Sober Rankings

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (58-34) The Dodgers rebounded nicely winning the last two games against the Astros after losing their first two games of the series. The long-awaited return of Jason Schmidt is finally over. Schmidt makes his first start since June 16, 2007 today.

2. Boston Red Sox (55-36) The Sox barely nip out the Yanks this week, only leading the Bronx Bombers by one game now. You’ve got to wonder what the plan is for Clay Buchholz, who has looked like a legitimate starting pitcher every time he’s been called up to the majors.

3. New York Yankees (54-37) The three game sweep of the AL Central leading Tigers only proves how great the AL East really is. In all seriousness, this division should get three teams in the playoffs. The Yankees are only one game behind the Red Sox with an 0-8 record head to head, by the law of averages that has to change at some point!

4. Tampa Bay Rays (51-41) The Rays keep closing in on the AL East lead, but this week will first travel to a hot White Sox team and Toronto before a three game showdown in Tampa with the Yankees.

5. Los Angeles Angels (52-38) The Angels continue their hot streak. The nine inning shutout of the A’s for John Lackey was a much needed performance for the struggling ace. The Angels will do battle with the central for the next two weeks.

6. Philadelphia Phillies (51-38) The Phillies have won eight games in a row and are running away with the east. The Phillies will be tested this week with a series against the Cardinals and Cubs at home, where at (22-23) they’ve actually struggled.

7. St Louis Cardinals (51-43) The Cards are clinging to a two game lead in the central over their rivals. In all honesty, if the Cubs play the way they’re supposed to, I don’t see this team holding on. We’ll see what the Cards are made of the next two weeks. They play a streaking Astros team, and the two best teams in the NL, the Dodgers and Phillies.

8. Texas Rangers (49-41) The Rangers are still hanging tough out west. They are 18-8 in division this year, if that holds up, they’ll be in the race all season long.

9. San Francisco Giants (50-41) As if their offense wasn’t already a concern, only scoring four runs in three games against the Pirates may give them a real panic attack to deal for a bat asap.

10. Colorado Rockies (50-42) The Rockies are only 1/2 game out of the wild card. For them to win the wild card, they will have to improve in close games. They are only 11-14 in one run games, and a discouraging 0-4 in extra inning games.

11. Detroit Tigers (48-42) Giving three games back to the White Sox and Twins to start the second half was not exactly what the Tigers were looking for. This race will be real competitive going down the stretch.

12. Chicago Cubs (47-43) After winning four consecutive games the Cubbies are finally starting to show some life. Alfonso Soriano has been great in the 11 games since he was moved out of the leadoff spot. He’s batted .333 with two homers and six RBI in that span.

13. Seattle Mariners (49-43) The Mariners have been the kings of the one-run game this year. They’ve already played in 34 one-run games, winning 21. At only four games out in the west, this team has to have confidence knowing they can handle pressure situations since they’ve dealt with them so often.

14. Minnesota Twins (47-45) All-star Joe Mauer has clearly led his team the whole season, so I don’t necessarily want to point this out about yesterday’s game, but it’s quite an interesting stat this late in the season. Mauer’s BA went down nine points after going 0-6 for the first time in his career. His BA is only .358 now.

15. Chicago White Sox (47-44) One thing’s for certain, at least President Barack Obama endorses them after rocking the White Sox jacket at St. Louis for the all-star game. Obama’s team has a real trying next two weeks. They play the Yankees, Tigers, Rays, Twins and Angels. C’mon Chicago, you couldn’t schedule the Red Sox somewhere in there?

16. Toronto Blue Jays (46-47) Roy Halladay threw another complete game this weekend against the first place Red Sox. He and his 29 complete games since 2005 is the most in that time in the majors. He has a six game lead over C.C. Sabathia, and has more than double the third place in that category.

17. Milwaukee Brewers (47-45) If there was any concern about Prince Fielder losing his swing because of the home run derby… forget about it. Prince Fielder’s 23 home run derby homers actually jump started his second half. He immediately hit a home run in his first game after the all-star break.

18. Atlanta Braves (46-46) The Braves are playing lower than .500 ball against everybody, but the only division that matters, their own. They are 19-13 against the east, yet six games under against everyone else.

19. Houston Astros (46-46) The Astros are a discouraging 17-24 against their division this year. They have no excuse considering their division is really one of the weakest in baseball.

20. Florida Marlins (46-47) The second half didn’t start out too well, losing three straight to the first place Phillies. Florida heads out west this week to take on the struggling Padres and the soaring Dodgers.

21. Cincinnati Reds (44-47) It’s been an average year for the pitching staff and bats in Cincy. Finding themselves at three games under this late in the season is solid, but a trip to L.A. may see them dropping to six under.

22. New York Mets (43-48) This team is so disappointing, there’s no other way to say it. They only hit a home run as a team once every 58.2 at bats, by far the worst in the league.

23. Baltimore Orioles (41-50) The Orioles more often than not get fried under the summer sun. They are 9-17 this year in day games, while recording a solid 32-33 record during the night. My advice: pull a Texas Ranger and start playing home games at nighttime on Sundays. Sure it may not be as hot it Baltimore as Texas, but look at your record. The “heat” must be affecting your play. Call Bud Selig right now so you can make the change.

24. Pittsburgh Pirates (40-51) Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson both turned down contract extensions from Pittsburgh. It’s never good when your two best everyday players don’t even want to stay in town, but who could blame them with every good player in the organization getting traded aside from them.

25. Oakland A’s (38-52) Maybe the A’s should relocate out of the west. They’re a pathetic 9-17 in the west, while going 24-22 against the AL east and central. Also, try to avoid the NL at all costs possible too, they went 5-13 in interleague play this year.

26. Arizona Diamondbacks (39-53) To keep with the theme of relocating, maybe the D’backs should relocate to the NL East where they are 9-8 this season, of course who wouldn’t want to go to a division where there’s only one good team?

27. San Diego Padres (37-55) The Padres are surprisingly 14-13 in one-run games this season. Pretty good for a team 18 games under .500. Another interesting factoid for the friars… they’re 18-19 against left-handed pitching… if only they could always face lefties.

28. Kansas City Royals (37-54) As if things could get any worse for the Royals. They were in position to sweep their weekend series with the Rays, but blew the save in the 8th inning three games in a row, which actually led to them being swept!

29. Cleveland Indians (36-57) 21 games under .500. Wow, didn’t anyone see this team playing this badly? I can’t even say something like they’re still only 13.5 games out because they’ve become just too embarrassing.

30. Washington Nationals (26-65) They’re only nine games back from being the second worst team in baseball…umm…wow! Could this team be any worse? Is Stephen Strasburg even going to sign?

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