How they rank: April 15


Stats through Thursday’s games:

1. Chicago Cubs: Cubs have walked 53 times in nine games, more than any other team (Pittsburgh was second entering play Friday, with 44 in 10 games). After 108 years, patience is finally being rewarded.

2. Kansas City: Royals Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Wade Davis attend Justin Bieber concert and Hosmer is mobbed, mostly by teenage girls. No word if Bieber was jealous. Said Gordon: “He took one for the team.” Probably less painful than a fastball in the ribs.

3. Washingon: Marlins hitting coach and home run king Barry Bonds on Bryce Harper: “… he doesn’t compare to me yet. He has a long way to go (in order to be compared) to me. He is not even close to me.” Apparently Barry is going to protect his legacy as closely as he did the inside part of the plate when he batted.

4. St. L0uis: Cardinals manager Mike Matheny sits second baseman Kolten Wong, who’s hitting .200 and has committed three errors, and says, “It’s not punishment.” Certainly not. That’s what Memphis, the Cardinals’ AAA franchise, is for.

5. Baltimore: Red Sox gave away necklaces in honor of David Ortiz’s 500th career home run and Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones donned one. Maybe he thought the .500 was celebrating the Red Sox’s 4-4 start.

6. San Francisco: Outfielder Angel Pagan moonlighted last year behind the counter of a bait shop in South San Francisco, according to a San Jose Mercury News story, and sold manager Bruce Bochy more than $3,000 of equipment. That might explain why Bochy so often bats Pagan, off to a ,371 start, ninth.

7. Toronto: Blue Jays led MLB with 891 runs scored last year, or 5.5 a game; they’re tied for 12th with just 42 in their first 10 this season, or 4.2 a game. Might have something to do with Chris Colabello (.321 and .520 slugging in 2015) and Russell Martin (23 homers in ’15) being 3-for-48 combined without an extra-base hit.

8. Detroit: Justin Upton, whose career high in strikeouts is 171, fans 14 times in first 38 plate appearances, a pace that would give him 280 or so for the season. Give or take a few. Somehow he’s hitting .297, which means he’s at .478 when he puts the ball in play. Who said contact is overrated?

9. L.A. Dodgers: The Dodgers feted retiring broadcaster Vin Scully at their home opener, and have a whole year of celebrations planned in his honor. Perhaps the best way to do so would be to actually let Dodgers fans hear him. Because of a cable dispute, many Dodgers fans don’t have that option.

10. Chicago White Sox: Adam Eaton says new son Brayden “puts life in perspective.” It’s not true team exec Ken Williams gave Eaton limits on bringing week-old Brayden to the clubhouse.

11. Texas: Yu Darvish, recovering from Tommy John surgery, throws 30 pitches to two Rangers minor-leaguers and offers them $1,000 if they can homer off him. Neither collects. He’s lucky one of them wasn’t  former Marlin and Astro third baseman Matt Dominguez, now toiling in AAA for the Jays, who hit three of his 42 big-league homers off Darvish.

12. N .Y. Mets: Mets lose five of their first seven and manager Terry Collins brings back Jim Henderson less than 24 hours after he threw 34 pitches to get one out and asks closer Jeurys Familia to get five outs. Henderson, it should be noted, pitched just 11.1 innings from 2014-15 because of shoulder woes. Says Collins: “We’ve got to show people we mean business.” Did he mean business for NL East foes, or orthopedic surgeons?

13. Cleveland: Someone doesn’t believe in the prospects of the 2016 Indians. Cleveland Plain Dealer declines to send a reporter on the road for the first two trips of the season. Given last year’s attendance figures — the Indians were last in the non-Florida division — who can blame them? (If the Indians were so inclined, they could point to last year’s Plain Dealer circulation figures and ask why it matters when nobody reads it).

14. Pittsburgh: Pirates designate Michael Morse for assignment and will owe him $5 million, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, if no one claims him. An expensive misstep for a team that can’t afford them, but it would have been more costly to retain a player they didn’t need.

15. N.Y. Yankees: Alex Rodriguez, hitless in his last 14 at-bats, goes 0-for-3 against Marcus Stroman and says, “I had my ‘A’ swing.” Then why the gentlemen’s C+ results? Or did he mean ‘A’ as in Oakland Athletics?

16. Boston: Red Sox promote defense-first catcher Christian Vazquez to help a starting rotation that had an AL-worst 6.89 ERA after eight games. That’s a much simpler solution than getting better pitchers.

17. L.A. Angels: Angels reliever Joe Smith beats Warriors star Stephen Curry in a game of P-I-G after the basketball team’s practice. “We knew somebody had to beat him,” Smith said. “We couldn’t walk out of here without a win. That’s not making ESPN.” Neither is his pitching in the new season.

18.  Colorado: Rockies manager Walt Weiss on rookie Trevor Story’s start: “We’re not used to getting national attention around here. And the attention that Trevor Story is getting not only has gone national, it probably crosses solar systems.” Who knew ESPN’s signal, like home runs in Coors, carried so far?

19. Cincinnati: Reds are tied for second in most double plays grounded into (11, tied with the Angels behind Pittsburgh), but there’s a bright side: they’re getting base runners.

20. Houston: Reliever Ken Giles, acquired by trade from the Phillies to be the closer, throws three home runs in his first 3.2 innings. Vincent Velasquez, who went to the Phillies, fans 25 in 15 innings and wins his first two starts. Wonder how that trade is going over on talk radio in the Southwest?

21. Miami: Dee Gordon had Marlins-record 16-pitch at-bat, fouling off 11 straight, before delivering game-winning single Tuesday against Mets. That explains why it took 3:17 to play a 2-1 game (and why the Met’s Henderson threw 34 pitches in one-third of an inning).

22. Philadelphia:  Velasquez fans 16 in a complete-game three-hitter and manager Pete Mackanin says, “It looks like we made a pretty good trade, I’d say.” There’s no better time than after your boss’ acquistion throws a three-hitter to manage up.

23. Tampa Bay: Rays manager Kevin Cash says he’s not benching new acquisitions Logan Morrison (2-for-29) or Brad Miller (2-for-26). Cash: “Haven’t even discussed it.” Given their career numbers — first baseman Morrison has a .735 OPS and shortstop Miller .697 — and Richie Shaffer’s .321 start in AAA, maybe it’s time to start.

24. Oakland: A’s had to use one of the Giants’ planes to fly home from Seattle, according to the Mercury News. Not sure how long it took to discover all the stowaways.

25. Seattle: Mariners’ Robinson Cano on returning this weekend to Yankee Stadium: “I like it when they boo me.” With the Mariners having lost five of six at home and Cano batting .125 at home, he may get his wish more often.

26. Arizona: With A.J. Pollock out, Diamondbacks reportedly looking at signing outfielder Michael Bourn, let go by the Braves. Because what could be more helpful than adding a player who can’t play for a winless team?

27. Milwaukee: Brewers are 4-5 entering play Friday, with all four wins by one or two runs and three of their losses by 7-0, 10-1 and 12-3. Two of those involve Wily Peralta, who has a 10.80 ERA after three starts.

28. San Diego: Padres batted Melvin Upton cleanup on Thursday, which helps explain how they were shut out for the fifth time in their first 10 games. Good news is when the Padres do score, they score a lot –37 runs in the other five games. Bad news is three of those games were in Colorado. Away from Coors Field, Padres have scored five runs in seven games and are averaging 0.7 runs per game.

29. Minnesota: Byron Buxton hit by a pitch Thursday and stayed in the game long enough to steal second, when he was removed for a pinch-runner. No reason to stay in the game any longer. Since the Twins have scored just 14 runs in their first nine games, he probably wasn’t going any farther.

30. Atlanta: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Twins and Braves, last two winless teams, are cheering for each other. If nothing else works, maybe moral support will.

Sources: ESPN.com, MLB.com, rotoworld.com, mercurynews.com, post-gazette.com, stltoday.com, kansascity.com, ajc.com, seattletimes.com, sportsday.dallasnews.com, clevescene.com, denverpost.com, tbo.com, miamiherald.com, mercurynews.com

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