The Pirates have had plenty of reason to celebrate of late. (AP)
The rankings (records through Wednesday):
On what goes best with the Reds, Manny's last resort, the complexities of rebuffing Chris Davis' home runs and Valverde's minor-league travel preferences:
1.Pittsburgh Pirates (52-31; Previous: 5) – Hoping to keep media distractions to a minimum, Hurdle moves PNC Park clubhouse every three or four days. This week: Mt. Lebanon.
2.Boston Red Sox (52-34; Previous: 3) – Sox could have saved themselves the Valentine Era by simply trading Doc Rivers for John Farrell.
3.St. Louis Cardinals (50-33; Previous: 1) – Cards come West to visit Angels, ask Matheny if they can please-please-please sleep over at Albert's house?
4.Atlanta Braves (49-35; Previous: 4) – Doctors assure Uggla that with LASIK surgery he'll be able to see his batting average.
5.Oakland Athletics (49-36; Previous: 6) – After first career hit, Vogt gets silent treatment. Teammates actually called it the "G" treatment.
6.Cincinnati Reds (49-36; Previous: 2) – General rule of thumb: Mesoraco with red meat, Cingrani with chicken and fish.
7.Texas Rangers (48-36; Previous: 9) – If this doesn't work out, Manny has an invitation to play in Moscow airport Strat-O-Matic league.
8.Baltimore Orioles (48-37; Previous: 7) – Fans in opposing ballparks attempt to throw back Chris Davis home run balls, require cut-off men.
9.Detroit Tigers (45-38; Previous: 8) – Valverde, to Toledo Blade: "Eight hours (on a bus) is too much. I have something in the bank for a flight." Hey, he's Papa Grande, not Papa Greyhound.
10.Tampa Bay Rays (45-40; Previous: 15) – To those who did not understand why Rays did not retaliate against Tigers, Maddon suggests they "read Mario Puzo." Question: Is omerta still omerta if you hint about omerta?
11.Cleveland Indians (45-39; Previous: 16) – Indians lead baseball in wild pitches, primarily because Ricky Vaughn has trouble repeating his delivery.
12.New York Yankees (45-39; Previous: 11) – Southern Tenant Farmers Union was founded during the depression years, hasn't gotten a lot of pub lately, thanks Yankees and A-Rod for the support.
13.Arizona Diamondbacks (43-41; Previous: 10) – Gibson gives Goldschmidt a day off. America forced to play pitcher's hand.
14.Toronto Blue Jays (41-43; Previous: 17) – Bautista breaks out of slump by wearing Dickey's pants. In other news, Dickey is wearing no pants.
15.Washington Nationals (42-42; Previous: 19) – Davey Johnson smothers light tower fire at Nationals Park with heat retardant lineup cards.
16.Los Angeles Dodgers (40-43; Previous: 23) – Puig doesn't bother reading team schedule. Reports to work when giant lighted "P" glows in night sky.
17.Colorado Rockies (41-44; Previous: 14) – Rockies like to think of Roy Oswalt as the next Jamie Moyer.
18.Los Angeles Angels (40-44; Previous: 22) – Every time Jean Segura gets a hit, an Angel loses his wings.
19.San Francisco Giants (39-45; Previous: 12) – Knock knock. Who's there? Yasiel. Yasiel who? All right, good. You're the NL All-Star manager.
20.San Diego Padres (40-45; Previous: 13) – Quentin adjusts batting stance, now in a better position to get to mound quicker.
21.Kansas City Royals (34-36; Previous: 18) – Met John Buck, after ugly loss meant he caught his own backup (Anthony Recker) during ninth inning: "I played for the Royals, man. It's not my first blowout." Royals: "Hey!"
22.Philadelphia Phillies (40-45; Previous: 20) – Papelbon does not believe one month of good baseball warrants All-Star selection. Has no problem, however, with Justin Upton candidacy.
23.Minnesota Twins (36-45; Previous: 21) – Twins present Rivera with Chair of Broken Dreams. Now Cubs manager doesn't know where to sit.
24.New York Mets (35-46; Previous: 27) – Mets make big push for Harvey to start All-Star Game. Conveniently, can simply scratch out "Dickey" on all those old bumper stickers.
25.Seattle Mariners (37-47; Previous: 24) – Aren't Mariners usually supposed to be above water?
26.Chicago Cubs (36-46; Previous: 28) – A great, great past week for Chicago sports: Blackhawks hold victory parade, Cubs have off day.
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