BIG BUCS: Pittsburgh is continuing their saga as the year’s biggest surprise. Photo courtesy Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The All-Star break has limited the number of games we usually see before we meet every two weeks like this, but plenty has still gone on.

Most noticeably, the Pittsburgh Pirates have picked up right where they left off and continue to be one of the hottest teams in baseball. Unfortunately, their winning ways seem confined to PNC Park. That will surely come back to bite them when they play 14 of 17 games on the road in the middle of the September.

Also heating up are the Detroit Tigers over in the American League. Their back over .500 and now leading the Central division. I guess those five runs Justin Verlander gave up in the All-Star game was nothing more than him exorcising the final demons that had been haunting the team.

With their redemption here in mid-July, Detroit leaves the Phillies as the only legitimate bust still struggling this season. The city of brotherly love is now 12 games under .500 and are making a comfy nest in the bottom of the N.L. East. With each week that goes by, a first-to-worst scenario seems more and more likely.

But that’s just what three of major league baseball’s teams have been up to these first 10 days of the second half of the season. Here is how all 30 ball clubs stack up:


1. New York Yankees | 57-38 (30-17 Home, 27-21 Road) [Change From Last Ranking: ± 0]
Were making a joke out of the pennant race in baseball’s toughest division before losing 4 straight.

2. Texas Rangers | 56-38 (28-19 Home, 27-20 Road) [± 0]
Still on top out west, but a surging Oakland team is further clouding the division picture.

3. Washington Nationals | 55-39 (28-19 Home, 27-20 Road) [± 0]
Avoided a potentially disastrous series with Atlanta to salvage a split. Best team in the NL.

4. Cincinnati Reds | 55-40 (31-18 Home, 24-22 Road) [+ 5]
Being only a half-game ahead in the division is a lousy reward for being 8-2 in your last 10 games.

5. Baltimore Orioles | 51-44 (23-22 Home, 28-22 Road) [+ 5]
Refusing to die and winning the wild card race. This will be a fascinating team the next two months.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates | 54-40 (32-14 Home, 22-26 Road) [+ 1]
One of the hottest teams in the MLB, but they HAVE to start winning games on the road.

7. Los Angeles Angels | 52-44 (26-19 Home, 25-25 Road) [- 2]
These guys are absolute sluggers, but the pitching might prove to be their Achilles come October.

8. San Francisco Giants | 53-42 (29-16 Home, 24-26 Road) [+ 6]
Up and down. Up.  And Down. It’s been a rollercoaster season for San Fran as they now lead the West.

9. Los Angeles Dodgers | 52-44 (29-20 Home, 23-24 Road) [- 5]
Remember when they were the best team in baseball? It seems it was a season ago.

10. Atlanta Braves | 52-43 (24-24 Home, 28-19 Road) [- 4]
Miraculous comebacks aside, they have yet to really turn up the heat on division-leading Washington.

11. Detroit Tigers | 52-44 (28-21 Home, 24-23 Road) [+ 4]
Oh, hey. Long time no see. The Tigers are finally looking like the team we figured they were all along.

12. Tampa Bay Rays | 49-47 (28-25 Home, 21-22 Road) [- 4]
They’re record is lackluster, but they’ve had the 2nd-toughest schedule so far. Par for the A.L. East.

13. Chicago White Sox | 50-45 (24-22 Home, 26-23 Road) [- 2]
They were at that critical 10-games-over-.500 benchmark before losing five straight. Ouch.

14. St. Louis Cardinals | 50-45 (26-20 Home, 24-25 Road) [- 1]
Berkman is back but it hasn’t made much difference. It’s time for potential to evolve into wins.

15. Toronto Blue Jays | 48-47 (25-20 Home, 23-27 Road) [+ 4]
A scrappy, .500 ball club. Did you expect anything else from Toronto? You shouldn’t have.

16. Oakland Athletics | 51-44 (29-21 Home, 22-23 Road) [+ 5]
How is this team winning? I don’t get it. There may be a sequel to Moneyball in a few years here.

17. New York Mets | 47-48 (26-23 Home, 21-25 Road) [- 5]
They’re starting to play like the team we chuckled about back in March, and the laughter is resurfacing.

18. Boston Red Sox | 48-48 (25-28 Home, 23-20 Road) [- 1]
There are ways for this team to get back in the race. Getting swept by the cellar dwellers is not one.

19. Cleveland Indians | 47-48 (24-24 Home, 23-24 Road) [- 3]
They’ve started to slide just as Detroit gets hot. In other words, it’s a bad time to start losing ball games.

20. Arizona Diamondbacks | 47-48 (26-21 Home, 21-27 Road) [- 2]
The playoff-caliber team we saw last year seems to only exist in Phoenix this year.

21. Miami Marlins | 44-51 (24-24 Home, 20-27 Road) [- 1]
Hot-and-cold is turning into cold-and-cold. Luckily, we’ve got a TV show chronicling all the drama.

22. Milwaukee Brewers | 44-50 (26-23 Home, 18-27 Road) [± 0]
Even with the added wild card, this isn’t looking like an October-bound club. Time to sell before August.

23. Philadelphia Phillies | 42-54 (18-29 Home, 24-25 Road) [+ 1]
‘Doc’ is back and healthy, but is it too little too late? Their moves at the deadline may shed some light.

24. Kansas City Royals | 40-54 (17-30 Home, 23-24 Road) [- 1]
You’ll have to forgive their fans’ booing at the All-Star Game. It’s sort of become second nature in 2012.

25. Seattle Mariners | 42-55 (17-27 Home, 25-28 Road) [± 0]
Did you know they’ve had the fourth-toughest schedule so far? Such facts get buried when you’re losing.

26. Minnesota Twins | 40-55 (19-30 Home, 21-25 Road) [± 0]
What can you say about this club outside of Joe Mauer and Justin Mourneau? Not much, to be sure.

27. San Diego Padres | 41-56 (22-29 Home, 19-27 Road) [+ 3]
I guess the good news is Heath Bell isn’t fairing much better without them, either.

28. Chicago Cubs | 38-56 (24-21 Home, 14-35 Road) [- 1]
A winning record inside the confines of Wrigley won’t last when Dempster and Garza are gone.

29. Colorado Rockies | 36-58 (20-29 Home, 16-29 Road) [- 1]
Why are they in a four-man rotation? How much farther can the pitching performances decline?

30. Houston Astros | 34-62 (24-21 Home, 10-41 Road) [- 1]
If they win outright from here, they can still have a 100-win season. 100 losses looks more likely, though.

NOTE: This article was originally published on SportsHead. To read this story and others click here.
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