The 10 positive numbers from the first half
10: Cubs pitching
10 -- that's where the Cubs rank in staff ERA in the National League. Thanks to solid first-half performances from Travis Wood, Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Scott Feldman -- but also thanks to some shaky work from the bullpen -- the Cubs have a team ERA of 3.94.
9: Addison Reed
9 -- That's where White Sox closer Addison Reed ranks in baseball with 24 saves, only five fewer than he had in all of 2012. The 24-year-old San Diego State product has improved his ERA, too, which sits at 3.95 -- down from 4.75 last year.
8: Kevin Gregg
8 -- that's where Kevin Gregg ranks in the National League with 17 saves. That may not seem like a big number, but consider Gregg didn't throw his first pitch of the season until April 19 and recorded his first save on April 23.
7: Alfonso Soriano
7 -- The number of home runs Alfonso Soriano has in the month of July. He's been scorching hot since late June, and if we expand the timeframe by a few days he has nine home runs in his last 69 trips to the plate, raising his OPS by 79 points.
6: The Cubs' offense
6 -- Where the Cubs rank in runs scored in the National League. In all of baseball, they're in the middle of the pack, but their 384 runs scored are 27 more than second-place Pittsburgh has plated.
5: Chris Sale
5 -- Chris Sale's AL rank in ERA and strikeouts. In his second year as a starter, Sale is an established ace and earned the win in Tuesday's All-Star Game. The left-hander has been the biggest bright spot on the White Sox in 2013, with a 2.85 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 120 innings pitched.
4: Jeff Samardzija
4 -- Where Jeff Samardzija ranks among National League pitchers in strikeouts. Samardzija has 128 strikeouts and a 9.29 K/9, making him one of the more difficult pitchers to put the ball in play against in his league.
3: Josh Phegley
3 -- The number of home runs Josh Phegley has hit in just eight major league games. He belted a grand slam last week off Anibal Sanchez and has a hit in six of his eight games. And because of it, Phegley Mania is a thing.
2: Jesse Crain
2 -- Where Jesse Crain's 0.70 ERA ranks him among relievers who've thrown at least 20 innings. In the final season of a three-year deal, Crain has been lights-out, and when he returns from the disabled list will be a highly sought-after commodity on the trade market.
1: Travis Wood
1 -- Travis Wood's MLB rank in quality starts. The left-hander and lone Cubs All-Star has 17 quality starts in 19 games, and sports a 2.79 ERA. He's also belted two home runs -- one of which was a grand slam -- and stolen a base.
MLB Power Rankings: Tribe on the rise, something Brew-ing in Beer Town and Verlander shuts down the Dodgers