|The hell is going on in Baltimore?|
1. Texas Rangers (15-4): To give everybody a better idea of how far ahead of everybody else the Rangers really are in these rankings, I really should rank the next team at fifth. We're only a month into the season but I feel like Texas can already start getting its rotation in order for the postseason. (1)
2. Tampa Bay Rays (12-7): After taking a bit of a tumble in last week's rankings the Rays went 5-1 last week to climb all the way back to the second spot. Coincidentally they'll be playing the Rangers this weekend, so whether they're still here or not next week, we'll probably know by Sunday night. (8)
3. Baltimore Orioles (12-7): All right, what the hell is going on in Baltimore? I keep waiting for this team to start drifting toward the bottom of the rankings, but they're just not doing it. Are they playing way over their heads, or is this team actually just this good? I don't know, but at the moment it helps with the sting of seeing the Sox lose three of four against them last week. (4)
4. New York Yankees (10-8): The Yankees fall a spot this week because while their offense is still the second-best unit in the American League, their pitching is not exactly a strength right now. Which sounds a lot like the story from 2011. (3)
5. Chicago White Sox (10-9): Once again the Sox are ranked higher than I have them in my mind, even with this lovely three-game losing streak they're currently mired in. The reason for this is pretty simple. The pitching, save for last night, has been excellent, and they're actually third in the league in run differential. At the moment, that's good enough for fifth place and the top spot of AL Central teams.
6. Toronto Blue Jays (10-9): The Blue Jays offense hasn't been firing on all cylinders thanks in large part to Jose Bautista hitting only .197 on the season, but the pitching has been very solid and the players around Bautista in the lineup are producing in his absence. If the pitching continues at this pace and Bautista starts hitting then Toronto will stay in the AL East race all season long. (6)
7. Cleveland Indians (9-8): The Indians had been playing really well before allowing Kansas City to end its 12-game losing streak and take two games from them. The problem for the Tribe, though, has been a pitching staff that is not performing well at all. It would be a big boost for the Indians if Justin Masterson got back to the form of 2011. (7)
8. Oakland Athletics (10-10): The A's move up a spot this week, and as we just saw them in action this week, it's not a secret why. The offense is pretty terrible, but the pitching is young and it is good. And it will all be traded for other good young pitching at some point in July if recent history is any indication. (9)
9. Detroit Tigers (10-9): This is what happens when you get swept at home by the Seattle Mariners. The Tigers were in second place last week and then proceeded to go 1-5 over their last six games. It's easy to place the blame for this on the pitching, but the truth is that ever since the first week of the season when it came out on fire, the Tigers offense hasn't exactly been stellar. (2)
10. Seattle Mariners (10-10): I don't know how Seattle managed to sweep Detroit, I really don't. I know Felix Hernandez started one of those games, but this is still an offense that is incredibly challenged. (10)
11. Boston Red Sox (8-10): The Red Sox don't move up any spots this week, but they did go 4-2 since last week. There are still some holes on this team and injuries are killing them, but they're definitely playing a lot better than they had been. I like to blame the Twins for this. (11)
12. Kansas City Royals (5-14): It's not every week you go 2-5 and you move up a spot in the rankings, but the truth is that the Royals weren't playing as terrible as that 12-game losing streak would lead you to believe. It also helps when the two teams below you are playing terrible baseball as well.
13. Los Angeles Angels (6-13): What in the hell is going on in Anaheim? Even with Albert Pujols struggling as badly as he is, this team should still be strong enough to play better than it has been. They can't hit, they can't pitch and they aren't playing defense all that well, either. This can't last all season, but it may already be too late. It looks to be wild card or bust. (12)
14. Minnesota Twins (5-14): The good news for the Twins is that their offense is performing much better than last year's. The bad news is the pitching is terrible. It feels like every time I watch the Twins play this season they jump out to a lead in the first inning only to see the pitching staff immediately give it up the next inning. (14)