There's too much going on right now for me to provide you with commentary. Which is just as well, because my understanding is that, with Stephen Strasburg taking the hill tonight, the season is starting over anyway. Yeah, great job there, Padres, but you're, uh, you're gonna have to do it all over again. Sorry, but, you know, Strasburg.
On with the list!
SBN Blog: Camden Chat
2010 record: 16-41
Last week's rank: 29
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 28
The Orioles broke a 10-game losing streak with a win over the Red Sox on Sunday. It was a moment to do a fist pump behind closed doors. The O's offense has been almost non-existent, scoring just 12 runs in seven June games. In that same span, O's pitching has allowed six or more runs in five games. The Orioles are looking for something to go right this season, but they haven't found it yet, and a managerial change is unlikely to make much of a difference.
29. Houston Astros
SBN Blog: The Crawfish Boxes
2010 record: 22-36
Last week's rank: 30
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 3
Here's something to ponder when considering just how terrible the NL Central has been this season: The Astros entered play Tuesday tied for baseball's second-worst record, but were only four wins worse than the Cubs, who are in third place. The 'Stros could use a lot of help, but they might not be getting it anytime soon from Bud Norris, who couldn't get loose in a rehab assignment Monday and threw just three innings.
SBN Blog: Bucs Dugout
2010 record: 23-34
Last week's rank: 28
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 29
It's hard to tell what's worse: The fact that the Pirates are 23-34 after losing to the Cubs Monday, or the fact that that's good enough to be tied for fourth in the NL Central. At least Octavio Dotel might have turned the corner: Even after allowing a couple of runs over the weekend, he's posted a 1.93 ERA since May 1, and gone a perfect 9-for-9 in save opportunities. Ronny Cedeno can't grow facial hair, so he painted on a mustache with eye black. Now if only Cedeno could find a way to fake being competent at the plate (he was sporting a .286 OBP before Tuesday), he'd be on to something.
SBN Blog: Let's Go Tribe!
2010 record: 21-35
Last week's rank: 27
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 27
Things always perk up for the Tribe when they get a chance to play the White Sox. Cleveland is 8-4 against Chicago this year, and an Oriole-esque 13-31 against all other teams. It'll be interesting to see who ends up as Cleveland's All-Star representative, because they don't have a clear selection on their roster. Austin Kearns could have been a random choice, but he's cooled off quite a bit in the last month. In his last 29 games, Kearns has just a .786 OPS.
SBN Blog: AZ Snakepit
2010 record: 23-35
Last week's rank: 26
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 20
Ran their losing streak to ten games before taking two of three from the Rockies over the weekend. Had been involved in seven consecutive one-run contests, including back-to-back, extra-inning, 1-0 defeats to LA, before beating the Braves on Monday. The pitching has come around, with an ERA of 2.29 in the past week, but the offense hasn't, with the team hitting a collective .221 over the same time. Did get six shutout innings from Dontrelle Willis on Saturday, which is a little bit of a miracle.
SBN Blog: Brew Crew Ball
2010 record: 23-34
Last week's rank: 24
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 14
The Brewers are desperate for pitching: When Chris Smith debuts this week, he'll be the 19th pitcher to appear in a game for the Brewers this season. That makes Jeff Suppan's release all the more incredible: He was terrible as a starter (8.68 ERA) and a reliever (7.48 ERA), so the Brewers finally ate the $12.75 million left on his contract and released him Monday. Even after a 2-5 road trip, the Brewers are just 15-18 on the road and 8-16 at home.
24. Seattle Mariners
SBN Blog: Lookout Landing
2010 record: 23-34
Last week's rank: 23
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 23
True to the whole season's formula, the M's keep taking steps forward and backward. Taking three of four from Minnesota? Good. Getting swept by LAnaheim? Bad. Taking the first in a series against Texas? Good. The M's keep treading water, but if you keep treading water, then eventually you'll sink. Every week we say it's time to make a run, and every week, they don't. In a season that doesn't look promising, one bright spot has been the consistent domination by Cliff Lee, who has a 2.77 ERA through eight starts with a mind-blowing four walks and 57 strikeouts. It's torture to Mariner fans that Lee's time in Seattle is fleeting.
SBN Blog: Royals Review
2010 record: 24-34
Last week's rank: 25
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 25
Ned Yost has apparently anointed Willie Bloomquist as the team mascot. Yost has found seven starts for Bloomquist since being hired, despite Bloomquist's inability to actually hit. Nevertheless, a hot streak has raised Willie's batting average to .200, so perhaps Yost knows something we don't. Thanks to the second-highest batting average in the league, the Royals are 9th in runs per game, which is really good for them.
SBN Blog: South Side Sox
2010 record: 24-32
Last week's rank: 20
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 18
Amazingly, the White Sox have had the worst starting rotation in the American League by starters' ERA. Instead of being the strength of the team, starting pitching has been a major weakness. As a group, Chicago starters have posted a 5.28 ERA, dooming the team's chances of contention. After a mild return to form in early May, Jake Peavy has begun to struggle again. In his last four starts Peavy has a 7.03 ERA, raising his season mark back to 5.90. Gavin Floyd has been even worse. In 2010 Floyd has walked more hitters, struck out less, and allowed more hits. Floyd owns a 6.64 ERA and the Sox are just 3-8 in his starts.
SBN Blog: Federal Baseball
2010 record: 27-31
Last week's rank: 22
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 26
While one generational talent makes his debut for the Nationals, another will be negotiating his rookie contract. The most fun you'll ever have rooting for a last-place team!
20. Chicago Cubs
SBN Blog: Bleed Cubbie Blue
2010 record: 26-31
Last week's rank: 21
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 15
This team still isn't very good, but getting Tyler Colvin into the lineup a little more often might help: He's hitting .345/.375/.690 in his last 16 games. Amazingly enough, Carlos Silva is still hot: After picking up a win on Monday, Silva is the only 8-0 player in baseball - no other pitcher with zero losses has more than five wins. In fact, 1967 Cub Ken Holtzman (who finished 9-0) is the only Cub ever to finish a season with no losses and more wins than Silva. So Cubs fans can enjoy that while they watch their team go nowhere.
19. Florida Marlins
SBN Blog: Fish Stripes
2010 record: 28-30
Last week's rank: 15
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 16
Still vaguely in contention, the Marlins are making the move they probably should have made much earlier: calling up Mike Stanton to replace the hapless sophomore Chris Coghlan. Can one player make the difference? Maybe, if Stanton goes on a Ryan Braun-esque rookie homerun-tear, something not entirely out of the question.
18. Detroit Tigers
SBN Blog: Bless You Boys
2010 record: 29-27
Last week's rank: 17
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 8
Detroit still has the best bullpen in the American League by staff ERA (2.78) though the gap is shrinking. The starters still have just the 11th best ERA in the AL, but that is an improvement over where they started. If Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer have truly turned corners, the Tigers may be able to stay in the race. After a scorching start, Austin Jackson has cooled off. After peaking on May 4th with a .376 batting average, Jackson has hit .270 without much power or walks added in. Jackson still has an OPS over .800, but could be a problem at the top of the Tiger lineup before the end of the season.
17. New York Mets
SBN Blog: Amazin' Avenue
2010 record: 30-27
Last week's rank: 19
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 22
In what's been an up-and-down season, the Mets are back up, three games above .500 and three games out, after a three-game sweep of the Marlins. The rotation featuring R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi has held up pretty well, but it remains to be seen if they can keep it up. Jeff Francoeur is hitting again too, but it probably doesn't matter if he can keep it up, with Carlos Beltran back on the field in extended Spring Training.
SBN Blog: Athletics Nation
2010 record: 30-29
Last week's rank: 12
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 17
For a little while there, things were looking up. The A's had caught fire, and they had ace Brett Anderson back off the DL and looking good. Then the team started to scuffle, Anderson re-injured his elbow, and they dropped back out of the division lead. Now we're looking at an Oakland team playing .500 baseball that, once again, is going to have to be without its best player for a good long while. I'd never tell anyone to write them off, but it's just so hard to see how they could get back into the mix as long as Anderson's out. Taking this series against the Angels would be a nice start, but dropping the first game didn't help matters. The A's need a boost, and when you look their roster up and down, it isn't easy to find a source.
15. Colorado Rockies
SBN Blog: Purple Row
2010 record: 30-27
Last week's rank: 13
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 19
Not really gaining any ground, not really losing any. Ubaldo Jimenez keeps on rolling, but with Colorado record an unimpressive 18-26 when he doesn't start, one wonders how long they can ride him. Is the end near for Todd Helton? The slugger has an OPS+ of a mere 81, with only one homer and ten runs driven in this year. For someone earning $16.6 million this season, that's definitely below the expected level of production.
14. Texas Rangers
SBN Blog: Lone Star Ball
2010 record: 30-27
Last week's rank: 16
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 11
The Rangers did a nice job of bouncing back from that sweep in Minnesota by taking series against Chicago and Tampa Bay, the latter being particularly impressive as the lineup was able to hit Wade Davis, James Shields, and Matt Garza. Still, after a loss to the Mariners on Monday, Texas has dropped back out of first place, as they've wilted a little bit while the Angels have surged. They should still be considered the front-runner. Nelson Cruz will return soon and Derek Holland had a good throwing session as he works his way back, and those two critical players would provide a huge boost. It's just that they're not such clear favorites that a challenger couldn't win out. Time for the annual tradition of seeing how the Rangers and their opponents hold up against 100+ degree heat. Both literally and figuratively.
SBN Blog: McCovey Chronicles
2010 record: 31-25
Last week's rank: 14
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 13
Went 3-3 against the Rockies and Pirates in the past week, then beat the Reds on Monday. Ace Tim Lincecum was beaten by Ubaldo Jimenez in his last time out, but he looked better on Sunday, walking only two in seven innings, though he got a no-decision as San Francisco beat Pittsburgh in ten. Aubrey Huff has been stepping it up, going 15-for-37 since May 27th, but Pablo Sandoval's struggles continue - he's batting .226 since the start of May, with a sub-.600 OPS and one HR.
SBN Blog: The Good Phight
2010 record: 30-26
Last week's rank: 9
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 12
The offensive woes that plagued the Phillies late in May have carried over to June, as they've started 2-4, averaging three runs a game. Expanding the sample to their last fifteen games, that number becomes nearly one. Simply put, the Phillies need to hit. 2010 cannot be the first year of Raul Ibanez's sharp offensive decline and the third straight year the Phillies win the pennant. They don't have the pitching to keep up with the Braves.
11. Cincinnati Reds
SBN Blog: Red Reporter
2010 record: 33-25
Last week's rank: 10
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 9
The Reds remain tied for the division lead with the Cardinals after both teams lost Monday, and might be positioned to make a run: they play 15 of their next 21 games at home, with both the Royals and Indians among the visitors stopping by. If they can just avoid a few teams, they'll be fine: The Reds are a combined 6-11 against the Braves, Padres and Cardinals, and either tied or leading the season series with each of their nine other opponents.
10. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
SBN Blog: Halos Heaven
2010 record: 32-28
Last week's rank: 18
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 24
When the Angels catch fire, they don't mess around. They've taken six in a row and nine of ten in moving all the way from four back into the division lead. An injured Kendry Morales? No biggie - the lineup's hit .297 since his injury, with an .882 OPS and nearly seven runs a game. The pitching, too, has been good, although that could be more about their opponents than themselves. That the bulk of the Angels' run has come against Seattle and Kansas City tempers things a bit, but even still, this just has the feel of being that part of the year where the Angels exert their dominance and take a stranglehold on the division. I'm not saying it'll happen again, but if it does, would you really be surprised?
SBN Blog: True Blue LA
2010 record: 34-24
Last week's rank: 11
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 21
Blanked Arizona for 31 consecutive innings in the first half of the week, then split a four-game set with the Braves before thumping the Cardinals. Prior to Monday, the last seven Los Angeles victories had all been by a single run, boosting their record to a league-best 13-6 - despite being ten games above .500, the Dodgers have only outscored the opposition by 12 runs this season, going into Tuesday night. Jamey Carroll hit .400 (10-for-25) over the past week.
SBN Blog: Twinkie Town
2010 record: 33-24
Last week's rank: 3
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 2
Minnesota, despite a 3-4 road trip through Seattle and Oakland, is still firmly in control of the AL Central. However, the Twin lineup is starting to cool off, and the team is now just 7th in the American League in runs scored per game. The Twins get on base, but their power, or lack thereof, is beginning to be an issue. The Twins are 8th in the AL in homers, and much closer to teams such as the Royals than the league's elite. However, Minnesota is second in the AL in team ERA. After looking like they might be a different kind of team to start the season, the Twins are starting to look like the Twins.
SBN Blog: Gaslamp Ball
2010 record: 34-23
Last week's rank: 7
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 4
Clubbed a Petco-record 18 runs against the Mets last Monday, but that was almost more than they managed in total over the following week, taking two of three from New York and then splitting a four-game set against Philadelphia. They've been at least tied for first every day since April 20th, but only once has the margin been more than 2.5 games. They will face the Mets in New York, then return home to take on the Mariners in interleague play. Worth noting that June's interleague schedule might be favorable: while both the Padres and the Dodgers have to face beasts from the east, San Diego gets Seattle and Baltimore, while Los Angeles gets LAnaheim twice.
SBN Blog: Bluebird Banter
2010 record: 33-25
Last week's rank: 5
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 6
Don't call it a comeback, they've been here for ... months. The Jays went 6-3 in their last nine games against AL East competition in the Orioles (sweep), Rays (won one of three) and Yankees (took two of three). Somehow, Jose Bautista is still mashing for the Jays: Bautista has 18 home runs this season. Before this year, he never hit more than 16 in a season (16, 2006 in Pittsburgh).Meanwhile, Shaun Marcum, Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil are anchoring the rotation. Combined they are responsible for 16 of the rotation's 24 wins. Another series against Tampa Bay looms. They're all big.
SBN Blog: Viva El Birdos
2010 record: 33-25
Last week's rank: 8
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 7
At season's end, the Cardinals might look back and wonder what might have been if not for those pesky Astros: They're 2-4 against the Astros, and 15-9 against the rest of the division. The Cardinals entered play Tuesday night as winners of seven of their last 11, but closer Ryan Franklin hasn't saved a game since May 20th despite having a streak of eleven consecutive scoreless innings. Jason Motte had retired 32 straight batters (the equivalent of 10.2 perfect innings) before giving up the winning run to the Brewers Sunday night.
SBN Blog: Over The Monster
2010 record: 34-25
Last week's rank: 6
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 5
Since Daisuke Matsuzaka almost no-hit the Phillies back in late May, the Red Sox are 12-4 and one of baseball's best teams. Finally, the rotation has come around and the bats are producing. While Kevin Youkilis continues to mash, he is helped out by leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro, who is hitting .425 in his last 47 at-bats. Jacoby Ellsbury is likely to see a lot more time on the sidelines, but Mike Cameron is playing three games a week for the Red Sox. Many good signs for Boston. The bad? David Ortiz is 2 for 23 in the month of June. Sound the alarms, again!
SBN Blog: Talking Chop
2010 record: 33-25
Last week's rank: 4
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 10
The Braves are holding tight to their narrow East lead. Two young starters are leading their staff, with Tommy Hanson finally making good on the promise of his rookie season and Kris Medlen making an unusually smooth transition from the bullpen to the rotation. Also helping their winning ways is Yunel Escobar, whose batting line is almost at good-enough-for-shortstop levels, which is big when you realize his OPS was at .491 on May 25th.
SBN Blog: Pinstripe Alley
2010 record: 35-22
Last week's rank: 2
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 1
The Yankees had a good run, but it came against less-than-stellar competition. The Yankees took three of four from Cleveland and then swept the O's in a three-game set. But then the Blue Jays showed what they were worth by winning two of three at home, narrowly missing a sweep. Fortunately for the Yanks, players with hot starts continuing to be hot: Robinson Cano is still hitting over .360 and Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes have ERAs in the 2's. Two weeks ago, New York was six back. Now the gap is two, and there's an easy schedule lying ahead.
SBN Blog: DRays Bay
2010 record: 37-20
Last week's rank: 1
Last week's Beyond The Box Score rank: 3
The Rays have returned to earth - but even struggling at this point still leaves them as one of the best teams in baseball. The Rays went 3-3 last week, winning a series over Toronto, 2-1, and losing a series to the Rangers, 1-2. The pitching has faltered while the offense hasn't quite picked up the slack. One good piece of news for the Rays is the re-emergence of Ben Zobrist. After a slow start, the home runs started coming and now he's second on the team behind Evan Longoria with an .834 OPS. The bad news is that Wade Davis has been getting torched. If the Rays don't snap out of it soon, three other teams could pass them right by.