Reporting Evan Roberts
1. Philadelphia Phillies (2) 34-20
Yes, it took me a while to finally put the Phils where they belong, but right after Memorial Day they have finally taken the #1 spot, a spot they may not give up this year. A 19-inning classic that was topped off by Wilson freakin’ Valdez pitching a scoreless inning and getting a win was certainly the big story of the week. Winning 2 of 3 from the Reds and Mets capped of a nice week. Things may get uglier for the rest of the NL East as the Phillies take on the Nationals and Pirates this week.
2. Boston Red Sox (3) 30-24
They have taken over first place in the AL East and, most importantly, the 142 million dollar man Carl Crawford has finally showed up. He went on a tear this week helping the Sox take 2 of 3 against my previous #1 team, the Indians. With Beckett, Lester and Buchholz, the Sox may be able to put some separation between Boston and everyone else in AL East.
3. St. Louis Cardinals (5) 32-23
It’s time to give the geniuses Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan even more props than they usually get. Yes, Matt Holliday, Colby Rasmus and Lance Berkman have proven to be arguably the most productive outfield in baseball but how about the pitching. Chris Carpenter and Jamie Garcia are quite good, BUT Kyle Lohse has an ERA of 2.13 and reliever turned starter Kyle McClellan is 6-1. These guys continue to do so much with so little.
4. Cleveland Indians (1) 31-20
The freight train known as the Indians is starting to slow down a tad. They lost a series to the Red Sox followed by a series to the Rays. Their pitching has come back down to earth and the coming back late trend will probably start to slow down as well. Luckily for them they reside in the AL Central where we are still waiting for a team other than Cleveland to show a pulse.
5. Florida Marlins (7) 30-22
The Marlins are trying to stay within striking distance of the first place Phillies even with Josh Johnson out. They did an excellent job of sweeping the Giants and after they are done with the red-hot D-Backs, they have an 11 game homestand which will help them stay in race without their ace.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks (9) 30-24
Talk about a surprise team. Where did this come from? The D’backs bullpen has proven the idea that you never know, because guys like Joe Paterson, Sam Demel and David Hernandez have done an incredible job setting up JJ Putz. After their 6 game winning streak was stopped, they put together another long winning streak. They enter this week as the hottest team in baseball.
7. Milwaukee Brewers (10) 29-25
After their 14-20 start, the Brewers are as hot as anyone this side of Arizona. Ryan Braun continues to do everything offensively and now the pitching is really coming together. It appears that the Brew Crew and the Cardinals will be battling it out all summer in the NL Central.
8. New York Yankees (4) 29-23
The comeback win against Toronto last week looked to be the game that got the Yankees on fire. Well, it was a false alarm as they lost 2 brutal games in Seattle in which they had leads, and questions remain about many of their aging bats. Two more games in Oakland and three in Anaheim remain on this long West Coast trip where .500 wouldn’t be so bad.
9. Tampa Bay Rays (6) 28-25
What makes Tampa Bay a factor is their young pitching and it was on full display the last few days as both David Price and Jeremy Hellickson were outstanding. But getting the bats going is really important to win the AL East and it appears Joe Maddon got his best one going in Evan Longoria by hitting him leadoff. This probably isn’t the long term answer but give Maddon credit for thinking way outside the box.
10. Atlanta Braves (NR) 30-25
It’s way too early for this but what the heck. As of right this second the NL Cy Young award leader is…Jair Jurrjens. The guy is healthy and has been awesome for the Braves. Atlanta has a chance to fatten up a bit as they play the Padres and Mets this week.
What’s your Top 10 look like? Fire away in the comments below…