Sober Rankings

1. New York Yankees (82-48) It’s no secret Derek Jeter is the glue that’s held the Yankees together since 1996, but Jeter’s August is worth an extra look. Jeter’s crushing it in August, batting .374 with six homers, 17 RBI and 23 runs.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (78-53) It’s been a weird season for Dodger starters. There hasn’t been one true #1 all season, but three different guys filled the role throughout the year. Chad Billingsley started 9-3, 2.83 ERA until June 20, where he passed the baton to Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw then had an astounding 5-1, 1.16 ERA performance until August 10. Finally, Randy Wolf has grasped the #1 role. Since August 11, he’s 4-0, 1.80 ERA. So the million dollar question is who the heck will be their #1 starter in the playoffs?

3. Los Angeles Angels (77-52) The Angels drop a spot in the rankings after a less than stellar past couple of weeks. The pick up of Scott Kazmir should be huge should he play the way he did in his last outing for the Rays.

4. Boston Red Sox (76-54) Here’s an interesting almost uncanny stat: Clay Buchholz is 3-0, 1.35 ERA against the Blue Jays this year, but a dreadful 0-3, 6.33 ERA against everyone else. The Sox are really starting to heat up again at the right time.

5. St Louis Cardinals (77-55) Boy has John Smoltz enjoyed his return to the NL. In his two games played he has a microscopic 0.82 ERA in 11 innings.

6. Philadelphia Phillies (75-53) Cliff Lee didn’t have a great outing Saturday. His first five starts for the Phils, he only gave up three earned runs with no homers given up. Saturday he gave up six earned runs and three home runs. Don’t panic yet fanatics… it’s only one game…

7. Texas Rangers (72-57) Ever heard of some guy named Scott Feldman? He’s the Ranger hurler who has the most wins (14) in the majors since April 25, tied with the likes of C.C. Sabathia and Justin Verlander.

8. Tampa Bay Rays (70-59) David Price is starting to live up to his first overall status. His last five games he’s trimmed his ERA to 3.37 averaging 6.1 IP per start compared to his 6.94 ERA and 4.2 IP the previous five starts.

9. San Francisco Giants (72-59) Say what you want about Barry Zito, but the numbers don’t lie. If he gets four runs or more of support, his record is 108-18. And how about those Giants? After losing three of four to the Rockies last week, they come back for the sweep this week and tie the wild card race up. What a race this is turning out to be.

10. Colorado Rockies (72-59) Just last week it felt like this team was going to run away with the wild card. After five straight losses, they find themselves tied with the Giants, and have given both the Braves and Marlins hope too.

11. Detroit Tigers (69-60) This team feels like an asterisk. They’re good, but they’re not that good. They’ll win the AL Central by default, but look at other teams in contention. The Rays and Rangers both are more deserving of a playoff berth than this team due to the toughness of their divisions.

12. Atlanta Braves (68-62) Suddenly the Braves are emerging as a legitimate contender for the wild card. Should the Braves make the playoffs, that would really scare the Dodgers who only went 3-4 against them this year.

13. Florida Marlins (68-62) With September rapidly approaching, the fish should be happy since they are in much need of going back to school. The fish are 4-8 with a 5.11 ERA during their last 12 games. They’ve lost 4.5 games in that stretch to the Phillies.

14. Seattle Mariners (68-63) The Mariners are still hanging around with just about 30 games left in the season. Absolutely wonderful turn around from last year, but they just don’t have enough to catch up to the teams ahead of them.

15. Chicago Cubs (65-63) Since Milton Bradley determined the friendly confines were unfriendly – and in his words “hateful” – Bradley is batting .550 with two home runs, five RBI and eight runs in five games.

16. Minnesota Twins (65-65) The Twins have gone 7-3 their last 10 games and only sit four games out first. They have a huge series against the White Sox, and then play struggling teams for two weeks after, so they really need to capitalize on their weak schedule during the next couple of weeks.

17. Milwaukee Brewers (64-66) The Brewers remaining schedule is quite tough. Only the Astros and Dbacks, both who have improved through the course of the season, are under .500, the rest of their games are against teams that are not only over .500, but in contention.

18. Chicago White Sox (64-67) If you didn’t know any better, you’d think this team was bottom-feeding Nats or Pirates based on Ozzie Guillen’s comments, but they’re still technically in the hunt for an AL Central crown as long as they can find some resemblance of power.

19. Houston Astros (62-68) Roy Oswalt’s 5.25 ERA in August has not exactly helped the Astros get back into the hunt, but then again, neither has Bud Norris or Brian Moehler.

20. Cleveland Indians (58-72) The Tribe have been getting inspired plate out of Andy Marte during his 10-game hitting streak. He hit .417 with three home runs and 12 RBI during his streak.

21. New York Mets (59-72) I don’t know what’s been scarier this month: Mike Pelfrey starting (5.10 ERA), Oliver Perez starting (5.64 ERA), K-Rod closing (7.15 ERA), Bobby Parnell starting (8.67 ERA) or Livan Hernandez starting (11.30 ERA) before they dealt him to his favorite place – Washington.

22. Oakland A’s (57-73) Andrew Bailey has emerged as the closer of the future. In August he is 2-0, has six saves and a 0.00 ERA. Quite dominating pitching out of the 25-year-old, we’ll see if he can keep it up.

23. Toronto Blue Jays (58-70) Pop Quiz! Name the only team to have a plus run differential with a losing record. The Jays fit that role even though they’ve lost 12 more games than they’ve won – geez. The stat holds up because the Jays have a 16-24 record in one-run games, while only recording a 5-11 record in games that go to extra innings.

24. Arizona Diamondbacks (59-72) The Dbacks recovered from a recent 1-9 stretch by going 4-0 the next four games. They’ll look to build upon this momentum against the Dodgers and Rockies this week as they assume their role of a legitimate spoiler.

25. Baltimore Orioles (54-77) Adam Jones (.209 BA) had a forgettable August. He needs to work up some momentum in September for next year. He needs to remember what it felt like to be an all-star performing at the highest level in the game.

26. San Diego Padres (56-76) The lowly Padres are at least good in close games this season. They’re actually 17-16 in one-run games and 7-5 in extra inning games. The problem for them is getting all the games close…

27. Cincinnati Reds (56-73) Bronson Arroyo has really pitched well as of late, but his performance has been wasted. He has a 1.99 ERA in August, yet the Reds haven’t given him any run support. He’s actually 1-2 in the month.

28. Kansas City Royals (50-80) Zack Grienke threw a complete game one hitter against the Mariners his last outing. This is probably the first positive for the Royals since April…

29. Pittsburgh Pirates (53-75) It would appear that beer is a pirate’s kryptonite. The Pirates have gone 0-21 at Miller Park their last 20 games with a dreadful 6.72 team ERA.

30. Washington Nationals (46-85) There’s 31 games left in the season for the Nats and they’re currently 30.5 games out of first, so technically they’re not eliminated yet…

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