Last ranking in parentheses:
1. St. Louis (1): St. Louis Post Dispatch writer Joe Strauss says the Cards could use starting pitching help. True. And the royal baby would benefit from a better starting position in life. In the meantime, both will make do.
2. Tampa Bay (5): We know Rays are cutting costs but manager Joe Maddon says he plans to spend next spring in an RV. What, Motel 6s are full in Port Charlotte?
3. Boston (2): Dustin Pedroia’s new deal includes deferred payments until 2028. Hopefully, by then, Mets will be done paying off Bobby Bonilla.
4. Oakland (3): Rookie infielder Grant Green sent back to minors after going 0-for-15, striking out six times and making three errors. Thanks for nothing. Literally.
5. Pittsburgh (4): Reliever Vic Black texted his father after getting the call to the majors: “I’m going,” he said. His father asked the only logical question: “Going where?”
6. Atlanta (7): Tim Hudson’s wife Kim tweeted message to Mets’ Eric Young after Young accidentally fractured her husband’s ankle: “Thank you for playing the game the right way. You’re obviously one of the good guys.” Apparently, so is she.
7. Detroit (8): Opponent Tigers least want to see in AL playoffs? Umpire Chad Fairchild who ejected Miguel Cabrera Sunday and manager Jim Leyland for second time this season.
8. Cincinnati (9): Pete Rose’s advice to PED users: “Come clean as quick as you can.” So says the man who waited 15 years and wrote a book first.
9. Baltimore (10): Starting pitcher Jason Hammel on 10-game winless streak: “Baseball’s not fun right now for me.” Yo, Jason: It’s not supposed to be when your ERA is 5.20.
10. L.A. Dodgers (12): Preston Mattingly, son of Dodgers manager Don and a career .232 hitter as a 2006 No. 1 pick in six seasons, accepts basketball scholarship at Division I Lamar. His coach? Pat Knight, son of Bobby.
11. Texas (6): Rangers add pitcher Matt Garza, which like air conditioning, won’t hurt. But given that Texas is 14th in MLB in runs scored and in danger of losing Nelson Cruz to Biogenesis, they might have been better served to add a bat.
12. N.Y. Yankees (11): You’d never know it by the Yankees’ self-pitying cries, but they’re just fourth in games lost to injury, almost 200 behind the Dodgers, according to mangameslost.com
13. Cleveland (16): Elias Sports Bureau says Indians have scored first in 15 straight games through Sunday, longest such streak since the Brewers did so 21 straight in 1990. Tribe have won 10 of the 15, four by shutout.
14. Arizona (14): D’backs expect return of pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill from DL. That would be more promising if ERAs weren’t 5.00 and 4.66, respectively.
15. Washington (13): Ty Clippard after fellow reliever Drew Storen was sent to minors, on offseason signing of Rafael Soriano: “You basically send a guy a message this offseason for having one bad game . . .” Yes, they did. Obviously Storen, whose ERA is 5.95, didn’t get it.
16. Kansas City (18): Royals manager Ned Yost: “Nothing is wrong with Alex Gordon.” Perhaps not. But there’s something wrong with his average. As high as .352 on May 22, it dropped to .269 after a 1-for-6 on Sunday. At least the 1 was a game-winning homer in the 12th.
17. Colorado (20): Rockies VP Bill Geivett: “I definitely feel like we can win this division.” And I feel like Tim Tebow might lead the Broncos back to the playoffs. But he won’t.
18. Seattle (24): Mariners get a visit from manager Eric Wedge, out with a stroke, termed “mild.” Acting manager Robbie Thompson said he doesn’t know when Wedge will back, but “I’m sure it will be sooner rather than later.” Here’s hoping he’s right.
19. L.A. Angels (15): Reliever Dane De La Rosa finds wounded pigeon in bullpen, carries it to safety. “I made sure to wash my hands really well,” he said. Too bad he couldn’t wash away stench of another failed Angels’ season.
20. Toronto (17): How do Blue Jays look? Not good in gray. Blue Jays are 3-15 in road grays, otherwise 45-41, according to sportslogos.net.
21. Philadelphia (19): Phillies fans no doubt hoping closer Jonathan Papelbon stays, despite comments after Sunday’s 12-4 loss, Phillies’ eighth straight: “. . . if I’m going to have to put up with this year after year, then no, I don’t want to be here. Why would you? Why would anybody?” Good questions. Fans’ answer: If we have to suffer, why shouldn’t he (and I can think of about 12-and-a-half million reasons he would want to be there, all of them dollars).
22. San Francisco (21): Giants GM Brian Sabean: “We’re almost ready to turn the page on this season.” Giants players: Thanks for your support, boss.
23. Chicago Cubs (22): Pitcher Jeff Samardzjia on Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal saying Samardzjia might be traded: “It doesn’t actually come from a trusted source.” Wondering whom he does trust? TMZ?
24. N.Y. Mets (23): Mets add Jeremy Mejia to six-man starting rotation, leaving manager Terry Collins with four players on bench and no lefthanders. Not that .189-hitting Kirk Nieuwenhuis was much of a lefty option.
25. San Diego (25): Padres GM Josh Byrnes: “We’ve got to improve our starting pitching.” If Sean O’Sullivan, career ERA of 6.04, is in your rotation, that’s a given.
26. Minnesota (26): Prospect Miguel Sano admires Class AA home run with GM Terry Ryan in stands, earns four-game benching. That’s not a problem on big-league team, if only because no one hits many home runs. Trevor Plouffe and Josh Willingham share team lead with but 10.
27. Chicago White Sox (27): Manager Robin Ventura says he’ll be glad when it’s August and trading deadline is past. Given team’s 40-62 record, most Sox fans will be glad when it’s November.
28. Milwaukee (28): Brewers fan wears Ryan Braun shirt, changes B-r-a-u-n to F-r-a-u-d and is told to remove the shirt. She obliges, and Brewers later apologize. No word on whether she tried to get them to apologize for Yuniesky Betancourt as well.
29. Miami (29): Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez resigned after reports he grabbed rookie Derek Dietrich by the front of his jersey and swore at other players. Interestingly, Red Sox had also been interested in hiring Martinez. We’re going to guess he would have tried a different tact with David Ortiz.
30. Houston (30): First-year manager Bo Porter on bullpen after Jays scored eight runs in the seventh: “It’s pretty obvious to everyone that they need to do a better job. This is a production-driven business. The longer that you go without doing a good job, somebody else is going to have your job.” Same could be said for the skipper of a 35-69 team that has the worst record in baseball.
sources: baseballreference.com, boston com, cbssports.com, espn.com, latimes.com, mlive.com, washingtonpost.com, post-gazette.com, chicagotribune.com, kansascity.com, startribune.com, thestar.com, sportslogos.net, seattletimes.com, newsday.com, insidebayarea.com, tampabay.com, ajc.com, cincinnati.com, chron.com