On what old Orioles really need, the Tigers as bad dogs, and what the Cardinals can expect out of Lackey for half-a-mil:
The rankings (records through Wednesday):
Oakland Athletics (73-47; Previous: 1) – A’s so committed to 2014, front office refuses to pre-order 2015 calendars.
Los Angeles Angels (70-49; Previous: 2) – Angels spend entire Freeway Series explaining they wouldn’t want to live in Los Angeles, but don’t mind visiting.
Baltimore Orioles (69-50; Previous: 5) – O’s hold on-field ceremony to honor 60 years of baseball. Either that or they were giving away support hosiery.
Los Angeles Dodgers (69-53; Previous: 3) – Rotation kind of like a mullet: business in the front, bullpen party in the back.
Washington Nationals (65-53; Previous: 6) – When they need an extra outfielder, Nats pick up the Souza phone.
Kansas City Royals (65-54; Previous: 17) – Former Missouri Tiger Aaron Crow gets save on ballpark’s “Missouri Night,” former Nebraska Cornhusker Alex Gordon hits homer on “Nebraska Night,” beat writer expecting Pulitzer consideration on upcoming “GED Night.”
Milwaukee Brewers (66-55; Previous: 8) – Wily Peralta among league leaders in W’s, still short one L.
Seattle Mariners (65-55; Previous: 16) – Zduriencik, criticized by anonymous GM’s for trade deadline dithering, says he’ll dither when he damn well feels like being a ditherer. Or not. Really depends on the moment. Oh, never mind.
Pittsburgh Pirates (64-56; Previous: 10) – McCutchen promises he won’t forget retaliation pitch in Arizona. To aid memory, has bruise and X-rays.
Detroit Tigers (64-54; Previous: 4) – Tigers are like the well-adjusted dog that can’t resist the occasional urge to gnaw off the leg of an antique chair.
St. Louis Cardinals (63-56; Previous: 9) – Lackey says he will definitely pitch under $500,000 contract terms next season. Tells Cards they should pick those three starts wisely.
San Francisco Giants (63-57; Previous: 11) – Hunter Pence doesn’t replace the spent toilet paper roll.
Toronto Blue Jays (63-59; Previous: 12) – Blue Jays beat Tigers in 19 innings, or 17 1/3 innings where Tigers are from.
Atlanta Braves (61-59; Previous: 7) – Donner Party had a clearer conscience after its West Coast trip.
New York Yankees (61-58; Previous: 13) – O’Neal gets Monument Park plaque in pre-game ceremony. Notable no-show water jug still holds grudge.
Cleveland Indians (60-60; Previous: 19) – Indians vie for Ohio Cup, which is what Ohio wears when it catches.
Miami Marlins (59-61; Previous: 15) – Marlins hope to lock up Stanton over winter, which just might happen if team moves to Los Angeles and becomes the Dodgers.
Cincinnati Reds (60-60; Previous: 18) – If Reds wanted representative All-Star logo, shoulda gone with Marge Schott in a housecoat.
Tampa Bay Rays (59-61; Previous: 14) – Rays invent ’80s throw-back uniforms. Wade Boggs remembers them well.
New York Mets (57-64; Previous: 20) – Kevin Mitchell can’t believe the cat story won’t go away. Knew he shouldn’t have put out that bowl of milk.
San Diego Padres (57-62; Previous: 24) – Preller thinks first things first, prices long boards and wetsuits.
Chicago White Sox (57-64; Previous: 21) – Sale endeavors to mix new and intellectually challenging vocabulary words into post-start interviews. Today’s word: Belisario.
Minnesota Twins (54-65; Previous: 22) – Twins happy to host the All-Stars and all, but, man, it seemed like those guys would never leave.
Boston Red Sox (54-65; Previous: 23) – If A’s don’t want them, Red Sox would be more than happy to take those 2015 calendars.
Philadelphia Phillies (53-68; Previous: 25) – Rather than rebuild aging roster, front office decides it’d be simpler to build time machine. Should be done by spring training.
Chicago Cubs (52-67; Previous: 27) – After a week, Javier Baez looks like the next big thing in Chicago, which is how all average careers in Chicago start.
Arizona Diamondbacks (52-68; Previous: 26) – D’backs discussing manner by which they’ll be insulted by Dodgers’ bubble machine.
Houston Astros (50-71; Previous: 29) – Beat writers get through trade deadline by working phones, checking emails and closely monitoring Ground Control.
Colorado Rockies (46-74; Previous: 28) – Scientists have determined that at sea level the Rockies would be kind of crappy too.
Texas Rangers (47-73; Previous: 30) – In light of the season, Rangers refuse Preller resignation, put him on disabled list instead.
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