1. Seattle Mariners (28-25, 3.78)
Felix Hernandez and Jarrod Washburn comprise the most unhittable AL duo, allowing just 196 hits in 230 innings. No team has notched more than four earned runs off either pitcher since May 19, unfortunately for Washburn, he'll be watching the All-Star game from home.
He can thank Seattle's toothless offense for limiting his win total to five.
Previous Rank: (2)
2. Detroit Tigers (34-29, 4.16)
Edwin Jackson tops baseball with a .212 batting average against. Keeping pace with his remarkable beginning, Jackson's control is no longer the major issue it was in Tampa.
Co-ace Justin Verlander has cooled, but still sits near the top of many statistical categories. He leads the AL with 141 strikeouts.
Previously Ranked: (1)
3. Chicago White Sox (33-30, 4.18)
Mark Buerhle, the AL starter in the 2005 All-Star game, brings a 9-2 record to this year's exhibition, his fourth appearance overall.
John Danks and Gavin Floyd have teamed with Buerhle to lead Chicago's charge up the standings. In June, Danks limited batters to a .190 batting average, while Floyd posted a 1.28 earned run average in 42.1 innings.
Previously ranked: (7)
4. Kansas City Royals (29-39, 4.29)
So impressive is Zach Greinke, most predict he'll beat out Roy Halladay to become the first Kansas City pitcher to start the All-Star game since Bret Saberhagen in 1987.
Beyond Greinke and the impressive Brian Bannister, ineffective cast-offs round out the slightly above mediocre rotation. Recent newcomer Bruce Chen has given up at least one homer in each of his first three games.
Previous Rank: (4)
5. Boston Red Sox (39-24, 4.46)
Ageless Tim Wakefield refuses to lose tight games in a Boston uniform—three of his last four wins have come in one-run games.
The streaking Jon Lester hasn't allowed more than three earned runs since May 26 and Josh Beckett has won six of his past eight.
Signs of a deep playoff run are evident in Beantown.
Previous Rank (12)
6. Toronto Blue Jays (34-28, 4.40)
Blue Jay starters rank second to Boston in strikeouts with 419. Leader Halladay has produced an out of this world strikeout-to-walk ratio (106 strikeouts to 17 bases on balls). Though not the most gifted in the league, Toronto's rotation largely avoids the free pass in times of duress.
Emerging Rookie of the Year candidate Ricky Romero continues pitching deep into games, reaching at least the seventh inning in seven straight.
Previous Rank (5)
7. Texas Rangers (35-27, 4.45)
Closing in on the All-Star break, Texas' starters rank sixth in earned run average but failed to produce an All-Star.
Snubbed Kevin Millwood returned to Atlanta form with a 3.34 earned run average in 124 innings and Scott Feldman has taken the mound in the seventh in all but three of his 15 starts.
In the absence of injured Matt Harrison, rookie Tommy Hunter has pitched well in three of four schedulings (1-1, 23 IP, 21 H, 2.35 ERA).
Previous Rank (6)
8. Tampa Bay Rays (33-32, 4.56)
In North Pole/South Pole fashion, Tampa's rotation is a tale of extremes in 2009.
James Shields, Matt Garza, and Jeff Niemann have excelled, while veterans Scott Kazmir and Andy Sonnanstine wallow in mediocrity.
Failing to live up to the high standards he set last postseason, David Price might soon find himself back in Triple-A Durham to rediscover his "real deal" attributes. Price hopes to build off his six-inning gem against Toronto, but has yet to produce strong back-to-back starts.
Previous Rank (11)
9. Oakland Athletics (25-36, 4.43)
Quick! Name one member of Oakland's staff not named Dallas Braden. Having trouble?
Braden appears to be the last healthy rotational piece still circling Billy Beane's track. Josh Outman, impressive through his first 12 starts, won't be available again until after next year's All-Star game due to Tommy John surgery. The pitching cupboard is nearing bare in Athletictown.
Previous Rank: (9)
10. New York Yankees (32-24, 4.74)
General Manager Brian Cashman brought CC Sabathia to New York because of his ability to guide a team into the late innings and that's exactly what he has done. In all but one injury-riddled start, Sabathia has reached the 96-pitch mark.
Even when he's not at his finest, which isn't often, he provides unquestionable leadership and puts the Yankees on his back.
The same can not be said about Chien-Ming Wang. A bum shoulder will keep the highly ineffective Wang out until after the All-Star break.
Previous Rank (8)
11. Minnesota Twins (35-31, 4.60)
There may not be a better bargain in the AL than Nick Blackburn this year. For $445,000, Minnesota has received eight wins, three complete games, and a 3.06 earned run average in 18 starts. Blackburn gives the bullpen a Sabbath Day every five days instead of seven.
Beyond him, Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, and Glen Perkins have all ferociously battled inconsistency and remain unable to quell what ails them.
Previous Rank (10)
12. Los Angeles Angels (34-23, 4.67)
Crashing back down to earth came Joe Saunders the past three starts. Whether it's a road bump or a permanent detour, Saunders surrendered seven long balls during the stretch and watched his earned run average climb from 3.66 to 4.65.
Luckily for the Halos, Jered Weaver has not fallen off the map as briskly as Saunders.
Previous Rank: (3)
13. Baltimore Orioles (22-35, 5.36)
Brad Bergesen burst upon the scene last year at Double-A Bowie. His 15-6 campaign, combined with a faltering Baltimore staff, provided Bergesen an opportunity to step in this year—a chance he has not squandered.
Beyond his 3.59 earned run average lies just one other potential bright spot in the O's rotation. David Hernandez has kept Baltimore close in four of the five games he started, a feat no other starter can match.
Previous Rank (13)
14. Cleveland Indians (22-36, 5.51)
Who gives up more hits in the AL than Cleveland? No one.
Firmly planted at the bottom of the league, Cleveland's staff spots hitters a .294 batting average, 11 points higher than second-to-last Baltimore.
2008 Cy Young winner, turned unluckiest pitcher in baseball, Cliff Lee, ranks 12th in earned run average (3.47), but is tied with the Twins' Liriano and the Royals' Gil Meche for most losses (9).
Maybe Lake Erie will swallow Progressive Field in flames the next time a blaze erupts.
Previous Rank (14)
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