1: Pittsburgh Pirates (76-54, +$2,345) (LW: 1): The Bucs are just six wins away from getting to that pivotal 82 wins, and when that happens, the celebration of all celebrations will be thrown in the Steel City. That being said though, there is still a ton of work that has to be done just to get this team into the playoffs, and even more to be done to win the NL Central. With home games this week against the Brewers and the Cardinals, the opportunity is there to make a huge move.
2: Cleveland Indians (71-59, +$1,618) (LW: 3): Cleveland has won eight of its last 11 games, but the question that we have is whether this team is going to have enough time to really get back into the thick of the race. The schedule pans out poorly over the course of the next 10 days, as there are series against Atlanta, Detroit, and Baltimore in the mix, but if those hurdles can be cleared without disaster striking, watch out! The Indians could find their way into the playoffs very easily.
3: Los Angeles Dodgers (76-54, +$1,210) (LW: 4): LA has finally been beaten in a series. The Red Sox found a way to take out the Dodgers this week, and it almost feels like the 42-8 run over 50 games is now finally over with. That said, the damage has been done. This is one of the best teams in baseball, and there is a reason that the Dodgers are now the favorites on the odds to win the World Series, a status that they will continue to keep until the second season gets started in all likelihood.
4: Atlanta Braves (78-52, +$1,196) (LW: 2): Atlanta had a bad week, losing three out of four to the Cards to finish up the weekend. That said, the series really didn't hurt any, knowing that the NL East title is probably about three weeks away from being clinched. This is the one team in baseball that we aren't sweating at all about, though there is a big difference between ranking first in the NL and third. Manager Fredi Gonzalez has to keep his boys up in a big time way at this point.
5: Boston Red Sox (77-55, +$1,070) (LW: 5): The Red Sox spent a couple days level with the Rays for the top spot in the AL East (and actually technically behind in percentage points), but they roared back ahead on Sunday by taking down the Dodgers, who hadn't lost a series in a month. Boston has proven that it can beat the best in the game, but can it really fend off Tampa Bay? That's the big question that these last 30 games of the season are going to showcase.
6: Tampa Bay Rays (74-54, +$583) (LW: 7): The Rays have won eight of their last 11 to get back within a game of the first place Red Sox. More importantly though, they are starting to pull away from the rest of the pack in the chase for the Wild Card spots. Their pitching has been what has made the difference, as Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Yankees in extra innings marked the seventh straight game with four runs or fewer allowed. Keep that up, and Tampa Bay might ultimately make it all the way to the World Series for the second time in team history.
7: Baltimore Orioles (70-59, +$566) (LW: 8): The Orioles badly needed to win their series this past week with the A's, and they did just that thanks to an offense which put up 20 runs in the three games without 1B Chris Davis hitting a single homer in that time. That said, Davis is at 46 bombs for the year at this point, and he is just about a lock to get to 50, making him one of the best Orioles sluggers of all-time. Baltimore is going to need its bats to keep singing, because the team is still two back of Oakland for that last Wild Card spot.
8: Oakland Athletics (72-57, +$544) (LW: 6): We knew that the trip to Baltimore was going to be tough, but three home games to Seattle? The A's have dropped four of their last five, and in the American League, that could be damning. Now, they have to head to Detroit for four games before coming home for a visit from Tampa Bay this weekend. It's going to be a long, long week for Oakland once again, and without some push back in the other direction, the team is going to be in a lot of trouble.
9: New York Yankees (69-61, +$543) (LW: 14): The Yanks might have lost two out of three to Tampa Bay, but they are still fighting at least. They have won 10 of their last 14 games to keep in the discussion. That said, they need to start beating some better teams. That series against Tampa Bay was nearly a brutal sweep. After this series in Toronto to start the week, 14 of the next 17 games combined are against Baltimore and Boston, and anything less than 8-6 in those games (and maybe 9-5) might be the end of it all.
10: St. Louis Cardinals (76-54, +$462) (LW: 11): Things could have gone horribly wrong for the Cardinals this past week when they took on the Braves for four games. Instead, they took three out of four and ended up catching the Pirates for the lead in the NL Central. The series that are on deck this week are the ones that have to be won against the Bucs and the Reds. There is a big difference between being three back and three up with right around 25 games left to play, and the Cards are going to fall somewhere in between those two numbers by the end of the week.
11: Texas Rangers (75-55, +$223) (LW: 12): Texas had a chance to put some real distance between itself and Oakland, and it wasn't able to do that this week. Instead, that tenuous lead of two games in the loss column remains intact at this point, and the Rangers are going to want to try to work on that this week when they face off with Seattle and Minnesota, two more teams that they should be destroying. There's no excuse this week to not have that lead up to at least three or four in the loss column.
12: Minnesota Twins (57-72, +$198) (LW: 15): Surprisingly, Minnesota was able to go on the road this week and take two out of three against Detroit, including winning as underdogs of +238 and +179. It reinstalled the Twinkies as winners when it comes to betting this year. The task at hand gets no easier this week against the Royals and the Rangers, especially with those three games in Arlington to close out the weekend.
13: Arizona Diamondbacks (66-63, +$120) (LW: 10): It's almost as if the Diamondbacks need to have winning weeks every single week for the rest of the year to challenge for a playoff spot. We have to figure that a 24-9 record is the worst that Arizona can do the rest of the way and still get into the playoffs. The good news? The team is back at home for series against the Padres, Giants, and Blue Jays, and anything less than 6-3 in those games will probably be the end of it all. Arizona though, only has two more series for the rest of the year against teams with winning records, and both of those come against the Dodgers.
14: Cincinnati Reds (74-57, +$38) (LW: 13): The Reds are still just that third place team in the NL Central that seems destined to go on the road for the Wild Card game, but they aren't done yet. Remember, they are only 2.5 games out of the first place Cardinals, who they pay a visit to this week. With Pittsburgh and St. Louis playing each other this weekend as well, the time is now for the Reds to get a move on, though the task is going to be tough on the road at Busch Stadium to start the week.
15: Kansas City Royals (65-64, -$155) (LW: 9): It's safe to say that we can put the Royals to rest at this point. You can't afford a seven-game losing streak at this point in the year when you're chasing games. KC has some time still, but if it is going to lose two out of three at home to the Nationals and get swept at home by the White Sox, the season is probably over with. Going 81-81 would be the real goal at this point for Kansas City, something that would definitely end up being notable for sure.
16: San Diego Padres (59-71, -$331) (LW: 17): It's impossible to expect anything out of the Padres for the rest of the year. SS Everth Cabrera is done for the season thanks to his role in the Biogenesis lab, while OF Cameron Maybin, OF Carlos Quentin, and pitchers Cory Luebke, Clayton Richard, and Jason Marquis are all on the shelf injured. Not surprisingly, five of the six games this week featured three runs or fewer being scored. Get used to that for the rest of the season.
17: Detroit Tigers (77-53, -$354) (LW: 16): This Detroit team drives us nuts. There is never an excuse to go 4-2 and end up losing money in the week… unless you're the always overrated Tigers, who were beaten twice at home by the Twins, including as nearly -300 favorites with RHP Justin Verlander on the mound. Verlander gave up six runs in seven innings. Yuck. The plus side? RHP Max Scherzer is now an insane 19-1 and is a mortal lock for the Cy Young Award at this point.
18: Seattle Mariners (59-70, -$784) (LW: 20): Relatively speaking, the Seattle offense did pick it up this year. The team is averaging 3.94 runs per game and is batting .242. Those are still bad numbers though, and they were only made worse when the team was swept for three games by the Halos, including losing as horrid -173 favorites on Friday. Side note: That must be how far the Angels have actually fallen to be +165 underdogs to the lowly Mariners…
19: New York Mets (58-70, -$819) (LW: 19): Speaking of teams with zero offensive output whatsoever, meet Exhibit B: The New York Mets. With 3B David Wright still out of the fold, the team has scored just five runs in its last four games. Not surprisingly, all four of those games have been lost. OF Marlon Byrd leads the team with 21 homers, and the rest of the team combined only has 91 bombs in 128 games. Yikes. The team's .683 OPS is embarrassingly bad.
20: Chicago Cubs (55-75, -$932) (LW: 18): For 14 innings, the Cubs and Padres went scoreless at Petco Park on Sunday, and in the 15th inning, Chicago broke through with a pair of runs. In typical Cubs fashion though, they allowed three in the bottom of the 15th to lose a game that definitely should have been won. With losses in four straight series, things are definitely not looking up with a road series coming against the Dodgers, who were just beaten in their first series in over a month over the weekend.
21: Miami Marlins (49-80, -$1,140) (LW: 21): Here we are on August 26th, and the Marlins still haven't won their 50th game yet. We knew that this team was going to be bad, but few of us thought that they were going to be as embarrassing as they have been, especially offensively. 3.22 runs per game, a .230 team batting average, a .623 team OPS, and just 72 homers for the year? C'mon now… Replacement players could have done every bit as good as that.
22: Colorado Rockies (61-71, -$1,193) (LW: 24): The three times the Rockies were favored this week, they won, but the three times they were underdogs, they were beaten. That actually makes nine straight games in which Colorado has played that the favorite has won, and that's not a good thing when you're a 61-71 team that is just 25-44 away from home this season and is always an underdog on the road. The Rocks have also failed to play an 'over' game in seven straight, something that might keep up this week with the offensively-challenged Giants coming to Coors Field.
23: Milwaukee Brewers (57-73, -$1,208) (LW: 25): Not a bad week for the Brew Crew, as they went 3-2 and netted right around $200 in profits for the week. Milwaukee has terrorized the Reds though, as it has won four of the last six games that these two have played over the course of the last 10 days, and that has been part of the reason why the Reds haven't caught the field in the NL Central. The biggest news this week out of Milwaukee? OF Ryan Braun (finally) admitted that he actually used steroids. Shocking, we know.
24: Houston Astros (43-86, -$1,224) (LW: 23): Just when you thought the Marlins were bad… The Astros are going to get their 90th loss this week in all likelihood, and that's pretty impressive considering the fact that there are still three more weeks to the season after this one is said and done with. 100 losses is a given. Can Houston get to 110? It's a lofty feat to try to accomplish, but the club is on pace to finish with just a 54-108 record right now, so anything can happen.
25: Washington Nationals (65-65, -$1,306) (LW: 26): A week after picking up OF David Dejesus, the Nationals traded him to Tampa Bay. The team isn't completely out of it after getting back to .500 this week, but it doesn't feel like this team is ever going to string together three or four straight great weeks to really put some pressure on the Reds. 65-65 through 130 games is absolutely unacceptable for a team that had high hopes of winning 100 this year.
26: Toronto Blue Jays (58-73, -$1,468) (LW: 22): And… tank! The Blue Jays dropped seven straight games over the course of the last week and change, and only on Sunday did they stop the losing streak (and it took Houston to do that!). Toronto averaged just 3.30 runs per game on this 10-game road trip, and that won't cut it for a team that ranks second in the bigs with 157 home runs and was averaging over 4.50 runs per game before the roadie started.
27: Philadelphia Phillies (59-71, -$1,662) (LW: 27): The Phillies had something very interesting happen this week. They ran out of pitchers in a seven-hour game against the Diamondbacks, and they had to use OF Casper Wells to throw the last inning. Why was that so notable? Because the Wells had already pitched in a game once this season while he was playing for the White Sox. Wells allowed five runs and took the loss. Again, why was that notable? Because he only has one RBI as a batter all season long. The crazy things we see in baseball…
28: Chicago White Sox (54-75, -$1,846) (LW: 28): The White Sox have won eight of their last nine games, and they have curtailed almost $1,000 in losses in doing so. That said, they are still 21 games under .500 at this point, and they should still be looking to move every piece to the puzzle that they can possibly move between now and the playoff roster deadline of August 31st. They're still only averaging 3.75 runs per game, which is only being held up at the bottom of baseball by the lowly Marlins.
29: San Francisco Giants (58-72, -$2,529) (LW: 29): RHP Matt Cain took a line drive off of his arm this week which landed him on the DL, which has only made a bad season for him a heck of a lot worse. There really hasn't been a point all season long in which this pitching staff from 1 to 5 was healthy the way that it was designed to be during Spring Training, and that's why the G-Men are going to be staring at a long offseason of asking what went so badly wrong a year after winning their second World Series in the last three seasons.
30: Los Angeles Angels (58-71, -$2,957) (LW: 30): The Angels are 9-6 against the Mariners and 49-65 against everyone else. Wow. The good news is that Seattle was on tap this past week, and the Halos won all three games, winning the series by an aggregate score of 14-2. The pitchers have been doing their job, but it's far too little, far too late on a season in which the entire front office is likely going to be cleaned out.