (25-30) – You can always make fun of a team because they’re old, but how about those Astros? They’ve been caught stealing 22 times this year. Call it what you want, either age or stupidity, but it’s never good to get your base runners thrown out that many times.

25. Kansas City Royals (24-32) – What has happened to the Royals? Even Zach Greinke couldn’t stop the bleeding this weekend when he gave up five runs in five innings. The Royals are starting to look similar to the Marlins, a team with no expectations that started out well, and has now crashed straight down. Their one first place ERA, was 5.69 last week.

26. Baltimore Orioles (24-33) – Getting swept by the Oakland A’s is never good, and giving up 21 runs in route to being swept is even worse. None of the three game set was even close because Oakland pitching shut down the O’s.

27. Arizona Diamondbacks (25-32) – Maybe all their games should go into extra innings. The Dbacks are 6-2 in extra inning games this season. Unfortunately for Dan Haren, however, this game happened to be another blown save on another excellent start where he only gave up one run in seven innings. A word of advice to Mr. Haren: maybe you’re going to have to start being Roy Halladay and just throw a complete game every time you step out on the mound!

28. Colorado Rockies (24-32) – The Rockies completed the four game sweep of the Cardinals Sunday, and now have a five game winning streak overall. Has Jim Tracy found something that may continue working further on down the road? In the five game winning streak the Rockies scored 43 runs!

29. Cleveland Indians (25-34) – Shhhh! The Tribe is still only seven games out… that’s it. And maybe, just maybe, Carl Pavano is back. He pitched a complete game shutout last week. Cliff Lee also had a great performance, going eight innings with only giving up one run. The big question now remains, do they have any other pitchers who can step their games up?

30. Washington Nationals (15-40) – It’s supposedly a given that every team is going to win 50 games and lose 50 games. What you do the rest of the way is what kind of team you are. I’m worried the Nationals won’t even be able to get the token 50 games this year. I wonder what the Vegas line is on them winning 50 games…

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