1. Dodgers (1): The historical 16-run loss to the rival Giants Saturday night notwithstanding, replacing their Northern California neighbors as the NL West champions will bring great joy to Magic Johnson and his deep-pocketed fellow owners of the franchise.
2. Athletics (2): The defending AL West champs had to wait until the final weekend of last season to clinch the division title, but it’s highly likely that the bubbly will flow several days before the team visits Seattle to end the regular season.
3. Rangers (3): With an offense that ranks among the most potent in the game, it’s hard to fathom how right-hander Yu Darvish could lose four 1-0 games this season. That’s a lot of zeroes on the scoreboard when he’s pitching.
4. Diamondbacks (4): If the D-Backs have anything to say about it, a division-title-clinching party by the Dodgers will not occur during a three-game series between the teams that begins Monday night in Phoenix.
5. Angels (5): It will be interesting to see whom owner Arte Moreno selects for the Angels’ “Scapegoat of the Year”, manager Mike Scioscia or general manager Jerry Dipoto. Some even believe that both club executives will get pink slips.
6. Giants (7): It’s nothing compared to the record consecutive-games played that Hall of Famer Cal Ripken accumulated during his fabulous career, but SF right fielder Hunter Pence is on the verge of becoming the first Giant at any position to play an entire season without missing a game.
7. Rockies (6): Here’s a tip of the GW cap to Todd Helton, who officially announced that he will retire at the end of this season – his 17th with the Rockies. Although his offensive numbers are a bit skewed by the high altitude of Denver, he has the credentials to get serious Hall of Fame consideration.
8. Padres (9): ): Outfielder Mark Kotsay, who spent tours of duty with seven MLB organizations, including two with the Padres, has decided to ride off into the sunset at the end of the regular
season. He is among a group of players who wore two colors of Sox – Red Sox and White Sox.
9. Mariners (8): ): It’s just a hunch, but another losing season could lead to yet another front-office housecleaning, starting with GM Jack Zduriencik and extending to skipper Eric Wedge and most – if not all – of his coaching staff. Being swept by the lowly Astros last week at Safeco Field might have been the final straw.
10. Astros (10): Much to the surprise of many, including GW, the Astros had a winning week and managed to stave off another 100-loss season. Problem is, the team must go 12-1 the rest of the way to avoid triple-digit losses.
(Last week’s ranking in parenthesis)