While mulling the Toronto Blue Jays' slide to ordinary, Roy Halladay's(notes) value and how general manager J.P. Ricciardi could rebuild his franchise in the next three weeks, consider where these clubs rank in baseball in terms of starters' ERA:
20. Boston Red Sox
21. New York Yankees
22. Los Angeles Angels
23. New York Mets
26. Philadelphia Phillies
27. Milwaukee Brewers
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (53-31; Previous: 1) – Manny skips out on postgame spreads in minor leagues, later explains he's not here to talk about medical, criminal or culinary records.
2. Boston Red Sox (51-33; Previous: 2) – Nomar gets back to Fenway, says he dreams of ending career in Red Sox uni. Checking his stats over last few years, seems he got his wish.
3. New York Yankees (51-34; Previous: 3) – Teixeira edges Youkilis in All-Star voting; awaiting John Henry's tweet on matter.
4. San Francisco Giants (46-38; Previous: 9) – Giants invoke mandatory text voting on bus and between at-bats, so sure they'd get Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval into All-Star game they'd sent a box of bamboo shoots ahead to Busch Stadium. Maybe the Flyin' Hawaiian has a taste for them.
5. Texas Rangers (47-36; Previous: 7) – Hamilton announces he's rarin' to go, might explain flames running up forearms.
6. Los Angeles Angels (46-37; Previous: 5) – Figgins promised to backflip like Ozzie Smith if voted into All-Star game. In blatant kiss-up to Cardinals fans, he also offered to wall-slam like Ankiel, grow beard like Franklin, tweet like La Russa.
7. Detroit Tigers (46-38; Previous: 4) – Fans afraid Tigers beginning to get wobbly, relieved to discover players just practicing for first-ever Elvis Night at Comerica Park.
8. St. Louis Cardinals (46-40; Previous: 10) – Pujols sets NL record for All-Star votes, is NL player of month for second time already, Cards petition Congress to just name July after him, for heaven's sake.
10. Milwaukee Brewers (44-41; Previous: 6) – Braun has an idea: Brewers should go get pitching to stay with Cardinals. Melvin has better idea: Braun should hit better than .222 against Cardinals.
11. Philadelphia Phillies (44-38; Previous: 12) – Phils join Yankees, Angels, Red Sox as favorites to get Halladay. Amaro trying to remember where he left all those high-end prospects, must be around here somewhere …
12. Colorado Rockies (45-39; Previous: 13) – Embree beats Nats without throwing a pitch, so all that work on intimidating glare pays off.
13. Florida Marlins (44-42; Previous: 14) – Marlins break ground on downtown ballpark, can't believe cost of a shovel these days, so happy Yankees pay for most of it.
15. Minnesota Twins (43-43; Previous: 16) – Gardenhire says Mauer would win Home Run Derby, also thinks Mauer could quarterback the Vikings, turn Astroturf into clean-burning fuel, circumnavigate globe on seven milk cartons lashed together with athletic tape.
16. Toronto Blue Jays (43-44; Previous: 11) – Ricciardi announces Halladay available. GMs who have been talking to him about Halladay for weeks wonder if he might also confirm slight downturn in U.S. economy, roundness of earth, all-knowingness of Buddha.
17. Chicago Cubs (41-41; Previous: 19) – Dempster doesn't quite clear fence, breaks toe. Fence moves ahead of Gatorade machine, Soriano on-base percentage as inanimate object most likely to ruin Cubs' season.
18. Cincinnati Reds (41-42; Previous: 18) – Reds go into series in Philadelphia saying small ballpark is not intimidating, give up 22 in first game, still not intimidated but frankly bleeding a lot and vomiting some.
20. New York Mets (40-43; Previous: 15) – Recognizing anguish they've caused in recent Septembers, kinder Mets soften blow to fans, collapse three months earlier.
21. Houston Astros (41-42; Previous: 22) – Roberto Duran visits Astros, misplaces nickname, later found in duffel bag belonging to Tejada.
22. Atlanta Braves (41-43; Previous: 21) – Braves win series in Chicago, try to recall days when that would mean something.
23. Pittsburgh Pirates (38-47; Previous: 24) – Indian cricketers Rinku and Dinesh debut in Gulf Coast League. Dinesh most impressive; allows only 206 hits over five days.
25. Oakland Athletics (35-48; Previous: 26) – Holliday hasn't hit a home run in a month. All things considered, I'm not sure that's helping.
27. Kansas City Royals (36-48; Previous: 27) – Royals acquire Freel, request a little extra in clubhouse dues for Farney.
28. Arizona Diamondbacks (36-49; Previous: 28) – Reynolds slams unnamed teammates for lack of effort, D-backs win five in a row, rise out of last place. Seventeen more rants and they'll be right back in it.
29. Cleveland Indians (34-52; Previous: 29) – Shapiro announces Wedge will not be fired. Wedge, of course, totally disappointed.
30. Washington Nationals (24-58; Previous: 30) – Another utterly miserable week for Nats, though perhaps slightly better than the one had by woman being stalked by former D.C. mayor Marion Barry. Call it a toss-up.