Team (Current Record|Last Week's Ranking)
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (48-27|1)—The Dodgers lost their first series in over a month. Am I the only person who doesn't care what Manny does in single-A baseball? The story for the Dodgers has been their pitching staff. It leads all of baseball in ERA (3.64), batting average against (.237), and is second in WHIP (1.30).
Their unheralded bullpen is also the second best in the National League with a 3.43 ERA. Kershaw has looked excellent and Kuroda dominated the White Sox, whereas Billingsley was finally roughed up and Wolf's effectiveness is declining.
Casey Blake continues to put up All-Star numbers (.304 avg/5 RBI last week), while Rafael Furcal continues his struggles.
2. Boston Red Sox (46-28|2)—The Red Sox are breezing by this rather easy part of their schedule. Big Papi has been hot (.400 avg/3 HR/7 RBI/1.444 OPS last week) while Youkilis and Lowell have cooled down significantly.
The offense is top-five in runs (390), RBI (371), total bases (1131), on-base percentage (.353), slugging (.449), and extra-base hits (253). It was an eventful pitching week for Boston, too. Smoltz struggled in his debut against the worst team in baseball.
Beckett continues to dominate and Wakefield has been masterful. Lester and Penny have seen better days. The bullpen is the only one in baseball with an sub-3.00 ERA (2.95).
3. Detroit Tigers (41-33|7)—The Tigers just had their seven-game winning streak snapped. The Tigers had five players bat over .300 and have an OPS over 1.000 last week.
That list includes: Ryan Raburn, who had that pinch-hit walkoff homer against the Cubs, Miguel Cabrera, who continues to dominate (.391 avg/16 total bases last week), Gerald Laird (.385 avg/1.044 OPS last week), and Ramon Santiago (.308 avg/1.077 OPS last week). Jackson and Verlander continue to pitch great, while Galarraga finally got a win against the Cubs.
Porcello continues to be a great rookie. Figaro was roughed up in his second outing, which is not a good sign.
4. Los Angeles Angels (40-32|4)—Chone Figgins has been constantly putting up All-Star numbers (.333 avg/9 total bases last week) and he might be the best leadoff hitter in the game.
Kendry Morales (.316 avg/5 RBI/1.065 OPS last week) and Bobby Abreu (.304 avg/8 RBI/12 total bases last week) have been hot, while Torii Hunter (.187 avg last week) and Vladimir Guerrero (.182 avg/.217 OBP last week) have not.
Joe Saunders continues to dominate while John Lackey has finally put in two great starts. Jered Weaver and Matt Palmer have both seen better days. The bullpen is the second worst in all of baseball (5.51 ERA).
5. New York Yankees (42-32|8)—There's nothing like beating up on your cross-city rivals to get your confidence back... and it's being done without their captain. The Yankees lead all of baseball in home runs (112) and slugging (.471). Alex Rodriguez is finally starting to heat up (.318 avg/2 HR/11 RBI/1.055 OPS last week).
Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and Jorge Posada all batted below the Mendoza line last week. AJ Burnett has just looked sensational, throwing a one-hitter against a Mets team that knows how to hit. Joba Chamberlain has also looked good as has CC Sabathia, when not exiting the game early.
6. Toronto Blue Jays (41-35|12)—Except for the pounding they took from the Phillies yesterday, the Blue Jays have looked like themselves from earlier in the year. The Blue Jays lead all of baseball in hits (746) and batting average (.277).
Adam Lind continues his great season (.389 avg/4 RBI/1.227 OPS last week), Scott Rolen has been on-fire (.368 avg/5 RRBI/.988 OPS last week), Aaron Hill is having an All-Star year (.308 avg/6 RBI/2 HR/1.011 OPS last week), and Vernon Wells is finally starting to heat up (.304 avg/5 RBI/14 total bases last week).
Roy Halladay is coming back against the Rays, which is going to be a huge boost. Ricky Romero has been sensational.
7. Tampa Bay Rays (41-35|13)—The Rays offense continues to carry the team. They lead all of baseball in runs (429), RBI (408), total bases (1216), on-base percentage (.358), batting average (.277), extra base hits (278), and stolen bases (116).
They're also top-four in hits (.274), home runs (99), and slugging (.465). Carl Crawford (.440 avg/14 total bases/5 RBI/1.041 OPS last week) and BJ Upton (.400 avg/18 total bases/8 RBI/1.203 OPS last week) have been on-fire.
Will Aybar comes up huge in his limited at-bats and Evan Longoria has continued his monster year (.400 avg last week). Jason Bartlett has remained hot while Ben Zobrist has finally come down to Earth.
8. Texas Rangers (40-33|6)—The Rangers no longer have sole possession of first place in the AL West. Despite being ridiculed for his strikeouts, Chris Davis has been on-fire (.412 avg/2 HR/14 total bases/1.324 OPS last week).
Ian Kinsler has continued his All-Star play while Andruw Jones has quietly been a nice acquisition. Vincente Padilla hurled a gem last week while Kevin Milwood has continued his dominating season.
Derek Holland has continued to struggle, which is not good because Matt Harrison is going to be on the disabled list. Frank Francisco also blew his first save of the season last week.
9. Milwaukee Brewers (40-34|10)—Over the last thirty days, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun have combined for a .364 average, 17 home runs, and 52 RBI. Both have come up in the clutch.
Casey McGeehee continues to be a pleasant offensive surprise (.333 avg/18 total bases/1.221 OPS last week), while Mike Cameron, Jason Kendall, and Corey Hart (.056 avg last week) continue their offensive struggles.
Yovani Gallardo impressively outdueled Matt Cain while the rest of the starting pitching staff continues to like iffy. Trevor Hoffman is also starting to come back down to Earth.
10. St. Louis Cardinals (41-35|3)—What more can you say about Albert Pujols? The machine has been the MVP of the National League (.417 avg/4 HR/12 RBI/1.575 OPS last week). Skip Schumaker is heating up (.400 avg/13 total bases/1.036 OPS last week) as is Brendan Ryan.
Rick Ankiel, Yadier Molina, and Ryan Ludwick have all struggled offensively, which is why the team is going to be glad to welcome new acquisition Mark DeRosa. The other story of this team is the pitching staff, that leads the Majors in WHIP (1.29) and has the fourth best ERA (3.86).
Joel Pineiro was absolutely dazzling in his last start as only four balls left the infield.
11. San Francisco Giants (39-24|5)—The Giants took a tumble not because they were bad, but because the other teams have just been better. Pablo Sandoval deserves a spot on the All-Star team (.409 avg/3 HR/5 RBI/22 total bases/1.500 OPS last week). Nate Schierholtz has also been hot (.400 avg/1.029 OPS last week).
Bengie Molina and Travis Ishikawa have continued to struggle. They have the secon best pitching staff in the NL (3.71 ERA and .248 batting average against). Tim Lincecum has been absolutely brilliant while Randy Johnson has looked like vintage Randy Johnson. Barry Zito has been starting off games recently on-fire.
12. Colorado Rockies (39-35|11)—The only way to cool off the hottest team in baseball was to face an even hotter team (the Angels took two of three). The Rockies have now won 18 of 21.
Garrett Atkins has been sensational (.529 avg/5 RBI/1.320 OPS last week) as have (.500 avg/5 RBI/1.838 OPS last week), Troy Tulowitzki (.409 avg/16 total bases/1.207 OPS last week), and Todd Helton (.375 avg/1.108 OPS last week).
Brad Hawpe has continued his All-Star caliber play, while Ian Stewart (.087 avg last week) has cooled down significantly). The Rockies lead the NL in runs (384) and are second in homers (91), RBI (366), total bases (1101), slugging (.445), and extra base hits (252).
13. Philadelphia Phillies (38-34|9)—What has happened to the World Champions? Only Jayson Werth (.364 avg/3 HR/18 total bases/1.241 OPS last week) and Chase Utley (10 total bases/4 RBI) showed up to play offensively last week. Jimmy Rollins has been benched because in his last 13 at-bats, he has failed to get a hit or even get on base (.000 avg/.000 OBP).
Cole Hamels has looked awful, although the rest of the staff has looked great. Jamie Moyer shut down the Rays, Joe Blaton looked great but got no support, an JA Happ pitched a complete game, five hit shutout against the team that leads the Majors in hits.
14. Seattle Mariners (38-36|16)—The pitching staff continues to be the story for the Mariners. They have the best pitching staff in the American League (3.66 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, .250 batting average, and 3.21 bullpen ERA).
King Felix has been outright dominating. Ichiro Suzuki has been deserving his All-Star spot (.593 avg/23 total bases/1.459 OPS last week) while Russell Branyan continues his under the radar excellent play (3 HR/7 RBI/17 total bases/1.077 OPS last week).
Wladimir Balentien an Rob Johnson have contributed to the offensive struggles of this team.
15. Florida Marlins (38-38|19)—Perhaps no player in the past week has been batter than Hanley Ramirez (.400 avg/16 RBI/4 HR/1.464 OPS last week). Cody Ross has also been on-fire (.400 avg/5 RBI/18 total bases/1.120 OPS last week) as has Jorge Cantu, Brett Carroll, and finally Dan Uggla (.304 avg/15 total bases/1.037 OPS last week).
Matt Lindstrom is out for six weeks, which is not good news for the bullpen. Ricky Nolasco continues to dominate since returning from the DL and the rest of the pitching staff has thrown really well while Josh Johnson finally struggled.
16. Minnesota Twins (38-38|18)—Joe Mauer had his worst week of the year (.200 avg/1 RBI last week) as did Justin Morneau (.167 avg/1 RBI last week). This team will continue to hover at .500 if those two play like that. It doesn't help when your leadoff hitter Denard Span struggles either (.091 avg last week).
Michael Cuddyer has been hot (.333 avg/1.011 OPS last week) while Joe Crede has been clutch (5 RBI/11 total bases last week). Kevin Slowey was awful in pursuit of his eleventh victory and the rest of the starting pitching staff has seen better days.
17. New York Mets (37-36|14)—The Mets are going nowhere, and fast. They're just lucky that the Phillies have also struggled. Yes, they have had injury problems, but that just exposes the lack of depth on the team.
David Wright can only do so much (.360 avg/0 RBI last week) with the people surrounding him. Ryan Church, Jeremy Reed, Fernando Tatis, and Alex Cora all have struggled, so who is David Wright supposed to drive in?
No team hits less home runs than the Mets (46) but they do get on-base (.350 OBP). Fernando Nieve has been dazzling and Johan Santana is back from his brief struggle.
18. Chicago Cubs (35-36|15)—The Cubs are bipolar. They are either the best team or the worst team, and now it's the latter. Milton Bradley has been a poison that's been all but elucidated by DeRosa's recent trade.
Jake Fox (.400 avg/1.130 OPS last week) and Ryan Theriot (.364 avg last week) have stepped up while Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto are playing a little better. Randy Wells continues to be dazzling while Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly have been inconsistent as of late.
The bullpen has also been very unreliable, especially Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg.
19. Chicago White Sox (36-38|20)—Everything is there, except the defense, which cost the White Sox two games last week.
In fact, they've committed 28 errors in the past 24 games. Jermaine Dye (.526 avg/20 total bases/1.603 OPS last week) and Paul Konerko (.333 avg/1.223 OPS last week) have consistently played well while Scott Podsednik has been the MVP of this team.
Alexei Ramirez and Jim Thome need to perform better in high leverage situations. Gavin Floyd and Mark Buehrle have been great, and now the White Sox have the second best pitching staff in the American League (4.07 ERA).
20. Houston Astros (35-27|22)—Is the Big Puma back (.421 avg/2 HR/6 RBI/16 total bases/1.342 OPS last week)? This team right now is clicking offensively, although Carlos Lee has cooled down a bit.
Hunter Pence continues to be one of the best players in the game and Michael Bourn has been a real spark at the top of the lineup. The story is more their pitching as Roy Oswalt, Felipe Paulino, and even Brian Moehler all threw gems last week. The bullpen has looked shaky as Valverde blew a save.
21. Cincinnati Reds (36-37|17)—The team tumbled, despite getting Joey Votto back, who hasn't looked like he's missed any time at all (.333 avg/12 total bases/4 RBI last week). Johnny Gomes has been great (.450 avg/1.277 OPS last week) as has Chris Dickerson, but that's about it.
Willy Taveras has struggled mightily and Laynce Nix doesn't get enough playing time. The starting pitching staff was awful last week, as no starter had an ERA below 5.40. Homer Bailey got a win, despite granting seven bases on balls.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates (35-39|25)—Jack Wilson has finally been playing for his money (.400 avg/1.200 OPS last week) and Adam LaRoche has been hot (.381 avg/1.123 OPS last week). Freddy Sanchez continues to bat for average while Nyjer Morgan and Andrew McCutchen are never on the same page (as one gets hot, the other is not).
Zach Duke continues to have a phenomenal season, while Paul Maholm and Ian Snell have struggled. Ross Ohlendorf needs to be consistently good as does the Bucs bullpen.
23. Baltimore Orioles (34-40|21)—Did you know that no team in baseball hits better with runners in scoring position (.290 avg) than the Orioles? Also, the orange birds are top-four in the American League in hits (697) and batting average (.273).
Nick Markakis has been astonishing (.409 avg/11 total bases last week) while Adam Jones has cooled off a lot. Nolan Reimold continues to be a beastly rookie, while Matt Wieters, Luke Scott, and Aubrey Huff have struggled as of late. The pitching staff continues to be awful (4.97 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, .278 batting average against).
24. San Diego Padres (32-41|27)—When Adrian Gonzalez (.182 avg last week) isn't hitting, this team isn't winning. The Padres could have the worst offense in baseball. No team in the NL scores less runs (284), hits less (582), touches less bases (933), bats worse (.237), or slugs worse (.380).
David Eckstein has been hot (.407 avg/4 RBI last week) but more is needed from Scott Hairston and Tony Gwynn. On a good note, Kevin Correia has pitched extremely well as of late, but the Padres now have one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball (4.73 ERA).
25. Atlanta Braves (34-40|23)—The Braves are still only five games out. It's not time to throw in the white towel yet. Most of this offense has been sluggish, especially Chipper Jones (.182 avg last week). Yunel Escobar, Garret Anderson, and Brian McCann all performed well last week.
Tommy Hanson has lived up to the hype while Javier Vazquez might be playing himself onto the All-Star team as Jair Jurrjens might be playing his way of the All-Star team. Derek Lowe has been garbage since his great start.
26. Oakland Athletics (31-42|24)—This team is just so bad offensively. Orlando Cabrera (.364 avg/.909 OPS last week) has played a lot better and Matt Holliday continues to perform. The question is who will get the coveted trade bait?
The A's are the worst American League team in hits (586), home runs (59), total bases (895), batting average (.237), on-base percentage (.311), slugging (.361), and extra base hits (184). Dallas Braden continues to pitch well, but is getting no run support and Vin Mazzaro finally had a bad outing.
27. Kansas City Royals (31-42|26)—Everybody has jumped off the Royals bandwagon. This Royals are awful offensively are are bottom-two in the American League in runs (297), hits (614), RBI (283), total bases (984), batting average (.250), on-base percentage (.313), and slugging (.400).
Zack Greinke continues to dominate while the rest of the starting rotation epitomizes inconsistently. Joakim Soria has been unreliable since returning from the disabled list, while Kyle Farnsworth is now going to the disabled list.
28. Cleveland Indians (31-45|30)—The offense is there. In fact, the Tribe is third in all of baseball in runs scored (395) and fifth in RBI (369). Grady Sizemore's return from the disabled list is a big help. Shin-Soo Choo continues to have an overlooked great season while Jhonny Peralta is finally starting to play well.
Their pitching staff is just so very bad (5.21 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, .276 batting average against, 1.55 K/BB ratio). Kerry Wood has been an awful investment while no pitcher, excluding Cliff Lee, has been consistent.
29. Arizona Diamondbacks (30-45|28)—Justin Upton is the best player on this team and one of the most talented in baseball (.391 avg/1.201 OPS last week). Stephen Drew and Felipe Lopez are also playing well.
A huge problem for this team has been their embarrassing defense, which was highlighted by a functional bunt homer yesterday. Doug Davis has been great in his last two starts and Dan Haren, who continues to perform, continues to get absolutely no run support. The bullpen is unreliable (4.90 ERA).
30. Washington Nationals (21-51|30)—They looked so much better a week ago. Surprise, surprise, the Nationals were the first team to get to 50 losses on the season. Ryan Zimmerman has all but cooled down while Josh Bard has been playing out of his mind (.556 avg/6 RBI/1.359 OPS last week).
Jordan Zimmerman has looked good on the worst pitching staff in baseball (5.26 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, .277 batting average against, 5.66 bullpen ERA). Nick Johnson and Josh Willingham are likely to be traded, and there's a possibility that Adam Dunn will be, too.
Breakdown, awards choices, and much more on the next page...
Biggest climb: The Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays both climbed six spots.
Biggest fall: The St. Louis Cardinals fell seven spots from No. 3 to No. 10 after going 2-5.
Best team average: The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best team average (2.25) by being first six times, second four times, fifth once, and eighth once.
Worst team average: The Washington Nationals have the worst team average (29.75) by being ranked last ten 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: Florida Marlins will takeover first place in the NL East.
Division Rankings/Picture (Record|Last Week's Ranking)
*Divisional rankings are based on the average power rankings.
1. AL East (204-170|1): (2) Bos, (5) Nyy, (6) Tor, (7) Tbr, (23) Bal
2. AL West (149-143|2): (4) Laa, (8) Tex, (14) Sea, (26) Oak
3. NL West (188-182|3): (1) Lad, (11) Sfg, (12) Col, (24) Sdp, (29) Ari
4. NL Central (222-218|4): (9) Mil, (10) Stl, (18) Chc, (20) Hou, (21) Cin, (22) Pit
5. AL Central (177-196|6): (3) Det, (16) Min, (19) Cws, (27) Kcr, (28) Cle
6. NL East (168-199|5): (13) Phi, (15) Fla, (17) Nym, (25) Atl, (30) Was
If the playoffs started today...
1. Boston v. 3. Detroit
2. Texas v. 4. New York
1. Los Angeles v. 4. Milwaukee/St. Louis
2. St. Louis/Milwaukee v. 3. Philadelphia
If awards were handed out today...
AL MVP: Justin Morneau (Minnesota Twins)
NL MVP: Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals)
AL Cy: Zack Greinke (Kansas City Royals)
NL Cy: Tim Lincecum (San Francisco Giants)
AL RoY: Andrew Bailey (Oakland Athletics)
NL RoY: Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates)
AL MoY: Ron Washington (Texas Rangers)
NL MoY: Jim Tracy (Colorado Rockies)
AL Comeback: Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers)
NL Comeback: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis Cardinals)