Sober Rankings

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (46-24) – The Dodgers retain the best record in the league after another week. Manny Ramirez will start his rehab assignment tomorrow in Albuquerque before coming back to the Dodgers July 3 against the Padres. It was amazing to see two brothers compete against each other on Saturday when Jeff Weaver got his 97th career victory. The question for this team as we near the all star break is how many all stars will they send to St. Louis? Juan Pierre has been excellent in the lead off spot, Orlando Hudson has played superbly on offense and defense, and Casey Blake has been a reliable rock the Blue Crew could count on all season.

2. Boston Red Sox (42-27) – The month of June has been a more usual month for Big Papi. Ortiz is batting .308 with five home runs and 12 RBI. This is a big part of the reason the Sox have sprinted to a 13-5 record in the month. Another reason is the starting pitcher aside from Daisuke Matsuzaka has been on fire. Beckett, Lester, Penny and Wakefield are all on a roll, and the staff will only get stronger this Thursday when John Smoltz makes his first start of the season.

3. New York Yankees (38-31) – Losing four of six to the Nationals and Marlins was an unexpected road bump, and the team’s 9-10 record this month shows they’ve been a bit mediocre. Alex Rodriguez (batting .153 in June) was benched two games, but I’m not sure that’s how you motivate a fragile guy like that Mr. Girardi.

4. St Louis Cardinals (39-31) – The Cards jump into first in the NL Central for the first time in a while thanks to an impressive 5-1 week. During the week, the club has seen their offseason acquisition of Khalil Greene come through. He’s hit three home runs in eight at bats.

5. Detroit Tigers (38-31) – The Tigers had an impressive sweep over the Brewers, and are currently riding a four game winning streak. The emergence of Rick Porcello has been a key to the Tigers’ success. This team could be very dangerous in the playoffs will a combination of Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and now the rookie Rick Porcello.

6. Los Angeles Angels (36-31) – The Angels have enjoyed a swing against the NL West where they had a seven game winning streak at one point, and have now cut the Rangers lead down to 1/2 game. Chone Figgins has enjoyed the month of June as much as anyone batting .408, while scoring 18 runs in 18 games. He is the epitome of a lead off batter, with a .469 on base percentage in June.

7. Texas Rangers (37-31) – The Rangers have been struggling lately. Getting swept by the Giants was not supposed to happen for a team who could hit with the best of them, but maybe it proves the theory in that good pitching is more important than good hitting. With all the great hitters on the team, it’s quite surprising to know that Chris Davis is on a record-setting pace for most times striking out in a season. The 23-year-old has already eclipsed the 100 mark for the season.

8. Toronto Blue Jays (38-33) – Following a sweep of the Phillies up with losing two of three to the Nationals is not exactly what you would want if you’re a Jays fan. With that said, the team is still in the running for the AL East and gets a struggling Reds team and the Phillies again, this time at home.

9. San Francisco Giants (37-31) – The Giants swept their interleague rivals, were then swept by the Angels, but came back to sweep the Rangers this weekend. Confusing? Maybe a little, but one thing is for certain, this pitching staff is the best in baseball. Their 3.27 ERA in the month of June has kept this team in the race for a wild card.

10. Philadelphia Phillies (36-31) – The Phillies got bageled last week. They were 0-6. They had three blown saves, but also had poor starting pitching. The team’s ERA was 6.05 during this streak, which won’t get it done at any level.

11. Tampa Bay Rays (37-34) – The Rays are charging hard, and they may literally try stealing a playoff spot away from either the Red Sox or the Yankees for the second consecutive year. The Rays lead the majors with 110 steals, which is 40 more than second place!

12. Milwaukee Brewers (37-32) – The Brew Crew’s pitching has failed them during the past week even with a sweep of the Tribe. The team’s ERA is 8.24 in that time period. Braden Looper, Trevor Hoffman and Dave Bush all had over a 10 ERA last week.

13. Colorado Rockies (36-33) – Is it the end of 07 again or what? The Rockies have won 16 of their last 17 and look to be in contention for the wild card. The next few games will show us how good they really are. They go on a 10 day road trip to play the Angels and Dodgers with the A’s sandwiched in between.

14. Chicago Cubs (34-31) – Is it fool’s gold? Is it too good to be true? Whatever the answer is, nobody has gone on a more exciting four game winning streak than the cubbies. Three walk off victories, two against former Cub Kerry Wood. The Cubs scored 13 runs after the 8th inning during their three walk offs.

15. New York Mets (34-33) – The power numbers for the amazin’s has been a bit down this year. They have the second least number of home runs (43). Even though David Wright isn’t hitting homers at his normal pace, he has stayed consistent batting .389 in June

16. Seattle Mariners (35-34) – The Mariners pitching staff has been nothing short of sensational all season long, but especially in the month of June. The Mariners have a microscopic 2.37 ERA in June. They’ve been led by Felix Hernandez’s 1.19 ERA, 26 strikeouts and 2-0 record in that time.

17. Minnesota Twins (35-36) – A 3-3 home stand against the Pirates and Astros is just not good enough for a team who thinks they’re deserving of a playoff berth. Justin Morneau struggled a bit last week, yet remains at .320 for the season, and it’s no secret that every player goes on slumps and mini slumps from time to time.

18. Florida Marlins (35-36) – The fish are trying to get back into the NL East race with both the Phillies and Mets struggling the past couple of weeks. Going 3-3 against the Red Sox and Yankees is something they’ll be happy with. Three of the next four teams they play (Orioles, Nationals and Pirates) are under .500, so maybe they can get back in the race after all.

19. Cincinnati Reds (34-34) – The Saturday night loss on MLB Network has to sting. They blew a 5-0 lead on national t.v. in front of the likes of Bill Clinton, Hank Aaron and Muhammad Ali for the special civil rights game. The Reds are anxiously waiting for the return of Joey Votto.

20. Chicago White Sox (33-36) – The White Sox tried adding Jake Peavy a few months ago, but really need to add a bat to the middle of the lineup if they have any real chance of contending in a mediocre AL Central. Rookie Gordon Beckham had a great week batting .375. We’ll see if the former first rounder can give the Sox some extra pop.

21. Baltimore Orioles (32-37) – The Orioles won five in a row against the Mets and Phillies. Don’t they wish they were in the NL East instead of the AL East?! Or any other division for that matter? The team hit a healthy .307 last week in route to their 5-1 record.

22. Atlanta Braves (32-36) – It’s always tough every year to have Boston as your interleague rival. This is part of the reason people are so vehemently opposed to it – because it creates unfair, uneven schedules for teams like the Braves, while teams like the Cardinals get six against the Royals.

23. Houston Astros (32-35) – The Astros will take a 5-4 road trip, and now go home to take on the struggling Royals. Hunter Pence and Miguel Tejada are both batting .331, good for 9th in the majors. Wandy Rodriguez has really lost the stuff he started with a 5.87 ERA in June.

24. Pittsburgh Pirates (31-38) – Former 2006 batting champion Freddy Sanchez was dismissed by many as a fluke after having two bad seasons after winning the crown, but he is up at .319 again this season, so maybe he’s returning to 06 form.

25. Oakland A’s (30-38) – The A’s get the nod over the Padres based on winning 2 of 3 from the friars at Petco Park. The next few games will be tough, but at least they are in Oakland. The A’s will take on the Giants, who swept them earlier this year, and the Rockies, who are the hottest team in baseball.

26. San Diego Padres (30-38) – With Jake Peavy and Chris Young injured, the Padres are scrambling to find anyone they can throw in there. Tony Gwynn Jr. has played very well for the Padres, and may become a staple at Petco Park for years to come.

27. Kansas City Royals (29-39) – June has been an abysmal month for the Royals. They are 6-12 this month with a 5.25 ERA and a .251 team BA. June hasn’t been kind to Kyle Davies, he has a 7.59 ERA. The month has even been trying for Zack Greinke, who is 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA this month.

28. Cleveland Indians (29-42) – After getting swept by the Brewers and Cubs with three blown saves along the way, the Indians have to have a sour taste in their mouth. It’s especially sour since they scored 39 runs in that six game losing streak!

29. Arizona Diamondbacks (29-41) – The news for Brandon Webb keeps getting worse and worse. He keeps having setbacks every time he goes out there. This means the Dbacks will be a seller at the trade deadline. They won’t get rid of Dan Haren, but look for Doug Davis to be headed elsewhere and/or Jon Garland.

30. Washington Nationals (20-47) – The Nationals took four of six against the Blue Jays and Yankees. This is something to build upon for them. Unfortunately they meet Boston in Fenway next. This team is young and should definitely try to trade Adam Dunn to get more young talent before the trade deadline.

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