Last rankings in parentheses. Stats through Wednesday’s games:
1. Oakland (3): Drew Pomeranz breaks his hand punching a chair in the locker room. If he had thrown that hard, maybe he wouldn’t have been pounded for eight runs in 3.2 innings.
2. Milwaukee (2):. Brewers win 49 of first 81 games, best half-season start in team history. The 1982 Brewers, the franchise’s’ only pennant winner, won 46 of their first 81 and needed a 23-11 stretch after firing manager Buck Rogers to do that.
3. L.A. Angels (12): Angels GM Jerry Dipoto says “This is by far the most talent we’ve had in the bullpen since I’ve been here ….” despite being tied for last in relief home runs allowed (1.16 per nine innings, led by Ernesto Frieri’s eight in 30.1 innings), 24th in bullpen ERA (4.38; Frieri is at 5.64) and last in bullpen WAR (-0.8), according to fangraphs.com.
4. San Francisco (4): Tim Lincecum no-hits Padres for second straight season. Some of us won’t be impressed until he throws one against a major-league team.
5. Toronto (22): Outfielder Kevin Pillar, batting .225, tossed his bat after being pinch-hit for this week. Blue Jays sent him to AAA, where he should be much happier. No one will pinch hit for him there.
6. Detroit (7): Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said: “We do not need a closer at this point,” but given that Joe Nathan has two losses, five blown saves and a 6.28 ERA, they’re going to need a closer at some point soon.
7. L.A. Dodgers (10): Yasiel Puig says he would “welcome” a chance to participate in the Home Run Derby. Why not? There’s no baserunning.
8. St. Louis (5): Marco Gonzales, 19th pick of the first round, is second player from first round of the 2013 draft to reach the majors. Tigers’ Corey Knebel, who didn’t stay, was first.
9. Washington (9): Ian Desmond confronts Brewers’ Carlos Gomez after Gomez’s hard takeout slide on Kevin Frandsen with a 9-2 lead: “In a World Series game, you slide like that. In a seven-run-differential game, there’s no time for that.” So, it’s OK to play hard in a one-run Series game in October? But not in a seven-run rout in June?
10. Baltimore (15): Manny Machado appeals his suspension, sounding a lot like the driver who goes to traffic court hoping the officer who wrote the ticket doesn’t show up. “I didn’t mean to … I don’t want to jinx anything, just want to try to get the least games as possible.”
11. Seattle (26): Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon: “I have been around the game a long time, and Kyle Seager is not a .260 hitter.” He’s right. In 2011, Seager batted .258; in 2012, .259. It’s only last year and for 1,668 career at-bats that Seager is a .260 hitter.
12. Cincinnati (13): Reds are 11-5 and averaging 5.7 runs per game since Joey Votto’s return from injury, despite Votto hitting just .267 and slugging but .367 (no homers). Must have helped their pitching.
13. N.Y. Yankees (6): Derek Jeter turned 40, expanding MLB’s over-40 club. Yankees only have two of them — Jeter and Ichiro — but two more are ex-Yankees (Jason Giambi and out-of-work Raul Ibanez). There’s also Rockies reliever Latroy Hawkins and Mets starter Bartolo Colon, who’s going better than any of them in his fifth decade.
14. Atlanta (1): Tommy La Stella started his career 20-for-47, but is a Dan Uggla-like 2-for- 31 since.
15. Kansas City (17): After winning 10 in a row, Royals have lost six of seven, scoring just 17 runs in last seven games. Royals lost Thursday on a bases-loaded hit by pitch in a game in which both Lorenzo Cain (third of season, 15th of career) and Jarrod Dyson (first of season, fourth of career) both homered.
16. Pittsburgh (24): Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on demoted outfielder Jose Tabata: “He’s of age right now where the future is still in front of him.” Maybe Clint can explain what age it is when the future is behind Tabata. Oh, and with an outfield of Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen, Tabata’s future isn’t with the Pirates. Except on the bench.
17. Miami (27): Marlins manager Mike Redmond says Rafael Furcal is “done for quite a bit of time” with hamstring injury. One queston: When did he start?
18. Cleveland (23): Michael Bourn has more triples (seven) than steals (six). He has seven of the Indians’ 11 triples, but just six of their 45 steals.
19. N.Y. Mets (19): Mets farm Travis d’Arnaud, who homers upon his return, then threaten to release Chris Young, who homers three times in seven at-bats after hitting four in his first 179. So why didn’t these tactics work with Ike Davis?
20. Colorado (11): Rockies lead MLB, as was pointed out after Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter, in runs scored, average (.283) and OPS (.794), but that’s because of their performance at home, where they’re batting .326 with a .902 OPS. On the road they’re 22nd in average (.239) and 18th in OPS (.680).
21. Philadelphia (16): Phillies shut down AA prospect Jesse Biddle, who tells Reading Eagle: “I’m miserable out there. I’m very unhappy. And I don’t know why.” One guess? The 22 earned runs and six homers he’s given up in his last 15.2 innings, including 10 runs in his last start.
22. Minnesota (20): Rookie outfielder Jorge Polanco is called up from Class A Fort Myers because of a Danny Santana injury, becoming fifth Twin, according to startribune.com, to go from A to majors. First four were: Jim Manning (1962), Butch Wynegar (1976), Kent Hrbek (1981) and Jim Eisenreich (1982). Don’t expect Polanco to stick.
23. Boston (14): Catcher A.J. Pierzynski on starter Clay Buchholz: “if Clay’s right, he’s going to be great for us. He’s a guy that’s won a lot of games at this level.” Yo A.J.: He’s won 61 games in the majors and this is his seventh season. That’s a little less than a 300-game pace for his career.
24. Chicago White Sox (21): Outfielder Adam Eaton after the White Sox blew a 4-0 lead in the eighth inning and lost to Baltimore in 12: “The baseball gods must be upset with us in some way, shape, or form.” White Sox responded by making a sacrifice of Scott Downs and his 6.08 ERA, releasing him. God of the bullpen will be pleased.
25. Chicago Cubs (29): Fog settled into Wrigley Field Thursday, even helping Luis Valbuena break a 2-for-22 slump with a fog-aided triple. Seems fitting. The Cubs have played as if in one for 100 years or so.
26. Houston (30): Sports Illustrated predicts Astros to win the World Series in 2017. This is the same magazine that in 2011 said the Royals would make the playoffs in 2013 and win the Series in 2015. We’re still waiting. And doubting.
27. Texas (8): Carlos Pena, recalled from minors, says he will “cherish every moment” back in the majors. He might note that the two previous Rangers first basemen of 2014, Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland, suffered season-ending injuries.
28. San Diego (25): Padres have a team average of .213 and have scored just 238 runs in 79 games, an average of 3.0 per game. They’re on pace to score just 486 runs this season. No team has failed to score 500 runs in a full season since, you guessed it, the 1971 Padres, according to surfturfandmurph.com.
29. Tampa Bay (18): The Rays had a 17-year-old girl pitch batting practice. They probably couldn’t hit her either.
30. Arizona (28): In Addison Reed’s 33 appearances, he’s been scored on in 15, but somehow only blown three saves. Probably because there’s been so little to save.