1. Dodgers (1): It seems like every time the NL West leaders win another game during their amazing post-June 22 streak, another long-standing MLB achievement is being matched or surpassed. For instance, you must go all the way back to the 1942 Cardinals to find a team that won 42 games over a 50-game period. That team won the World Series.
2. Rangers (2): The dog days of summer have been kind to the AL West leaders, who enter the final week of August with a 12-4 record in the next-to-last month of the regular season. Cy Young Award candidate Yu Darvish (a distant second to Max Scherzer), did his part with four stellar starts and a 3-0 record.
3. Athletics (3): Losing ace right-hander Bartolo Colon for at least three starts to injury could put a huge crimp in the team’s pursuit of a second straight division title. But being one of the two AL Wild Card teams would suffice.
4. Diamondbacks (4): Exactly one month ago on Monday, the D-Backs were the only NL West team with a winning record and had a 2 ½ game lead over the fast-rising Dodgers.
5. Angels (5): In the too-little-too-late department, switch-hitter Josh Hamilton delivered a walk-off home run in extra innings on Saturday night, giving the 40,246 fans on hand a chance to ask in unison: where has that been all season?
6. Giants (9): In the too-little-too-late department, Part 2, right-hander Matt Cain made it five consecutive quality starts since the All-Star Game with a good outing against the Marlins in his last start and reached the .500 mark (8-8) in a disappointing season.
7. Rockies (7): Better days are ahead for rookie starter Chad Bettis, who has displayed rookie jitters in his first four starts, walking 12 batters in 18 1/3 innings while striking out 8 – a ratio that usually sends pitchers back to the minors.
8. Padres (6): Nick Hundley has been a Padre for his entire professional career, but he became a “Padre” for the first time last week, took two days off for the birth of his daughter, and returned to action with a two-run home run against the Mets. How sweet was that!
9. Mariners (8): One year and one day after being perfect against the Rays at Safeco Field, King Felix was much less than that during another rough outing at the hitter-friendly Ballpark at Arlington.
10. Astros (10): A tip of the GW backwards cap goes to the Astros, the first MLB team to reach 80 losses this season. Come to think of it, the AL West cellar occupants also were first to 40, 50, 60 and 70 losses.
(Last week’s ranking in parenthesis)