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Your Monday Morning Power Rankings

Apr 18, 2011, 9:30 AM EDT

Chicago Cubs v Colorado Rockies Getty Images

Still lots of random shifting around given that the first batch of rankings were based on early season weirdness. I figure that from here on out we’ll see things start to stabilize a bit more. Well, except for maybe the Royals/Indians thing, because that can’t hold. Um, can it?  As usual, last week’s rankings in parenthesis.

1. Rockies (3): It’s not just the Tulo-Gonzalez show. The Rockies are getting contributions from lots of dudes.

2. Phillies (2): The four aces have them winning. They also have them winning quickly. In fact, Philly hasn’t played a three-hour game yet.

3. Rangers (1): The bats cooled down a bit last week, but I suppose they’d have to given how hot they started out.

4. Indians (6)-Royals (11):  A tie for the teams who are playing the biggest series in baseball in the early part of the week. How about them apples?

6. Yankees (8): The rotation may be a source of stress, but it’s nice that no one in the East is en fuego while they struggle through it.

7. Reds (5): It was a loss, but Jay Bruce had a big game yesterday following a dreadful start. If he gets hot, the Reds may be damn nigh unstoppable on offense. The rotation, however, is a cause for concern.

8. Angels (12): Hank Conger is getting more playing time and is tattooing the ball. And of course, Jered Weaver and Dan Haren continue to dominate. Not many people saw a hot start in Anaheim in the cards, but they’re lookin’ pretty good right now.

9. Marlins (17): The only team in the NL with a negative run differential but a winning record. Are they doing it with mirrors? Nah, a good bullpen, mostly, and some good luck in close games. For approximately the 12th time in their 18 years of existence, we find ourselves asking if the Marlins are the real deal.

10. Cardinals (25): A much better week from the offense has things looking up, but Ryan Franklin‘s struggles present another nagging problem that Tony La Russa probably doesn’t want to talk about. Quick: someone ask him about it.

11. Giants (15): Barry Zito‘s trip to the DL may not be a gigantic issue from a competitive standpoint — he’s Barry Zito after all — but there is something sad about his 356-game consecutive start streak ending. He has never missed a start due to injury in his 11-year career, and that’s pretty impressive given how fragile pitchers can be.

12. Brewers (14): Shifty bunch, these Brewers.

13. Blue Jays (9): Bunch of thieves, these Blue Jays.

14. White Sox (4): Ugly series against the Halos. Ozzie Guillen probably would have preferred a few blown games by the bullpen rather than just have their clock cleaned like they did.

15. Athletics (16): There could be some serious issues for Dallas Braden’s shoulder.

16. Cubs: With the injuries to the starters, Mike Quade continues to have to make choices like whether he’d prefer to pitch  Jeff Samardzija or James Russell. Which is sort of like deciding between a root canal and a colonoscopy.

17. Braves (18): The sweep of the Saturday double header against the Mets was nice, but this is still a team that is seriously out of synch.

18. Rays (30): A couple of dramatic come-from-behind wins against the Twins breathed some life into them.

19. Tigers (26): Two out of three from Texas and a split from Oakland isn’t anything to sneeze at, but the offense is MIA.

20. Orioles (7): I actually figured that the O’s would be the last of the three early-season surprises to come back to Earth, but they ran into a buzz saw in Cleveland.

21. Nationals (23): I’m still kind of reeling from seeing Jason Marquis and Livan Hernandez nail down both ends of the doubleheader yesterday.

22. Pirates (21): Four teams in the NL Central have eight losses, including the Pirates.

23. Padres (19): Orlando Hudson has reached base in all 15 Padres games this year.

24. Dodgers (10): Attendance has been terrible compared to what they’re used to. Is this Bryan Stow-related? Bad baseball? McCourt fatigue?

25. Diamondbacks (20)Kelly Johnson, who was so good last year, is .158/.238/.263 to start the season.

26. Astros (28): Apropos of nothing, but in both the spring and in the early going, I don’t think there is a bad team who has had more chatter about it as if it weren’t a bad team than the Astros. Which leads to stuff like this in which people come to grips with the bad team being bad, even though it seemed fairly obvious that they’d be bad.

27. Mets (24): I think the Mets will be a lot better off if they could avoid any doubleheaders this week.

28. Twins (27): They traded a prospect catcher to bolster their bullpen and now their catcher is hurt and their bullpen sucks. It’s like “The Gift of the Magi.” But different.

29. Red Sox (13): Two wins in a row? Eh. After a second straight bad week, they’ve reached the point where they need to be ranked where their record has them. If they’re as good as we all think they are, they can win their way out of the bottom of the Power Rankings.

30. Mariners (29): I don’t care if they won every game they played this past week. They played a game the other night in which Adam Kennedy was the DH and batted cleanup. That deserves the 30-slot regardless of whatever else transpired.

  1. derekjetersmansion - Apr 18, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    “In fact, Philly hasn’t played a three-hour game yet.”

    “Amateurs.”

    — Red Sox and Yankees.

    • yankeesfanlen - Apr 18, 2011 at 9:43 AM

      That’s right- the Yankees haven’t played a three-hour game yet either-they were rushing last night at 3:03.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 18, 2011 at 2:55 PM

        Actually, 3:03 was the longest game of the series, and that probably had something to do with longer commercials for national TV.

  2. stlducks - Apr 18, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    American league games are why non baseball fans complain of baseball games taking forever. Every red sox Yankee game takes 4 hours..you can say the national league is boring but at least it is real baseball

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 18, 2011 at 10:17 AM

      Actually I see baseball fans complain as well. “Real baseball” HA! Zing!

    • Kevin S. - Apr 18, 2011 at 2:57 PM

      The three Yankee-Red Sox games this year checked in at 3:06, 3:26 and 2:58. Don’t let facts get in the way of your argument or anything, though.

  3. tomemos - Apr 18, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    Um I believe that Giants-Rockies is the biggest series in baseball this week thank you

    • mercyflush - Apr 18, 2011 at 11:11 AM

      it’s only big to Rockies and Giants fans. No one else cares about those teams, at least not in April.

      • tomemos - Apr 18, 2011 at 11:44 AM

        Whereas all America is a-twitter about the April fortunes of the Royals and Indians. Both are truly America’s Team.

        Regardless of who cares about those teams, at least one of the Rockies and Giants will be in the playoffs, which cannot be said for Indians-Royals.

    • spudchukar - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:22 PM

      While it may be arguable that the Reds/Cards series this weekend is the biggest, it sure should provide some interesting match-ups.

  4. Jonny 5 - Apr 18, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    Who would have thought that the Baaaahhhstan RS would be swapping spots with KC and Cleveland in the power rankings? Is it a sign of the end of times?

    • JBerardi - Apr 18, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      No, it’s a sign of mid-April.

    • savocabol1 - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:01 PM

      Head over to ESPN power rankings and you would have no idea the sux have the worst record in baseball….

  5. cur68 - Apr 18, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    Ah yes, The Blue Jays. If they spent more time stealing that last bag, I’d be happier with the stolen base numbers. How do they keep running into Cy Young contending pitchers all the time? Weaver, Hernandez, Lester, Buchholz, Beckett (yes Beckett, if you can believe it; that bonk on the noodle this spring seems to have shaken things up in his cast iron cranium) and don’t even mention Micheal Pineda (a 98 mph FB? Are you KIDDING me?!). The laws of averages says that they’ll start seeing some real dogs on the mound soon…wait? Who’re they up against this afternoon? MATSUZAKA you say? I like it…

    PS; the 2 best, while being the most surprising, 2 pitcher combinations in the AL are undoubtably Sabbathia, Burnett & Beckett, Lester. In both sets, one of those names was essentially considered a dud. I love an underdog, even when those dogs play for teams that compete against mine. Way to got fellas.

    • yankeesfanlen - Apr 18, 2011 at 11:20 AM

      Better tune in NOW, it’s that screwy Patriots Day game that begins at 11AM.Guess the Founding Fathers wanted to get to the gin mill early on a Monday.

      • cur68 - Apr 18, 2011 at 11:24 AM

        Yeah, I gotta walk the dogs still. Its only 9:22 here and I slept in after busting my a$$ all weekend. Dice K can fumble with his balls till I get that done. I thought it was the marathon or something causing all the trouble. What is this Patriot’s Day of which you speak?

    • Ari Collins - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:07 PM

      Burnett hasn’t actually been any good. He’s got a 4.76 ERA but tons of run support. I believe he had a misleadingly good W-L record in April of last year as well.

      More suprisingly good pairs are McCarthy-Cahill and Garcia-Lohse.

      • spudchukar - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        In case of the Cards that probably should read trio, Garcia-Lohse-McClellen. Yes it is early, but they have all been superb.

      • cur68 - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:29 PM

        agree

      • banksatdixie - Apr 18, 2011 at 3:05 PM

        Yes, and up until last night Burnett had as many wins as the Red Sox. I guess they are getting ZERO run support though.

    • JBerardi - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:39 PM

      “Who’re they up against this afternoon? MATSUZAKA you say? I like it…”

      How’s that working out for you?

      • cur68 - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:56 PM

        Yeah, yeah. I’ve turned the damn thing off, if you must know. Boston baked beans must be really good for Jed Lowrie but I hope he gets wicked gas. The question you should be asking; Can the Jays look worse? Of course, the answer is no, but I take refuge in the statement Sox die hards have been using since April 1; its a long season yet. Now I must go; have to slam my thumb in the car door as this is less painful than watching the Jays bat.

  6. JBerardi - Apr 18, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    I actually kinda like seeing the Red Sox in the basement. It’s gonna be fun watching them fight their way past almost every other team to get back to the top. It’s gonna be like the baseball equivalent of the hallway scene (warning: youtube, violent) from Oldboy.

    • cur68 - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:16 PM

      An Oldboy reference; awesome.

  7. Jeremiah Graves - Apr 18, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    28. Twins (27): They traded a prospect catcher to bolster their bullpen and now their catcher is hurt and their bullpen sucks. It’s like “The Gift of the Magi.” But different.

    We’ve gotta get Lew Ford and Luis Rivas on the phone, those guys can save this club.

    …right?!

  8. Ari Collins - Apr 18, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    I’m quite surprised to see the Sox that low. They went 2-3 last week, which obviously is not GOOD, but isn’t terrible either, especially considering 2 of those 3 losses were by a single run. If you’re going to heavily weigh early-season results, I can’t see why that week would bring them DOWN, considering they performed and looked worse the week prior.

    Anyway, for me, very promising week. Beckett and Lester have looked great and the offense is clearly coming around. And even Matsuzaka’s pitching well today!

    • JBerardi - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:33 PM

      See my prior comment. Craig is just setting the Sox up for a dramatic comeback.

    • tomemos - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:47 PM

      Craig explained that. The Red Sox have the worst record in baseball. Why would they be ranked higher at this point?

      • Ari Collins - Apr 18, 2011 at 2:25 PM

        Because they looked pretty good this week? Again, they went 2-3, which ain’t great, but ain’t bottom of the barrel either, and two of their 3 losses were by one run. They got excellent outings by Beckett and Lester and their offense really heated up. Contrast that with the previous week, when they were 2-4 and looked terrible.

        We’re not going by strict record here with most any other team. I mean, I understand that this is Craig’s reaction, and this is a subjective ranking, but I’m not sure in what way Boston looked like a worse team last week than the horrible week before.

      • tomemos - Apr 18, 2011 at 2:57 PM

        I think the rationale is that they didn’t look worse, but they also didn’t make us think “oh, that first week was an aberration.” Once they can prove they can dig out of the hole, I’m sure they’ll be ranked higher.

      • Ari Collins - Apr 18, 2011 at 3:19 PM

        That’s a load of- okay, actually, that’s a decent rationale. I think last week actually did prove something, but that could also possibly be silver-lining homerism talking.

  9. cur68 - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    I thought Dice K looked like he always looks; lacking velocity, now so good movement and telegraphing his fastball. If he was really dominating them he’d have more than 3 strikeouts thru 8. The difference has been the Blue Jays; what a power outage! They look just flat at the plate. When they did get to Dice K, they hit it right at someone or popped it. Combined with some red hot hot Sox hitting, you see that score there. Jed Lowrie has clearly been eating his Wheaties.

    • Ari Collins - Apr 18, 2011 at 2:10 PM

      I agree more than somewhat. His command was actually (and therefore surprisingly) pretty good; hit most of his spots, threw first-pitch strikes, and only walked one batter. But he’s not going to continue to have success like today’s as a flyball no-K pitcher. (Though it was 3 Ks through 7 IP, not 8 IP. Which is… less bad?)

      Generally, there are going to be more hits against Dice-K than we saw today. But if he’s got better command, at least he won’t be as terrible as he’d been previously this season. And most importantly: he worked fast and threw strikes, which made him actually watchable. Which is the real goal, right?

      • cur68 - Apr 18, 2011 at 2:20 PM

        I hit the ’8′ by accident. Since we can’t edit these things I’m stuck with having a losing team and looking like I can’t even keep track of the innings.

        Dice K looked average at best. If the Jays hadn’t been so goddawful, and had played like they had to start the season, they’d have powned him. Still, I don’t think they win today; not with that offense the Sox showed. Trade you Justin Bieber for Jed Lowrie, straight up? You guys could use the Beeb; he’d be good for your economy.

  10. spudchukar - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    6 Home Runs this week, and no mention. Are you in Berkman denial. Personally, I am beginning to like Lance a lot.

  11. JBerardi - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    “They traded a prospect catcher to bolster their bullpen and now their catcher is hurt and their bullpen sucks. It’s like “The Gift of the Magi.” But different.”

    Show me a team that just traded for relief help and I’ll show you a team that just lost a trade.

    • tomemos - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:48 PM

      2010 San Francisco Giants, John Bowker for Javier Lopez, won them the World Series.

      (Your broader point is valid, of course.)

  12. Jack Marshall - Apr 18, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    I think it is clear that Power Rankings mean nothing at all. Let’s see: the Red Sox were 13th when they were 0-7, “had a bad week”— 4-3 against the Yanks, Rays and Jays!—and fall to 29th.

    If Power Rankings mean who has the best record, we can look that up–we don’t need a ranking. If it means who has the best record and the talent to play best going forward, then how does a team like Boston drop to next to last after a 4-3 week? If it is meant to take in “intangibles” and more, wouldn’t the fact that Becket looks like the healthy ace rather than the injured putz of last year argue for the team being stronger, at this very moment, then, say, the Orioles, who have lost 7 in a row? Today’s game had Boston beating the Jays 9-1 with a supposed weakness, Dice-K, pitching a one-hitter through seven. Surely one win should never disprove a Power Ranking, but after that win, can anyone honestly say the team ranks worse than about a dozen others, if not more?

    In my opinion, this process has no integrity, and is a waste of Craig’s time.

  13. Craig Calcaterra - Apr 18, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    Jack, I routinely make mention of the fact that the rankings are, actually, fairly meaningless. Especially this early in the season. I do them because (a) it’s fun; (b) it gives people at least a broad sense of the current zeitgeist in MLB; and (3) it allows a vehicle with which I can say a few things about teams that, while not significant enough for a post, may be at least moderately enlightening for readers.

    If the specific ranking troubles you, I assure you, as the season goes on, they will tend to reflect what’s actually happening a bit more closely.

    • Jack Marshall - Apr 18, 2011 at 10:10 PM

      I didn’t intend to be critical; the early results just point up the lack of a coherent standard. I know power rankings her and elsewhere are popular; I just don’t know how to react to them if I don’t know what they mean. I know you don’t think the Royals are better than the Yankees in any way, for example, or that any team would rather be playing the Yankees, or that the Yankees aren’t likely to have a better record over the next two weeks. So really, what does a ranking like that mean?

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