The Philadelphia Phillies, as anticipated, have been baseball’s most consistently dominant team during the 2011 season.
Cliff Lee’s addition to the duo of Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay has been stark enough to overcome Chase Utley, Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt’s otherwise costly injuries, and they again appear on a crash-course with the World Series.
Many other teams have begun to heat up with the weather of late, however, and have thrust themselves back into—or to the head of—divisional and/or wild card races as we head to and beyond the 2011 trading deadline.
Teams still have two more days to give their rosters a facelift and make a final playoff charge, but these 10 in many cases have a head start on the competition with a hot month of July under their belts.
Are these hot streaks just outliers to an otherwise disappointing season, or are they signs that there may be a few more contenders than expected in 2011’s pennant races?
Read ahead to see if your favorite team is truly “kicking butt” right now, or if they need to step their game up in order to make this exclusive list.
Note: The last 25 games played the central role in creating this list, but teams far exceeding expectations or dominating the end of June into a steady July were also considered.