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Rating the majors, Kentucky Derby style

A look at the teams setting the pace, those that are a good bet to challenge for the playoffs as well as those left in the gate and headed to the glue factory.

May 05, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz is 6-0 with an ERA of 1.01 and has pitched at least seven innings in each of his starts this season.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz is 6-0 with an ERA of 1.01 and has pitched… (Jim Rogash / Getty Images )

With a nod toward Saturday's Kentucky Derby, these are Times staff writer Kevin Baxter's rankings as the teams come out of the clubhouse turn. (Statistics through Friday's game. Last week's rankings in parentheses):

Setting the pace

1; BOSTON Trying to go wire to wire behind Buchholz (6-0, 1.01), Ortiz (.465, 15 RBIs in 11 games) (4)

2; TEXAS Yu Darvish (5-1, MLB-best 58 strikeouts) has Rangers riding high in the saddle (1)

3; ST. LOUIS Cards charges though pack to division lead despite losing two closers (3)

4; ATLANTA Behind Justin Upton's baseball-best 12 HRs, Braves making NL East race a walkover (2)

5; PITTSBURGH Pirates feeling their oats thanks to Jason Grilli, who tops majors with 12 saves (7)

6; BALTIMORE Rare playoff appearance in 2012 continues to spur O's (5)

7; SAN FRANCISCO Giants need to put the blinkers on an unfocused Matt Cain (0-2, 6.49) (8)

8; DETROIT Miguel Cabrera (.368/.447/.561) coming off first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978 (14)

Still a good bet

9; OAKLAND With Crisp, Anderson hitting DL at same time, A's have already broken stride in AL West (9)

10; NY YANKEES Old gray mares ain't what they used to be – except for Rivera (AL-best 11 saves) (15)

11; CINCINNATI Brandon Phillips (26 RBIs), Mat Latos (2-0, 1.83) keep Reds from fading (10)

12; KANSAS CITY Top 3 starters go 8-3, 2.69 combined to keep dark-horse Royals in the running (13)

13; ARIZONA Manager Kirk Gibson already going to the whip with Diamondbacks, losers of 4 straight (12)

14; COLORADO Rockies rank first or second in majors in seven offensive categories (6)

15; WASHINGTON Morning-line favorites stumble at plate, hitting .229 and averaging 3.4 runs a game (11)

Jockeying for position

16; CLEVELAND Indians haven't been champs since Citation won the Triple Crown in 1948 (23)

17; MILWAUKEE Brewers running like draught horses lately, losing 3 straight and 6 of their 9 (17)

18; TAMPA BAY Rays, 8-4 in Tropicana Field, run well on a turf track (18)

19; PHILADELPHIA Fast starts by Braves, Nats leave Phillies facing long odds in division race (20)

20; DODGERS Team still coming up lame with Hanley Ramirez likely headed back to the DL (16)

Left in the gate

21; ANGELS Ownership ponied up big bucks for underperforming Hamilton (.208, 37 strikeouts) (19)

22; NY METS Matt Harvey (4-0, 1.56) only pitcher with winning record in one-horse rotation (21)

23; MINNESOTA No mudders, these Twins have already seen four games postponed by weather (22)

24; CHICAGO WHITE SOX Last-place Sox, like Adam Dunn (.147, 35 strikeouts), stuck in the starting gate (25)

25; SEATTLE King Felix (4-2, 1.60) performing like a thoroughbred but rest of team? Not so much (26)

Headed for the glue factory

26; TORONTO Highly touted Jays already an also-ran in AL East race after losing 8 of last 10 (24)

27; CHICAGO CUBS Cubs buried in cellar despite holding opponents to a baseball-low .229 average (27)

28; SAN DIEGO Field rapidly galloping away from Padres, whose staff ERA (4.53) is worst in NL (29)

29; HOUSTON Silky Sullivan couldn't make up 10 1/2-game deficit Astros are already facing (28)

30; MIAMI Owner Jeffrey Loria spit bit with offseason fire sale; team should have stayed in paddock (30)

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