1. Dodgers (1): Here is a bold prediction: A 25-year World Series championship drought will come to an end in late October when the Dodgers celebrate another title in a Game 5 victory over the Tigers at a jam-packed, and stay-until-the-final- out, crowd at Dodger Stadium.
2. Rangers (2): Right-hander Yu Darvish must be spending a lot of free time with club executive Nolan Ryan. How else do you explain 10 starts this season with at least 10 strikeouts for perhaps the best Japan-produced player in MLB history?
3. Athletics (3): The biggest smile in the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards this past week surely belonged to catcher Kurt Suzuki, re-acquired from the Orioles in a trade with the Orioles. Many believe that Kurt is the classiest Major League player from Japan with the last name “Suzuki”.
4. Diamondbacks (4): Even Ernie (“Let’s Play Two”) Banks would have thrown in the towel at some point during the D-Backs’ 7-plus hour, 18-inning marathon victory over the Phillies on Saturday night (and two-plus hours into Sunday morning) in the City of Brotherly Love. (See below for the most amazing performance of the game.)
5. Giants (6): The only thing worse than finishing in last place in the NL West for the defending World Series champions is looking up and seeing the bitter-rival Dodgers resting comfortably in first place.
6. Rockies (7): The race for third place in the NL West continues into the final week of August with only two games separating the Rockies, Padres and Giants. OK, so it isn’t pennant fever, but players and fans need something to shoot look forward to down the stretch.
7. Angels (5): If you want to know what has happened to one of the former model franchises in MLB, check out this article, written by an award-winning baseball writer who is one of the best in the business.
8. Padres (8): A regular season that started so promisingly for right-hander Edison Volquez, the Opening Night starter, ended in the worst way – the words “designated for assignment” in the daily MLB transactions. That’s yet another tough pill to swallow for the organization.
9. Mariners (9): The Mariners had a bad weekend against the Angels, but their former teammate, Casper Wells, had a doozy of a Saturday night-Sunday morning in Philadelphia. The outfielder went 0-for-7 at the plate and ALSO was the losing pitcher in the 18–inning loss.
10. Astros (10): The number of Astros fans probably will not expand a whole lot on Sept. 1, when MLB rosters can be expanded beyond the 25-player limit. What it means is that several more players in the Astros organization will get to experience up-close-and-personal yet another 100-plus loss season.
(Last week’s ranking in parenthesis)