How they rank: July 11


1. St. Louis: Yadier Molina described knee pain as “like a knife.” That’s nothing compared to what manager Mike Matheny felt at the thought of catching Tony Cruz in Molina’s place every day.

2. Boston: Carl Crawford a platoon player in L.A. Best $100 million the Red Sox ever dumped on someone else.

3. Oakland: Three A’s relievers get a special save. Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Jerry Blevins showed up at the home of Nick LeGrande, the 14-year-old who threw out a first pitch robotically last month because of a rare disorder, bearing baseball cards, gifts and good wishes.

4. Pittsburgh: A.J. Burnett crumples a resin bag for the second time this year. At $6.75 on ebay, $16.5 million a year pitcher can afford a few more.

5. Tampa Bay: David Price before DL stint: 1-4, 5.24 ERA. Price in two starts since: 2-0, 0.56 ERA, only partly because the White Sox and Astros were the opposition.

6. Texas: Yu Darvish after losing to Astros: “I think I threw too many fastballs.” If the Astros are hitting them, then, yes you are.

7. Atlanta: Dan Uggla says new contacts are responsible for 15-59 uptick since late June. No doubt because he can better see his .203 batting average on the scoreboard, which must look like the top line of the eye chart.

8. Detroit: Jose Valverde 2-for-2 in save situations in Toledo. Going to assume his celebrations there are muted. There’s not much to celebrate when you’re in Toledo.

9. Cincinnati: Left off All-Star team, outfielder Jay Bruce says “it would do me no good to gripe and moan and complain.” Mighty understanding, especially considering he’s 22nd in the NL in OPS and 28th in WAR (ninth and seventh among outfielders).

10. Baltimore: Adam Jones’ Sunday homer was his seventh in the ninth inning or later to take the lead since 2009, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The victims: Mariano Rivera (Sunday), Joakim Soria, Hector Santiago, Eddie Guadardo, Darnell McDonald, Nate Adcock and B.J. Rosenberg. Only one — McDonald — was an outfielder; only three are still major leaguers.

11. N.Y. Yankees: Tampa manager Luis Sojo said Alex Rodriguez has been “great for my kids. He’s always talking baseball, always talking about situations.” No word if he was especially helpful on the following situation: how to get your phone number to attractive fans in the lower level seats.

12. L.A. Dodgers: He’s batting .409 and slugging .739, but has played in only 35 games. Does he deserve to be an All-Star? Great. Forget Yasiel Puig and make room for shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

13. Washington: Credit where credit is due department: Reader Mike S., upon hearing that Nats pitcher Dan Haren went on the DL with a strained shoulder, said he was surprised it wasn’t a strained neck. From turning around suddenly to see all of the 19 home runs he’s thrown leave the park.

14. Arizona: Pitcher Ian Kennedy said he wouldn’t talk about the brawl with the Dodgers which earned him a 10-game suspension before Tuesday’s start vs. the Dodgers. If the alternative is to talk about his 5.31 ERA, maybe he’ll reconsider.

15. L.A. Angels: Struggling outfielder Josh Hamilton swings at 40% of pitches outside the strike zone, according to fangraphs.com. That would seem to be his problem, except he swung at 45% last year, when he hit 43 home runs.

16. Cleveland: Omar Vizquel threw out the first pitch Monday and made it a strike. Probably wanted to tell Jose Mesa, “See, it’s not that hard.”

17. Toronto: Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia rips team announcers Dirk Hayhurst and Gregg Zaun, said “there’s not one person in our clubhouse who respect those guys.” Going to guess self-awareness is not Arencibia’s strength: Wonder how many in the clubhouse respect his .220 average, .670 OPS and 95 strikeouts.

18. Kansas City: Greg Holland fanned Yankees Eduardo Nunez, Brett Gardner and Zoilo Almonte with bases loaded to save Monday’s win. Elias Sports Bureau said Holland is first to finish off a bases-loaded save with three straight strikeouts since Baltimore’s George Sherrill vs. the Cubs in 2008 (Ronny Cedeno, Kosuke Fukodome and Henry Blanco). Only difference? Sherrill loaded the bases himself. Holland’s were two-thirds loaded by Luke Hochevar.

19. Philadelphia: If Phillies were a movie scene, they’d be Faye Dunaway in Chinatown. Buyers. Sellers. Buyers. Sellers. If they could, they’d be both. And fail equally.

20. Colorado: NL home run derby captain David Wright criticized for picking Rockies’ outfielder Michael Cuddyer, an old Virginia homeboy. It could have been worse. Michael Vick is from the neighborhood, too.

21. San Francisco: Attorney for Chad Gaudin, accused of fondling a woman last January in Las Vegas, said the pitcher suffered from a condition called rhabdomyolysis. Symptoms “included confusion, dehydration and loss of orientation and/or consciousness,” attorney said, which perfectly describes all 25 Giants after they were swept by the Mets, making it 13 losses in 15 games.

22. Chicago Cubs: Cubs want to set off fireworks when they homer at Wrigley Field. No outcry from neighbors, who realize Cubs would have to hit them first to be a disturbance.

23. N.Y. Mets: Mets’ 16-inning win at San Francisco Monday was their fourth game this year of 15 innings or more, and the first they’ve won.

24. Seattle: First baseman Justin Smoak: “I’m just not getting it done when it counts.” He shouldn’t be so hard on himself, even if true. His .783 OPS entering play Thursday is 85 points better than his career average and 64 better than his single-season best. Getting it done when it doesn’t count is more than he’s ever done before.

25. San Diego: Padres ended 10-game losing streak on Tuesday, third longest losing streak in team history. Padres lost 11 straight in ’69 and 13 in ’94; latter record may still be in jeopardy.

26. Minnesota: Home run by Rays’ Ben Zobrist Monday off Caleb Thielbar ended Twins’ reliever’s streak of 31 hitless at-bats. Reds’ Homer Bailey managed 36 hitless at-bats around his no-hitter.

27. Chicago White Sox: White Sox’s first of 17 games against Tigers was on Tuesday. Good news? Sox didn’t need to win all of them to catch AL Central leaders. Sixteen will suffice.

28. Milwaukee: Brewers have two All-Stars. Neither (Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura) is Ryan Braun. Go figure.

29. Miami: Marlins retired 24 Braves in a row from the 6th through the 13th innings Monday night. Then Chris Hatcher retired three of 10 in the 14th and was on his way to New Orleans before the post-game press conferences were finished.

30. Houston: A scout said recently demoted starter Lucas Harrell hurt his trade value with his most recent start, a three-homer, six walk, 10-5 loss to Texas. It dropped Harrell to 5-9, 5.04 ERA (now 5.06). One question: What trade value?

sources: baseballreference.com, boston com, espn.com, azcentral.com, insidebayarea.com, dallasnews.com, startribune.com, cincinnati.com, Tampabay.com, utsandiego.com

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