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Your Monday Afternoon Power Rankings

May 17, 2010, 1:15 PM EDT

Carl Crawford running.jpg1. Rays: This week: a Yankees sandwich between two stale slices of bread (Cleveand and Houston). Hard to say what a two-game series really means in the grand scheme of things, but it’s probably the best time to be facing the Yankees.

2. Phillies: Philly takes the “team most likely to run away with their division” sash from the Cardinals, activates Jimmy Rollins and prepares to step on the gas.

3. Yankees: That Detroit series was trublesome. Yeah, the weather sucked, but it was the first time I’ve seen the Yankees appear aimless, for lack of a better term, in eons. Thank God for the Twins. And no, I’m not worried about Rivera yesterday. He’s entitled to a bad day once in a while.  Call me if and when he goes all Trevor Hoffman. Then I’ll worry.

4. Twins: Dropping two of three over the weekend in a week in which they only played five games normally wouldn’t entitle a team to rank 4th, but (a) it’s the Yankees, they’re just the Twins’ kryptonite so I’m not gonna hold it against them; and (b) I’m not really seeing anyone who deserves to rank higher than them at the moment.

5. Reds: Don’t pay too much attention to that overall run differential (-1) in determining whether or not this team is for real. They lost a few games big early and have been closing that gap quickly.

6. Tigers: Three of four from the Yankees, two of three from the Red Sox. I don’t care how bad a year one team is having and how many little bumps and bruises the other has, that’s a good weeks’ worth of work right there.

7. Dodgers:  Too high? I dunno. They’re the hottest team in baseball right now, so they deserve some kudos.  Everyone will be on pins and needles waiting to hear whether Ethier goes on the DL, however.

8. Blue Jays: This may be the longest I’ve gone into a season without seeing a “the [Team no one expected to do anything but lose] are really turning heads!” feature in a major publication or website. Did I just miss it, or are the Jays just not registering on anyone’s radar?

9. Padres: If they had started out the season like everyone expected them to no one would be saying anything, but since they went all contenderish on us, criticizing the Padres for their lack of offense is totally legitimate.

10. Giants: This week they get a chance for revenge against the Padres for that sweep last week. I like their chances.


11. Cardinals: Albert Pujols in the month of May: 14-for-55
(.255) with one homer.  I don’t expect that — or the Cards’ current
swoon — to last.

12. Rangers: Giving up 27 runs to the
Blue Jays this weekend wasn’t exactly how they drew it up. Perhaps they
should just do what I used to do when I had a bad weekend in Canada:
pretend it never happened. Of course my bad weekends in Canada used to
accompany bachelor parties and copious amounts of rye whiskey, so I
didn’t remember much of them to begin with.

13. Rockies:
Will Jeff Francis save the season?

14. Marlins: The Mets:
the pause that refreshes!

15. Nationals: Calling Drew
Storen up could turn what has been an adequate-though-unimpressive
bullpen into a team strength.  Now, for that move with the rotation . . .

16.
Braves
: The offense is waking up, thanks in part to Bobby Cox
installing Eric Hinske in left field. Now, if only the gurgling,
swirling vortex of suck that is Melky McLouth would just go away.  What?
You mean they’re two different guys?

17. Red Sox: David
Ortiz heats up, Victor Martinez stays cool and the Yankees and Twins are
on tap.  The Sox have been playing better baseball lately, but they
need to step on the gas if they want to make any noise in this division.

18.
Athletics
: Justin Duchscherer was a high-risk, high-reward signing
to begin with this year, but losing him still stings.  Bill Beane went
up to the rooftop to flash the Jack Cust signal, but even the Three True
Outcomes king isn’t likely to right this listing ship.

19.
Mets
: If the A’s are listing, the Mets are hanging from the
Christmas Tree on the S.S. Poseidon.  Jerry Manuel plays the Leslie
Neilson role. And remember kids, this was back before Leslie Neilson was
funny. Dude plays the captain and he dies in the first half hour.

20.
Pirates
: The Pirates made the Reds look like they were pitching in
the Dead Ball era, and then came back and put 10 up on the Cubs Friday
night. This probably says something about all three of these teams.

21.
Cubs
: I’m just mad at these guys for
making me write that Alan Trammell isn’t the answer
this morning.
Alan Trammell is always the answer, in almost every context. In this he
is like Batman.

22. Angels: Only two and a half back. The
Angels are a big train that takes forever to get moving, but they
always move.  I get this funny feeling we’ll be having the same
conversation this fall that we always have: “wow, how did anyone doubt
these guys back in May?”

23. Indians: I’m just waiting for
the first “what will LeBron’s free agency mean for the Indians”
article, because you know it’s coming.

24. Brewers: Ken
Macha has to be on the hot seat right now, no? I mean, this is a team
that fired its manager a week before it went to the playoffs a couple of
years ago.

25. White Sox: “They’re universally poor in
all phases of the game; offense, pitching,
baserunning, defense and coaching all deserve some of the blame. But the
largest share of the blame (aside from obviously underperforming
players) has to lie with the front office who allowed a team to be
constructed in such a manner that nearly everything had to break
right just for the Sox to compete.”  And
this is a Sox blog, talking
.

26. Mariners: As David
Cameron points out
, 22 of the Mariners
next 29 games come against teams currently over .500.

27.
Diamondbacks
: I didn’t think the Dbacks pen could be as bad as
their numbers suggested, but then I watched their series against the
Braves and all was confirmed.

28. Astros: On pace to be
one of the worst offenses of all time. Which in that park is saying
something.

29. Royals: Ned Yost should retire right now
and leave as the winningest manager (percentage wise) in Royals history.

30.
Orioles
: The Orioles’ starting first baseman has zero home runs and
six RBI in 107 plate appearances this season.

  1. gumbercules - May 17, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    That is some trenchant analysis right there, Craig. I’m drawing a blank at what to say…

  2. Craig Calcaterra - May 17, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    Yeah, that was a misfire. It should refresh properly in a second.

  3. BC - May 17, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Shouldn’t Jerry Manuel play the guy that leads the group in the wrong direction (Gene Hackman’s character?) and everyone drowns? I’m just saying…

  4. Jimmy Marlins Fan - May 17, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    ah, the mets
    it was nice to have had 4 days off, oops i mean against the mutts
    the d’backs have always given the fish fits in south florida…so i hope volstad is on his game tonight and we can keep momentum on our side and make up some ground on the phils
    seeing the cards in st. louis isnt any fun but its only 2 games before goin to see ozzie and the crew on the north side…ill be damned if baseball isnt the best sport on earth

  5. Michael - May 17, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    With regard to the lack of press surrounding the BJays (tee hee), they’re not a first-place team. Were they owners of the same record but two spots higher in their division, I think they’d be getting more pub. If they continue to play well, but the standings remain the same, I suspect you’ll see more of the “poor Jays, life isn’t fair” writing.

  6. GimmeSomeSteel - May 17, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Hackman was the hero who led the intrepid group of stereotypes in the right direction, sacrificing himself at the end. I think of Manuel as the ship’s officer who stays with the people in the ballroom to keep them calm, only to drown with them.

  7. Spudchukar - May 17, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Poor Jays, Life isn’t fair.

  8. Aarcraft - May 17, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Can’t argue with the Astros rank, but can we please put to bed the notion that Minute Maid is a hitters park? Over the last 5 years it has been neutral to pitcher friendly according to both PPF (pitching park factor) and BB (batting park factor).

  9. OsandRoyals - May 17, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    I agree with Michael. They may be overperforming slightly, but when that means third or fourth place instead of fifth it’s really not as relevant. A team over or under performing story only comes out when a team is either competing for first (as in min second place division-wise or just a game below) or when they’re dead last or close to it when they were expected to compete like say the cubs might be, or possible the mets in the ny press
    Here’s hoping that Atkins starts performing or is released. I’d prefer any of our potential first basemen who while below average at the position wouldn’t be too far off. That said the offense seems to be close to heating up. And of course Ty Wigginton leads the AL in slugging
    Also whatever dictionary the captcha uses is great. These word combos are always great

  10. Jeff V. - May 17, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    So the O’s are 10-10 over the last 20 and still can’t move out of the last spot? You bias is showing again Craig.

  11. Craig Calcaterra - May 17, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    They have the worst record in baseball and unlike the Astros they didn’t happen to do anything notable like, say, sweeping a first place team this past week.
    What’s your argument for having them higher?

  12. BC - May 17, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    I think you’re right now that I think about it. I haven’t seen the movie in at least 25 years, and have killed several million brain cells since.

  13. BC - May 17, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Yes, but the O’s were like 2-18 in their first 20. That didn’t just get erased from history.
    Though it is close between them and Houston.

  14. The Rabbit - May 17, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    “The offense is waking up, thanks in part to Bobby Cox installing Eric Hinske in left field. Now, if only the gurgling, swirling vortex of suck that is Melky McLouth would just go away. What? You mean they’re two different guys?”
    This was my laugh of the day. I’ll add that it helps that Troy Glaus seems to have developed a pulse, too.
    My grin of the day: recaptcha….sorry justice An apology to David for the “vortex of suck” that now roams the Braves outfield?

  15. Jeff V. - May 17, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    I will stick with they are 10-10 over the last 20. They split with a first place team, on the road, last week…you had them at 30. I think a 20 game stretch of decent should be enough to move a team out of the last spot.
    BC- You take Houston and you give them the first 20 games the O’s had and how many wins would they have? While the O’s were putrid that was an extremely brutal stretch of games.

  16. Ross - May 17, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Hey, once Seattle goes 4-25 over their next 29 games, Baltimore will be out of the bottom spot.

  17. YankeesfanLen - May 17, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    Just knew this 17 game in a row routine would do us in, even without injuries. Surprised at the slow reaction and poor lineups, though. Well, only half-way, Cervelli with Posada DHing works for me, but Pena has to be pinch hit, even with a half-hearted Nick Swisher.
    Cashman should be on ebay to add something, I like the rotating DH and could not be less concerned about Nick Johnson coming back, this brings about a better appreciation about Gardner, and Winn.
    Captcha: gummiest philosophy- what’s usually added to this blog.

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