Sober Rankings

1. New York Yankees (78-46) The numbers for A.J. Burnett at Fenway Park have changed a lot the last two seasons. As a Blue Jay, the hurler was 3-0 with a .40 ERA in 22.2 IP, while as a Yank, Burnett is 0-2 with a 14.21 ERA in 12.2 IP.

2. Los Angeles Angels (74-48) Kendry Morales has really come of age for the Halos this season. He already has 27 homers with 40 games to play this season compared to just 12 homers his first three seasons combined.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (74-51) The acquisition of George Sherrill has been key. Sherrill has pitched 11.2 innings without giving up a single earned run. He even recorded his first save Saturday.

4. Philadelphia Phillies (71-50) J.A. Happ’s been the road warrior this season (6-1). His microscopic 1.72 road ERA is the best in the majors among anyone who has pitched more than 40 innings.

5. St Louis Cardinals (72-54) John Smoltz had an un-Bostonlike start for the Cardinals Sunday afternoon. Smoltz went five innings without giving up a run… but don’t get too excited… it was against the anemic Padre offense.

6. Boston Red Sox (70-53) It’s not often you see this in the box score: 8 IP, 5 strikeouts, 120 pitches, and what’s that…9 hits, 8 ER, 5 HR??? It can’t be… This was the pain Red Sox fans had to endure though on national television against the Yankees of all teams. Not cool Tito, not cool, but at least you proved a point, what that point is I’m not quite sure, but Beckett will go 8 innings any day.

7. Texas Rangers (69-54) The Rangers salvaged (and i do mean salvaged) the last game of the series against the Rays. Had they lost, the two teams would have been tied in the wild card race behind Boston, but the Rangers kept within one game of the Sox, while dropping the Rays two games behind them.

8. Tampa Bay Rays (67-56) Carlos Pena is slugging an astounding number of home runs per at bat this season. When he connects for a hit, 37% of the time it’s a homer. That’s the most in the last 10 years other than Barry Bonds in 2001 who had just less than 47% homers per hit.

9. Colorado Rockies (70-54) Clint Barmes’ resurgence in the rocky mountains has gone quite unnoticed. He’s smashed a career-high 20 homers this season compared to only 18 homers his previous three years.

10. Detroit Tigers (65-58) The Tigers have a big series against the Angels in “Los Angeles” and then go home where they’ll be more than happy to go. The Tigers have gone 40-20 at home this season, while only going 25-37 on the road. Talk about a different team.

11. San Francisco Giants (67-57) Ryan Garko’s bat has finally awakened. The slugger had two homers and four RBI Saturday night. The Giants will need him to perform if they have any chance of staying even with the Rockies.

12. Atlanta Braves (66-58) The Braves can really make a run at first this week. They start off with the bottom-feeding Padres for three games and then will visit the Phillies. If the Braves could pull of a 6-0 week, it just might be enough to put pressure on the defending champions, but I wouldn’t count on that happening.

13. Chicago White Sox (63-61) Here’s an unfathomable stat. Since Mark Buerhle’s perfect game, the White Sox ace has gone 0-4 and has seen his ERA jump 64 points higher.

14. Florida Marlins (65-59) Even though the August ERA (4.73) has been bad, the Marlin bats are keeping them in the playoff hunt. The bats have hit .307 in that time period with 24 HR and 111 RBI in 20 games.

15. Chicago Cubs (62-60) The Cubs just avoided an embarrassing one win week thanks to a solid pitching performance by Ryan Dempster. In their five losses last week, the Cubbies only plated seven runs, while the opposition crossed the plate 21 times.

16. Seattle Mariners (63-61) The Mariners have quietly put together an amazing season for a team that only won 61 games all of last year, and they keep making moves that makes you think they may be able to contend in the future. Everyone knows about their Ian Snell, Jack Wilson deal, but did anyone notice they just signed Bill Hall to a deal?

17. Minnesota Twins (61-63) The Twins had a real rare occurrence in their victory Saturday night against the Royals. Joe Nathan did not get the save in the game. It was only the 14th time since 04 somebody other than him got a save for the Twins. Matt Guerrier got his fourth save since 04.

18. Milwaukee Brewers (60-63) The Brewers have a 5.75 team ERA since the all-star break. Not good at all, and last week, the ERA was even worse. The Brew crew had a 6.35 ERA.

19. Houston Astros (61-63) The starting pitching aside from Wandy Rodriguez and Roy Oswalt (who has had a mediocre season by his standards) has been dreadful. The third-best starting ERA on the team is a 5.29, so the three other starters they’ve used more than 10 times have even worse ERA’s.

20. Toronto Blue Jays (57-65) Adam Lind is playing like a future all-star. The DH is doing everything at the plate for the Jays hitting for average (.300) and hitting for power (25 HR and 79 RBI).

21. New York Mets (57-67) The Mets are batting .284 against leftys and .264 against rightys this season. Problem is, most of the pitchers are right-handed. The Mets have faced right-handers 2,000 times more than left-handers.

22. Oakland A’s (55-68) Brett Tomko has been a pleasant surprise in Oakland. In two starts, Tomko has only given up one earned run in 11 innings and has a 2-0 record.

23. Cleveland Indians (54-69) The Tribe are showing some signs of life post all-star break. The pitching staff has a 3.92 ERA since the all-star game compared to a 5.40 ERA before, while the hitters have a .283 BA compared to a dismal .260 before the break. This all added up to a 19-15 record so far.

24. Arizona Diamondbacks (55-70) The Dbacks were making a push for a while, but suffered a major setback last week. They went 1-6 for the week only scoring 18 runs in their seven games.

25. Baltimore Orioles (51-73) Nick Markakis has quietly put together an excellent second half. The O’s slugger is batting .351 with seven homers and 28 RBI. Adam Jones has done the opposite. Since he hit in the game winning run at the mid-summer classic, he’s only hitting .230.

26. San Diego Padres (52-74) Getting shutout by the broken-down aging pitcher John Smoltz could not have been a good feeling for the Friars. Clayton Richard (3-0, 3.67) seems like a solid pick up so far.

27. Cincinnati Reds (52-71) The Reds have scored the fewest runs, the worst BA (.217) and the least RBI in the majors since the all-star break.

28. Pittsburgh Pirates (51-72) As poor as a team as the buccos are, you’d never believe they actually have a winning record at home. They’re 33-28 at PNC, but a pathetic 18-44 away.

29. Kansas City Royals (47-76) Every month you can count on one thing: the Royals ERA “movin’ on up”. In April they had a 3.62 ERA, May – 4.57, June – 4.60, July – 5.25, and in August – 6.05. I don’t think KC fans want to stick around to see what happens in September…

30. Washington Nationals (44-80) For one week I won’t focus on the Nats inadequacies, rather I’ll celebrate their impressive August. The Nats are 12-9 this month and have actually gone 18-19 since the all-star game. Not bad for a team 36 games under.

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