1. New York Mets (27-12, 3): With every starter having an ERA under 3.00 and with 3 of the 5 below 2.00, the Mets remain the massive favorites in the NL. The only men who could get to first base more often than J.P. Guerrero would be the Hemsworth brothers working in a kissing booth.
2. New York Yankees (26-13, 1): Matching Flip Jones’ 18 homers, 33 year old Felipe Moya is having a career year and leading the team while the pitching inconsistencies continue. Rookie Vincente Colome has been impressive in his first 3 starts (2-1, 2.57 ERA).
2. Portland Beavers (26-13, 5T): A good balanced offensive attack combined with the best pitching in the league has the Beavers dominating its division. The starting pitching has been the closest thing the AL has to matching the Mets. After splitting a 4 game series vs. the Yankees, no clear AL favorite has emerged.
4. Boston Red Sox (25-14, 5T): Flip Jones continues to lead the offense while putting up video game numbers. The pitching staff is being led by youth with 2nd year ace Geoff Earley and rookie Jerome Downs, who has looked great in his first 2 starts (1-0, 1.64 ERA).
4. Tampa Bay Rays (25-14, 10T): One of the hottest teams this week that simply plays good fundamental baseball (now that they have fixed their defensive issues). Their offense has a balanced attack with no real standouts. Brett Dixon and Clarence Kirby are leading the way for the pitching staff along with Eddie Fick expertly closing things out at 9 for 9 in save opportunities.
4. Chicago Cubs (25-14, 5T): The MVP chants have already started each time Trayvon Hammond steps up to the plate. Meanwhile, Burke Melton is having an amazing start to the season going 13 for 14 on save opportunities and sporting an ERA of 0.00 in 17 innings (3 unearned runs).
7. St. Louis Cardinals (24-15, 8T): Damaso Jacquez has been a great free agent pickup as he leads the offense. Kevin Stahoviak continues his amazing season now at 7-0 in 8 starts with a world best 1.48 ERA.
8. Milwaukee Brewers (23-16, 13T): The defending champs woke up this week and had one of the best records as they rise in the rankings. Milton Ross and Neil Goodwin have powered the offense while the whole pitching staff seems to have regained the form that carried them through last season’s playoffs. Look out Cubs!
8. Philadelphia Phillies (23-16, 13T): While the Phillies had a good record this week, 2 series against San Diego helps quite a bit. While 5 homers in the week are much better than his first week with only 1, it is not quite enough from Luis Baez. He is the key to whether or not this team plays baseball in Philly or golf in Hawaii during October.
10. Baltimore Orioles (22-17, 4): The team slipped a bit this week in the rankings as the offense was inconsistent and the pitching has still hasn’t found its groove. Being 9 for 15 in save opportunities and a combined ERA over 5.00, the bullpen has been a major source of frustration.
10. Texas Rangers (22-17, 13T): The Rangers had a good week beating the teams they should and taking 1 of 3 from the very difficult Beavers and Red Sox to stay in striking distance of the Rays. The bullpen brilliance of middle relievers Rolando Gonzalez and Robinson Nunez has been the main reason that the Rangers are in the hunt to continue their world record string of division titles.
10. Houston Astros (22-17, 10T): What was starting as a great week went south when the Astros faced the contenders of the NL North, going 4-9 vs. Milwaukee, Chicago, and Montreal. The pitching, which had been a strength, was suddenly getting lit up as stud starters Stu DeRosa, Harry Guzman, and Cliff Howe all saw their ERAs shoot up over 3.00.
10. Atlanta Braves (22-17, 17): Atlanta was up and down this week going 9-1 vs. NL North teams but ending the week with a shocking series loss to the Padres. The starting pitching has been the strength of the team and if Alex Manto could ever regain his Cy Young form of Season 26, the Braves would be the division favorites.
10. San Francisco Giants (22-17, 20): Residents of SF, no need to run for cover. Those loud cracking sounds are home run balls flying off the bats, mostly of future ROY Chad Griffith. This team looks poised to run away with the NL West this season.
15. Detroit Tigers (20-19, 2): The predicted fall to earth took place this week as the offense struggled to score runs while the pitching still performed admirably. Melky Sanchez continues to be Batman and the clubhouse is absent any Robins.
15. Montreal Expos (20-19, 8T): The Expos had a mediocre week of inconsistent offense and pitching and are slipping in the race against the more talented Cubs and Brewers. During this Wally Barton is having one of the most amazing offensive seasons for a 38 year old with a .385 average and .953 OPS with 9 stolen bases.
17. Through 32 – Get better! No time for more this week.