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The Times' baseball rankings

The Oakland A's, led by a hot-hitting Cuban of their own, and Atlanta Braves move up to Nos. 2 and 3 behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

June 08, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Shelby Miller tips his hat to the St. Louis crowd after hitting a solo home run against Arizona on June 6.
Shelby Miller tips his hat to the St. Louis crowd after hitting a solo home… (Dilip Vishwanat / Getty…)

With a nod toward Flag Day, which will be celebrated Friday, Times staff writer Kevin Baxter looks at which teams have a chance at raising a championship flag this fall and which ones don't (Statistics through Friday's game. Last week's rankings in parentheses):

CLOSING IN ON A PENNANT

1. ST. LOUIS; Only Yanks have raised more flags than Cards (22 pennants, 11 World Series titles) (1)

2. OAKLAND: Cespedes slumping no more: Cuban hitting .345 with 4 HRs, 7 RBIs in June (6)

3. ATLANTA; Brave pitchers start June 5-2, 1.68 by holding opponents to a .169 average (7)

4. BOSTON; Buchholz, Lester 14-2, 2.66 after Farrell's return. Went 41-34, 4.20 in 2 years without him (5)

5. TEXAS: Six flags over Texas? Rangers in battle for 6th AL West crown (3)

6. CINCINNATI; Not waving at pitches: Brandon Phillips is MLB's' best 2-strike hitter (.330, 22 RBIs) (2)

7. PITTSBURGH; Hoisting the Jolly Roger: Foes hitting MLB-low .224 against Buc pitching (4)

8. ARIZONA; Lefty Patrick Corbin is 10-0, 1.93 in 13 starts dating to September (10)

9. DETROIT; Red flag: Tigers score just 2 runs in Fister's last 3 starts, all losses (12)

10. N.Y. YANKEES; No Yank hitting better than .276 but bullpen leads AL with 23 saves in 26 tries (9)

HAVING A BANNER SEASON

11. TAMPA BAY; Old Glory: 36-year-old Rodney has season-high 7 straight scoreless outings (11)

12. BALTIMORE; Francis Scott Key's' hometown team hasn't sewn up a pennant in 30 years (8)

13. COLORADO; Victory flag: After injury-marred 2012, Tulo hitting .373 since May 1 (15)

14. SAN FRAN; Giants lose Zito start at home for 1st time since Aug. 2; lefty doesn't fan a batter in 6 IP (13)

15. PHILADELPHIA; Phils win 5 of 6 behind Domonic Brown (.447, 7 HRs, 14 RBIs last 10 games) (18)

FLYING THEIR FLAG UPSIDE DOWN

16. CLEVELAND; Penalty flag: Cops bust All-Star closer Perez for marijuana possession (14)

17. WASHINGTON; Waving a Red Cross flag: Harper, Strasburg, Espinosa among 7 Nats on DL (16)

18. SEATTLE; Kendrys Morales hitting .364/.430/.584 vs. left-handers (23)

19. DODGERS; Team selling Cuban flag shirts in honor of rookie Puig (.421/.450/1.105 in 5 games) (21)

20. ANGELS; Caution flag: Cubs pitchers had as many HRs in May (4) as Albert Pujols (17)

21. SAN DIEGO; Tough to flag down: Padres lead majors with 55 stolen bases in 67 tries. (20)

BEGINNING TO FLAG AFTER A FAST START

22. MINNESOTA; Pelfrey shaves 1.54 off his ERA in 7 weeks; still has MLB-worst 6.40 mark (26)

23. KANSAS CITY; Stars and Stripes: Shields, Santana a combined 5-11 despite 2.91 ERA (27)

24. MILWAUKEE; Flag at half staff: Brewers are 9-26 since May 1 (28)

25. N.Y. METS; John Buck hit .241, 9 HR, 25 RBI in April but is just .196-2-10 since (25)

WAVING A WHITE FLAG

26. TORONTO; Maple Leaf Rag: Canada's only team averaging 4.9 runs at home, 3.8 in the U.S. (24)

27. HOUSTON; These colors don't run: Astros have been caught stealing an MLB-high 20 times (29)

29. CHI CUBS; Cubs has never raised a world championship banner at 99-year-old Wrigley Field (22)

29. CHICAGO WHITE SOX; Emblem of tough times: Sox averaging AL-worst 3.5 runs a game (19)

30. MIAMI; Flagging interest: Ticket sales down nearly 10,000 a game since winter fire sale (30)

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