It's not a reach to say Chris Davis and the Orioles are in the top spot. (Getty Images)
On the Loria Factor, the Blue Jays’ excuse against guys not throwing spitballs, saving potato bugs, free hot dogs in McCovey Cove and the evil black magic of tape recorders:
The rankings (records through Wednesday):
1. Baltimore Orioles (21-13; Previous: 5) – Brian Roberts sees specialist for hamstring injury. Makes you wonder if he’s seen so many specialists they don’t really seem that special anymore.
2. St. Louis Cardinals (21-12; Previous: 6) – Unable to establish bullpen that retires hitters, Cards turn to retired pitcher, ask for the gold watch back.
3. Texas Rangers (21-13; Previous: 2) – Darvish said he’d heard uncomplimentary things about new catcher Pierzynski, who figured Darvish must have been talking to, you know, everyone.
4. Detroit Tigers (19-12; Previous: 12) – Tigers take up cause of saving endangered tigers, privately relieved franchise didn’t name itself the potato bugs. Because they’re gross and nobody wants them around.
5. Atlanta Braves (20-13; Previous: 1) – B.J. a little jealous about little brother Justin’s start. Sighs. Pitchers always did like him better.
6. Boston Red Sox (21-13; Previous: 4) – Buchholz the 42nd overall pick in 2005. Amazing how many teams allowed him to slip through their fingers.
7. San Francisco Giants (20-14; Previous: 3) – ESPN goes to McCovey Cove, gives away dozens of hot dogs. Couldn’t give them all away, of course, as someone had to host SportsCenter that night.
9. New York Yankees (19-13; Previous: 13) – A-Rod tells reporters he has “a lot of unfinished business,” clarifies however that he’s actually settled up the Biogenesis account.
10. Kansas City Royals (17-13; Previous: 14) – Royals like Alex Gordon a lot more now that everyone else has decided he’s not a bust and that the Royals were right to continue believing in him, no matter what everyone else said.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates (18-15; Previous: 15) – Everybody laughed when Pirates introduced military style training, but look at them now. Granted, everybody’s still laughing about that. But still.
12. Cincinnati Reds (19-16; Previous: 7) – Baker reaches 1,600 career wins, passes Lasorda on all-time list, insists at 63 he still has a few arms to burn out before he’s done.
13. Arizona Diamondbacks (19-15; Previous: 10) – D'backs grant the bullpen hasn’t been great, stop short of saying it’s ka-Putz.
14. Washington Nationals (18-15; Previous: 11) – By end of World Series, Harper will be legally permitted to sip post-game Champagne. (Clown observation, bro.)
15. Cleveland Indians (17-14; Previous: 24) – Indians pitchers don’t give up cheap home runs. By that we mean they’ve asked umpires to disallow anything that’s not, you know, waaaay over the fence.
16. Oakland Athletics (18-17; Previous: 8) – Following blown call, umpire Angel Hernandez refuses to have explanation digitally recorded, also considers replay technology some kind of creepy witchcraft.
17. San Diego Padres (16-18; Previous: 29) – Padres make strong move to pass Dodgers in standings. Try to remember a time that meant something.
18. Milwaukee Brewers (15-17; Previous: 17) – Selig rejects five-year extension offer, clearly intends to test free agency.
19. Minnesota Twins (15-15; Previous: 21) – Gardy gives Hicks a stern talking to, later refers to conversation as just a little tough glove.
20. Tampa Bay Rays (15-18; Previous: 16) – Club plays 18 of 24 games away from The Trop, return to discover pet manta rays had gotten into the trash.
21. Philadelphia Phillies (16-19; Previous: 22) – Phillies pitchers react strongly to Mitch Williams criticism, insist they can’t all have seamless, effortless mechanics like Mitch.
22. Seattle Mariners (16-19; Previous: 26) – Andino says he’s come to terms with being traded from Baltimore to “Alaska,” really loves manager Palin.
23. New York Mets (13-17; Previous: 20) – “Duda, Where’s My WAR?”
24. Chicago White Sox (14-18; Previous: 25) – Shoeless Joe Jackson has a Twitter account. Pretty much limits his missives to eight (unsavory) characters.
25. Los Angeles Dodgers (13-20; Previous: 18) – Mattingly, after being swept in San Francisco: “I feel better about our club walking out of here than I did walking in.” Sadly, a check of disabled list shows he was only Dodger walking out of there.
26. Los Angeles Angels (11-22; Previous: 19) – Slow start has observers wondering if Dipoto will fire Scioscia. Or if Scioscia will fire Dipoto.
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- Chase Utley hit two homers to give him long balls in four straight at-bats, Cole Hamels pitched six innings in his final start before opening day and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 9-2 Wednesday. … More »