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*MLB Records are as of 5/11/2009
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (22-11) – Despite the loss of top power hitter Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles has continued to bash the ball around ball parks. In the first night without Manny, the Dodgers scored 9 runs, and then Saturday Los Angeles picked up eight against rival San Francisco. The Dodgers will look to Andre Either and Matt Kemp to pick up the slack until early July when Ramirez is expected to return from his 50 game suspension. Chad Billingsley has emerged as the Dodgers ace starting the season 5-1 with a 2.45 era. The Dodgers bullpen continues to be sharp, anchored by closer Jonathan Broxton, who has picked up eight saves on the season, and won three ball games. The Dodgers continue to rule the National League West, as they lead rival San Francisco by 4.5 games. The Dodgers will head east to take on the Phillies and Marlins in back to back series’ after a day off on Monday.
2. Toronto Blue Jays (21-12) – The Toronto Blue Jays have turned into major league baseball’s biggest surprise at the start of the 2009 season. Toronto has pulled to ten games over .500, and lead Boston, New York and Tampa Bay in the American League East. The Blue Jays have gotten solid offensive contributions from Aaron Hill, who leads the team in batting average and homeruns (.351 and 8). Adam Lind has started the season with 31 RBI’s, and a .336 batting average. The ever reliable Roy Halladay has once again been dominating to start the season. Halladay is 6-1 with a 3.29 era, pitching in 52 innings already on the season. Toronto will get a chance to play at home this week, where they are 11-4, as the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox both come in for three game series’ after a day off on Monday.
3. Boston Red Sox (19-12) – The Red Sox come in with a 19-12 record when they take on Tampa Bay in the ESPN Sunday night affair. Boston trails Toronto for the top spot in the American League East, but lead the rest of the East pack by 4.5 games. The Red Sox are getting quality offensive numbers from Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Jason Bay, as David Ortiz continues his struggles. Youkilis leads the team with a .393 batting average, while Pedroia has scored 29 runs, and Bay has hit 9 homeruns and driven in 33 runs, both leading the team. Tim Wakefield leads the pitching staff with 4 wins, and also with a robust 2.93 era. After Boston finishes the home series with the Rays, they will head across the country to take on the Angles and Mariners in back to back road series’.
4. St. Louis Cardinals (20-12) – The Cardinals were able to pick up their 20th victory of the season on Sunday, after blowing a three run lead. St. Louis with that victory remained two games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central. The Cardinals have once again been led by Albert Pujols, who was the April player of the month. Pujols is batting .330 with 12 homeruns and 33 RBI’s, along with 32 runs scored; all team leading. His power numbers lead the entire national league, while his batting average places him just outside of the top ten. If Pujols can continue his assault on a National League triple crown, expect his 19 walks to continue to increase as well. Kyle Lohse leads the pitching staff with 42.1 innings pitched, as he is tied with Joel Piniero for four wins on the season. Closer Ryan Franklin blew his first save on Sunday, allowing his first two runs of the season, on solo homeruns. Franklin has saved nine of ten chances. The Cardinals will take Monday off, and then head to Pittsburgh to take on the struggling Pirates, and then come home and host the surging Milwaukee Brewers.
5. Kansas City Royals (18-13) – The Royals have been quite a surprise in the American League, and currently hold a slim margin over the Detroit Tigers. Kansas City has been led by starting pitcher Zack Greinke, who has started the season 6-1 with a league leading era of 0.51 with 59 strikeouts to just 8 walks. Offensively, Alberto Callaspo has been solid, hitting .343 with 2 homeruns and 11 RBI’s. Mike Jacobs is the leading homerun hitter and rbi man for the Royals with 5 and 19. Joakim Soria has saved seven games, but may be sidelined for a bit, as he has found discomfort in his shoulder. The Royals will take Monday off, before hosting divisional foe Chicago on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, before flying out to Los Angeles to begin a West coast trip, starting with the Angels.
6. Detroit Tigers (17-13) – The Detroit Tigers have started to pick up steam, and have joined the Kansas City Royals at the top of the American League Central Division. The Tigers finished off divisional rival Cleveland in a three game weekend sweep. The Tigers have used Miguel Cabrera’s .389 batting average to bolster the solid offense. Curtis Granderson leads the Tigers in homeruns, leading off for Jim Leyland’s club. The big win during the weekend was the 1-0 win over reigning Cy Young champion Cliff Lee. Justin Verlander pitched a gem, as the Tigers continued the Indians struggles in 2009. The Tigers will take on divisional foe Minnesota on the road, after a day off Monday, and then come back home for a weekend series with the Oakland Athletics.
7. New York Mets (17-13) – The New York Mets have become the hottest team in the major leagues, winners of seven straight games. The Mets recently picked up series sweeps of the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Mets got off to a slow start, but since have taken the lead in the National League East Division. The Mets are tied with Florida currently, but have a lead on Philadelphia and Atlanta. Carlos Beltran leads the team in batting average and homeruns, as Carlos Delgado leads in RBI’s with 23. Mike Pelfrey has been a solid surprise for the Mets, as he has won four games, without a loss. Pelfrey has a 4-0 mark, despite a high ERA of 5.46. K-Rod, the Mets biggest off-season pickup has saved nine games thus far for the Mets. The Mets will look to keep their season high winning streak on Monday-Wednesday as the Atlanta Braves visit the new Citi Field for a three game set. Following that series, the Mets will take to the road and play a four game series in San Francisco.
8. Florida Marlins (17-14) – The Marlins cooled off after the super quick start, but despite their cooling down, still continue to sit atop the National League East Division. The Marlins recently picked up two out of three wins on the road in Colorado. Florida is getting solid offense from Hanley Ramirez (.343 batting average) and Jorge Cantu (8 homeruns and 32 RBI’s). The Marlins ace has been Josh Johnson, who has started the season 3-0 with a 2.34 era, striking out 43 batters, and only walking 6. The Marlins will finish their road trip this week, Tuesday through Thursday as they travel to Miller Park to take on the Brewers. After leaving Milwaukee, the Marlins will host the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three game weekend series.
9. Milwaukee Brewers (18-14) – The Brewers were not able to pick up the three game sweep Sunday as the Cubs knocked them off 4-2. Despite falling, the Brewers still remain one of the hottest in the league. Milwaukee, after a slow start, has climbed to within two games of the front running St. Louis Cardinals. The Brewers have gotten MVP type numbers from Ryan Braun, as he is hitting .349, with 8 homeruns and 29 RBI’s. Yovani Gallardo has been the ace on the mound for Milwaukee, starting the year 4-1 with a 3.09 era. Milwaukee has went 9-7 at home, and also 9-7 on the road to start the season. The Brewers have had struggles with their bench to start the year, as Brad Nelson, Chris Duffy and Casey Mcgehee have combined for just 5 hits in 56 at bats. The Brewers will look to get back on track when the Florida Marlins come to town for a three game set starting Tuesday. After Florida leaves the Brewers will head to St. Louis to face the Cardinals for the first time all season.
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10. Chicago Cubs (17-14) – The Cubs look at their 17-14 record and consider themselves fortunate to be above .500. Chicago has been hit hard by injuries including most recently Aramis Ramirez and Chad Fox heading to the disabled list. Ramirez expects to miss the rest of May, and a portion of June before returning to the lineup. Fox has been placed on the disabled list, and his career may be in jeopardy after injuring his elbow on a pitch. The Cubs picked up Ryan Freel from Baltimore in exchange for Joey Gathright most recently. Chicago hopes Freel can stay healthy and produce in many positions. Kosuke Fukudome leads the team in batting with a .308 average, while Alfonso Soriano leads in homeruns and RBI’s with 9 and 18. The Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano still remains on the disabled list, but is expected to return in 10 days. The Cubs will head home and start a nice home stand on Tuesday as the Padres, followed by Astros visit Wrigley Field.
11. Cincinnati Reds (17-14) – Despite not picking up the sweep on Sunday over St. Louis, the Cincinnati Reds made a statement that they were a team to reckon with in the Central Division in 2009. The Reds took two of three from St. Louis, behind wins from Johnny Cueto and Aaron Harang. Joey Votto leads the Reds in batting, despite sitting the past couple games with a bout of the flu. Votto is hitting .370 on the season with 4 homeruns and 24 homeruns. The Reds power has come from Jay Bruce, who has hit 9 homeruns on the year. Sunday’s loss came from closer Chad Cordero, who has saved 9 games on the season. The Reds are in a log jam in the middle of the National League Central Division, trailing first place St. Louis by just 2.5 games. The Reds will start a road trip on Monday in the desert against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and then head to San Diego following that series.
12. Texas Rangers (17-14) – Texas used a series win over the Chicago White Sox to bolster their season record to 17-14, leading the Anaheim Angels in the American League West by just one game. The Rangers continue to be without top power hitter Josh Hamilton, who is out with a strained rib cage. Ian Kinsler has picked up the pace for Texas hitting nine homeruns and driving in 28 runs. Kinsler also leads the team in runs scored (24) and stolen bases (8). Kevin Millwood has pitched well at the start of the season, leading the team with 52.1 innings, and compiling a ERA of 2.92. The Rangers will host divisional foes Seattle and Anaheim this week.
13. Philadelphia Phillies (15-14) – After getting swept by divisional foe New York, the Phillies continued their slide losing two of three from the Atlanta Braves, another divisional opponent. The Phillies have fallen to just one game over .500 at 15-14. Philadelphia has been inconsistent with the bats, but are getting quality production from Raul Ibanez, who is hitting a robust .339 with 23 RBI’s. Chase Utley leads the team in homeruns with 10. Jayson Werth has also been solid, leading the Phillies in runs (25) and stolen bases (3). The veteran Jamie Moyer leads the pitching staff in wins with 3. The Phillies currently sit in third place in the National League East, behind Florida and New York by just one game. The Phillies will host the Dodgers, starting on Tuesday, before heading to Washington for a three game weekend series.
14. Los Angeles Angels (16-14) – The Angels have withstood the tragic beginning, and poor play in the beginning weeks of the season, and have climbed to above .500 for the first time all season. Anaheim is 16-14, just behind Texas, after winning four straight games. The Angels picked up a series finale win over Toronto, and then swept the Kansas City Royals in three. The Angels have started seeing production from Bobby Abreu, as he leads the team in hitting, with his .309 batting average. Torii Hunter leads the team in homeruns, RBI’s and runs scored with 8, 21 and 24 respectively. Joe Saunders has been the ace in the first five weeks of the season for Anaheim, as he has went 5-1 with a 2.66 era. The Angels will host the Boston Red Sox for a three game series starting Tuesday, before heading to Texas for a three game weekend series on the road.
15. San Francisco Giants (16-14) – The Giants, in the National League West are just trying to keep pace with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Thus far, they look to be the Dodgers only halfway close competition within the division. The Giants, just above .500 are 4.5 games back, but lead San Diego by three games and the Rockies and Diamonbacks by four games. San Francisco did what they needed to do over the weekend, and beat the Dodgers two of three. The Giants do not have a starter in their lineup with a batting average over .300. Fred Lewis leads the team in batting with a .299 mark. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain have anchored the starting rotation well, with Barry Zito doing a much better job in 2009 then he did in 2008. The Giants will enjoy a nice long home stand this week, as the Nationals come in on Monday, followed by the Mets on Thursday, for a four game weekend tilt.
16. New York Yankees (15-16) – The addition of Alex Rodriguez back in the lineup should be the shot in the arm, New York has been looking for in the first 30+ games. In the first night, it was, as he went deep in his first at bat. Since then, the Yankees split games with Baltimore. The Yankees, under .500, are 5.5 games back of the front running Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. New York was aided by a hot start from Nick Swisher, who leads the team with eight homeruns. The Yankees will look to gain ground on the Blue Jays this week, as they start a three game series north of the border on Tuesday, and then will come home for a Friday, Saturday, Sunday tilt with the Minnesota Twins.
17. Tampa Bay Rays (15-17) – As the Rays look to take two of three from divisional rival Boston Sunday on ESPN, they try to figure out how to get any consistency from anyone not named Longoria. Slugger Evan Longoria is off to a hot start, batting .367 with 11 homeruns and 44 RBI’s Carlos Pena leads all of baseball with 13 homeruns, but even his consistency has been shaky at times. Scott Kazmir leads the starting staff with four wins, while Troy Percival has picked up five saves in the first five weeks. After Tampa Bay leaves Boston Sunday night, they will make a brief two game stop in Baltimore for Tuesday and Wednesday games, before heading home for a four game series with the Cleveland Indians.
18. Seattle Mariners (16-16) – The Mariners, despite their recent four game losing streak, still sit just 1.5 games back in the American League West. The Mariners picked up a win on Sunday at Minnesota to avoid being swept. Ichiro leads Seattle in batting with a .320 batting mark, while Russell Branyan is providing the power, with seven homeruns on the season. Felix Hernandez has been the ace of the staff with four wins in 44 innings, but Eric Bedard has also pitched well, leading the team in ERA with a 2.37. Closer Brandon Morrow has been recently activated from the disabled list, after missing time, but now Carlos Silva has been placed on the DL with right shoulder inflammation. The Mariners will continue their road trip on Tuesday at Texas for three games, before hosting the Boston Red Sox for a three game series over the weekend.
19. Chicago White Sox (14-16) – The White Sox at 14-16 are tied in third place with the Minnesota Twins. Both Chicago and Minnesota trail Kansas City and Detroit by three games for the divisional lead. The White Sox have been one of the surprise teams, in a bad way to start the season. Despite Carlos Quentin’s hot start, and eight homeruns, the White Sox have been very inconsistent offensively. Chicago is coming off losing two of three to the Texas Rangers over the weekend. The White Sox biggest bright spot on the season has been lefthander Mark Buerhle. Buerhle leads the team with a 5-0 record, and 2.61 era in 38 innings. Closer Bobby Jenks has picked up seven saves for Chicago. Alexi Ramirez has gotten off to an extremely slow start, hitting just .204 with 1 homerun and 11 RBI’s. The White Sox will start a road trip on Monday in Cleveland, before playing four on the road in Toronto starting Thursday.
20. Minnesota Twins (15-17) – Along with Chicago, the Twins have been another disappointment out of the American League Central. Minnesota did recently pick up two of three from the visiting Seattle Mariners to climb into the third place tie, three games back of the leaders. The Twins Justin Morneau seemingly is carrying the offense, almost single handedly, leading in batting average, homeruns, RBI’s, and runs. Morneau is hitting .322, with 8 homeruns, 25 RBI’s, and 22 runs scored. Kevin Slowey leads the Twins pitching staff in wins with 4,but has an ERA of 5.50 on the season. The Twins will look to make ground with the Detroit Tigers, starting on Tuesday with a three game series at home, and then over the weekend will play at the new Yankee Stadium.
21. Atlanta Braves (15-16) – The Atlanta Braves have almost become the most forgot about team in major league baseball. The Braves’ despite that claim still linger in the mix within the National League East. It is early, but if Atlanta can continue to get solid pitching from Jair Jurrjens and Javier Vazquez, the Braves could compete in September. The Braves leading homerun hitter is Chipper Jones with three. Atlanta’s lack of power has become very apparent, as they expect more power numbers from Jeff Francouer. Casey Kotchman leads the team in batting, and is batting just .298. Atlanta has won four of their last five, winning the final two in a series with Florida, and taking the last two most recently with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves will conclude their road trip, starting on Monday, visiting the New York Mets for three. Atlanta will take Thursday off, before the Arizona Diamondbacks visit the heart of Dixie on Friday.
22. Houston Astros (14-17) – By winning three straight games, and by virtue of the Pittsburgh Pirates dropping eight straight, the Astros have climbed into fifth place in the National League Central. Houston is three games under .500, but may be putting things together. Carlos Lee leads a struggling offense with a .309 batting average and 22 RBI’s, while Lance Berkman has knocked seven over the boards, but his .184 batting average has Astros brass scratching their heads. Wandy Rodriguez leads the team in wins with just 3, and era (1.80), along with innings pitched (45). The Astros took three straight over the weekend from the San Diego Padres. Houston now hit’s the road for a series at Colorado, followed by a weekend series at Chicago.
23. San Diego Padres (13-19) – The Padres offense abandoned them in a three game weekend series at Houston. After losing 2-0, the Padres dropped 5-4 and 12-5 decisions. Adrian Gonzalez appears to be the only San Diego hitter than provides a punch in the lineup. Gonzalez leads the team in batting (.296), homeruns (9), RBI’s (20) and runs scored (21). The Padres will take on the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field starting on Tuesday, and then come back home to host the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend.
24. Arizona Diamondbacks (12-19) – The dismal start by the Arizona Diamondbacks already got former manager Bob Melvin canned. Now the Diamondbacks will look to make new manager A.J. Hinch look a little better. Arizona is off to a 12-19 start, and placed in fourth place in the National League West, already 9.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. Arizona was able to pick up a series finale win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday to avoid the three game sweep. Dan Haren has pitched well for Arizona to start the year, winning three games, and compiling an ERA of 1.84, striking out 51 batters and walking just 4.
25. Baltimore Orioles (13-19) – It’s never easy to compete in the American League East with the powers of New York and Boston, and more recently Tampa Bay, and now with Toronto off to a torrid start, the Orioles are having an even more difficult time. The Orioles are in fifth place in the AL East, and trail Toronto by eight games. Adam Jones has been a bright start for Baltimore, hitting .353, with 6 homeruns and 21 RBI’s. Jim Johnson has won two games, with no defeats out of the bullpen for Baltimore. The Orioles will host Tampa Bay Tuesday and Wednesday, and then start a four game series at Kansas City on Thursday.
26. Pittsburgh Pirates (12-19) – The Pirates have lost eight straight games, and nine of their last ten. After a good start that saw them competing near the top of the NL Central, Pittsburgh has now fallen to seven games under .500, and 7.5 games behind front running St. Louis. Pittsburgh’s bullpen has been beat around recently suffering two meltdowns during last weeks play. The Pirates were have been swept in three straight series’. Pittsburgh will look to get back on the winning track, as they host the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, and then see Colorado come in on Friday.
27. Oakland Athletics (11-18) – The Athletics have been riddled with injuries to start the season. Mark Ellis, Nomar Garciaparra and Eric Chavez all remain on the shelf, which forced Oakland to acquire veteran Adam Kennedy. Jack Cust has provided the most power for Oakland, but has hit just four homeruns, as Matt Holliday has been a disappointment thus far for Oakland. The Athletics will host the Kansas City Royals for two games on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then take Thursday off, before heading to Detroit for a weekend series.
28. Colorado Rockies (12-18) – The Rockies find themselves eight games back of the Dodgers, just barely ahead of Arizona in the National League West. If the Rockies do not pick up the pace, look for Clint Hurdle to be hiring the same unemployment papers as recently canned Bob Melvin did. Todd Helton is hitting .337 for Colorado and Chris Ianetta leads the team with six homeruns. Huston Street has been dismal for Colorado with a 0-1 record, and 5.11 era, with just three saves on the year. Colorado will host Houston for a three game series starting Tuesday, and then head on the road to Pittsburgh on Friday.
29. Cleveland Indians (11-21) – Cleveland did not help their cause over the weekend getting swept by Central leading Detroit. The Indians are now 11-21 and 7 games back of Detroit and Kansas City. Victor Martinez continues to see the ball very well, leading his team, and all of baseball with a .385 batting average. Grady Sizemore leads the team with homeruns (6) and RBI’s (22). The Indians will look to snap their four game losing streak on Monday when the Chicago White Sox come to town. Following Chicago, the Indians will head to Tampa Bay to play four with the Rays.
30. Washington Nationals (10-19) – The Nationals have started to show some signs of light winning three straight, and six of their last ten overall. The winning streak was snapped on Sunday as the Diamondbacks were able to win the final game of the series. Washington has seen Ryan Zimmerman surge to a 28 game hitting streak, and hit for a .338 average through 30 games, and also Adam Dunn pounded out 9 homeruns. Shairon Maris leads the Nationals pitching staff with four wins, and an ERA of 4.67. The Nationals started 5-16, so their streak is much improvement. Washington will continue the road trip on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in San Francisco, before heading home to host the Phillies on Friday.
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