Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Boston Red Sox top MLB Power Rankings

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, ladies and gentlemen. Baseball season is underway and the fans and analysts are already judging the teams and pointing fingers, in some cases.

Boston Red Sox top MLB Power Rankings

(Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press/AP)
(Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press/AP)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, ladies and gentlemen. Baseball season is underway and the fans and analysts are already judging the teams and pointing fingers, in some cases.

From stolen base records to losing streaks, there are a lot of things going on in the league so far. A swarm of bees and fans fighting for the bases has made the last week pretty interesting in some cities.

It’s still early to determine if teams are totally out of the playoffs, but we can sure get some sort of an idea of how things are going to go. Will the Red Sox continue to stay on top? Will the veterans in Philly bounce back? Will the Astros break into double digit wins in May? We'll find out as the season continues.

With that, here are this week’s rankings:

1. Boston Red Sox (20-11)

The six-game road trip resulted in only two wins for the Red Sox, as they were swept in the series against the Texas Rangers over the weekend. First baseman Mike Napoli still leads the team with six home runs. An easy schedule next week at home should get this team out of their three-game losing streak and stay atop the AL East.

This week’s series: Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays

2. Texas Rangers (20-11)

It was strikeout city for Yu Darvish in Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Red Sox. Darvish matched his career high of 14 strikeouts and boosted his record to 5-1. In the 10-6 win over the Chicago White Sox, what should have been a cool moment for the kid who got the home run ball from Chicago's Adam Dunn turned out to probably be one of the saddest moments of his week.

An easy schedule this week could have the Rangers extend their winning streak, especially with the very rare one-game series against the Chicago Cubs.

This week’s series: Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins

3. St. Louis Cardinals (20-11)

The Cards are hot on a six-game winning streak as they just swept the Brewers over the weekend. Talks of a comeback for Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter is floating through the air in St. Louis. Carpenter has started a throwing program that should help his injury to his right shoulder. A 10-game home stand looks promising for the Cards as they look to continue their win streak.

This week’s series: Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies

4. Detroit Tigers (19-11)

The brooms are out in Detroit! Sweeping the struggling Houston Astros over the weekend has them still number one over the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central. Saturday’s win came with 17 runs, with Miguel Cabrera responsible for two homers and six RBI. Sunday’s game was a gem for pitcher Justin Verlander as he had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning.

This week’s series: Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians

5. New York Yankees (18-12)

This A-Rod-less Yankee team is faring well as they sit at the No. 2 spot in the AL East. Robinson Cano has recorded eight home runs along with 18 RBIs for the Yanks.

Derek Jeter is still in recovery from ankle surgery with no real time table for a return. That's  long-term challenge for the team and they will sure be tested on their eight-game road trip over the next week and a half. It’s a long time away from home and it might be hard for right-fielder Ichiro Suzuki to be away from his lavish Central Park condo, which has six-and-a-half bedrooms.

This week’s series: Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals

6. San Francisco Giants (18-12)

Which team will snap this Giant winning streak? The Los Angeles Dodgers couldn’t quite snag it from them as Buster Posey recorded his first-career walk-off home run in the 10th inning Friday. It will not likely be the Phillies, either as they are to face the Giants in San Fran this week. Oh yeah, and Metallica played the National Anthem in San Fran on Friday night

This week’s series: Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves

7. Baltimore Orioles (19-13)

In the first of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels, the Orioles were not expecting a delay of game especially since there was no rain in the forecast. Apparently, rain isn’t one of the only factors in a delay, but so is a swarm of bees In other Orioles news, first baseman Chris Davis returned to the lineup Sunday after suffering a knee injury Friday.

This week’s series: Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins

8. Colorado Rockies (18-13)

The Rockies sure turned around from last season’s 98-loss disaster. They already have a combined 40 home runs and lead the league with a team batting average of .286. One fan is showing his appreciation for the Rockies with a killer Mohawk. They will be put to the test this week as they face the Yankees before a six-game road trip at the end of the week.

This week’s series: Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees

9. Pittsburgh Pirates (17-14)

Despite a series loss to the Washington Nationals over the weekend, the Pirates are still looking good, especially center fielder Andrew McCutchen. His numbers are jaw-dropping against the Nats with 10 home runs and a sixteen game hitting streak. Impressive stats, McCutchen. They seem to be enjoying themselves as they introduce themselves in a Saturday Night Live theme video.

This week’s series: Seattle Mariners and New York Mets

10.  Oakland Athletics (18-14)

"Extra innings" is an understatement when talking about the Athletic’s game against the Los Angeles Angels early last week. Six hours and 32 minutes in 19 innings to be exact. The A’s ended up winning thanks to a walk-off by Randy Moss. Moss treated himself to a cream pie in the 10-8 win.

This week’s series: Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners

11. Cincinnati Reds (18-14)

The Reds recorded their second sweep of the season so far against the Cubs over the weekend. Shin-Soo Choo has a pretty nice batting average as he is the team leader at .327 along with 24 runs. Jay Bruce, on the other hand, struggled in April and has recorded only 1 homer and 11 RBIs. As much as Twitter can serve as a way for fans to connect with their favorite players, it can also serve as a home for Bruce haters.

This week’s series: Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers

12. Kansas City Royals (17-10)

Jeremy Guthrie is a solid 4-0 with a 2.4 ERA, which really makes him now 9-0 in his last 17 starts, a Kansas City record. He recorded his first-career shut-out Saturday against the White Sox. Early last week, Jeff Francoeur hit a triple in the sixth inning and decided to give third base coach Eddie Rodriguez a little celebratory love tap, if you will.

This week’s series: Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees

13. Atlanta Braves (18-12)

Catcher Brian McCann returns to the team Monday after undergoing shoulder surgery. Jason Heyward continues to make progress after an appendectomy and could be heading to rehab within a week.  Sunday’s win against the Mets snapped a three-game losing streak for these NL East leaders. A 10-game road trip lies ahead for the Braves as they look to protect their first place seed.

This week’s series: Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants

14. Arizona Diamondbacks (16-15)

An 8-1 win over the San Diego Padres on Saturday snapped a four-game losing streak for the Diamondbacks. Pitcher Patrick Corbin (4-0) became the second pitcher in the major leagues to allow two or fewer runs allowed in six starts of at least six innings.

This week’s series: Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies

15. Washington Nationals (17-15)

Just as Ryan Zimmerman returns from the disabled list, Bryce Harper gets ejected for throwing his helmet in a fit of rage after a call from the third base umpire that he clearly did not agree with. He should really be happy though, since the Nats managed to tie the series last week with the Braves and then winning the series over the weekend to the Pirates.

Even their ace Stephen Strasburg seemed to be doing well on Saturday with eight strikeouts in seven innings, despite the pain he was experiencing early last week.

This week’s series: Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs

16. Cleveland Indians (14-14)

Last week was a great week for the Indians as they were hot on a six-game winning streak winning the series against the Royals and sweeping the Phillies but taking the loss (yet winning the series) against the Twins over the weekend. Pitcher Scott Kazmir got his first win since 2010 on Saturday as struck out seven batters and allowed just one walk in six innings.

This week’s series: Oakland A’s and Detroit Tigers

17. Seattle Mariners (15-18)

The Mariners managed to take the series from both the Orioles and Blue Jays last week; even though they let the Jays get away with 10 runs yesterday. The 8-1 win on Saturday against the Orioles came with a home run on the second pitch from Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley hit his first career grand slam.

This week’s series: Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland A’s

18. Philadelphia Phillies (14-18)

Struggling from the start, the Phillies are not who they appear to be especially with their veterans and starting pitchers. The problem persists at the plate with the lack of offense but the pitching staff is not what anyone expected them to look like. Roy Halladay came out of yesterday’s massacre against the Marlins admitting he has played through a few weeks of pain. He is to undergo tests on his shoulder. Cole Hamels earned his first win of the season last week. On the bright side, Ryan Howard came up big for a fan on Friday night, delivering a home run.  hils went on to beat the Marlins 4-1.

This week’s series: San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks

19. Milwaukee Brewers (14-16)

The Brewers welcomed their third baseman Aramis Ramirez back to the lineup over last week. They are going to need all the help they can get as they are on a five-game losing streak. They were out-scored by the Cards 29-13 over the weekend. To help cope with the losing streak, one pub in Wisconsin is supporting the Brewers is serving the most ridiculous Bloody Mary known to man that involves pretty much every food offered at any ballpark.

Click at your own risk.

This week’s series: Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds

20. Tampa Bay Rays (14-16)

A struggling David Price finds himself at 1-3 with a 6.25 ERA after Saturday’s outing against the Rockies. Shortstop Yunel Escobar, also struggling, was hit by a pitch in the game on Saturday so his status is day-to day. In addition to those hard times, MLB slapped fines to David Price, Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moor last week for- to make a long story short - violating the league's social media rule. Click here for the details

This week’s series: Toronto Blue Jays and San Diego Padres

21. Los Angeles Dodgers (13-17)

Shortstop Hanley Ramirez finds himself on the disabled list after he pulled a hamstring running the bases during Saturday’s game. But Ramirez isn’t the only Dodger hurting as of late. Adrian Gonzalez was not in the game on Saturday due to neck soreness.

Clayton Kershaw was activated last week as he pitched in the first of a three-game series against the Giants. He pitched seven innings and allowed only one run in that outing. With the next three series at home, the five-game losing streak could come to an end. Or not.

This week’s series: Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington and Miami Marlins

22. New York Mets (12-16)

The Mets couldn’t seem to find their luck at the end of April as they ended the month with sin straight loses. Friday’s game against the NL East leaders, the Braves, lasted 10 innings thanks to a solo home run from David Wright that tied the game in the ninth inning. The Mets then scored twice in the 10th to win 7-5.

This week’s series: Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates

23. Minnesota Twins (13-14)

In their last 10 games, the Twins have recorded only four wins. Pitcher Vance Worley has yet to get a win under his belt; he is now 0-4 since the end of April. They complete their 10-game road trip this week in Boston but the odds of slipping in a win there are not likely, especially with Joe Mauer struggling at the plate.

This week’s series: Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles

24. San Diego Padres (13-18)

It was Sunday Funday for the Padres as they came up big with a 5-1 win over the Diamondbacks extending their losing streak to five games. Jedd Gyorko and Will Venable were responsible for back-to-back homers to help life the Padres and eventually win the series. In Friday’s game, which was another win for the Padres, two fans were participating in a grab the bases contest and... well... here’s the video

This week’s series: Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays

25. Chicago White Sox (12-17)

Right handed pitcher Jake Peavy will miss his second consecutive start Monday due to back spasms. His last game was on April 26 so that has him with at 3-1 after five starts this season. Gavin Floyd  is looking for not a second but a third opinion from a doctor on whether he will be undergoing Tommy John surgery. Because you know, thirds a charm, right? In all seriousness, though, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

This week’s series: New York Mets and Los Angeles Angels

26. Los Angeles Angels (11-20)

This, folks, is what the worst record in franchise history looks like. The last time the Angels had a 11-20 record was 53 years ago. An all-around team disaster is happening on LA; from pitching to batting it appears, well, to just not be all that great. Josh Hamilton is batting .208 and the pitchers have a combined 4.78 ERA. But at least DH Hank Conger can make it safe at first after tripping and tumbling over after a bunt. And then he laughed about.

This week’s series:  Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox

27. Chicago Cubs (11-20)

It’s Tom Rickett’s way or the highway! The Cubs chairman made it clear that he wants a new video screen for Wrigley Field and if he doesn’t get it, he is threatening to take the team out of the historic ballpark.

I wonder what would happen if he wanted the team to get more than three consecutive wins this season. One could only imagine! Julio Borbon tried something new at the plate when he terribly faked being hit by a pitch last week which just so happened to be the start of their four game losing streak.

This week’s series:  St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals

28. Miami Marlins (10-22)

They made it to double digits wins after destroying the Phillies 14-2 Sunday. It turned out to be a good outing in Philadelphia for the Marlins as Jose Fernandez got his first win in the majors on Saturday when they beat the Phils 2-0. Former Phillie Juan Piere joined the 600th stolen base club Thursday night. There are only 14 people in that club so it’s kind of a big deal.

This week’s series: San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers

29. Toronto Blue Jays (11-21)

In order to make up for the loss of pitcher Josh Johnson who was placed on the DL, the Blue Jays are calling up Ricky Romero for help. The Jays are just 2-8 in their last ten games and could use some help at the mound. Despite their hard times they still somehow manage to find time to enjoy themselves and well, dance about something

This week’s series: Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox

30. Houston Astros (8-24)

It’s lonely at the bottom, especially with single digits wins at the beginning of May. They are on a six-game losing streak where they’ve been outscored 49-16. Twelve and a half games back in the AL West is where they are and shall be unless they can turn things around and avoid the losing streak to continue. The only impressive thing this week about this team is well not really the team but the fan that caught a foul ball in his hat, one-handed while holding his child in the other hand. Thankfully, no one was injured.

This week’s series: Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers

Mare McKeever Assistant Sports Producer
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