On what it takes to be like the A’s, Cano’s dizzy spell and Mr. Met’s vulnerabilities:
The rankings (records through Wednesday):
1. Oakland Athletics (78-54; Previous: 1) – A’s tighten up for stretch, focus on tighter defense, more aggressive baserunning and fewer careless whispers.
2. Los Angeles Angels (79-53; Previous: 2) – Hoping to be more like A’s, Angels flood parts of their stadium.
3. Washington Nationals (75-57; Previous: 5) – Williams promises Babe Ruth impersonation with 10-game winning streak; Hal McRae impersonation with 10-game losing streak.
4. Baltimore Orioles (75-56; Previous: 3) – Bright side, Machado appears to be running out of knees to repair.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (76-58; Previous: 4) – It only seems sometimes Puig is love child of Teen Wolf and Forrest Gump. Not actually true. Probably.
6. Kansas City Royals (74-58; Previous: 6) – Royals now sorta can’t believe they didn’t bury Tigers earlier.
7. Seattle Mariners (72-60; Previous: 8) – Cano leaves game with dizziness, blames new money smell.
8. Milwaukee Brewers (73-60; Previous: 7) – Carlos Gomez is so cool the ice bucket declined, donated a hundred bucks.
9. St. Louis Cardinals (71-61; Previous: 11) – Lackey exchanges Babe Ruth-signed ball for Neshek’s No. 41, shops A.J. Pierzynski-signed jersey for extra pair of sanitary socks.
10. Detroit Tigers (71-60; Previous: 10) – Some people see everything in black and white. Scherzer sees things in, well, it’s really hard to say.
11. San Francisco Giants (70-62; Previous: 12) – Hunter Pence’s carry-on does not fit in the airport bag sizer.
12. New York Yankees (69-62; Previous: 15) – Since they’re running out of numbers, beginning next spring Yanks will begin issuing uniforms with QR codes on back.
13. Atlanta Braves (69-64; Previous: 14) – Nats adopt rally pigeon. Braves think it’d taste better fricasseed.
14. Pittsburgh Pirates (69-64; Previous: 9) – Polanco sent down. Enjoyed his cup of El Coffee.
15. Cleveland Indians (67-64; Previous: 16) – Dude, I just had arth-bro-scopic surgery!
16. Toronto Blue Jays (67-66; Previous: 13) – If Royals make playoffs, Blue Jays will indeed own longest postseason drought, but would like to know when was the last time the Expos did anything.
17. Miami Marlins (65-67; Previous: 17) – Good, young position-player core, check. Power arms, check. Superstar, check. Bright manager, check. What could go wrong?
18. Tampa Bay Rays (65-68; Previous: 19) – Just as a matter of protocol, Rays go ahead and protest other 66 losses. Hey, never know.
19. Cincinnati Reds (64-69; Previous: 18) – Votto unhappy with notion he’s soft. Sprains ankle rushing to own defense.
20. New York Mets (62-71; Previous: 20) – So apparently Mr. Met has an issue with people striking him in the privates. In other news, Mr. Met has privates.
21. San Diego Padres (62-70; Previous: 21) – Remember when Padres’ right-field foul pole was a golf club? It’s now a crutch.
22. Philadelphia Phillies (61-72; Previous: 25) – Amaro backs Sandberg “so far.” It’s almost September.
23. Chicago White Sox (60-72; Previous: 22) – Reinsdorf says of local Little League team, “I look at this as a White Sox team.” Nobody really argues.
24. Minnesota Twins (58-74; Previous: 23) – Did you know that St. Paul was actually born four minutes earlier than Minneapolis?
25. Chicago Cubs (59-73; Previous: 26) – Cubs knew they shouldn’t have just stuffed tarp into glove compartment, but, well, they were in a hurry and all.
26. Boston Red Sox (58-75; Previous: 24) – Red Sox know there are things left to accomplish this season. Can’t think of any off the top of their head. But, there’s things.
27. Houston Astros (56-78; Previous: 28) – Several things would have to fall into place in order for Astros to sign first pick Brady Aiken, among them Aiken losing every ounce of self-respect.
28. Arizona Diamondbacks (55-78; Previous: 27) – A solid week of reporting determines that Kirk Gibson either will or will not return as manager in 2015.
29. Colorado Rockies (53-79; Previous: 29) – Troy Tulowitzki would like to be traded to a team whose big-money stars stay on the field and help it win.
30. Texas Rangers (52-80; Previous: 30) – Rangers not used to drafting so high, ask friends with Astros if they can borrow Ground Control for a couple weeks.
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