The end of June marks the midway point of the Major League Baseball (MLB) season. The 30 teams have played about 81 games, which is half of the 162-game slate. With this portion of the season in the books, one is able to get a pretty good reading of how the teams are doing and where the teams might stack up when the year is all set and done. So, it is a good time to rank the top 10 teams in the Majors through the first half of the season. Some teams, like the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee Brewers, have exceeded preseason expectations. If the season ended today, all three of them would find themselves in the playoffs. Other teams have struggled in the early portion of the season. For example, the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox are currently several games under the .500 mark and find themselves eight games out in the American League East Division. Without further ado, here is a ranking of the top 10 teams in the Major Leagues at the halfway point of the season:
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10. Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles have endured three losing streaks of four straight games, but find themselves at 42-37 and only 1.5 games out in the always competitive AL East. Their success can largely be attributed to the bat of Nelson Cruz, who leads the Majors with 66 RBI and is tied atop the home run category with 25.
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9. Seattle Mariners
With the acquisition of Robinson Cano in the offseason, the Mariners knew they would drastically improve upon the last few seasons. Cano provides an offensive spark to go along with the great pitching of Felix Hernandez and Fernando Rodney. Hernandez ranks second in the AL in ERA at 2.24, and Rodney is one off the saves lead with 22. The Mariners are 43-37 and sit in third in the AL West.
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8. Saint Louis Cardinals
One season removed from making it to the World Series, the Cardinals are showing that pitching really does win ballgames. Ace Adam Wainwright is tied atop the NL leaderboard with 10 wins and boasts the second best ERA in all of baseball (2.01). The Cardinals, who have won 15 of their last 21 games, sit 5.5 games out in the NL Central.
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7. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays, who finished last in the AL East a season ago, now sit on top of the division standings with a 45-37 record. The middle of their lineup has powered the resurgence of the only team north of the border. In addition to having Jose Bautista, who is the AL captain for the Home Run Derby, the Blue Jays feature Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion is tied for the league lead in home runs (25) and is one off the mark for RBI (65).
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6. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have turned it on recently to climb their way into the race for the NL West crown. Led by Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw both throwing no-hitters within the last five weeks, the Dodgers are winners of eight of their last 11 and sit two games out in the division.
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5. Los Angeles Angels
The Angels have won six of their last seven games and find themselves 4.5 games out in the AL West with a record of 44-34. Mike Trout leads the team in batting average (.313), home runs (18), RBI (59), on-base percentage (.403) and hits (88).
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4. Detroit Tigers
Despite Justin Verlander not showing his old form, the Tigers’ pitching rotation continues to power the team to first place in the AL Central. Reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello have combined to win 19 games so far this season. On the offensive side, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez have led the way. At least one of them ranks in the top five in the AL in batting average, home runs and RBI.
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3. San Francisco Giants
The Giants continue to have success in the even numbered years. In 2010 and 2012, they won the World Series. In 2014, they sit atop the NL West standings at 46-34. Madison Bumgarner has recorded nine victories, which is tied for the second best mark in the league.
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2. Milwaukee Brewers
Coming off of a 74-88 season, the Brewers have turned things around this year and find themselves with the best record in the NL at 50-32. Closer Francisco Rodriguez leads the Majors with 26 saves. Offensively, Jonathan Lucroy ranks third in all of baseball with a .330 batting average.
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1. Oakland A’s
The A’s own the best record in baseball at 49-30. The have by far the best run differential, outscoring their opponents by 131 runs. (The next highest run differential is the Mariners’ +52.) The A’s are looking for their third straight division crown and own a 4.5 game lead over the Angels.