With the kind of week Alfonso Soriano had last week, I could almost slide him into the power rankings. His Yankees however, have a lot of work to do to even get close to the top 10, despite the Rays/Red Sox recent struggles. Here are your week 20-power rankings:
#1 Atlanta Braves
Not much to be upset about if you’re a Braves fan these days. Best record in baseball, best bullpen in baseball, best home record in baseball, biggest division lead in baseball…. need I continue? By the way: Craig Kimbrel currently has the best ERA and K/9 in baseball history (at least 200 innings).
#2 Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodgers are scorching hot, no doubt about that. An argument could be made that they deserve the #1 spot. The rotation is all of a sudden looking lights out and the offense and bullpen continue to be as good as any team in the league. There are really no superlatives to describe. By the way: Dodgers only have 9 games left against teams with records above .500.
#3 Detroit Tigers
Tigers have cooled off a little bit as of late, yet they still hold a 7 game lead and head into an “easy” week against the Twins and Mets. I sound like a broken record, but the Tigers have the most quality starts in baseball and the best team batting average…. hard to foresee a collapse here. By the way: Don’t look now, but Miguel is a hot streak or Chris Davis cold streak away from winning his 2nd consecutive triple crown.
#4 Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates, like the Tigers, have cooled down quite a bit since sweeping the Miami Marlins. They have lost 7 out of 9, including three back breaking extra inning losses that further taxed their over worked bullpen. The Pirates better take advantage of 10 straight against below .500 opponents if they want to keep their division lead. By the way: The Pirates are #2 in bullpen innings. No other division leader is in the top 14.
#5 Boston Red Sox
Red Sox have also been scuffling as of late, but so have the Tampa Bay Rays. After losing 3 consecutive series to the Royals, Jays, and Yankees, the Sox will look to rebound as they head out West to take on the Giants and Dodgers. By the way: That was a brave move by Dempster to go after A-Rod so early in the game with a chance to get ejected. Although, I think even Brian Cashman may have been smiling.
#6 Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have responded nicely to their 6 game losing streak by winning 4 of 5. Now, the Rays need to figure out how to get Price and Hellickson back in the win column, both are winless since July 29th. By the way: Rays have 6 more road games than the Red Sox the rest of the way. Could be a big deal for a shaky road team (29-29).
#7 St. Louis Cardinals
While the Cardinals took 2 out of 3 from the Pirates last week, it wasn’t in impressive fashion. They still seem to be struggling to hit the ball with any sort of power and their starting rotation has been surprisingly weak. Still have more balance than the Pirates though and should catch them. By the way: Their starting rotation now just 12th in quality starts, that HAS to improve down the stretch if their offense is clicking on all cylinders.
#8 Texas Rangers
The Rangers have without a doubt, been the least talked about 1st place team. They are flying under the radar as far as contenders go and seem to be embracing that. The Rangers will look to make a serious run as they play their next 12 games against 4 of the worst teams in the AL. By the way: If you add up the enthusiasm of every other manager in baseball, I don’t know if it would match that of Ron Washington.
#9 Oakland Athletics
First off all, of the A’s are going to go on one of their patented hot streaks, they will have to start hitting for a better average. 13 of their next 16 games are against playoff contenders who can all outhit them. By the way: While they are getting plenty of quality starts (5th in the league), their starters are only 9 games over .500.
#10 Cincinnati Reds
The pitching has been there, but the Reds offense has been underachieving all year and will have to step up in order for this team to become a factor in the NL Central. 2.5 games out is not too much to climb, but they better do it soon, because the Cards and Pirates are scuffling right now and will surely start playing better. By the way: Bronson Arroyo might be the most underrated middle of the rotation guy in the MLB. 11 wins this year to go along with 17 quality starts.
Tell me how wrong I am on twitter @Cole_Stevenson