Team (Current Record|Last Week's Ranking)
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (45-24|1)—Manny Ramirez starts to play in the minors soon. Will he jive with the Dodgers when he comes back? Casey Blake has been playing All-Star caliber (.308/8 RBI last week) as have Matt Kemp and Orlando Hudson.
Chad Billingsley has continued his phenomenal season while Jeff won the battle of the brothers Weaver. The Dodgers lead the National League in hits (660), batting average (.278), and on-base percentage (.357).
The pitching staff leads all of baseball in ERA (3.59) and batting average against (.236). Their WHIP (1.30) isn't too bad, either.
2. Boston Red Sox (41-27|2)—How hot has Josh Beckett been? Over the last 30 days, he has a 0.72 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 37.2 innings pitched, including a complete game shutout. Nick Green has been hot at the shortstop position (.431 avg/1.124 OPS last week).
Ortiz has played a lot better, while Pedroia stinks in the leadoff spot and Youkilis and Lowell have struggled. The Red Sox lead the American League in on-base percentage (.355). They're also top-four in runs (359), home runs (82), RBI (341), slugging (.448), and extra base hits (244).
3. St. Louis Cardinals (38-31|8)—Chris Carpenter could be the best pitcher in the National League right now and pitch himself into the All-Star Game. Over the last 30 days, he has a 2.06 ERA, 30:5 K/BB ratio, and a complete game in 43.2 innings pitched.
Yadier Molina is playing like he deserves that All-Star spot (.522 avg/4 RBI/1.281 OPS last week). Greene has played great since coming off the DL, while Ankiel has struggled (.182 avg last week). The Cardinals lead all of baseball in WHIP (1.29) and are top-five in ERA (3.88).
4. Los Angeles Angels (36-30|13)—Is Vladimir Guerrero back to his normal self (.533 avg/1.067 OPS)? Is that why this team is so hot? Or is it the great play of Juan Rivera (.375 avg/1.381 OPS/23 total bases last week)?
Chone Figgins and Kendry Morales have also played well. The offense is the best in all of baseball in terms of batting average (.281). Pitching is another story. The staff has the third worst ERA (4.65) in the American League, while the bullpen continues to be the worst (5.63 ERA) in all of baseball.
5. San Francisco Giants (36-31|6)—Travis Ishikawa has been playing great (.444 avg/1.667 OPS last week) as has Nate Schierholtz (.429 avg/1.256 OPS last week). Could Pablo Sandoval be the offensive MVP of the team (.409 avg/6 RBI/19 total bases last week)?
Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum continue to dazzle for the National League's second best pitching staff (3.69 ERA). They still need a bat to compete, as they're bottom-five in all of these categories: runs (267), home runs (42), RBI (248), total bases (864), on-base percentage (.313), slugging (.382), and extra base hits (179).
6. Texas Rangers (37-30|3)—The Rangers' lead in the American League West continues to shrink. Where has the offense gone? Michael Young (.320 avg/4 RBI last week) and Ian Kinsler (.320 avg/4 RBI/19 total bases last week) are the only Rangers that showed up.
No player has more home runs (10) than Nelson Cruz in the past month. On the pitching side, Kevin Milwood has been phenomenal in the past 30 days, with a 3-0 record and a 1.62 ERA. Feldman, Harrison, and Padilla all struggled last week, while more consistent play is needed from Holland.
7. Detroit Tigers (37-31|7)—Don Kelly has been a great offensive fill-in (.471 avg/1.206 OPS last week). Miguel Cabrera has continued his monster year (.375 avg/3 HR/5 RBI/20 total bases last week) as Marcus Thames has started to heat up (.368 avg/1.242 OPS last week).
Curtis Granderson continues to be one of the most underrated players in the game. There's a huge debate on whether Magglio's benching is due to performance or money. Porcello continues to dominate, while Figaro looked very good in his starting pitching debut.
8. New York Yankees (38-30|5)—The Yankees were embarrassing last week. They lost two of three to the worst team in baseball at home, including a shutout. The Yankees have averaged two runs per game in their last four games.
Burnett has finally started to play for his paycheck (0.68 ERA/16 strikeouts in 13.1 innings pitched) last week. Rodriguez has been benched due to his struggles/"fatigue." Cano has been on-fire offensively (.500 avg/6 RBI/21 total bases/1.375 OPS last week). This team is looking for somebody to come up big in clutch situations.
9. Philadelphia Phillies (36-30|4)—The Phillies have now lost five in a row. Their recent bullpen play has illustrated just how important Brad Lidge is to this team. Joe Blanton has pitched well over the past month (2.78 ERA), but that's about it pitching-wise.
The staff is fourth worst in the Majors in ERA (4.86) and WHIP (1.46). In fact, the pitching staff had an embarrassing 2.00 WHIP and .333 batting average against last week. The offense took a huge hit as Ibanez went on the disabled hit, while Werth has stepped up and Victorino has been on-fire (.500 avg/1.230 OPS last week).
10. Milwaukee Brewers (37-31|10)—This pitching staff has been so bad, boasting an 8.43 ERA last week. Yovani Gallardo has been the only bright spot with a 1.44 ERA and 30 strikeouts in his past five starts.
The Brew Crew is getting all they can from Fielder and Braun (20 RBI/40 total bases/.428 avg last week). McGehee, Hart, and Counsell have also played well, but it means nothing because the pitching staff has given away their games.
Even Trevor Hoffman has a 10.13 ERA in the past week. Looper and Bush have been nothing short of awful.
11. Colorado Rockies (35-33|15)—The Rockies have now won 15 of the past 16 games. Is anybody still questioning that Todd Helton belongs in the Hall of Fame? Hawpe (.381 avg/1.281 OPS last week) and Helton (.375 avg/17 total bases/1.131 OPS last week) have continued to play like All-Stars.
Ianetta and Barmes have also come up big. Marquis and Jiminez have pitched extremely well, while De La Rosa has struggled. The Rockies are second in the NL in runs (347), home runs (81), RBI (325), total bases (996), and slugging (.439).
12. Toronto Blue Jays (37-33|12)—Scott Rolen deserves to be on the All-Star team (.429 avg/17 total bases/1.074 OPS last week). Wells is finally starting to play better (.310 avg last week) while Barajas has been hot (5 RBI/1.106 OPS last week). The Jays need Rios to play more consistently.
Richmond has been an excellent fill-in for Halladay's role, while Mills struggled in his debut and Tallet has been nothing short of a disaster. The Jays are going to need the offense and pitching to click at the same time if they're going to make any noise in their division.
13. Tampa Bay Rays (36-34|11)—Gabe Kapler has played extremely well (.600 avg/8 RBI/2.167 OPS last week) as is BJ Upton (.385 avg/5 RBI last week). Pena and Bartlett have continued their offensive tears, while Longoria and Zobrist have struggled.
The offense still leads the Majors in runs (391) and RBI (371). Only Shields look good last week, as Niemann, Price, Sonnantine, and Price looked below average. Good news is that Kazmir looked good in his rehab start. JP Howell has been decent in the closer role, but this team needs more consistent starting pitching.
14. New York Mets (34-32|9)—David Wright is not clutch enough for the fans. Sheffield (.368 avg/10 total bases last week) and Cora have played well, while Wright (.160 avg last week), Castillo (.167 avg last week), and Beltran (.240 avg/1 RBI last week) have struggle immensely.
Santana was embarrassed by the Yankees, and pitched well against the Rays, even though he was outpitched. Nieve and Pelfrey have pitched well, while Parnell has struggled coming out of the bullpen. K-Rod also blew another save last week.
15. Chicago Cubs (33-31|20)—The Cubs have won back-to-back-to-back come from behind wins. Derek Lee has been the Cubs' MVP (.409 avg/4 HR/8 RBI/22 total bases/1.435 OPS last week) while Geovany Soto has finally started to play well (.357 avg/11 total bases/1.256 OPS last week).
Soriano has continued to struggle (.136 avg last week) while Fontenot and Miles continue to stink. Zambrano and Lilly have pitched well, while the bullpen has been unreliable. Harden looked awful in his return. Over his past five starts, Zambrano only has a 2.20 ERA.
16. Seattle Mariners (34-34|22)—King Felix Hernandez has a 3-0 record, 0.72 ERA, 34 strikeouts, and a complete game in his past five starts. The pitching staff is by far the best in the American League, with a 3.61 ERA.
Washburn continues to pitch well, while Aardsma continues to be the most underrated closer in the game. Chavez has gone on the DL, while Griffey has played well (.313 avg/1.014 OPS last week). Ichiro continues to do his thing, but this team needs a consistent bat as Branyan has struggled (.158 avg last week).
17. Cincinnati Reds (34-33|14)—The good news for the Reds is that Votto has started his rehab assignment. Dickerson has played well (.500 avg/1.167 OPS last week) while Phillips deserves a spot on the All-Star team (.381 avg/13 total bases/1.081 OPS last week).
Gomes and Nix have had good bats, while Taveras and Hairston have struggled. Also, Gonzalez has gone on the DL. Owings, Harang, and Arroyo have pitched well, while Cueto finally struggled (due to a blister). The bullpen has also finally hit some bumps.
18. Minnesota Twins (35-35|17)—Is Mauer ever going to let up (.476 avg/15 total bases/1.214 OPS last week)? Cuddyer has been on-fire (.444 avg/1.444 OPS last week) as have Kubel and Young. Morneau is starting to struggle (.136 avg last week), while Crede has failed to come up big.
Blackburn, Slowey, Perkins, and Baker have all pitched extremely well, while Liriano has yet to find his groove. The bullpen has had some problems with Henn and Mijares struggling. The Twins are the best fielding team in all of baseball, having only committed 24 errors.
19. Florida Marlins (34-36|18)—Hanley Ramirez deserves to start in the All-Star game over Jimmy Rollins (.333 avg last week). Paulino has played well in limited at-bats (.600 avg/15 total bases/2.100 OPS/4 RBI last week).
Nobody on this team can drive in runs. If Uggla could ever bat more consistently, then this offense would be a lot better. Pitching-wise, Josh Johnson is a strong Cy Young candidate. Nolasco has been superb since returning from the DL. Volstad has continued his struggles, as have West and Calero.
20. Chicago White Sox (32-36|21)—Over his past six starts, Gavin Floyd has a 1.61 ERA, a complete game, and 38 strikeouts in 44.2 innings pitched. Podsednik and Ramirez have been a devastating combination at the top of the White Sox lineup.
Getz and Beckham have also started to heat up, which is important as Konerko and Dye are nursing injuries. There has been hiccups in the bullpen, and Contreras and Buehrle have to pitch more consistently. Defense is a problem with eight errors in five games.
21. Baltimore Orioles (31-37|29)—The Orioles went 5-1 last week. Aubrey Huff has been on-fire (.440 avg/7 RBI/1.161 OPS last week) and Nick Markakis has returned to form (.357 avg/14 total bases/4 RBI last week).
Wieters and Reimold have continued to play good for being rookies, and Andino has been amazing defensively. This offense was so good last week, they had a team .329 batting average and an insane .402 team on-base percentage. Bergesen has pitched extremely well, but the rest of the staff lacks consistency.
22. Houston Astros (31-35|19)—The Astros might have the best offensive outfield in all of baseball. Bourn has been on-fire (.400 avg/15 total bases/1.250 OPS last week) as has Pence (.333 avg/20 total bases/1.193 OPS last week).
Lee and Tejada have finally started to struggle, while Berkman's bat continues to be non-existent. The starting pitching staff has struggled as no starter had an ERA below 4.50.
Wandy Rodriguez has finally come back down to earth, although the bullpen is glad to have Valverde back in the closer role. What happened to Pudge (8 SB/0 CS)?
23. Atlanta Braves (32-35|16)—The Braves have continued their inconsistent play. Anderson has been on-fire (.421 avg/5 RBI last week), while McCann continues to be the best catcher in the National League. McLouth and Chipper have to produce more or else this offense is going nowhere.
Francouer, Kotchman, and Escobar have struggled huge Hanson threw a gem and Kawakami has pitched well, but more consistent pitching is needed from the usually reliable Vazquez and Jurrjens.
24. Oakland Athletics (30-37|25)—The A's need to find a consistent bat. They're either the worst or second worst American League team in hits (540), home runs (56), total bases (806), batting average (.237), on-base percentage (.312), slugging (.360), and extra base hits (165). Suzuki has played well, but more is needed from Cust, Kennedy, and especially Holliday (.217 avg/2 RBI last week).
This young pitching staff has been pretty good, especially Mazzaro starting and Bailey out of the bullpen.
25. Pittsburgh Pirates (31-37|23)—Will a fly ball ever hit the outfield? Morgan and McCutchen are two of the best fielders in the game. Young has played well (.429 avg/1.029 OPS last week) as has McCutchen (.370 avg/19 total bases/6 RBI/1.117 OPS last week).
Sanchez continues to bat for average, while more is needed from the LaRoche brothers and Morgan offensively. Snell has pitched well as of late, and Duke has been consistent, but the rest of the staff hasn't really contributed to the well-being of the team.
26. Kansas City Royals (29-38|27)—The Royals have no offense. They are the second worst American League team in runs (277), hits (567), RBI (265), and on-base percentage (317).
Guillen, Maier, and Bloomquist are the only players who have hit well. Also, Gil Meche is taking over Zack Greinke's spot as the team's best pitcher. Meche has a 1.44 ERA and a complete game shutout in his last five starts.
Greinke's ERA is his past five starts is 4.11. Bannister has also been superb as a starter, but the bullpen has some bug problems.
27. San Diego Padres (29-38|26)—Adrian Gonzalez is way too inconsistent. He either has an awful week or a great week (.421 avg/1.314 OPS last week). Gwynn has also batted well, and that's about it for this offense.
The Friars are bottom-three in the National League in runs (253), hits (525), RBI (244), total bases (834), batting average (.234), on-base percentage (.316), slugging (.377), and extra base hits (178). They really need a starting pitcher to have a solid outing, especially with their bad offense.
28. Arizona Diamondbacks (29-40|28)—If Justin Upton is not an All-Star, then something is seriously wrong (.417 avg/16 total bases/5 RBI/1.148 OPS last week). Young is finally starting to heat up, while Reynolds and Parra are starting to cool down. Drew is driving in runs, but not getting on-base enough.
Haren and Scherzer have continued to pitch well and Garland has been better. The Diamondbacks are the second best National League team in extra base hits (230).
29. Washington Nationals (20-46|30)—Four wins in a row. Four wins in a row against good teams. That is what bumped the Nats up one spot. The Nats have outscored the Yankees (in New York) and the Blue Jays 13-6. Lannan and Stammen have pitched great last week, as did Zimmerman and Martis.
Can they sustain this? Guzman, Gonzalez, Dunn, and Johnson all have been on-fire. Harris is playing all aspects of the game right and the Nationals are playing to keep Acta's job.
30. Cleveland Indians (29-41|24)—They're not just losing. They're losing ugly. They have the worst pitching staff in baseball (5.26 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, .275 batting average against, 1.58 K:BB ratio). Kerry Wood and the bullpen have been awful, blowing two saves against the Cubs.
The offense (Hafner, Choo, Martinez, even Valbuena) has been there, but the pitching is giving these games away. Lee continues to be superb and DeRosa is going to be great trade bait. They threw six wild pitches last week (compare to Philly's eight on the year).
Breakdown, awards choices, and much more on the next page...
Biggest climb: The Los Angeles Angels have jumped nine spots from No. 13 to No. 4 after going 5-1.
Biggest fall: The Atlanta Braves fell seven spots from No. 16 to No. 23 after going 2-4.
Best team average: The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best team average (2.36) by being first five times, second four times, fifth once, and eighth once.
Worst team average: The Washington Nationals have the worst team average (29.73) by being ranked last nine times, 29th once, and 28th once.
Teams yet to fall out of the top 10: Dodgers and Cardinals
Teams yet to climb out of the bottom 10: Indians and Nationals
Prediction of the week: Orioles will go 6-1
Division Rankings/Picture (Record|Last Week's Ranking)
*Divisional rankings are based on the average power rankings.
1. AL East (183-161|1): (2) Bos, (8) Nyy, (12) Tor, (13) Tbr, (21) Bal
2. AL West (137-131|5): (4) Laa, (6) Tex, (16) Sea, (24) Oak
3. NL West (174-166|2): (1) Lad, (5) Sfg, (11) Col, (27) Sdp, (28) Ari
4. NL Central (204-198|4): (3) Stl, (10) Mil, (15) Chc, (17) Cin, (22) Hou, (25) Pit
5. NL East (156-179|3): (9) Phi, (14) Nym, (19) Fla, (23) Atl, (29) Was
6. AL Central (162-181|6): (7) Det, (18) Min, (20) Cws, (26) Kcr, (30) Cle
If the playoffs started today...
1. Boston v. 3. Detroit
2. Texas v. 4. New York
1. Los Angeles v. 4. Milwaukee
2. St. Louis v. 3. Philadelphia
If awards were handed out today...
AL MVP: Mark Teixeira (New York Yankees)
NL MVP: Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals)
AL Cy: Roy Halladay (Toronto Blue Jays)
NL Cy: Matt Cain (San Francisco Giants)
AL RoY: Andrew Bailey (Oakland Athletics)
NL RoY: Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates)
AL MoY: Ron Washington (Texas Rangers)
NL MoY: Joe Torre (Los Angeles Dodgers)
AL Comeback: Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers)
NL Comeback: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis Cardinals)