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Rk Team
Overall W-L
Week W-L
Hit List Factor
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1


Red Sox
46-29
4-2
.623
Up
Last year’s Hit List champs take over the top spot for the first time this season, and they can thank their depth for keeping them afloat amid key injuries. J.D. Drew bashed four homers for the week and made a run at the cycle; he’s hitting a sizzling .441/.547/1.085 this month while David Ortiz sits. Justin Masterson continues to impress in the absence of Daisuke Matsuzaka; he’s put up a 3.00 ERA through six starts and leads the team in Support Neutral Winning Percentage (SNLVA_R + .5) at .608. As for Dice-K, he should be returning soon to offset the loss of solid sub Bartolo Colon.

2


Cubs
45-28
2-4
.610
Down
Swept by the Rays, the Cubs yield the #1 ranking after five weeks atop the Hit List, and they get an even bigger scare when Carlos Zambrano leaves his most recent start complaining of shoulder discomfort. He’ll miss his next start, but serious trouble may have been averted thanks to the eagle eye of Geovany Soto. Just in case, A.J. Burnett would like it known that he’d welcome a trade to the Windy City.

3


White Sox
41-31
4-2
.591
Up
Held to just 14 runs in their previous six games, the White Sox erupt for 37 in a three-game sweep of the Pirates. The deluge comes after they lose struggling Paul Konerko (.215/.322/.368) to an oblique strain; the White Sox first baseman could have earned a spot among the Replacement Level Killers had the competition not been so intense. Meanwhile, as one senior Sock struggles, another is rounding into shape: Mark Buehrle has delivered six quality starts in his last seven, good for a 2.77 ERA, less than half of the 5.81 he’d put up beforehand.

4


Rays
43-29
5-1
.587
Up
Mercy, it’s Percy! Troy Percival returns from the DL and seals a pair of one-run victories over the Cubs. Just as Jason Bartlett has helped the Rays shore up a historically bad defense, so too has Percival improved a bullpen that last year set records with the highest Fair Run Average and lowest Adjusted Runs Prevented total since 1959. The Rays’ pen is currently second in the league in FRA, third in ARP, and most importantly, first in WXRL, with both Percival and J.P. Howell in the individual top 20.

5


Phillies
42-32
2-4
.580
Flat
Howard Powered: Though the Phillies only win two games this week, the victories coincide with a pair of Ryan Howard two-homer games, one of them during a 20-run outburst. The big man’s bat is heating up–.272/.359/.618 since May 13–and his 14 RBI for the week elevate him into the NL lead. Meanwhile, the award for the Phlailingest Phillie is now in the hands of Chase Utley, who’s in an 0-for-20 slump but still ranks fifth in the league in VORP.

6


Athletics
39-33
4-2
.575
Up
A is for Alumni: The Athletics face off against a pair of former rotation mainstays, beating Barry Zito and the Giants but taking it on the chin from Dan Haren and the D’backs. The A’s have little to complain about with regards to their current rotation–they lead the league in SNLVAR–but the performance of Joe Blanton is a source of concern, particularly if Billy Beane wants to make him an alum as well. Blanton’s put up a 7.01 ERA and just two quality starts in six over the last month, while his strikeout rate has fallen from last year’s 5.5 per nine to a perilously low 4.1.

7


Yankees
40-33
6-0
.548
Up
The Senior Circuit Giveth, and the Senior Circuit Taketh Away: The Yanks enjoy a seven-game winning streak at the expense of two National League patsies, but Chien-Ming Wang injures his foot while running the bases. The team’s top starter could be sidelined into September, straining a rotation that’s so desperate for warm bodies that Brian Cashman signs the scourge of Aruba, Sir Sidney Ponson. Luckily, the lineup continues to hit, with Alex Rodriguez homering in four straight games and climbing to third in the league in VORP despite missing three weeks due to injury.

8


Braves
36-38
4-3
.543
Up
Positive Reinforcements: The Braves slip to fourth place in the NL East, but a trio of newcomers offers hope that they can remain in the hunt despite being decimated by injuries. Mike Gonzalez pitches a scoreless inning and earns a save in his first game back from Tommy John surgery, Charlie Morton gives the team a quality start and garners a win in his major league debut, and Brandon Jones collects four multi-hit games in his first week in the majors; he’s hitting .393/.433/.607 so far.

9


Diamondbacks
39-34
3-3
.538
Down
Justin Upton homers and scores both runs to lift the Diamondbacks to a series win over the A’s, helping them salvage an ugly week in which they lost a home series to the Royals and drop three straight games by a combined score of 35-7. Upton has been mired in a dreadful slump; coming into Thursday’s game he’d hit .095/.280/.230 with 41 strikeouts in 74 at-bats over the previous month, and there’s talk that he’ll be farmed out when Eric Byrnes returns from the DL this coming week.

10


Cardinals
42-32
2-4
.531
Down
Everybody Hurts: With Albert Pujols on the shelf, the Cardinals scrape together just 18 runs as they lose five out of seven. Even winning comes at a cost, as Yadier Molina sustains a concussion in a nasty collision at the plate while preventing a ninth-inning run. The rotation continues to get banged up; after Todd Wellemeyer is bombed in his first start following a skipped turn, the man set to replace him, Anthony Reyes, goes down with an elbow strain.

11


Blue Jays
35-39
1-5
.516
Down
Where’s Shea Hillenbrand to Tell Us the Ship Is Sinking Now That We Really Need Him? With five losses in a row and 13 in their last 17, the Jays fall below .500 and into the AL East basement as the the cracks in their facade of sanity start to show. A.J. Burnett stirs up controversy by suggesting he’d welcome a trade to the Cubs–who could possibly want out of this mess?–and GM J.P. Ricciardi trashes Adam Dunn on a radio call-in show. Yeah, when you rank 13th in a 14-team league in SLG, with every position save for catcher and right field slugging under .400, you wouldn’t want anything to do with a slugger like Dunn.

12


Angels
43-30
2-4
.514
Down
Differential Equation: The Angels lead the A’s by 3.5 games in the AL West standings, but they’ve outscored their opponents by only two runs, compared to a 56-run margin for the A’s. The Halos are now a major league-high 7.3 games above their third-order projection, and they’ve gone 17-10 in the last month while being outscored 101-97. Their offense has scored more than five runs just three times in that stretch, and never more than six, but their pitching has been crazy good, with a 3.47 ERA and 2.8 K/BB ratio in that span. Particularly noteworthy is John Lackey, who’s put up a 1.73 ERA and is seven-for-seven in quality starts; he leads the league in Support Neutral Winning Percentage at .728.

13


Mets
35-36
4-2
.513
Up
Road to Nowhere: Less than 24 hours after flying across the country to begin a West Coast road trip, Willie Randolph is fired in the wee hours of the morning despite his team having won three out of their previous four games. The ridiculously timed move, which also includes the dismissals of pitching coach Rick Petersen and first base coach Tom Nieto, illustrates the Metsleadership vacuum and front-office dysfunction while letting off the hook the man who built this aging, fragile team without a contingency plan beyond, “Uh, blame Willie.” As for the on-field product, Jerry Manuel takes over and promptly chases the ghosts of last September’s collapse away by skillfully instructing the team to score some runs off Francisco Rodriguez. The Manager of the Year award awaits.

14


Brewers
39-33
4-2
.509
Flat
Stop and Smell the Box Score: Let us pause from any rational evaluation of the Brewers‘ ups and downs to simply appreciate the wonders of a single game containing a no-hit bid by David Bush (5.73 ERA entering the game) that ends after a hit by Lyle Overbay, the man he was traded for in 2005, and also includes an inside-the-park homer by Prince Fielder (the man who replaced Overbay), Russell Branyan‘s 10th homer in 20 games since being recalled, and a two-out, ninth-inning grand slam by Joe Inglett that caps a six-run rally and turns a rout into a squeaker. I mean, seriously, who writes this stuff?

15


Marlins
39-33
3-3
.506
Flat
The Marlins‘ rotation is still second-to-last in SNLVAR, but they’ve recently been getting decent work from a pair of pitchers not named Scott Olsen. Since May 1, Andrew Miller has yielded a 2.77 ERA and just two homers in 52 innings while striking out 7.6 per nine, while Ricky Nolasco‘s put up a 3.98 ERA and 7.0 K/9 over that same stretch. On the other hand, Mark Hendrickson‘s been getting beaten like a rented mule, with a 7.48 ERA and less than five innings per start, but at least we don’t have to hear about his LASIK surgery anymore.

16


Tigers
34-38
5-1
.500
Up
Dead-Cat Bounce? Winners of 10 out of 12, the Tigers start to look like the team that so many ticketed for contention. Fulfilling the role of hero is Marcus Thames, who drills seven homers in a seven-game span; he’s got 13 in 133 PA this year and is slugging .608. Meanwhile, a bullpen that needs all the help it can get welcomes back Fernando Rodney–though things don’t go quite as planned–and awaits the imminent return of Joel Zumaya.

17


Orioles
37-34
5-1
.498
Up
Jeremy Guthrie‘s 2007 showing was one of the bright spots in yet another dismal Oriole season, but the real question was whether he could repeat that success. His 3-7 record notwithstanding, the answer appears to be yes, as Guthrie’s allowed three runs or fewer in 10 of his last 12 starts, and he’s cracked the top 20 in SNLVAR. He put up a gem against the Astros (8 3 1 1 1 8), helped along by Luke Scott‘s game-tying solo homer against his former team.

18


Dodgers
34-38
3-3
.495
Down
Singing the Blues: The Dodgers bounce back from a five-game losing streak with a sweep of the Reds, but there’s plenty of bad news to offset their improved fortunes. Rafael Furcal suffers a setback that pushes his expected return past the All-Star break; his replacements have been Killers, so the team is desperate enough to consider returning Nomar Garciaparra to shortstop if he’s ever healthy enough to take the field. Furthermore, the rotation takes a double-barreled hit, as Hiroki Kuroda and Brad Penny head to the DL due to shoulder issues, which at least help to explain the latter’s 5.88 ERA.

19


Rangers
37-37
3-3
.491
Down
Leader of the Pack: Josh Hamilton you know about, but he’s not the only Ranger who’s hitting these days. With so much attention focused on Milton Bradley‘s near-dustup with a Royals announcer and the recent quad strain that’s briefly sidelined him, few have noticed that he now leads the league in VORP, EqA, SLG, and OBP, and he’s in the top five in several other categories as well. Also slipping under the radar is Ian Kinsler, who’s sixth in the league in VORP and has 17 steals in 18 attempts.

20


Indians
33-40
2-4
.472
Down
Listing to the Left: With Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey filling in for Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona, the Tribe now have four southpaws in their rotation, a situation that will hold for at least a little while longer after the recent setback in Carmona’s rehab. Laffey has pitched like he belongs, putting up a 2.98 ERA and ranking third on the team and 16th in the league in SNLVAR. Sowers, on the other hand, would be better suited shuffling back to Buffalo with his 6.57 ERA and -0.1 SNLVAR, but them’s the breaks when the injury bug bites.

21


Twins
37-36
5-1
.457
Up
The Twins win five out of six to climb back over .500, racking up 44 runs at the expense of the Brewers and Nationals. With a lineup averaging 5.1 runs per game this month, several Twins hitters are showing signs of life, including Joe Mauer (.392/.467/.627 in June), Jason Kubel (.326/.423/.674) and Delmon Young (.321/.339/.491). Just as significantly, Ron Gardenhire has reached the point of trying something in order to curtail potential Replacement Level Killer Mike Lamb‘s rampage by super-platooning him with a pair of rookies, Matt Macri and Brian Buscher, who are a combined 17-for-50 in their young careers.

22


Giants
31-42
1-5
.446
Down
Following an 0-5, 7.61 ERA start and a brief exile to the bullpen, Barry Zito looked as though he was making progress towards thinking about possibly pondering the idea of maybe getting it together at a date to be named later. That was because he posted a 3.49 ERA in May, struck out more hitters than he walked, and even stuck around long enough in a ballgame to collect a win. But just when you thought Zito might settle into a comfortable mediocrity, he’s back to his old ways: a 9.00 ERA in just 17 innings over four starts in June, not to mention an 8/17 K/BB ratio. Yes, Mr. Sabean, that $18 million club option in 2014 is starting to look like a real bargain.

23


Astros
33-40
0-6
.446
Down
Prolonging the Agony: Major League Baseball fines Cecil Cooper for violating their pace-of-game procedures, and with the Astros this bad, who can bear to suffer an extra minute with them? With eight straight losses and 17 in their last 20 games, the DisAstros look a whole lot more like that 72-90 team predicted by PECOTA. Their offense is averaging just over three runs per game amid this skid, with Miguel Tejada (.187/.237/.373), Hunter Pence (.184/.203/.342), and Kaz Matsui (.260/.267/.288) failing to respond to the veteran leadership of Darin Erstad (.312/.371/.469), and the moxie of Brad Ausmus (.286/.362/.357) is going completely to waste.

24


Rockies
31-42
5-2
.445
Up
Rocky Mountain High: Jeff Baker homers in three straight games to help the Rockies sweep the Indians, and they’ve now won 11 of 15 since June 3. Playing three different positions, the lefty-mashing Baker’s been a big part of that run, hitting .406/.429/.906, while Brad Hawpe (.333/.400/.733) and Matt Holliday (.368/.442/.474) have been hot since coming off the DL. The news gets better, as Troy Tulowitzki may return as soon as this weekend.

25


Reds
33-41
1-5
.444
Down
Losers of five in a row and 12 out of 17, the Reds continue to wallow in last place in the NL Central. Jay Bruce has proven he’s human (.203/.266/.288 since June 4), and he’s not the only one amid a cold spell; the team is hitting just .207/.301/.353 this month. As for the pitching, the Reds decide yet again that Homer Bailey isn’t the answer after he gives up 15 runs and six homers in just 12 1/3 innings over three starts.

26


Royals
31-42
5-1
.437
Up
The mighty Royals juggernaut goes on the road to crush Arizona and St. Louis, holding those puny NL pretenders to 11 runs over six games. Zack Greinke contributes to a two-hitter to complete a sweep of the I-70 Series, while Kyle Davies continues his impressive tightrope act; he’s allowed just one run in each of his four starts despite a 12/12 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, 27-year-old rookie shortstop Mike Aviles is erasing the bad memories of so many hitless nights by Tony Pena Jr. and Angel Berroa by hitting .321/.345/.642 since his recall, including three homers in a five-game span.

27


Pirates
34-39
1-5
.422
Down
P is for Pummelled: The Pirates’ pitching staff takes a beating, surrendering 58 runs in six interleague games. The starters combine for an 8.72 ERA, hardly surprising given their second-to-last ranking in SNLVAR, but more surprising is the bullpen’s kerosene-soaked-ineptitude (12.96 ERA); the Bucs’ relievers have fallen from second to sixth in the league in WXRL over the last 10 days.

28


Padres
31-43
1-5
.420
Down
That’s Headley! The Padres‘ latest interleague stretch turns into the road trip from hell, as they go 1-5 in Cleveland and New York while being outscored 37-22. The journey does have one notable highlight, as the Padres call up Chase Headley from Triple-A Portland. Ranked #23 on this year’s Top 100 Prospects list, Headley collects two hits but makes an error in left field in his debut. Returning to his natural position, third base, after Kevin Kouzmanoff strains his back, he clubs a solo homer off of Kyle Farnsworth the next night. Did someone say Wally Pipp?

29


Mariners
25-47
1-5
.381
Down
Two Down, One to Go: The Mariners fire GM Bill Bavasi, architect of what may well be the first 100-loss team with a payroll above $100 million. Never the sharpest tool in the GM shed, Bavasi erred drastically by fundamentally misjudging last year’s club; though they finished 88-74 they were outscored by 17 runs, and hardly just a blockbuster away from a run at the AL West flag. Not content to stop there, the team cans manager John McLaren, on whose watch they went 66-88, and they may be poised to ditch designated albatross Richie Sexson, who’s hitting just .220/.294/.380 and hasn’t homered since May 24.

30


Nationals
29-45
3-3
.364
Up
Run support is a fickle bitch goddess, and she’s been having her way with a pair of Nats starters. John Lannan has climbed into the top 10 in SNLVAR thanks to a 2.89 ERA over his last six starts, but the Nats have scored just nine runs for him and dropped five decisions in a row. On the other hand, Tim Redding has been roughed up for a 5.97 ERA over his last five starts but has received 37 runs of support and the team has won all five. Life just isn’t fair.

The Prospectus Hit List rankings are derived from Won-Loss records and several measurements pertaining to run differentials, both actual and adjusted, from Baseball Prospectus Adjusted Standings through the close of play on every Sunday.

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