By: Brendan Costello
The Cubs are a team that can explode at any time, its just a matter of time. With almost the whole team coming back to revenge last years disappointing finish, they are still dangerous. The positives for the Cubs is Kosuke Fukudome is batting a team high .312 with 5 homers and 20 RBI's. Also, Ted Lilly is holding down the fort with 3.50 ERA, 6-4W/L 52 SO, those are some solid stats.
Now the negatives. Geovany Soto is having a terrible 2nd year, batting .211 and only driving in 12 men in. He is having what you would call a “sophomore slump”. The Cubs are also with out all-star Aramis Ramirez, who will be out until at least the all star break. For the Cubs pitching isn't what it was last year, but its not a glaring weakness. If they can Lee and Soriano back they can snap back and make a run for this thing.
Number 9: The Mets
A year of ups and downs for the shaky Mets. They were getting hot on the west cost, that soon fizzled and now they are playing .500 ball. Yes, the Mets are banged up, they are sending a “B” squad out there every night so its a little hard to judge on this team right now. Never the less, I feel they are still worthy of the number 9 spot in my book.
The Mets' bullpen this year has been very good, well besides J.J they have been great. The starting pitching has been there too. Yes, shaky at first, the Mets picked up the intensity, not to mention throwing more strikes. Livan and Pelf have done there job along with Maine. Johan has been nothing short of amazing. The Mets hitting is pretty solid also. Led by Beltran, who is batting .352 . If he could just stay on the field things would be great.
The main problem is the Mets can't get anyone on the field. They have been missing Reyes, Church,Beltran,Delgado,Cora, and Angle. With a DL like that you are going to struggle at times at the plate. Now for David, the man just can't hit in the clutch. Its really becoming a normal thing for him to strike out when ducks are on the pond.
Is this Met team great? No, but they can be when healthy.
Number 8: The Phillies
No, the Phillies are not the team from last year, but they are still winning. The Phillies
are getting the job done night in and night out and thats all that matters.
The Phillies, being led by Raul Ibanez who is having a monster year. Raul is batting .338 with 17 homers and 49 RBI's. The man can rake.
The Phillies do run into some pitching problems though. Bret and Cole are a good one two punch, but after that is all question marks. How long will Jamie last? After Blanton who else do you have? Despite this, you can count on the Phillies to be right there in the end.
Number 7: Toronto Blue Jays
At one time, easily the number one team in this count down. The Blue Jays have lost 10 of 12 and are still falling. You might be surprised to see them at this spot, they are still a great team, but just hit a rock in the road. Don't forget they still have Roy Halladay, and a good young staff behind him. To go along with solid staff they have the best overall team BA in the MLB.
Yes they are down, but the season is far from over. For Toronto they have a great opportunity to make something of themselves.
Number 6: The Cardinals
The Cards started out the gates on fire, and even if they haven't played as well they are still top the N.L Central. They have the best pitching staff in the MLB. The team's ERA is a league low 3.58 and has the best winning percentage. Since Carpenter has been back, their staff in my eyes is the best. Along side him is Pinero, Lohse and Wainwright, three guys having great a year.
Along with the great pitching, their hitting hasn't been too bad either. Prince Albert has the hitting thing down pat. Batting a cool .339 with 16 homers and 45 RBI's. If he can stay hot, the Cards will fly to the post season.
Number 5: The Rangers
When you think of the Rangers you think of one thing, HITTING. The Rangers have the best slugging % in the game to go along the 2nd OPS. This team simply out-hit opponents. If their hitting can stay hot they will be a serious contender. There only down fall is pitching. Lucky for them, they score 5 runs a game.
Number 4: The Tigers
With Verlander pitching great, Miguel hitting .358 and Granderson raking at the plate, the Tigers seem to be in great shape. 1st in the Central with 3.5 games over the Twins ,the future looks bright for the Tigers.
I see them really going far. They look like a team that loves to play and have a lot of fire and emotion
Number 3: Yankees
With A Rod back in the line-up, Mark Teixeira has been batting .333 with 13 homers and 34 RBI's. The Yanks have also won 21 of 27 games, since Alex has been back. In addition to getting him back, they are getting one time ace Chien Ming Wang back as well.
The Yankees hitting has been a big part of this streak they are on. The Bronx Bombers are on an incredible tear, with 5 players hitting over .300 the yanks are 2nd in the league with a combined .282 BA. To go along with the great hitting, the Yanks super star pitcher C.C Sabathia has been on his A game. If the Yanks keep this streak, they are certainly play-off bound.
Number 2: Red Sox
The Red Sox are a team that has a nice swagger and a bit of an attitude. The team is led by MVP Justin Pedroia, Mike Lowell, Jason Bay along with Kevin Youkilis. With this power packed line up the Red Sox will have Boston dancing in October.
Number 1: L.A. Dodgers
The Dodgers, behind the best the manager in baseball Joe Torre, are off to an impressive start. Despite losing Manny, the team has still excelled and Juan Pierre has stepped in beautifully for the roid' stricken Ramirez. Dodgers' pitching behind Chad Billingsley, who is fifth in the NL with six wins, has been fantastic. The Dodgers are in a league of their own in their division, with second place San Francisco 9 games behind. If they don't have a major meltdown in the middle of the season, they for sure will be playing on TBS during the playoffs.