Sober Rankings

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (62-36) Nothing could ever be more exciting than watching Manny Ramirez go deep with the bases loaded, tie game, on his own bobble head night, and I would know since I was there! The crowd stood and chanted “Manny” the entire sixth inning, it was amazing, and Vin Scully even said on the Prime Ticket broadcast it was the loudest cheer he heard at Dodger Stadium since 1988.

2. New York Yankees (60-38) The Yankees are 9-1 their last 10 and have leaped over the Red Sox in first of the east. They go head-to-head with the Rays in Tampa this week, which should be a great indication of where each team stands. This series will give a great indication of who wants it more.

3. Boston Red Sox (57-40) The Sox have already made two minor trades, and rumor has it that they’re looking to make one more bigger trade. Could they pull the trigger on Halladay? What about Gonzalez? How about Victor Martinez? The problem seems to be each team will ask for way too much in return for the Red Sox to make a deal.

4. Los Angeles Angels (58-39) The Angels continue their hot play even without Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero. They seem content, at the moment, with their players, but may make a push for Halladay. Fighting off the Rangers is starting to become a lot harder than the Angels may have thought once they originally took first place away from them.

5. Philadelphia Phillies (56-40) The Blue Jays are really trying to bend the Phillies arm with these Halladay offers. The Phillies won’t take the bait. They did just win the World Series last year after all. The Phillies head west this week, where they’ve been a solid 10-7 this season.

6. Tampa Bay Rays (54-45) Only four games behind the pace for the wild card is pretty good at this point in the season, and the good news is the wild card comes from the same division so they’ll play again. The bad news is that the wild card happens to be the Boston Red Sox, who have been the best AL team most of the season. I would really like to see the Rays make a deal considering they do have money to spend, and could definitely use a pitching upgrade.

7. Texas Rangers (54-42) Speaking of pitching upgrades, how about those Texas Rangers? This team is a serious contender and they have enough bats in their lineup to trade one or two away for a strong #2 pitcher. Will they pull the trigger before Friday night?

8. Colorado Rockies (54-44) The Rockies now lead the wild card by two. They came out of the all star break gates swinging, winning 7 of 10 and now fly to the east to take on two teams struggling as much as anybody, the Mets and Reds.

9. Detroit Tigers (52-45) Tiger fans may have been a bit nervous for a little while with the White Sox charging up the standings, but the Tigers righted the ship by taking three of four from their rival. It’s also good news that the White Sox and Twins beat up on each other this week for Tiger fans.

10. Chicago Cubs (51-45) The Cubs are finally back in first place. It took a while, but they’ve gone 8-2 since the all-star break and seem to be clicking at the right time. They have two tough series this week against the Astros and Marlins, who have both been hot lately.

11. St Louis Cardinals (53-48) You have to admire the way the Cardinal front office is going after the playoffs this season. They’re doing everything they can to help this team make it back to the promise land, first by trading for Mark DeRosa, then Julio Lugo and now by trading for one of the best players in the game in Matt Holliday. Holliday is .636, while Lugo is a mere .571 in their four games since joining the team.

12. San Francisco Giants (52-46) The Giants need a bat more than any of the contending teams in either league. 3-7 their last 10 games is not a good sign for the rest of the season. If things don’t go well in their four game series in Philly, they may be finished.

13. Atlanta Braves (51-48) The Braves are only 3.5 games out of the wild card and are in need of bat before the trade deadline. They’ve been playing great lately, but sorely miss a power threat considering Chipper Jones (12 HR) has the most on the team.

14. Florida Marlins (51-48) The Marlin front office is just unbelievable. They should win executives of the year every season. Their payroll is a measly $36 million, the lowest in all of baseball, and yet they still contend each season. They’re not going to make a trade, but it would be nice to see Hanley Ramirez get some help.

15. Seattle Mariners (51-47) It’s never a good thing for a team in contention to get swept by a team 20 games under .500 at home. That’s exactly what happened to the Mariners this weekend against Cleveland. Russell Branyan continues his hot play leading the team in HR, RBI, Runs and OPS.

16. Chicago White Sox (51-48) How do you follow up a perfect game that gets your team tied for first place? Losing three of four to the team you just tied should not, I repeat should not be the answer. Unfortunately for Ozzie’s boys that was the answer, but at least Mark Buerhle goes again tomorrow, so they have that going for them.

17. Houston Astros (50-48) The Astros get a chance to prove they are for real this week. They will visit the Cubs in Chicago and then the Cards in St. Louis. If they can get out of this stretch at 4-2 that would be a great statement.

18. Milwaukee Brewers (49-49) The Brew Crew is fading a bit. They’re 4-6 their last 10, and have fallen to fourth in the NL Central. With that said, they’re still only three games back and have the easiest seven game stretch in recent memory, a four gamer with the Nats and three with the Padres.

19. Minnesota Twins (49-50) The Twins may either get themselves into first, or fall completely out of the race the next two weeks. They have a series with the White Sox, Angels and Tigers on the horizon.

20. Toronto Blue Jays (48-51) It seems the only thing worth mentioning nowadays when Toronto is concerned is the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. So will he go? Can they possibly trade him before his contract year?

21. New York Mets (46-51) Stat of the day: each team with the highest payroll in their division is leading their division… except for… of course the Mets. Baseball is the one sport where you can usually pay your way to the playoffs and this stat has got to be discouraging to all Met fans and especially Omar Minaya.

22. Baltimore Orioles (42-55) The Orioles went 1-5 against the Red Sox and Yankees last week, and get a much needed four game break against the Royals. This team probably won’t be a seller unless they deal Aubrey Huff since most of their talent is so young.

23. Cincinnati Reds (44-53) Everything seems to be falling apart for Dusty’s crew, but at least they can change the momentum against the Padres this week. Look for Bronson Arroyo to possibly be dealt.

24. Pittsburgh Pirates (43-55) Could the Pirates deal Zack Duke? It seems very possible, remember – they have gotten rid of everyone else who has been a great player in their organization. Could you imagine how Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez would feel after that? They should both refuse to play the rest of the season!

25. Arizona Diamondbacks (43-56) Jon Garland has not been talked about much lately with regards to trade rumors, but should still draw interest from maybe the Rockies or Brewers. Doug Davis could also potentially be trade bait for a team in need of a solid pitcher.

26. Oakland A’s (41-56) The inevitable has happened, the A’s dealt rental player Matt Holliday to the red birds. The A’s get three prospects from the Cardinal farm system they thought very highly of, and will look to rebuild for next season.

27. Cleveland Indians (41-58) The Tribe have actually put together a four game winning streak, but it should end very shortly considering the play two division leaders this week. The big question for them now is will they trade Cliff Lee or Victor Martinez before the trade deadline? Neither seems likely to me, but they, much like Toronto will be listening to all offers.

28. Kansas City Royals (38-59) It seemed like the trendy pick at the beginning of the year to take the Royals, buy they have once again plummeted to their usual place in the central cellar. Even Zack Greinke can’t stop the bleeding, he still has a 2.04 ERA and has only given up seven earned runs in his last four games, but has an 0-3 record in that span.

29. San Diego Padres (38-61) Even though they’re still 7.5 up on the Nats, they almost came in last this week after losing two of three from the worst team in baseball. Adrian Gonzalez to Boston rumors are beginning to heat up, but don’t look for the Padres to deal their only recognizable player unless they can get a good five players for him.

30. Washington Nationals (30-68) The good news is the team’s on a two game winning streak. The bad news is Stephen Strasburg remains unsigned, and this team really could be in the cellar of the east for years to come without spending money or having the right tools within the farm system to compete with the likes of the Phillies.

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