Just past the quarter pole, the Dodgers continue to roll along without Manny or an identifiable pitching staff, the Yankees rise to the top of the AL East with A-Rod keeping his promise to concentrate solely on baseball for about a week, and the Cardinals look serious again with Carpenter in the rotation.
Please welcome the Mets back into the top 10, even if it took a home sweep of the Nats to get them there, and bid farewell to the Royals, knowing we're risking the ire of George Brett by doing so.
With thanks to colleague Steve Henson for handling Week 8 (and totally overestimating the Astros), we go to Week 9:
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (34-15; Previous: 1) – Lasorda to represent club at draft, promises to return from 62nd round with another Piazza.
2. New York Yankees (27-20; Previous: 4) – Supreme Court justice nominee and Bronx native Sotomayor is thrilled at the honor of taking BP at the new stadium, ceremonially rips three home runs to just left of center.
3. Boston Red Sox (28-20; Previous: 2) – What Papelbon loves when he's saving games: People fawning over him and taking his picture. What Papelbon hates when he's blowing games: People staring dolefully at him and taking his picture.
4. St. Louis Cardinals (28-19; Previous: 7) – Pujols takes out "I" in BIG and "A" in MAC, previously considered to be an unyielding, consonant threat.
5. Philadelphia Phillies (25-20; Previous: 3) – Amaro puts team tailor on alert, has him measuring unis for Penny, Oswalt, Bedard.
6. Detroit Tigers (26-20; Previous: 9) – Porcello on pace to win his age. Teammate Willis shooting for shoe size.
7. Milwaukee Brewers (27-20; Previous: 6) – Brewers, who've made big show of untucking jerseys after wins, consider new move: tear-away victory pants!
8. New York Mets (26-20; Previous: 12) – K-Rod, making clumsy effort to fit in with new teammates, collapses in May, a good four months early.
9. Toronto Blue Jays (27-23; Previous: 5) – Jays lose nine in a row, scoring grand total of 23 runs, so we'll go ahead and restart those Halladay trade rumors now.
11. Texas Rangers (27-19; Previous: 11) – A-a-a-nd, Rangers' pitching collapses in 3 … 2 … 1 …
12. Cincinnati Reds (26-20; Previous: 15) – Reds win 13 of first 21 on road. Turns out, new Big Red Machine looks a lot like a bus.
13. Los Angeles Angels (24-22; Previous: 14) – It's a start: Worst bullpen in league loses Shields for two weeks.
14. Kansas City Royals (23-24; Previous: 10) – Locals trot out spin-off slogan, "Zack and Banny and pray for tsunami."
15. Tampa Bay Rays (23-27; Previous: 13) – Maddon gets extension, Iwamura so impressed he goes for hyper-extension.
16. Atlanta Braves (23-24; Previous: 16) – Chipper needs almost 700 hits for 3,000, says had he known, "I wouldn't have walked so much." Meanwhile, in Oakland, Beane's head explodes.
17. Minnesota Twins (24-25; Previous: 23) – Twins beat Red Sox by forcing six wild pitches, hope to ride newfound strategy to AL Central title.
18. Chicago White Sox (21-25; Previous: 20) – Kenny Williams leaves Peavy deal on table, Sox clubhouse guy has nowhere to put magazines, post-game spread.
19. Florida Marlins (22-26; Previous: 18) – Last three opening-day starters – Willis, Hendrickson, Nolasco – either have landed back in the minor leagues or, worse, Baltimore.
20. San Diego Padres (24-23; Previous: 22) – Padres on fire, Towers confused; had doused club with lighter fluid but hadn't lit match yet.
21. San Francisco Giants (23-23; Previous: 21) – Forbes names Giants fans league's most valuable, Novitzky uncovers evidence of performance-enhancing garlic fries in AT&T Park dumpsters.
22. Seattle Mariners (22-26; Previous: 19) – Wakamatsu asks Mariners to do "little things" at plate, hitters respond with 31 consecutive singles. Wakamatsu says sarcasm not amusing.
23. Cleveland Indians (21-28; Previous: 28) – Chief Wahoo loses stars and stripes for special Memorial Day cap, but, thank god, maintains all cartoonishly insulting characteristics.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates (21-26; Previous: 24) – Franchise pleased at steady progress. Today: Send Dempster and Zambrano after Wrigley Field Gatorade machine. Tomorrow: Drink from the magical Gatorade machine.
25. Houston Astros (18-27; Previous: 17) – Cooper embarrassed when lineup card discovered to be inaccurate; Brewers became suspicious when Lee is scheduled to bat second through sixth.
26. Oakland Athletics (18-26; Previous: 25) – Holliday piles up seven extra-base hits, .250 batting average in 102 plate appearances at McAfee Coliseum, told you his home-road splits were bunk.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks (21-27; Previous: 26) – Dreadful D'backs think Zavada mustache a great idea, seriously consider adding fake nose and glasses, slipping out back.
28. Baltimore Orioles (22-26; Previous: 29) – O's release Eaton, guys in clubhouse say they'll miss his smile, funny way he laughs.
29. Colorado Rockies (18-28; Previous: 27) – Hurdle, wondering why everyone is staring at him, confirms fly is up, teeth clear of broccoli.
30. Washington Nationals (13-33; Previous: 30) – Acta phones Charlie Manuel to lobby All-Star spot for Strasburg, who, and we quote, is throwin' the hell out of it right now.