This Article Has Been Checked for Foreign Substances
One week into these substance checks and are we having more fun yet? Not really. They want to speed up the game but this is just slowing it down. I am a firm believer that we need to stop focusing on changing the game to make non-baseball fans tune in. It will only chase away current fans of the sport. Now that I’m off my soapbox, let’s get to the rankings.
1. San Francisco Giants (50-28) +1
There is no more denying it. The Giants are good. Through May I still had my doubts and thought it might just be a hot stretch but I was way wrong. They are legit contenders to win the NL West over both the Dodgers and Padres. They have a 3.11 team ERA and on offense everyone just does their job. The first team to 50 wins has earned the top spot.
2. Houston Astros (48-31) -1
The Astros had a very easy schedule this week with Baltimore and Detroit. Unfortunately, splitting the series with Detroit dropped them out of the top spot. The rotation has found its groove and the bats are sensational. However both Oakland and now Seattle aren’t letting Houston pull away no matter how well they play.
3. Tampa Bay Rays (47-32) +4
That was a nice bounce back week for the Rays. After a nightmare of a week, the Rays took both of their series this week against the Red Sox and Angels. Wander Franco was electric in his debut but didn’t do anything else the rest of the week. Watching Franco and Kelenic is a good reminder that it is really hard to hit in the majors and it takes time to make adjustments.
4. Boston Red Sox (48-31) +1
The Red Sox have owned the Yankees this season. They swept their biggest rivals again and are now a perfect 6-0 against them this season. Losing two of three against Tampa keeps them below the Rays for now. This division is the most exciting division in baseball.
5. San Diego Padres (47-33) +3
Look who woke up! The Padres got a massive sweep over the Dodgers and coasted to a series win over Arizona. The Reds this week are the only team with a winning record as of writing this that the Padres play until the All-Star break. I see this division being won at the trade deadline and the Padres might be able to make the biggest splash.
6. Milwaukee Brewers (46-33) +5
The Brewers pitching staff is just unfair. They are shutting down everyone and making the offense’s job as easy as possible. Willy Adames lit a spark in the offense as well coming over from Tampa Bay. Christian Yelich still doesn’t have the power going but maybe July can warm him up a bit.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (48-31) -4
After four straight losses to start the week, the Dodgers rallied off three straight wins to take the four game set from Chicago. It was still a losing week though which drops them out of the Top 5 for now. There is still no need to worry about the Dodgers. This is a team that can really coast until October. They might want to kick it up a notch though if they want to avoid the Wild Card game.
8. Oakland Athletics (47-33) -2
Oakland is slipping a little bit. Splitting a four game set with division rival Texas is acceptable normally. But the Astros and Mariners are playing too well to not win that series. They have three with the Rangers this week before a tough three game set with Boston. It’s gut check time for Oakland.
9. Chicago White Sox (45-32) -5
The White Sox are still in a tough spot. They just can’t seem to get healthy and it is starting to finally wear them down. They had a losing week splitting a two game set with the bottom tier Pirates before losing two of three to the surging Mariners. The rotation is great. They need help offensively with all those injuries.
10. New York Mets (40-34) -1
Splitting a couple four game series against division rivals Atlanta and Philadelphia isn’t exactly the statement maker the Mets were hoping for coming into this week. Michael Conforto is back which will help this offense score some runs. They have a chance to pull away while the rest of the division struggles. They have to capitalize.
11. Buffalo Blue Jays (40-36) +3
What a week for the Jays! This team is among the best in baseball offensively and that’s without George Springer for most of the season so far. The pitching is doing enough but they have yet to prove themselves against winning teams which is a bad sign. Especially since 9 of their 12 remaining games before the All-Star break are against winning teams with six of those against Tampa Bay.
12. Chicago Cubs (42-37) -2
The Cubs split two games with Cleveland and then No-Hit the Dodgers! A great start to the week! Unfortunately they then got hammered in the final three games of the series with the defending champs. With Milwaukee on fire, the Cubs need to figure things out for their series with the division leaders this week.
13. Cleveland Indians (42-33) -1
Out of the six starting pitchers on Cleveland’s Opening Day roster, only one is currently healthy and in the rotation. They just can’t catch a break. Cal Quantrill is the last remaining member of that Opening Day rotation and the bats are not going to be able to carry this team. They need to take care of the Tigers before Houston comes to town this weekend.
14. Seattle Mariners (41-38) +1
It’s time to start taking the M’s as a legit Wild Card team. They aren’t just winning games, they are beating good teams. They split a quick two games with Colorado before taking two of three from the White Sox. JP Crawford is an All-Star and I’ve talked about him before. But Yusei Kikuchi is lights out right now. Ever since striking out 11 against the Dodgers in May, he has solidified himself as the potential ace of this club.
15. New York Yankees (40-38) -2
Getting swept by the Red Sox again set this team back. They were rolling and starting to make some serious noise in the East too. They have to bounce back this week and not let that loss send them into another slide. Hosting the Trout-less Angels and the crosstown rival Mets is manageable. With this team however, a losing week feels like the most likely outcome.
16. Cincinnati Reds (39-38) —
The Reds continue to not know if they want to make a run at a Wild Card spot. Luis Castillo had a great June which is a fantastic sign for the Reds. They are going to have a winning month in June which is a step in the right direction. They need to find some more consistency if they want to make a run.
17. Washington Nationals (38-38) +4
Kyle Schwarber is on a monster tear right now. He is not only putting up excellent numbers, but also firing up this offense. The Nats have clawed their way back to .500 and in that division that is going to keep them in it. We have seen this Nationals story play out before. Can they do it again?
18. Atlanta Braves (37-40) +1
The Braves had the extremely tough task of playing eight games in seven days. They managed to go 4-4 during the week so they survived without losing any ground in the division. Now they need to start making up some ground. They need to figure out what they are going to do with their rotation if they want to make a run.
19. Philadelphia Phillies (36-40) -2
The Phillies seem to be fading while the rest of the NL East is turning it on. The bullpen is an absolute train wreck which negates how solid the starting rotation has been. The offense is too banged up to score enough runs to counteract the bullpen woes. They also have to take on the Padres this weekend which is a tough time for anyone right now.
20. Los Angeles Angels (38-40) -2
A 1-4 week against the Giants and Rays has this team as the clear 4th place team in the AL West for now. When Mike Trout returns, that could change. Even with Trout eventually coming back it will be too late by then. Expect the Angels to sell a little bit at the deadline.
21. Detroit Tigers (34-45) +3
The Tigers are a team nobody really wants to play right now. You really aren’t proving anything by beating them, but they can also smack you in the mouth. A two game sweep of St. Louis and splitting four with the Astros shows how this team could play spoiler. The Detroit rebuild might not take as long as we thought.
22. Miami Marlins (33-44) —
The thing holding back the Marlins from being a legit contender is the offense. They scored more than three runs once this week. The Marlins have a +17 run differential and yet are 11 games under .500. If this offense could find any sort of rhythm, that record might be flipped.
23. St. Louis Cardinals (38-41) -3
The Cardinals were set up to have a big bounce back week with two games against Detroit and four with Pittsburgh. Instead they went 1-5 and continued their free fall. This team was in first place a month ago and it doesn’t look like they will get back there this season.
24. Minnesota Twins (33-43) +2
There is life in Minnesota! The Twins had a winning week thanks to taking two of three from Cleveland. Now I think in the long run it will be irrelevant. They dug themselves too deep of a hole to come back from. They will still be sellers at the deadline.
25. Kansas City Royals (33-44) -2
And the Royals have fallen all the way to the bottom of the division. What once looked like the surprise Cinderella team of 2021 now looks like a team that will get a top 5 draft pick. They are 7-17 in June which has taken all the wind out of their sails. Danny Duffy is back so at least some positive news for this squad.
26. Pittsburgh Pirates (29-48) +1
The Pirates surprised a lot of people this week by taking advantage of the struggling Cardinals to earn themselves a winning week. Adam Frazier looks to be a guaranteed All-Star and is giving the fans a reason to come out to the ballpark. This team has some fun guys and I don’t see them selling too much next month.
27. Texas Rangers (30-48) +2
A sweep of Kansas City gets the Rangers some momentum heading into a couple of division series this week. Kyle Gibson might be the best pitcher in the AL West this season and should earn an All-Star nod. They need to focus this week though as they take on Oakland and a red hot Seattle club.
28. Colorado Rockies (32-47) -3
German Marquez flirting with perfection on Wednesday turned out to be the lone bright spot of the week for this team. They were promptly swept by Milwaukee over the weekend and still are pitiful on the road. The best news for them is they get to host the All-Star game here in a couple of weeks.
29. Baltimore Orioles (25-54) -1
Well that was another tough week for the O’s. They went 1-6 against Houston and Toronto and weren’t really close to winning any of those losses. Trey Mancini participating in the Home Run derby is something we all deserve.
30. Arizona Diamondbacks (22-58) —
The D-Backs finally won a road game!!! It is their first road win since April 25th. At least it’s over now.
Matthew graduated in 2019 from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication with a specialization in Media and Journalism Production. He currently is a broadcaster and writer at Eli Sports Network. Baseball and football are his specialties but Matt covers anything he can. Follow him on Twitter @matt_king19