1. Rays: This week: a Yankees sandwich between two stale slices of bread (Cleveand and Houston). Hard to say what a two-game series really means in the grand scheme of things, but it’s probably the best time to be facing the Yankees.
2. Phillies: Philly takes the “team most likely to run away with their division” sash from the Cardinals, activates Jimmy Rollins and prepares to step on the gas.
3. Yankees: That Detroit series was trublesome. Yeah, the weather sucked, but it was the first time I’ve seen the Yankees appear aimless, for lack of a better term, in eons. Thank God for the Twins. And no, I’m not worried about Rivera yesterday. He’s entitled to a bad day once in a while. Call me if and when he goes all Trevor Hoffman. Then I’ll worry.
4. Twins: Dropping two of three over the weekend in a week in which they only played five games normally wouldn’t entitle a team to rank 4th, but (a) it’s the Yankees, they’re just the Twins’ kryptonite so I’m not gonna hold it against them; and (b) I’m not really seeing anyone who deserves to rank higher than them at the moment.
5. Reds: Don’t pay too much attention to that overall run differential (-1) in determining whether or not this team is for real. They lost a few games big early and have been closing that gap quickly.
6. Tigers: Three of four from the Yankees, two of three from the Red Sox. I don’t care how bad a year one team is having and how many little bumps and bruises the other has, that’s a good weeks’ worth of work right there.
7. Dodgers: Too high? I dunno. They’re the hottest team in baseball right now, so they deserve some kudos. Everyone will be on pins and needles waiting to hear whether Ethier goes on the DL, however.
8. Blue Jays: This may be the longest I’ve gone into a season without seeing a “the [Team no one expected to do anything but lose] are really turning heads!” feature in a major publication or website. Did I just miss it, or are the Jays just not registering on anyone’s radar?
9. Padres: If they had started out the season like everyone expected them to no one would be saying anything, but since they went all contenderish on us, criticizing the Padres for their lack of offense is totally legitimate.
10. Giants: This week they get a chance for revenge against the Padres for that sweep last week. I like their chances.
11. Cardinals: Albert Pujols in the month of May: 14-for-55 (.255) with one homer. I don’t expect that -- or the Cards’ current swoon -- to last.
12. Rangers: Giving up 27 runs to the Blue Jays this weekend wasn’t exactly how they drew it up. Perhaps they should just do what I used to do when I had a bad weekend in Canada: pretend it never happened. Of course my bad weekends in Canada used to accompany bachelor parties and copious amounts of rye whiskey, so I didn’t remember much of them to begin with.
13. Rockies: Will Jeff Francis save the season?
14. Marlins: The Mets: the pause that refreshes!
15. Nationals: Calling Drew Storen up could turn what has been an adequate-though-unimpressive bullpen into a team strength. Now, for that move with the rotation . . .
16. Braves: The offense is waking up, thanks in part to Bobby Cox installing Eric Hinske in left field. Now, if only the gurgling, swirling vortex of suck that is Melky McLouth would just go away. What? You mean they’re two different guys?
17. Red Sox: David Ortiz heats up, Victor Martinez stays cool and the Yankees and Twins are on tap. The Sox have been playing better baseball lately, but they need to step on the gas if they want to make any noise in this division.
18. Athletics: Justin Duchscherer was a high-risk, high-reward signing to begin with this year, but losing him still stings. Bill Beane went up to the rooftop to flash the Jack Cust signal, but even the Three True Outcomes king isn’t likely to right this listing ship.
19. Mets: If the A’s are listing, the Mets are hanging from the Christmas Tree on the S.S. Poseidon. Jerry Manuel plays the Leslie Neilson role. And remember kids, this was back before Leslie Neilson was funny. Dude plays the captain and he dies in the first half hour.
20. Pirates: The Pirates made the Reds look like they were pitching in the Dead Ball era, and then came back and put 10 up on the Cubs Friday night. This probably says something about all three of these teams.
21. Cubs: I’m just mad at these guys for making me write that Alan Trammell isn’t the answer this morning. Alan Trammell is always the answer, in almost every context. In this he is like Batman.
22. Angels: Only two and a half back. The Angels are a big train that takes forever to get moving, but they always move. I get this funny feeling we’ll be having the same conversation this fall that we always have: “wow, how did anyone doubt these guys back in May?”
23. Indians: I’m just waiting for the first “what will LeBron’s free agency mean for the Indians” article, because you know it’s coming.
24. Brewers: Ken Macha has to be on the hot seat right now, no? I mean, this is a team that fired its manager a week before it went to the playoffs a couple of years ago.
25. White Sox: “They’re universally poor in all phases of the game; offense, pitching, baserunning, defense and coaching all deserve some of the blame. But the largest share of the blame (aside from obviously underperforming players) has to lie with the front office who allowed a team to be constructed in such a manner that nearly everything had to break right just for the Sox to compete.” And this is a Sox blog, talking.
26. Mariners: As David Cameron points out, 22 of the Mariners next 29 games come against teams currently over .500.
27. Diamondbacks: I didn’t think the Dbacks pen could be as bad as their numbers suggested, but then I watched their series against the Braves and all was confirmed.
28. Astros: On pace to be one of the worst offenses of all time. Which in that park is saying something.
29. Royals: Ned Yost should retire right now and leave as the winningest manager (percentage wise) in Royals history.
30. Orioles: The Orioles’ starting first baseman has zero home runs and six RBI in 107 plate appearances this season.