1: Pittsburgh Pirates (70-47, +$2,583) (LW: 1): No chinks in the armor this week for the Bucs either. With the rest of the NL Central floundering just a bit, even the occasional 3-3 week in which the team loses a bit of profits won’t hurt. This is still the best money team in baseball by far, and barring a really bad collapse over the course of the end of the season, it should stay that way. The Pirates are as legit as they come, and they are just 12 wins away from guaranteeing themselves that first winning season in two decades.
2: Atlanta Braves (72-46, +$1,314) (LW: 5): They’re moving and they’re shaking, and if not for the fact that they threw a wild pitch that allowed the game-winning run to score against the Marlins, the Braves would probably have a 16-game winning streak going. Alas, the phenomenal run ended on Saturday, and the hope is that Manager Fredi Gonzalez and the crew can pick it up once again as the Braves won on Sunday to maintain the best record in baseball as we head into the middle of August.
3: Boston Red Sox (71-49, +$1,281) (LW: 3): The Red Sox are going to be sending a thank you note to the Dodgers for keeping the Rays off of their backs this week. Boston is still sporting the best record in the American League in spite of a suspect series in Kansas City in which the team was dropped in three out of four games. Red Sox pitchers have allowed 36 runs over the course of their last six games, and the mass majority of that damage, not surprisingly, is coming against the starting pitching.
4: Cleveland Indians (63-55, +$1,228) (LW: 2): The Indians were rolling until they hosted the Tigers and the Angels for seven games this week, and they very surprisingly were beaten down in six of the seven. Four of those losses came by at least four runs as well. Now, the margin in the AL Central is just too large to make up, and Cleveland has to worry more about the streaking Royals right behind it more so than the Tigers in front of it. The beginning of the end could be near for Manager Terry Francona and company.
5: Oakland Athletics (66-50, +$1,155) (LW: 4): The A’s have now dropped seven out of 10, and that has kept them from really taking command of the AL West. Now, just like Cleveland, Oakland is basically back in the thick of the fight, not just for the division title, but for the Wild Card slots as well. The offense did score 29 runs in four games to end the week, but it really has been feast or famine for the A’s. They have at least six runs scored in five games since July 26th, but they have one run or fewer scored in three games since then as well.
6: Baltimore Orioles (65-52, +$872) (LW: 8): Boston, Tampa Bay, and New York all struggled this week, and it was a perfect week for the O’s to make a huge move. They did just that, winning four out of five on the West Coast against NL West teams. There’s three more in Arizona coming up before getting back home, and if the Orioles can get back to Camden Yards within just three in the loss column of the Red Sox as they are right now, they have to be thrilled.
7: Kansas City Royals (61-54, +$746) (LW: 9): Just in the past week, Jeff Passan wrote an article about the Royals celebrating with an awesome neon sign, and some drunk chick decided to make herself an internet sensation by taking a dive into the fountain at Kauffman Stadium. Does any of that matter? Not really, but it’s tough to argue with anything that is going right with a team that has won 16-of-19 and just took three out of four in dominating fashion against the mighty Red Sox at home. The good times are rolling for sure in the success-hungry city of Kansas City.
8: Los Angeles Dodgers (67-50, +$744) (LW: 11): If there was a question as to whether the Dodgers or the Rays were the hottest team in baseball, that question was answered on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. LA put together a “damn you and your massive winning streak” series sweep against Tampa Bay this weekend, and the club is just continuing its role to what really might end up being the best team in baseball. It’s only a matter of time until the Dodgers are the favorites to win it all.
9: Texas Rangers (68-50, +$456) (LW: 15): The good times are rolling once again in Arlington, as the Rangers have won seven straight games. Losing OF Nelson Cruz to the 50-game suspension doesn’t seem like a big deal any longer, as the trade for OF Alex Rios couldn’t have come at a much better time, and it came at a really cheap price. In his two games thus far with his new team, Rios is 4-for-7 with a double, a triple, two RBIs, and three runs scored. Now that’s called making an impact on a pennant chase right away.
10: Minnesota Twins (52-63, +$434) (LW: 10): We’re still wondering how in the heck the Twins are one of the Top 10 money teams in the game right now. They are 7-3 in their last 10 though, and that includes taking a combined seven of eight from the Astros and the White Sox. What does all of that mean? Wake us up when you’re beating some real teams, Minnesota. Fifteen of the next 20 are going against teams that are in the thick of the fight in the AL Central race.
11: Tampa Bay Rays (66-50, +$369) (LW: 6): There’s certainly no place like home for the Rays, who just went to the West Coast and ended up coming home without a single win in five tries. You knew that things were bad when Tampa Bay blew a 6-0 lead with LHP David Price on the mound, and you knew when that happened that there was little chance of even remotely sticking around with LHP Clayton Kershaw and the amazingly hot Dodgers on Sunday. Perhaps getting back to the Trop will get the Rays back on track.
12: St. Louis Cardinals (67-50, +$62) (LW: 7): What on earth is going on right now in St. Louis? A team that was once batting .281 as a team and averaging over five runs per game suddenly can’t figure out how to hit the baseball, and that’s resulting in a ton of losses. The Cards are just 4-13 in their last 17 games, including losing four to Pittsburgh, three to Atlanta, and three to the Dodgers… not to even mention losing two out of three at home to the hated Cubbies. Manager Mike Matheny needs to figure out what in the heck is going on and now if he is going to get this team rolling again before the playoffs.
13: Arizona Diamondbacks (59-57, -$26) (LW: 14): Arizona is sort of wandering in the weeds right now, and if the Reds and Cardinals continue to slip like they have been, this could be a team that has a real future in the Wild Card race. Right now, the gap is still relatively large at five games in the loss column, but winning weeks will help out a lot. There are a ton of games left that could provide time for gaining ground in a hurry, but the D’Backs are running out of opportunities. It’s going to take a huge week at some point soon to get back in it.
14: Detroit Tigers (69-47, -$71) (LW: 16): The Tigers look like they have survived their challenges. The Indians went on an eight-game roll, and the Royals have won 16-of-19, but Detroit has gone 17-3 in its last 20 games to fend off any potential suitors. Losing two out of three in the Bronx wasn’t a good thing this weekend, but it was far from damning. The pitching staff has allowed an average of just 2.39 runs per game over the course of the last 23 games, allowing three runs or fewer in a stunning 18 of those 23, including posting 10 games with either one run or no runs allowed in that roll.
15: Cincinnati Reds (65-52, -$97) (LW: 17): Manager Dusty Baker and the crew had better take advantage of these games against the Cubs and the Brewers this week in spite of the fact that they are on the road. For a team with a losing record away from the Great American Ball Park, those wins are musts. A four-game home series with Arizona starting in a week looks like it could be make or break for the D’Backs, and after that comes 10 games in 14 days against the Cardinals and Dodgers combined.
16: New York Yankees (59-57, -$170) (LW: 13): Mo no! RHP Mariano Rivera did something over the course of this weekend that he had never done in his entire illustrious career. He has blown not just one, and not just two, but three consecutive saves. The Tigers really got under Rivera’s skin this weekend and it showed, and it’s a miracle that in spite of his struggles in the series that the Bronx Bombers won two of those three games to at least somewhat keep their postseason hopes alive. Rivera has been picking up the Yanks for years though, and it’s only fitting that they are doing the same for him in the twilight of his career.
17: San Diego Padres (53-64, -$177) (LW: 12): The Padres are back to being the completely inept Padres. San Diego has scored a total of just 11 runs over the course of their last five games, and they are now down to averaging 3.91 runs per game for the season. The club ranks 20th or worse in every major offensive stat in baseball save for stolen bases. Some of that can be attributed to playing at Petco Park, but there is a real lack of talent in this lineup that has to be addressed at some point if this team is going to ultimately compete.
18: Chicago Cubs (52-65, -$296) (LW: 19): A .500 week is good when you’re playing on the road and you’re the Cubs. The team can now play the spoiler role this week with three-game sets against both the Reds and the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. More importantly? Chicago posted a shutout at Busch Stadium for the first time since the old Busch Stadium still felt like home to the Cardinals in 1997. Manager Ron Roenicke can at least rest easily that he has put his name in Cubs history this season.
19: New York Mets (54-61, -$411) (LW: 21): At some point, someone is going to look up and realize that the Mets are a 29-29 road team. The Diamondbacks were the latest to figure that out, as they were beaten by New York in two out of three this week. Going to LA is likely going to be a losing series for the Mets, but the trip following that to San Diego sure looks winnable once again.
20: Seattle Mariners (54-63, -$853) (LW: 18): The Mariners have been some big time favorites of late, and they have been killing their bettors because of it. The bottom line is any stretch of 15 games that includes four with Minnesota, three with Milwaukee, and three with Toronto should yield a decent record, and 5-10 and -$754 definitely isn’t reasonable. Over the course of his last four starts, RHP Felix Hernandez is just 1-3, and he has been beaten as a -245, a -160, and a -103 favorite. That’s a killer for sure for a team that already has enough losses as underdogs to its credit this year.
21: Toronto Blue Jays (54-63, -$898) (LW: 22): Since the middle of June, the Blue Jays have exactly one series win against a team that is going to be in the thick of the fight for the playoffs, and this weekend was no exception to that rule when they were crushed by the A’s in two out of three, allowing 24 runs to cross the plate in the process. The offense did its job this weekend, scoring 15 runs, but the pitching staff has been terrible, especially that bullpen. All the money in the world can’t salvage this team right now.
22: Miami Marlins (44-72, -$1,024) (LW: 20): Have the Fish already been mathematically clinched into the last slot in the NL East for the year yet? It’s sad, because they have a decent pitching staff which has yielded a 3.71 ERA this season. The offense though, has scored just 17 runs over the course of its last eight games, netting a 1-7 record. That same unit is batting .230 for the season with an OPS of .618 and just 43 homers. Averaging 3.17 runs per game in the end result, and Miami ranks dead last in baseball in every single one of those categories.
23: Colorado Rockies (55-64, -$1,131) (LW: 23): The Rockies might just be playing out the string for the rest of the year, but they did put together a great series sweep against the Pirates over the weekend. Former Manager Clint Hurdle had to be sick when he brought his Bucs to Coors Field and ended up getting their tails beaten in. It was completely unacceptable for the NL Central leaders, but it was a nice change from the norm for a Colorado club that is trying to stay out of the gutter in the NL West.
24: Milwaukee Brewers (51-67, -$1,486) (LW: 27): It has been a slow plod, but the Brewers have actually posted some decent marks since OF Ryan Braun was suspended by baseball for the rest of the season. The bats have strangely started to wake up after their PED-using comrade was put in the equivalent of the penalty box for the rest of the campaign, and that’s at least something to look forward to in 2013. Getting back Braun and OF Corey Hart should really help out this club.
25: Washington Nationals (57-60, -$1,516) (LW: 25): The Reds and the Cardinals are doing just enough to at least keep Washington tantalizingly close to the Wild Card chase, but the bottom line is that a team that is below .500 doesn’t deserve to be in that discussion. Washington just hasn’t deserved anything this year with the way that it has underachieved, but the team is a seven-game winning streak away from being back in the fight. The problem? Winning that many games in a row seems impossible right now, and the time left in this season is really starting to dwindle.
26: Houston Astros (37-79, -$1,568) (LW: 24): The Astros have lost 30 of their last 37 games, including five in a row at this point, and they are now down to a pace of winning just 52 games for the season. Can the Astros figure out how to ultimately win fewer than 50 games for the season? You would hope so, but the team has allowed at least five runs in five straight days and has conceded a stunning 42 runs in those games, and if the pitching staff keeps up like that, this team might be lucky just to get to 40 wins for the season.
27: Philadelphia Phillies (52-65, -$1,848) (LW: 26): Dear GM Ruben Amaro, Jr.: You think you should have traded all of your commodities at the trade deadline? Now, Philly is screwed, as it is a heck of a lot closer to the last place Marlins than the first place Braves, and the truth of the matter is that by the end of the year, the Phils might end up being closer to the Marlins than the Mets or the Nationals, too. The sickening year only got worse this week, as the team is now 13-games below .500 with almost all of the damage coming since the All-Star break.
28: San Francisco Giants (52-65, -$2,451) (LW: 28): The oddsmakers are going to learn at some point that they shouldn’t be lining the Giants as -172 and -191 favorite on back to back days regardless of where the games are being played and who the foes really are. San Francisco is averaging just 3.74 runs per game this year, and a team OPS of .688 is starting to really get embarrassingly bad. These are supposed to be the defending World Series champs? They look a lot more like chumps to us.
29: Los Angeles Angels (53-63, -$2,531) (LW: 29): The Halos are back on the skids once again, as they have been beaten in five out of seven, including dropping four straight at home this week, three of which came to the Rangers. Now, it’s off to the Bronx to take on the Yankees before coming home for what will be a thrilling series against the Astros… Wee. The silver lining? OF Mike Trout is batting .330 with 20 dongs and a .996 OPS this season, numbers which are absolutely insane.
30: Chicago White Sox (44-72, -$2,919) (LW: 29): The White Sox did themselves a favor this week by trading OF Alex Rios and the nearly $15M remaining on his contract, but the problem that they developed is that Texas claimed him on waivers. That really made negotiating a deal impossible, and the truth of the matter is that the team got pennies on the dollar for a man which they should have made a big splash over at the July 31st trade deadline, as he would have been the best bat moved on the last day. Nothing got done though, and Chicago paid the price.
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.