1) New York Yankees (12-6): Tampa has more wins and a better run differential than the Yankees. But! Tampa has feasted on six games against the lowly Orioles (5-1 against them) and White Sox (3-0) and they lost their series against the Yankees (1-2), including a near no-hitter by Sabathia. The Yankees have plowed through the likes of the Rays (2-1), Texas (3-0), a surprising Oakland (2-1), and have split with the Angels (3-3). I am tempted to give extra credit to Tampa for sweeping Boston in Boston in a 4 game set, but these days that’s no real accomplishment. The Yankees look like they could win 110 games.
2) Tampa Bay Rays (14-5): The Rays could also win 100 games, which would make the 2010 AL East the first division since the 2001 AL West to have two 100-game winners (Seattle and Oakland). They have a +50 run differential, far and away the best in baseball. And today David Price 4-hit the Blue Jays in a complete game. And they just came off a 9-1 road trip. So, that’s pretty good.
3) Minnesota Twins (13-6): I was pretty satisfied putting the Twins here until I looked at exactly who they’ve played. In their last 9 games they’ve played the Royals six times and the Indians three times, and they’ve gone 6-3 over that stretch. Winning 2 out of every 3 games is solid but they really need to start sweeping those bottom-feeders. Mauer, Morneau, and Cuddyer are hitting the snot out of the ball and Jon Rauch has looked strong so far in replacing that other closer guy who got hurt.
4) Philadelphia Phillies (11-7): Roy Halladay is divine. In 33 innings he has allowed 3 earned runs, struck out 28 and walked 3. His ERA+ is so ridiculous I don’t even want to mention it because it’s just a small sample size and it’s just so absurd that okay you talked me into it: 534. They have the same run differential as the Twins (+31), outdone in all of baseball only by the outlier Rays.
5) St. Louis Cardinals (11-7): Pitchers the Cardinals have beaten include: Matt Cain, Yovani Gallardo, Wandy Rodriguez, and they stole a game from Trevor Hoffman. Not a bunch of schlubs there. Also, while they’re hacking (139 Ks as a team, 5th in the league), they’re also raking (23 dingers, second in the league).
26) Cincinnati Reds (7-11): The Reds’ starting rotation with ERAs: Arroyo, 7.43; Cueto, 5.73; Harang, 8.31, Bailey, 7.47, Leake, 3.92. We’re all just glad that Dusty Baker knows how to handle pitchers.
27) Kansas City Royals (6-11): Wasting good hitting makes Kyle Farnsworth … angry!
28) Pittsburgh Pirates (7-10): The Pirates have been outscored by 61 runs this year. They’ve only played 17 games. When you’re just trying to hang on until Ross Ohlendorf comes back, we take that as a bad thing.
29) Houston Astros (7-10): Sure, the ‘Stros have prevailed in seven games and won two games in a row. Then again, these games have been against the Pirates. Meanwhile, El Caballo sports an OPS of .344, Hunter Pence of .473, and Kaz Matsui seems to have lost his job to former Mets farmhand Jeff Keppinger. How does the mantra “Oswalt and Rodriguez and Pray for Rain” strike you?
30) Baltimore Orioles (2-16): Manager Dave Trembley’s winning percentages by year since he took over the Orioles: .430 (93 games) / .422 / .395 / .111 (through 18 games). We’re not fooled by small sample sizes here at Baseball Jeremiad, but there’s a good chance Owner Peter Angelos might be. Regardless, the Curse of Tony T lives!