10. San Francsico Giants: 55-43 record; 4.1 runs scored, 3.9 runs allowed—San Francisco, which lost seven of nine games heading into the All-Star break, has turned it around since then winning nine of 12 games. Starting pitching has carried them all season, though two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum is still struggling with a 4-11 record while sporting an ERA of 5.88—nearly double his career ERA of 3.27. Previous: 8
9. Detroit Tigers: 53-45 record; 4.6 runs scored, 4.3 runs allowed*—Detroit were thought to be contenders the second Prince Fielder inked his $214 million contract. But after starting the season 9-3 they went into a funk and were as many as six games below .500. They’ve rallied though and after nine wins in 12 games since the All-Star break they’re tied for the division lead. Previous: NR
8. Pittsburgh Pirates: 55-42 record; 4.1 runs scored, 3.7 runs allowed*—Unlike Detroit the Pirates were not thought of as contenders early in the season. Even now as they’ve been in the driver’s seat for the Wild Card for some time now it’s difficult to envision their no-name pitching rotation (outside of A.J. Burnett who is now 11-3) being able to hold the fort down for the long haul. Previous: 7
7. St. Louis Cardinals: 53-46 record; 4.9 runs scored, 3.9 runs allowed—The Cardinals are another team that’s been thought of as a contender but without a good enough record to back up such a claim. With wins in six of their last seven games, as well as the best run-scoring differential in all of baseball, they look ready to make a run at the Reds for the division lead. Previous: 10
6. Chicago White Sox: 53-45 record; 4.8 runs scored, 4.2 runs allowed—The south side sluggers now have four hitters with 16 home runs (Pierzynski, Konerko, Rios, and Dayan Viciedo) and a fifth with a league-best 30 in Adam Dunn. Twenty-three-year-old Chris Sale is now 11-3 with a 2.37 ERA. Previous: 5
5. Los Angeles Angels: 54-45 record; 4.6 runs scored, 4.0 runs allowed—With all the attention going to MVP-favorite Mike Trout it’s easy to overlook the Angels’ starting pitching. Manager Mike Scioscia has the luxury of sending two of just six AL-starters who have ERAs under 3.00 in Jered Weaver (2.26 with a 13-1 record) and C.J. Wilson (2.89, 9-6 record). Previous: 6
4. Cincinnati Reds: 58-40 record; 4.2 runs scored, 3.6 runs allowed—The Reds, without the services of former MVP Joey Votto, are on a roll now having won 11 of 13 games since the All-Star break. Johnny Cueto (12-5 record, 2.23 ERA) and the Reds’ pitching staff is at the core of their streak, posting a team ERA of 2.59 during this stretch. Previous: 4
3. Texas Rangers: 58-39 record; 5.0 runs scored, 4.1 runs allowed—With starter Colby Lewis done for the season (torn flexor tendon) the Rangers will hope that Neftali Feliz, who makes his fourth rehab start in Triple-A Sunday, is able to jump in and replace Lewis. Regardless the Rangers would be wise to acquire another starter before the break—and hope Josh Hamilton (.154 average in July) finds his swing again. Previous: 2
2. Washington Nationals: 58-39 record; 4.3 runs scored, 3.5 runs allowed*—With 11 strikeouts Wednesday, Stephen Strasburg (11-4 record, 2.76 ERA) now leads the league with 151 batters fanned as he makes his bid for the Cy Young Award. Outfielder Jayson Werth’s impending return (next week) should help an improving lineup. Previous: 3
1. New York Yankees: 59-39 record; 4.8 runs scored, 4.0 runs allowed—Despite losing five of seven on their West Coast trip, the Yankees retain the top spot here as the five losses were by a grand total of six runs. Plus their sudden acquisition of Ichiro could prove to re-energize one of the game’s best players of the past decade. Previous: 1
*—designates statistics not including Thursday night’s games.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.