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If a baseball pennant race is a marathon, we're nearing mile 18

The Phillies, Yankees and Red Sox are among the teams setting the pace as baseball's pennant races head into the final stretch of the season.

July 30, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Philadelphia Phillies' Vance Worley, center, celebrates with teammates after throwing a complete game in their 7-2 win over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday.
Philadelphia Phillies' Vance Worley, center, celebrates with teammates… (Suchat Pederson / Associated…)

The baseball pennant race has often been described as a marathon, not a sprint. If that's true, then we're nearing the 18-mile mark of the season this week. Here's Kevin Baxter's handicap of the race so far. (Records through games of Friday.)

Setting the pace

1. PHILADELPHIA (66-39): Fifth starter Vance Worley is 7-1 with a 2.02 ERA, and now they have Pence.

2. BOSTON (64-40): Leads division despite having had 4 starting pitchers spend time on DL.

3. N.Y. YANKEES (61-42): Only team in majors with more than 100 steals and more than 100 homers.

4. TEXAS (60-47): Balanced Rangers have six players with at least 12 HRs and five pitchers with at least 9 wins.

5. SAN FRANCISCO (61-45): Staff with MLB-best 2.58 ERA in July now has Carlos Beltran in the outfield.

6. MILWAUKEE (58-49): Brewers have baseball's best record at home and an MLB-high 35 losses on the road.

7. ATLANTA (62-45): 25-year-old Jair Jurrjens, 24-year-old Hanson are 23-8, 2.74 combined.

8. ANGELS (58-49): Have baseball's best record at 27-13 since June 13.

9. DETROIT (56-50): Bullpen has both MLB's second-highest ERA (4.70) and AL saves leader in Jose Valverde (27).

10. PITTSBURGH (54-50): Team ERA of 3.37 is more than 11/2 runs better than last season.

11. ST. LOUIS (56-50): Leads NL in batting (.269) and runs (501).

Looking for a second wind

12. ARIZONA (57-49): Leads National League with 122 home runs.

13. CLEVELAND (52-51): Tribe is 14 games under .500 after 30-15 start.

14. TAMPA BAY (55-50): With 2,678 hits, Johnny Damon could be next to 3,000.

Trying to make up for a slow start

15. CHICAGO WHITE SOX (52-52): 11 games over .500 since May 6.

16. MINNESOTA (50-56): Have division's best record (33-20) since June 1.

17. N.Y. METS (55-51): Reyes, NL's leading hitter, one of four Mets batting over .300.

18. CINCINNATI (51-55): Defending Central champs are 26-17 since May 17.

19. TORONTO (54-52): John Farrell has his team above .500 in his managerial debut.

Already hit the wall

20. COLORADO (50-56): Rockies relievers have allowed fewest walks in the NL (94).

21. OAKLAND (47-59): A's have most errors (85), second-lowest ERA (3.42) in the AL.

22. FLORIDA (52-54): Marlins are 95-63 all-time under Jack McKeon.

23. WASHINGTON (49-56): Nats have slipped well below .500 since Davey Johnson took over.

24. DODGERS (48-57): Last in the NL in hitting (.214) and runs (70) in July.

Why bother continuing?

25. SAN DIEGO (46-61): Lead league with 115 steals; bullpen has lowest ERA in baseball (2.76).

26. BALTIMORE (42-60): Orioles have been outscored by a league-high 109 runs.

27. CHICAGO CUBS (42-64): And Aramis Ramirez questions his team's commitment to winning?

28. KANSAS CITY (45-61): A quarter of Royals' wins have been walkoff victories.

29. HOUSTON (35-71): Owns baseball's worst record and league's second-worst ERA (4.57).

30. SEATTLE (44-61): 17-game losing streak. Nuff said.

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