1: Pittsburgh Pirates (67-44, +$2,680) (LW: 1): The argument could be made that this was the most important week of baseball that the Pirates have had in quite some time. They took four out of five from the Cardinals to take the lead in the NL Central, and the hope is that they are never going to trail in the division race again. Pittsburgh has three with Miami to start off this week at home, and one has to think that there is a great chance to stretch that lead out to two or three games in the loss column by the end of the week.
2: Cleveland Indians (62-49, +$1,755) (LW: 4): Cleveland has won 10-of-11 games in the AL Central, and though it isn't gaining any ground on the equally hot Tigers, and it isn't putting aside the potentially even hotter Royals, what is happening is that the pressure is on in the chase for the Wild Card. If the playoffs started today, the Tribe would be in the second season. They might though, rue the day that they didn't make any moves at the trade deadline.
3: Boston Red Sox (68-45, +$1,487) (LW: 3): Boston made the big move to pick up RHP Jake Peavy, who immediately paid dividends by leading the team to a win on Saturday in his first start. The Red Sox still haven't shaken Tampa Bay by any stretch of the imagination, but the fact of the matter is that they still have the best record in the American League going into the first full week of August, and there is no shame in that fact.
4: Oakland Athletics (64-47, +$1,250) (LW: 2): Oakland once had an offense that ranked in the Top 5 in a heck of a lot of offensive categories. The team though, has only scored a total of nine runs in its last five games, four of which have ended in defeat. This is a tough week ahead too, as the A's have to go east to take on the Reds and the Blue Jays, a stretch that will surely test one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.
5: Atlanta Braves (67-45, +$989) (LW: 8): Ten days ago, Atlanta was 12-games above .500 and was below the breakeven point for bettors. Now, the Braves are 22-games above .500, have completely put away the rest of the NL East once and for all, and they are one of the Top 5 money teams in the game. Nothing is stopping this freight train at this point, and if Atlanta can sweep through this week's games against the Nats and the Marlins, there is a good chance that it will be up by at least 15 games going into the middle of August.
6: Tampa Bay Rays (66-45, +$958) (LW: 7): The Rays have gone 5-3 in their eight games played since July 27th, but what has really made them special along the way is that they are figuring out how to win the close games. Four of those five wins have come by exactly one run. LHP Matt Moore is now on the DL for the next week and a half for precautionary reasons, but the team made a nice pickup at the trade deadline with RHP Jesse Crain if he is able to pitch effectively in September and October.
7: St. Louis Cardinals (65-45, +$655) (LW: 6): Matters could have been really bad for the Cardinals this week. They lost the first four games in three days to the Pirates to fall out of first place in the NL Central, but they responded by scoring 13 in the final game of that series against Pittsburgh and then 31 runs in three days against the Reds. Going 3-8 on the road against the Braves, Pirates, and Reds wasn't ideal, but after the 0-7 start, things could have been much, much worse.
8: Baltimore Orioles (61-51, +$595) (LW: 5): The Orioles made the biggest move on deadline day by acquiring RHP Bud Norris. The problem? That's not nearly going to be enough to get back into the fight in the AL East playing like this. Six games against lowly Seattle and Houston resulted in just a 3-3 record, and this nine-game home stand ended with just a 4-5 record. Now, it's off to the West Coast for some interleague play, and by the time the Orioles get back home, they could be in tremendous trouble. If the playoffs started today, they would be out.
9: Kansas City Royals (56-52, +$533) (LW: 11): The Royals aren't set to be written off yet. They are 11-1 in their last 12 games to move to four-games above .500. They're still chasing the rest of the teams in the AL Central and have a lot of teams to hop in the AL Wild Card chase as well, but there is going to be a buzz this week about this home stand the likes of which we haven't seen at Kauffman Stadium in quite some time. KC has 17 of its next 21 games at home.
10: Minnesota Twins (48-60, +$181) (LW: 9): It was a very blah week for Minnesota bettors. The team lost three games against the Royals at home in which the Twins were underdogs, and they won all three games at home against the Astros in which they were favorites. The fact of the matter though, is that Minnesota still only has 42 quality starts all season long, and in 108 games, that's absolutely atrocious. We know what Manager Rod Gardenhire and the Twins are going to be hoping to find in the offseason.
11: Los Angeles Dodgers (61-49, +$171) (LW: 15): Literally for the first time all season long, the Dodgers are back above the breakeven line for bettors. LA just went to Wrigley Field and swept the Cubs, holding them to just six total runs in the four games in the process, and it is now 31-7 in its last 38 games. In that time, bettors have picked up $2,277. We said last week that we wouldn't be surprised if the NL West race was said and done with, and we now really know that it should be. There's a reason that LA is one of the favorites on the odds to win the World Series now.
12: San Diego Padres (52-60, +$53) (LW: 16): The Padres weren't exactly intending on being buyers at the trade deadline, but they did end up making a buyer-ish move when they traded for RHP Ian Kennedy from the Diamondbacks. Kennedy paid dividends immediately, winning his first start at home against the team that drafted him, the Yankees. Winning that series against the Bronx Bombers had to feel good for San Diego in a season that is really void of much hope for much else.
13: New York Yankees (57-53, -$17) (LW: 12): The Yankees didn't make any other moves at the trade deadline, and they finished out a West Coast swing with a disappointing series loss in San Diego. Of course, no one cares about that because the team could be welcoming back 3B Alex Rodriguez on Monday if baseball either doesn't suspend him on Monday or lets him file an appeal that would let him play during the investigation of the suspension. Either way, as the Yanks are starting to fade, the only story anyone in the Bronx seems to care about involves A-Rod and his prospective 200+ game ban.
14: Arizona Diamondbacks (56-55, -$49) (LW: 14): Nothing like waving the white flag in the air while you're still the only team in the National League above .500 not in the playoffs right now. Arizona did just that when it traded RHP Ian Kennedy to the Padres, though it did get back some very valuable middle relief help in return. Still, Arizona just doesn't feel like it is really in it in spite of the fact that it is only 5.5-games out. The Dodgers just feel like a runaway train.
15: Texas Rangers (62-50, -$145) (LW: 19): It was a good, stabilizing week for the Rangers. They swept three crucial games from the Halos to essentially end their season, they won a makeup game with Arizona, and then they took two out of three in Oakland to cut the lead in the AL West to just 2.5-games. It could have been tremendously worse than that had things not gone well at the O.co Coliseum, especially knowing that there are still stops in LA and Houston to go on this road trip before getting back to Arlington.
16: Detroit Tigers (64-45, -$305) (LW: 22): Detroit won all five of its games this week, and it's a good thing that the team picked now to go on a roll. Cleveland and Kansas City are both running hot right now too, and without this roll, we could have been talking about a team on the wrong side of the playoff picture. The Tigers blew a chance to get some help at the trade deadline like so many other teams did, and that could really come back to bite them in September, especially if SS Jhonny Peralta is banned for the rest of the regular season as we are expecting to see this week.
17: Cincinnati Reds (61-51, -$312) (LW: 13): The good news for the Reds is that they have 61 wins and no one else is really going to challenge them for that last Wild Card slot in all likelihood. The bad news is that they are now seven back in the NL Central with two teams to catch after losing three straight series to the Dodgers, Padres, and now the Cardinals. Allowing 15 and 13 runs in the weekend series to St. Louis was bad news for a team that had only scored a total of nine runs in six games prior to that.
18: Seattle Mariners (52-59, -$465) (LW: 17): This was a tough week for the Mariners. Traveling all the way east and facing Baltimore and Boston is no easy task, and going 2-4 in those games was really probably a triumph. There are six at home against Toronto and Milwaukee that might give the team some hope of getting back towards .500, but the bottom line after that is that there are road series against Tampa Bay, Texas, and Oakland followed by home dates with the Angels and Rangers. Thanks for playing.
19: Chicago Cubs (49-62, -$508) (LW: 10): The Cubs were always going to have a rough end of the season after trading away so many pieces to the puzzle at the trade deadline. The September call ups are about all that is left smiling about at Wrigley Field, especially after losing seven out of eight at home in a span of seven days this week and getting shut out three times in those games. Where has the offense gone for the Cubbies?
20: Miami Marlins (43-67, -$716) (LW: 18): The good news for Marlins fans is that the trade deadline came and went without the team making any moves whatsoever to their team. The bad news is that they probably still need to continue to get a lot worse before they are going to get better. At least 1B Giancarlo Stanton is going to be around for the rest of the year at this point unless the team puts him on waivers, something that even the spendthrift Marlins probably won't be doing.
21: New York Mets (49-60, -$889) (LW: 21): Here's another team that is struggling offensively at the moment. The Mets lost 3B David Wright to a hamstring injury for the next two weeks, and the timing couldn't be much worse. They haven't scored more than four runs in nine of their last 10 games, and they have averaged just 2.40 runs per game in that stretch. With Wright not in the lineup, there really just isn't a heck of a lot that is left to like about the men from 1-8 in the batting order being trotted out there on a nightly basis.
22: Toronto Blue Jays (51-60, -$935) (LW: 23): The Blue Jays fielded some calls about sending off some of their stars at the trade deadline, but they ultimately didn't pull the trigger on any of the trades. Alas, what is going to be left is a team that has one of the highest payrolls in baseball but one of the worst records in the game as well. There won't be many teams that paid more per victory this year than the Jays, and that's generally a stat in baseball that you don't want to be the leader in.
23: Colorado Rockies (52-61, -$1,198) (LW: 20): There was a point that the Rockies were really in the thick of the fight in the NL West. There was also a point that they considered totally cleaning house. Unfortunately, neither ended up coming to fruition. There are some pieces here for sure, as the lineup can build around OF Carlos Gonzalez and SS Troy Tulowitzki, but the rest of this team is just incredibly suspect this year, and that isn't going to cut it going forward for the rest of the campaign.
24: Houston Astros (36-74, -$1,243) (LW: 24): You hate to intentionally lose games, but the Astros really need to continue to do so. They traded their closer, RHP Jose Veras right near the end of the trade deadline, and they moved RHP Bud Norris in the dying minutes before time expired on non-waiver deals. What's left though, is a team that is on a clip for 53 wins this year. It has to be painful to watch baseball right now in the Lone Star State, but at least the future is bright, as this is one of the most stacked farm systems in the game.
25: Washington Nationals (54-57, -$1,454) (LW: 26): Another week, another game below .500 for the Nationals. The truth of the matter is that they aren't completely out of the fight yet, especially if the Reds keep playing as badly as they have of late. However, the look just isn't there for this team. Washington seems like a team that is going to struggle to stick right around that .500 mark for the rest of the year, and that isn't going to get the job done for a team that was expected to be way out in front of the NL East right now, not 12 back in the loss column.
26: Philadelphia Phillies (50-61, -$1,583) (LW: 25): There was no team that hit the skids like the Phillies did. They were above .500 two weeks ago, but they have gone 1-13 since that point and are firmly out of it all. Worse is that Philly had the chance to perhaps trade 2B Chase Utley or SS Jimmy Rollins or 3B Michael Young or OF Delmon Young or C Carlos Ruiz or RHP Jonathan Papelbon or LHP Cliff Lee and get some prospects back in exchange for them. Alas, all of those men listed are still in the City of Brotherly Love, and the losses are starting to pile up. It's not good right now for sure in Philly.
27: Milwaukee Brewers (47-64, -$1,798) (LW: 27): The Brew Crew had their first winning week without OF Ryan Braun in the fold, and it took going to Chicago to get the job done against the Cubs. Expect to see Milwaukee get back to its losing ways here soon. There are four in San Fran, three in Seattle, two in Texas… and then the schedule gets hard. Four with Cincy, three with St. Louis, three with Cincinnati, three with Pittsburgh, three with the Halos, three with Pittsburgh… and it sort of goes on and on from there. Don't be shocked if the Brewers don't win 60 games.
28: San Francisco Giants (49-61, -$2,192) (LW: 30): The Giants are just 4-10 in their last 14 games, and they have lost $868 in that stretch. The offense has scored three runs or fewer in 13 of its last 17 games, and the team failed to make any moves at the deadline that could have stockpiled the farm system just a bit. It's tough to argue with the way that the team has been handled this season after winning two World Series in the last three years, but this is atrocious.
29: Los Angeles Angels (51-59, -$2,330) (LW: 28): It almost seems like the Angels have had chance after chance to get back into the fight in the AL if they could just go on a big time run… And then they get killed in a series by someone. This time, it was Texas that really put in the deathblow to the season, and it isn't going to get any better from here. With nothing to trade at the deadline and 1B Albert Pujols out for probably the rest of the season, the Angels are in the same boat with Toronto as two of the teams that paid a ton this year for not a ton of victories.
30: Chicago White Sox (40-69, -$2,907) (LW: 29): All of a sudden, we're wondering if the White Sox can run down the Astros for the worst record in baseball. Chicago has lost 10 straight games, averaging just 1.80 runs per game in that stretch, and it is a loser of 13-of-14 and 16-of-19. RHP Jake Peavy is gone, and the team made an interesting move to pick up one of the best players in the Detroit farm system to show for it. Now, the Sox are rooting for Tampa Bay to do well with RHP Jesse Crain so they can get a better prospect back in exchange for one of the best relief pitchers in the game.