1. Dodgers - There's nothing that the Dodgers aren't doing well nowadays, even if they're mostly fattening up on the cream-filled cupcakes of the NL West ... Manny Ramirez has been quiet, but his numbers (.349/.495/.619) are where we'd expect them to be. You watch -- to remind us of his singular flakiness, he'll soon do something like order a pizza and have it delivered to him mid-inning ... Good point from a reader, who notes how in our zeal to giggle and squeal about Clayton Kershaw, we haven't given the positively acey Chad Billingsley his due props. Consider those props duly extended and this horrible injustice remedied.
2. Blue Jays - Put simply, the big difference between the Jays of 2008 and the Jays of 2009 is that they don't do as much dumb crap. Take the work on the basepaths, where the team is picking its spots to steal more judiciously. As a result, they aren't snuffing out as many of their own potential rallies as they did during the Gibbons era ... Unearthing a useful guy like Scott Richmond in the hardball Siberia that is the independent Northern League doesn't vindicate J.P. Ricciardi for his personnel follies of the last few years, but it helps even the ledger a bit.
5. Mariners - Middle-relief performance varies wildly from week to week, but it's worth acknowledging how solid Seattle's middle guys have been so far ... From the "I read the media notes, so you don't have to" department comes the following nugget: Felix Hernandez recently tied J.J. Putz for the 10th-longest consecutive scoreless innings streak (22) in team history ... Please, Big Fella/Gal upstairs, keep me around long enough to hear Mets broadcasting legend Ralph Kiner attempt to articulate the surname of Seattle hurler Chris Jakubauskas. I'm guessing the end result, which will play out over several tortuous minutes, will sound something like "Chris Jakoobkoskie" or "Chris Jujubee."
6. Royals - Forget the starting rotation for a second. They've scored 52 runs over their last eight games against legit pitching ... I'm trying to think of a rational reason to start Miguel Olivo over John Buck that doesn't involve nepotism or blackmail ... As of this writing, former problem child Alberto Callaspo has an OPS of 1.001 in 87 plate appearances. I have no punchline here.
17. Rays - They'd lost six straight series and tied the Indians for the AL lead in April losses, but they still looked brisk and bouncy against the Red Sox. Go figure ... Evan Longoria is on pace to notch the first five-digit OPS in baseball history ... They lead the majors in steals with 41 -- Carl Crawford's six thefts on Sunday bested the Braves' total for 2009 by two -- and barely ever get caught, but I'd still preach caution and let the hitters behind them do their job.
20. Angels - It was inevitable that the Angels' pen would return to earth after such an astonishing (and hard-luck-defying) multiyear run ... If they can survive visits by the Jays, Royals and Red Sox over the next 10 days, things could turn around quickly, with the pitching cavalry (John Lackey/Ervin Santana) set to arrive mid-month.Rest of the Rankings in Link
Edited by Junayd, May 05, 2009 - 01:36 PM.