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Your Monday Afternoon Power Rankings

May 10, 2010, 1:20 PM EDT

Rays high five.jpg1. Rays: Having a perfect game thrown against them isn’t enough to knock ’em out of the top spot, but the Yankees had the better week and could have easily been ranked first here. If nothing changes next week I just might switch ’em anyway, because I’m tired of posting Rays pictures to the right.

2. Yankees: So why not rank them ahead of the Rays? Because while weekly records are important, big picture matters too. This big picture: (a) the Yankees’ bumps and bruises are troublesome; and (b) a week against the Orioles and the current iteration of the Red Sox does not exactly represent the largest challenge on the planet.

3. Phillies: Last week I said that the Cardinals series could be an NLCS preview. If so, it won’t be much of an NLCS. The Phillies are quite obviously the class of the National League at this moment.

4. Twins: Um, let’s just forget that I put them below the Tigers last week,

5. Cardinals: Dropping three of four to the Phillies wasn’t too fun, but getting fat on the Pirates and Astros takes the sting away.

6. Padres: I did not anticipate writing “the Padres face a big series this week which will determine first place in the NL West” at any point this season. That’s why they play the games.

7. Giants: Think they’ll make a play for Lance Berkman? Couldn’t hurt.

8. Tigers: The starting pitching is a cause for concern. Indeed, it has inspired me to poetry: “Verlander and Willis and hope the other guys don’t kill us . . .”

9. Rangers: David Murphy has exploded and Tommy Hunter and Derek Holland stand ready to contribute. You get the sense that, before now, the team has been playing with one hand tied behind its back. Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station!

10. Nationals: And even if they win, if they win, HAH! Even if they win! Even if they play so
far above their heads that their noses bleed for a week to ten days; even if
God in Heaven above comes down and points his hand at the Nats side of the
field; even if every man woman and child held hands together and prayed
for them to win, it just wouldn’t matter because all the really good
looking girls would still go out with the guys from the Phillies because
they’ve got all the money! It just doesn’t matter . . . it just doesn’t matter . . .

11. Athletics: Philosophy 101: If a team was in a pennant race all
season and there was no one there to see it, would it still make some
trade deadline moves?

12. Blue Jays: For someone who was supposed to be a disinterested, lame
duck manager of a rebuilding team, Cito Gaston is doing quite a bit to
snag some manager of the year votes thus far, ain’t he?

13. Mets:  The fact that they’re playing the Nationals in a three-game
series that matters for both teams kind of boggles the mind. Oh, and
Jerry: now that this season is looking more promising than everyone
thought, kicking Oliver Perez to the curb is probably a more pressing
matter than you realize.

14. Reds: A very quiet 4-2 week.  They’re as close to first place as the
Tigers are.

15. Rockies: Evidence that your season isn’t going as well as you had
hoped: one
of your team’s most high-profile bloggers is waxing poetic about the
beauty of a day at the ballpark and how fun it is to watch baseball
regardless of who wins and who loses
. Contrary to what some of you
think, I’m not a Braves-specific blogger. I have been composing that
same sort of essay in mind for a couple of weeks now, however.

16. Red Sox: Evidence of a less-than-ideally-constructed team: when
Ellsbury and Cameron come off the DL, there’s a pretty excellent chance
that they’re going to lose one of their most important players thus far
— Darnell McDonald — to waivers.

17. Marlins: I think the NL wild card race is going to be wide open.
Mike Stanton is killing the ball down at AA. These two facts would
normally lead to a roster move that would benefit the team. But we’re talking about the Marlins here and they’re just not wired
that way. 

18. Brewers: This “score a whole bunch of runs, give up a whole bunch of
runs” Brewers remind me of the John Jaha/Jeff Cirillo Brewers teams.
Maybe a little of the Rob Deer-era too. And I’m not saying
it like that’s a bad thing.

19. Pirates: I stared at the Pirates for ten minutes, wondering if I was
going to do the emotionally-comforting thing and place them below the
Braves or the intellectually honest thing and place them above. Damn
intellectual honesty.

20. Cubs: I’d rather watch an interesting team lose 90 games than a
boring team lose 90 games, and at least Starlin Castro makes the team

21. Braves: The fact that a 20 year-old rookie’s absence is so
devastating to the Braves’ chances of winning is a damning indictment of
how everyone else is playing.

22. Dodgers: If they could just find some loophole in the rules that
allows them to bat Andre Either with men on base in all nine slots of
the order, the rest season would be cream cheese.

23. Diamondbacks: Justin Upton: .220/.309/.382.  Wowzers.

24. Angels: They’ve won two of their last ten, and those two came
against a punchless Mariners team. Their saving grace is that the AL
West remains eminently winnable this year.

25. White Sox: I am not making this up: when looking up info for this
team, I attempted to type in “White Sox schedule” in Google. Instead, I
typed in “Shite Sox schedule.” The first three results were two White
Sox blogs and the team’s official site.

26. Indians: I actually overheard this conversation between a father and
his ~10 year-old son as I stood in the raised viewing area above the
left field fence at Progressive Field on Friday evening: “This area is
called the home run porch.”  “Think we’ll get a ball, dad?”  “Well, the
Indians won’t hit it out here, but the Tigers might.”

27. Mariners: Twitter is messed up right now so I can’t find the exact
quote, but Sabernomics’
J.C. Bradbury said this morning — presumably in response to the
Mariners firing their hitting coach — that teams fire coaches to make
fans think that there’s order and reason in the universe and to shield
them from the fact that so much of what goes on in baseball is random. 
Now, I think that overstates the case — the fact that this M’s offense
sucks isn’t random, it was practically pre-ordained — but the point is a
good one.

28. Royals: Oh look! It’s the first “Zack Greinke just doesn’t know
how to win and all of you statsboys who love him can suck an egg

article of the season!  How anyone can misunderstand how bad this Royals
team is apart from Greinke is a mystery to me.

29. Astros: Richard Justice watches this team every day and he says that effort
isn’t the problem
. Just talent. Cold comfort when you’re as bad as
the Astros are, but I guess it’s enough to keep them out of the bottom
slot for this week.

30. Orioles: Hey! Three-game, midweek set against the Mariners! This
should be enjoyed by literally tens of people.

  1. JasonC23 - May 10, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    The most amazing thing about the Murray Chass Greinke crap is that he crows about how stat nerds will never be able to explain away Greinke’s zero wins…and then writes about how one time, Greinke gave up no runs in 7 innings and didn’t get a win because the Royals’ bullpen blew it, and another time he gave up only one run in 8 innings, but lost 1-0. Uh, Murray, that’s how stat nerds would explain it.

  2. Jonny5 - May 10, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    It’s very nice to see the Nats get almost as much respect as they deserve. Scrappers. (That’s not a “loaded” term is it?) If everyone played as hard, and with as much heart as Nyger Morgan, the world would be a better place. Not bad for a hockey player aye?

  3. Patrick - May 10, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    Murray Chass is clearly just trolling people now. no-one could possibly be that brain-dead stupid.

  4. Moses Green - May 10, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    Love Murray Chass now that he’s jumped into the deep end. So funny.
    If I read his argument correctly, he doesn’t like sabermetrics because you can’t drink ’em.

  5. enough already - May 10, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    “Oh, and Jerry: now that this season is looking more promising than everyone thought”
    Not everyone!

  6. KR - May 10, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    I was just reading some choice Murray Chass bits from the FJM archives. Man do I miss that site.

  7. d - May 10, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    RE: Darnell and waivers – Bill Hall should be worried.

  8. A - May 10, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    (b) a week against the Orioles and the current iteration of the Red Sox does not exactly represent the largest challenge on the planet.
    Isnt that how the Rays got to the top spot, beating up on the Orioles, Rays, and Red Sox? And what is their record against the Yankees so far? Unbelievable!

  9. CHRIS - May 10, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Too funny! I love the what was said about the Nationals!

  10. bigmacmark - May 10, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    spaz spaz spaz = NATS NATS NATS!

  11. Oldtimer - May 10, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Calcaterra isn’t saying anything a Royal’s fan would deny. Those of you, who think Greinke isn’t that good – remember when he wins, he wins in spite of the team he plays for, not because of it.
    You would actually have to live in KC and be a huge Royals fan to understand just how ludicrous the baseball operation is here, under David Glass. Much to my dismay, I got jerked into attending a game just recently when my daughter begged me to take her to a game because she had never been, and I was dumbfounded at the sheer lack of baseball acumen this organization has from the owner down to the janitors. (Additionally, that is inverse – janitors have the highest)
    I was a Royals fan when Ewing Kaufmann brought professionalism to KC sports in the 70s and 80s. No one, outside of KC, can understand the loss we all feel every time we open the sports page. Glass has taken a franchise that was originally built to bring honor to the game and the city, down to a running joke with no signs of improvement. If they pick between two “can’t miss” prospects in the draft, the Royals either pick the dud, or ruin him once they get hold of him (case in point – Alex Gordon). This is due to the WalMart attitude of hiring either insufficient quality or quantity of scouts, coaches, etc. We have the worst farm system in baseball, even though our triple A affiliate in Omaha could probably kick the crap out of the big league team at any time (they, at least, are trying). Most of the big league roster see a trip “UP” to the big league team as their time to relax and enjoy doing nothing. Most MLB teams want to teach their young players how to win. In KC, we would love to see someone teach ours how to play.
    This will never improve, as long as David Glass owns the Royals. They face a greater challenge than that alone. If Clark Hunt decides to truly make the Chiefs a winner, the Royals will lose whatever remaining following they have, in very short order. We will get, at least, twenty more years of this, until Glass’s lease on the stadium expires. Then they can move and be someone else’s embarrassment.

  12. David - May 10, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Craig, you made my day when I read the note on the Nationals.

  13. YankeesfanLen - May 10, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    When you googled “Shite Sox schedule” the header no doubt read “do you mean….” and then said “same thing”. That’s artifical intelligence for you.
    Thanks for your dancing disclaimer at the top of the standings. You do, however, have to go to much later in the season to find a more challenging 14 day schedule than we’re coming up on now. As for Dontrelle tonight, we’ll wait and see. Maybe I’ll just hope the Angels can power themselves up against the Rays the way they do the Universe.
    Question of the week: The next time Braden pitches, will it draw more than 4% of the population of Stockton a city of 279,453 skilled and semi-skilled workers? That’s from googling it, but Perth Amboy NJ also came up.

  14. Jay - May 10, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    It’s not like the Rays have been playing quality teams. Prior to Oakland they had the pleasure of playing 7 against the Royals and the Mariners.

  15. SouthofHeaven - May 10, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    The Pirates squeak into the middle third of the rankings! Holy crap!
    The Rays/Yankees race is one of the best things to happen to baseball. The hopeful ALCS that it produces should be epic.

  16. cheers - May 10, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    Something about seeing the small-market, low-budget Padres doing so well just puts a big sloppy grin on my face. Of course, they’ve yet to play the two big favorites of the NL, but you gotta admire their ability to win even with Gonzo slumping.

  17. Tank74 - May 10, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Okay, I am LMAO about your #8 poem.

  18. UDScott - May 10, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    Love the ‘Meatballs’ reference for the Nats!

  19. mudderone - May 10, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    After the Redskins, Wizards and Chokeitals,Washington needs a sports team to root for – Go NATS!!

  20. Isle90 - May 10, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    Come on!!! 33 years to finally get a real major league team and after a few years of here we go again, it appears the NATIONALS are heading in the right direction, more than can be said for the O’s! And with the #1 pick in a few weeks, again, they are heading up and up. Strasburg has shown Triple A what he can do. Let’s not forget Drew Storen, the 10th pick last year. So laugh as you may but this decade will belong to the NATIONALS. So Craig C. give them their just due!!!! GO NATS!!!!

  21. cantankerous Frank - May 10, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    Re: Meatballs reference. I was astonished to see that used before game two of the 2008 World Series in St Pete. This however brought me more laughter than anything on Monday usually does. I was more astonished to see a sign held by a Rays fan that said “Finally” are you kidding me? Happy about the climbing National. It’ll be nice to have someone in the NL east make it interesting for the Phillies. It is obvious it won’t be the Braves, Mets, or Marlins.

  22. pdub - May 11, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    what happens if the Twins take 3 from the spankies this weekend in NY?

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