Last ranking in parentheses:
1. L.A. Dodgers (10): Ex-Padre Edinson Volquez gives up six hits and four runs in four innings in first Dodger start, and manager Don Mattingly says he didn’t think Volquez “was that bad.” He’s right. With a 6.05 ERA, Volquez is often far worse.
2. Boston (3): Manager John Farrell said Ryan Dempster (4.79 ERA) “has been the pitcher we thought we were signing over the offseason.” One question, then. Why did you pay him so much ($13 million)?
3. Atlanta (6): There’s a reason Kameron Loe went six years between big-league starts, as Braves should have known before 5-2 loss to Mets. Loe said it was “a disappointment” after giving up 11 hits and 5 runs in 4.1 innings. Not to anyone who has followed his career it wasn’t.
4. Detroit (7): Boston Mayor Tom Menino tells the New York Times about Detroit, “I’d blow the place up and start all over.” Tigers manager Jim Leyland says Menino should worry about the visitors clubhouse at Fenway Park. I’m going to guess Menino’s car of choice is a Lexus.
5. Pittsburgh (5): Pirates’ streak of losing seasons ends at 20. That seems appropriate, given, as manager Clint Hurdle pointed out, the symbolic meaning of No. 21 in western Pa.
6. St. Louis (1): Edward Mujica blew his third save Wednesday, giving him as many of those as he has walks. It might be a while before he does either again.
7. Oakland (4): A’s starter Jarrod Parker personally undefeated in last 18 starts; A’s have lost six, and Parker has won only seven.
8. Texas (11): Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish waves away catcher A.J. Pierzynski during big loss to A’s on Wednesday. When he retires Pierzynski’s book will be a takeoff on Dale Carneige’s: How to Make Enemies of Friends and Anger People.
9. Tampa Bay (2): Rays arrived in California Sunday and immediately held their fantasy football draft, then lost to Angels on Monday, 11-2. They keep playing like that and Rays won’t have to worry about finding time to prepare their fantasy football lineups in October,
10. Cincinnati (8): Call-up Billy Hamilton steals second on the first pitch against the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina Tuesday. “I didn’t send him out there to paint,” said Reds manager Dusty Baker. Given Hamilton’s .256 average and .651 OPS at AAA, maybe he could do better with a paint brush.
11. N.Y. Yankees (12): Phil Hughes, 4-13 with a 4.86 ERA, said he was “disappointed and surprised” by demotion to bullpen. I was surprised, too: what took so long?
12. Baltimore (9): Orioles refuse to move Thursday game for Super Bowl champion Ravens, who thus have to open NFL season on road. Here’s guessing State Farm isn’t the Orioles’ insurance company.
13. Cleveland (13): Indians pitchers brought a live chicken on to the field with them for batting practice while they watched from the deepest reaches of center field. Chicken was reportedly “unfazed,” by his new surroundings. Why wouldn’t he be? Anyone following the team knows most of the Indians couldn’t hit it that far.
14. Kansas City (16): Kyle Zimmer, the No. 5 pick of the 2012 draft, headed back to the University of San Francisco to pursue his degree. Given that his season was curtailed by shoulder stiffness, and he’s already had elbow surgery, it’s probably not a bad idea.
15. Arizona (14): Manager Kirk Gibson says fans are booing reliever Heath Bell because “a lot’s been written about him and a lot’s been talked about him.” That’s it. Not because he has a 4.66 ERA, seven blown saves and a $13 million contract?
16. Washington (15): Adam LaRoche says medication he takes for ADD has caused him to lose 15 to 20 pounds. He’s also lost 15 home runs off his total from last year, 37 points of batting average and 106 points of slugging percentage.
17. Colorado (17): Todd Helton reaches 2,500 hits. Is he a Hall of Famer? At home, yes: .345/.442/.607. On the road, not so much: .288/.387/.470.
18. L.A. Angels (19): Consultant tells Anaheim city council team has the wherwithal to build its own stadium, and could move to “at least half a dozen potential sites.” Given team’s 64-74 record, and millions committed in long-term contracts, who would want them?
19. Toronto (20): Credit Jays reliever Steve Delabar with a crucial hold: he introduced his brother to his now-wife, then became ordained as a mail-order minister to perform the marriage ceremony.
20. N.Y. Mets (24): Mets GM Sandy Alderson on shortstop Ruben Tejada: “We need to see a commitment to improvement.” Mets fans are likely thinking the same thing about their team’s management.
21. San Francisco (22): Things are so bad Giants even lost to the Department of Labor. Team paid $545,000 in back wages to employees because of minimum-wage, overtime and record-keeping violations.
22. Seattle (18): Mariners manager Eric Wedge: “We’ve got a lot of guys here that have got to continue to learn how to play the game. And understand what it takes to win a ballgame.’’ Yo, Eric, here’s what it takes: More runs. And the Mariners might not be the best team on which to learn: they’ve scored 103 fewer than opponents.
23. Philadelphia (21): Jimmy Rollins-Ryne Sandberg union doesn’t appear as if it’s going to last. Rollins has had four days off in Sandberg’s first 20 games.
24. San Diego (25): Whatever the standard, biggest regression in 2013 might be Chase Headley, who has gone from a .286/.376/.498 slash, 31 home runs and NL-leading 115 RBIs in 2012 to .240/.333/.373 slash, nine homers and 37 RBIs in 2013.
25. Minnesota (26): Trade of Justin Morneau must open the can of what could have been for Twins fans. Morneau was having his best season in 2010 — a 1.055 OPS in 81 games — when sidelined with concussion. He’s been a lesser player in the three seasons since.
26. Chicago Cubs (23): Owner Tom Ricketts, responding to a Chicago columnist’s suggestion that Cubs’ ownership isn’t trying to win, said: “We go into every season wanting to win.” Going to be hard to equate that with claim of Daniel Bard (6.46 minor league ERA).
27. Chicago White Sox (27): Adam Dunn, only 33, mulls retirement, says state of White Sox in 2014 will factor into his decision. Given that, he could get a head start on cleaning out his locker any day now.
28. Milwaukee (28): Brewers deal John Axford to Cards for Michael Blazek in swap of relievers. GM Doug Melvin, asked about Blazek’s role, says: “I don’t think we know enough about him.” Yo, Doug: You just traded for him — you should know everything about him.
29. Miami (29): Reliever Ryan Webb composed his own song to enter games; mlb.com says it “isn’t professionally done.” Perfect. Neither are Marlins.
30. Houston (30): Astros game on TV Wednesday drew an 0.1 rating, meaning just 2,200 households were watching. I know what you’re thinking: Why so many?
sources: baseballreference.com, boston com, tampabay.com, stltoday.com, cbssports.com, espn.com, latimes.com, mlive.com, washingtonpost.com, chicagotribune.com, kansascity.com, startribune.com, thestar.com, nationalpost.com, seattletimes.com, newsday.com, insidebayarea.com, ajc.com