7:30 PM CDT, May 6, 2013
Last week's ranking in parentheses
1. Rangers (1): Ran their top three pitchers at the Red Sox in an impressive weekend sweep started by Derek Holland and finished by Yu Darvish, with Alexi Ogando in between. Looking very smart for letting Josh Hamilton get on free-agent market.
2. Tigers (2): Outscored Astros 37-8 in weekend series in Houston. Miguel Cabrera hitting .385 and on pace to break Hack Wilson's RBI record. That's crazy stuff.
3. Cardinals (5): Chris Carpenter hopes to help in the bullpen. That's leadership.
4. Giants (7): Matt Cain is showing the impact of throwing 249 1/3 innings last year but the rotation is still tough to beat. Pablo Sandoval ended April with 35 hits, tied with Starling Marte for the NL lead.
5. Braves (3): The 13-2 start has a disappointing couple of weeks.
6. Reds (6): Shin-Soo Choo has become the best leadoff man in baseball. Credit Manny Acta for moving him there last year.
7. Nationals (8): They're 6-1 when Bryce Harper homers and 11-14 when he doesn't.
8. Orioles (9): Credit GM Dan Duquette for convincing Freddy Garcia it was worth his time to make a few starts in Triple-A. Garcia was terrific against the Angels in his Baltimore debut.
9. Red Sox (4): Had climbed to 12 games over .500 before sweep at Texas dropped them to Earth. Going home to play the Twins and Blue Jays.
10. Royals (13): Jeremy Guthrie drew Greg Maddux comparisons with 106-pitch complete game against White Sox.
11. A's (12): Yoenis Cespedes comes out swinging after DL stint. Updating the numbers: A's are 95-50 with him and 17-32 without him since the start of 2012.
12. Yankees (11): Curtis Granderson is in Florida getting ready to return. But he won't help their inbalance, as left-handers give them big problems. Brian Cashman is quietly searching for a right-handed hitter. Will Alfonso Soriano get on his radar?
13. Rockies (15): Rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado brings another good bat to an already deep lineup.
14. Rays (16): David Price and fellow 2012 Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey (Blue Jays) are a combined 3-8 with a 5.68 ERA. Good thing for Joe Maddon that Matt Moore and Alex Cobb are pitching so well.
15. Pirates (14): Starling Marte, who is Andrew McCutchen's wingman, has a higher WAR (2.1) than McCutchen (1.0).
16. Diamondbacks (10): Left-hander Patrick Corbin is one of the best pitchers you've probably never seen. The Diamondbacks are 6-0 in his starts and 10-15 otherwise.
17. Indians (24): When the lineup is clicking, they can pound teams. Only the Rockies and Braves have hit more home runs.
18. Phillies (18): They've been better behind the back end of the rotation than in the starts by big-ticket guys Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. That is a decidedly second-division trend.
19. Brewers (19): It's a small sample but they've been better with Yuniesky Betancourt at third base than Aramis Ramirez, who came off the DL on Friday.
20. Dodgers (17): Don Mattingly sure seems like a very good manager. But his big-ticket team is only 31-34 since the mega trade with Boston last August. Matt Kemp is the guy who could get it turned around but he doesn't seem like the guy who earned the huge contract.
21. Twins (20): Ron Gardenhire has done a good job keeping this team near .500.
22. Mariners (25): Aaron Harang's first victory was part of a promising week, which has slowed the cries for the scalps of GM Jack Zduriencik and always embattled manager Eric Wedge.
23. White Sox (21): Jake Peavy's back is a huge question. There's no way the Sox can hang with playoff teams without big season from the 1-2 combination of Chris Sale-Peavy.
24. Mets (23): The rotation has possibilities but needs Shaun Marcum to continue his steady progression after opening the year on the DL. He was solid in Milwaukee when he was healthy.
25. Angels (22): Swept the Tigers April 19-21 and since then have dropped four straight series. Moved Garrett Richards out of the rotation to help the bullpen but he got a relief loss on Saturday against the Orioles.
26. Padres (26): You'd think side-arming lefty Joe Thatcher would be death on left-handed hitters but they're 7-for-17 off him so far.
27. Marlins (29): Jose Fernandez's win over Cole Hamels on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park has to be great for the kid's confidence.
28. Blue Jays (28): Starting pitching was expected to be a strength but the 5.39 rotation ERA ranks 28th in the majors, better than only the Padres and Astros.
29. Cubs (27): Mid-season could be a good time to deal Alfonso Soriano, assuming he does his part by getting hot. Ryan Sweeney is off to a very good start with Triple-A Iowa (.337-6-16 in 23 games) and would give Dale Sveum a reasonable left-field platoon with Scott Hairston.
30. Astros (30): The DH spot is hitting .210 with a .621 OPS as Bo Porter relies on a platoon of Carlos Pena and Chris Carter. Hard to believe but the Rays and Orioles have gotten less from the DH spot (both are teams to keep in mind regarding Soriano).
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