2. St. Louis Cardinals (2)- The White Sox better look out, because the Cardinals could be making a move to the top slot. St. Louis starting pitchers have combined for 63 wins this season, and Chris Carpenter leads all pitchers with 17 wins. Oh yeah, they also have Albert Pujols.
3. Atlanta Braves (3)- Bobby Cox managed his 3,000th game with the Braves, making him only the sixth manager in history to manage that many games with one team. Chipper Jones is back, and Andruw Jones could set the Braves' single season home run record. The two guys who share that record now are Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews, pretty good company.
4. Boston Red Sox (4)- Have opened up their biggest lead over the Yankees all season, as they are up five games in the American League East. Tony Graffanino has been terrific since coming over to Boston, and Tim Wakefield was stellar in his last start. David Ortiz may be the most feared hitter in baseball.
5. Oakland Athletics (7)- The Oakland Athletics make a two-spot move on this week's rankings, most notably because they now are tied for first place in the American League West. Once considered dead at 15 games under .500, the Athletics have played "Moneyball", and are one of the best stories in baseball.
6. New York Yankees (6)- The Bombers have been getting clutch pitching from no-name players, which is huge considering Carl Pavano's season is over. Randy Johnson could make a start this week, but at this point, who do you take out of the rotation? Bernie Williams seems to have found his power stroke also.
7. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (5)- The Angels got news on two players this week, some of it bad, and some of it good. The bad news is Tim Salmon will not play in 2005, the good news is Kelvim Escobar is nearly ready to return. Could sweep Seattle with a win on Sunday.
8. Cleveland Indians (9)- Obviously, the Indians rise is no fluke. They are currently in second place in the American League Central, and are only 4.5 games out of the Wild Card. However, a loss on Sunday means they will be swept by lowly Tampa Bay, and that can never be good.
9. Houston Astros (8)- Roger Clemens continues to defy Father Time, and Morgan Ensberg may be the best third baseman in the National League. He is currently averaging one home run every 12 at-bats, and is still getting no love in the MVP race.
10. Florida Marlins (13)- The Marlins have been making a steady climb up our rankings, and are now four games over .500. A.J. Burnett has been absolutely stellar, winning his last five starts, and Juan Pierre now has five straight 40-steal seasons.
11. Washington Nationals (10)- Unlike Florida, the Nationals have been on a steady decline. They now sit in third place in the National League East, and are sick of Christian Guzman. Could get a sweep in Colorado if they win on Sunday. Nick Johnson is hitting .314 for a team that in no way resembles the Montreal Expos.
12. Philadelphia Phillies (16)- The Phillies move up four slots this week, even though they recieved news that Jim Thome's season was over. Ryan Howard has filled in so well that fans really haven't noticed that Thome has been out. On Monday, the Phillies start a huge series with the Washington Nationals, and could create more space between the two teams in the division race.
13. Toronto Blue Jays (15)- The Jays got some bad news this week, and ace Roy Halladay may be out for the entire season. Currently had their four-game winning streak snapped, and are 8.5 games back of Boston in the American League East race.
14. New York Mets (14)- The Mets stayed put this week, and are lucky they didn't lose their entire starting outfield against the Padres. Jae Seo has been terrific since his promotion from Triple-A Norfolk, and Pedro Martinez could get win number 13 on Sunday. Jose Reyes could become the first Met to ever win the stolen base crown.
15. San Diego Padres (17)- Adam Eaton will be making his return from the disabled list, as the Padres have opened up a three-game lead in the National League West. Could be swept by the Phillies on Sunday, and are in first despite a .500 record. Sean Burroughs hit a granny at Triple-A, and could be ready to return to the Padre lineup.
16. Minnesota Twins (12)- Kyle Lohse has not won since July 2, and it's mostly because the Twins do not have an offense. Jacque Jones may be headed to a disabled list that already has fellow outfielder Torii Hunter on it. Juan Castro was placed on the disabled list on Sunday, paving the way for Triple-A infielder Brent Abernathy.
17. Chicago Cubs (11)- Lost eight straight games before winning two in a row before Saturday's loss to St. Louis. Aramis Ramirez is quietly having an MVP season, and has been overshadowed by teammate Derrek Lee. Kerry Wood seems to be adjusting to life in the bullpen.
18. Texas Rangers (18)- Got shellacked by Boston earlier in the week, and are on the verge of being swept by the Yankees on Sunday. Have absolutely no pitching, and Kenny Rogers got ripped in his early return from suspension.
19. Baltimore Orioles (19)- Well, Rafael Palmerio was back in the lineup on Sunday, but will never be viewed the same again. Have been free-falling out of the American League playoff race, and show no signs of getting out of their funk.
20. Milwaukee Brewers (20)- On the verge of being swept by the lowly Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, the Brew Crew has now fallen to five games under .500. Rickie Weeks will be tried out as the leadoff hitter for a team that has lost five straight games.
21. Arizona Diamondbacks (22)- Closer Brandon Lyon will be rejoining the team this week, and it couldn't come at a better time. Only three-games out of first place, the D-Backs will look to Javier Vasquez to get them a series win against the Atlanta Braves. Tony Clark is surprising everybody.
22. Cincinnati Reds (24)- Sean Casey could become the first Reds' first baseman to win a Gold Glove in the team's history. At 19.5 games back of first place, the Reds are definitely out of it, but it is nice to see Ken Griffey Junior healthy and having a great year.
23. Detroit Tigers (21)- Ivan Rodriguez is back with the team after serving a four-game suspension, but the Tigers are in serious jeopardy of finishing below .500 once again. They are currently eight games under .500, and have no shot of reaching the postseason.
24. Los Angeles Dodgers (23)- Here is a weird statistic, the Dodgers are 12 games under .500, but are still only six games out of first place. Hee Sop Choi continues to be productive, and Dioneer Navarro hit his first home run of his career this week, a game-winner.
25. Seattle Mariners (26)- You know things are bad in Seattle when Ichiro goes on an 0-22 drought. Pitching phenom Felix Hernandez picked up his first career win this week, completely handcuffing the Minnesota Twins.
26. San Francisco Giants (25)- The Giants are still talking about the recent racial slurs by a local radio guy, and should really be thinking about baseball. They are only 7.5 games back, despite being 15 games under .500, and could have Armando Benitez back sooner than expected.
27. Pittsburgh Pirates (27)- The Pirates are in dead last in the National League Central, and McClendon's job may be in jeopardy. Jason Bay is the only regular batting over .300, but rookie Chris Duffy has hit .388 in his first 28 career games. If I know the Pirates, he'll be gone this winter.
28. Colorado Rockies (30)- The Rockies get out of the cellar due to the fact they won consecutive road series for the first time all season. However, they have lost three straight, and the Nationals could sweep them on Sunday.
29. Tampa Bay Devil Rays (28)- The Rays are mired in another terrible season, and lead the league in home runs and walks allowed. The entire pitching staff has been awful, with the exception of Baez and Kazmir.
30. Kansas City Royals (29)- The Royals teetered on being in the cellar last week, and this week they made it happen. Twelve straight losses....enough said.
Subscribe to TwinCitiesDugout.com today! Only $79.95 brings you one full year of Total Access Pass and all premium content on TwinCitiesDugout.com, Scout™ Player and Roster Database (including the 'Hot News' at the top of the site), Breaking News and Information, Total Access to all Scout.com Websites (including VikingUpdate.com), and Player Pages, detailing the progress and careers of players from high school, the minors, and the pro ranks.
Sample the TwinCitiesDugout.com Total Access Pass™ at no risk for 7 days, then pay only $7.95 or $21.95. If you want to save 2 months off the monthly subscription price, simply choose the annual TwinCitiesDugout.com Total Access Pass™ at $79.95.