Monday, June 16, 2008
*C.C. Sabathia, LSWTF player of the week*
Even Cal Ripken Jr. missed a game in his lifetime. My record for most consecutive “non-sick day” usage went to an end on Friday, so my apologies for not providing the quality Power Rankings that you all come to expect. But anyway, The Giants were in town for 4 games 2 weekends ago and I couldn’t have been happier. Not only was I the only Giants fan in our section, but I witnessed a rookie Giant grand slam, A phe-nominal pitching performance from one of our young guys, and of course, a shutout. But all didn’t end well for the SayHey Kid……
1 (1) Chicago Cubs (45-25) – The Cubs continue to dominate despite the loss of Alfonso Soriano. Reed Johnson is filling in just nicely as Soriano’s replacement, They managed to sweep the Braves and take 2 of 3 vs. the Blue Jays in interleague. Yes, a National League team was able to dominate the American League!!
2 (3) Boston Red Sox (44-28) – Boston claims the 2 spot. Why? Because the only baseball I was able to watch was the Sox vs. Reds this weekend. The Sox looked terrific; excellent pitching and hitting. As much as I hate Coco Crisp; he has played some great baseball lately. I did notice a kink in the armor; that being the bullpen. Okajima is showing his lack of effectiveness with inherent runners and Papelbon is looking more like Joe Borowski these days. But I have a feeling this will all sort itself out.
3 (2) LA Angels (42-28) – They were less than stellar this past weekend, dropping the series vs. a struggling Braves team. But they managed to gain more breathing room on Oakland in the standings. Casey Kotchman is proving everyday that he can lead this team; despite the struggles of bigger named superstars. Yeh, Im calling out Vlad (.273AVG, 10HR, 35RBI)
4 (4) Philadelphia Philly’s (41-30) – FINALLY, Philadelphia is living up to their reputation, with Eric Bruntlett plowing into Cardinal catcher Yadier Molina. To hell with the winning, I want guys carted off on a stretcher!! Ryan Howard had a decent weekend in which his batting average raised to .217. Way to Go Howard (Insert my witty “he is not a superstar” comment here). The Phil’s metal will be tested this week, as they are forced to match up with Red Saux Nation!
5 (5) Tampa Bay Rays (40-29) – The Rays are giving the Sox a run for their money. Despite a mediocre week and a half, they remain only 2 ½ games back of the Saux. My pre-season Cinderella team is making me proud, but hopefully they can survive this week’s series vs. the Cubbies.
6 (7) St Louis Cardinals (42-29) – I’m sorry A’s fans but the Cards have been on fire lately. They took 2 of 3 vs. the Reds and Philly’s, which is not an easy task. The Cardinals seems to do better when aces and superstars hit the DL, such as Todd Welenmyer (7 wins, 3.14ERA, 73Ks) and Kyle Loshe (8 Wins, 3.77ERA), Ryan Ludwick (.310AVG, 10HR 54RBI).
7 (6) Oakland A's (38-31) – I hope to nip this in the butt before the good Doctor wakes from his slumber. Yes, the A’s swept my Giants but yah know something, they were supposed to! After a tough series vs. the Yankees, they managed to rebound and sweep the Giants. Eric Chavez (.310 AVG, 1HR, 8RBI) is looking good in his return and if he can keep it up, the Athletics can only get better.
8 (9) Chicago White Sox (38-31) – Despite their terrible week (losing 5 of their last 6 games), they still managed to play better baseball than the Diamondbacks. The Sox looked like the Sox of old; bad offense, bad pitching, bad everything. They let the last place Rockies humiliate them in a homerun friendly park no less. This proceeded by a sweep to the Tigers. The bad news gets worse though as Paul Konerko may land on the DL.
9 (8) Arizona Diamondbacks (37-33) – The Dbacks would be a second place team in every division, so fortunately they are in the NL West. They had a decent week, taking 2 of 3 from both the Royals and the Mets but the offense still has no gas in the tank. Other than Connor Jackson (.305AVG 7HR, 35RBI) and Mark Reynolds (15HR, 45RBI), who else can carry the load??
10 (10) Florida Marlins (32-27) – The Marlins held their own, hence why they don’t lose a spot. They took the series vs. the Phil’s but somehow lost against the Rays. The pitching is getting a little better but they need significant improvements if they want first place.
11 (17) New York Yankees (37-33) – They are the best 3rd place team in all of baseball. They also managed to play some great baseball this week. Winning 2 of 3 from the Athletics and a sweep over the Astro’s, which included a 13-0 killing of the Stro’s (Sorry Gonzo). There is some serious news in NY however; Chien-Ming Wang could be out for the season with a foot injury.
12 (14) Milwaukee Brewers (36-33) – The most underachieving team in baseball continues to play mediocre baseball. They took 2 of 3 from Astros but managed to lose 2 of 3 from the Twins. This team is still learning and will one day live up to potential, I hope. Apparently there are rumors going around that the Crew is interested in pulling off a trade for C.C. Sabathia. Here is my prediction: Rickie Weeks, Manny Parra, and Corey Hart for C.C. Sabathia. This makes perfect sense to me.
13 (13) Texas Rangers (35-36) – “Texas Baseball” is still alive and well, but what happens when the offense takes a day or 2 off (Which did happen over the weekend)? This team needs pitching in the worst possible way. If not for Vicente Padilla (8 Wins, 3.89ERA), this team would be have been considered dead long ago. I am shocked the Rangers have not entered the Sabathia sweepstakes.
14 (20) Baltimore Orioles (34-34) – The Orioles have become my newest unsolved mystery. You look at this team on paper and they are the worst team in baseball, yet on the field they look like a first place team….sometimes. But O’s fan must be happy either way with a .500 mark. Losing 2 of 3 from the Yanks and following that up with winning 2 of 3 from the Pirates shows me that this team can shrug off inter-division losses. The pitching was dreadful over the weekend BUT, the offense did manage to put runs on the board. Hell, even Brian Roberts (.285AVG, 5HR, 40Runs, 19SBs) managed to pad his stats a bit.
15 (16) Minnesota Twins (34-36) – Losing 5 of the last 8 games cannot help this team in the rankings, but who else has stepped up? The Twins need to fix what is broken (Pitching) quickly, especially with the Tigers gaining significant ground. The Twins face off against the Nationals, which is a must win series!
16 (12) Toronto Blue Jays (35-36) – A drastic drop indeed, but they cannot be 3rd place one week and drop to last place. Not in the AL East. It’s true they lost the series vs. baseballs best, but they also lost a series vs. baseballs worst team before that. Its only a matter of time until AJ Burnett breaks out of his slump and when that happens, the Jays will have 3 very solid starters.
17 (11) Atlanta Braves (34-36) – This was a painful drop in the rankings but injuries leave me no choice. Rafael Soriano, Mike Gonzalez, and John Smoltz (The teams 3 closers) are all on the DL. The bullpen is exhausted of consistent threats and it just seems this team will find it difficult to close out games, or hell, to hold onto a lead. But the offense is still blazing hot so who knows. Other teams have had success with more injuries.
18 (27) Detroit Tigers (32-37) – Yes, the record is still pretty bad but this team is FINALLY playing like the Tigers we expected. A 6 game winning streak (Including an extra inning walk off homer from Cabrera vs. the Sox) defiantly puts them above other teams. Sweeps over the Whitesox and Dodgers is not too shabby, and yes, they play the Giants this week. Woes’ me!! The pitching is still rocky but the offense more than makes up for it.
19 (22) Pittsburgh Pirates (34-36) – I never thought that I would have the Pirates ranked over the Mets, or hell, crack the top 20. But they deserve it. Hell, call me crazy but Xavier Nady (.314AVG, 10HR, 46RBI) should be a starter in this years all-star game.
20 (21) Cleveland Indians (33-37) – C.C. Sabathia with 2 VERY impressive starts? Unheard of!! But its true, he has thrown 2 brilliant starts. But all is still not good in Cleveland. The offense is still sluggish and the pitching is still on the decline. I hate to agree with some people, but the Indians need to dump C.C. while his value is still moderately high. Milwaukee does seem to be the best fit. As does Houston or Texas.
21 (19) New York Mets (33-35) – Ill admit, the record warrants a higher rank, but they have become the choke team of the NL. Wagner has blown 3 crucial saves lately (One against the Dback bastards). They managed to split a double header with Texas but that was a series sweep on paper. Carlos Beltran is putting up productive numbers for once (.271AVG, 8HR, 37RBI) but the responsibility should lie on the shoulders of Reyes and Wright, who are both underachieving. Oh, did anyone else know that Trot Nixon is a Met??? Learn something new everyday.
21 (18) Houston Astros (33-37) – The first rule when playing the Yankees: Don’t give up 13 runs. The Second rule when playing the Yankees: Don’t give up 13 runs!!! The Stro’s are riding a 4 game losing streak and it could not have come at a worse time. While lesser NL Central teams begin their winning ways, the Astro’s found a way to lose. This is not good. The pitching is dead now that Oswalt managed to earn himself the title of “Has Been”. Lance Berkman continues to make his case for MVP however, putting up staggering numbers (.360AVG, 19HR, 57RBI, 90 Hits).
22 (23) Cincinnati Reds- (33-38) – All is not good in Cinci. Boston came into their house and beat em, beat em bad. 9-0 is not the way to cap off a series. The Reds looked tired, demoralized, and sluggish. Griffey’s value declines by the day (0-13) so trading him might be a bit more difficult that originally thought. Yes, Edison Volquez is that good, but he isn’t winning games. But man, the kid can strike just about anyone out right now.
23 (18) LA Dodgers (28-32) – Ill finally admit it, the NL West is the AAA of baseball. First, I thought we were too good by constantly see-sawing with each other, but no, We suck!! Hell, at least the Dodgers are not immune. They ride a 5 game losing streak, including that sweep to the then, last place Tigers. Clayton Kershaw is starting to live up to the hype, but when you walk as many guys as you K, the stat becomes meaningless.
24 (24) San Francisco Giants (30-40) – The one series I didn’t want to lose, let alone get swept in, the Oakland A’s. Yes, I said it. But we were not all that bad and managed to keep games close. The sweep over the Nationals was AWESOME, as I was fortunate to attend game 2 of that massacre. Never fear Giants fan, “The Franchise” is pitching tonight vs. the Tigers game 1. Yes, Tim Lincecum (1.99ERA, 8 Wins, 92K’s)
25 (25) San Diego Padres (31-40) – If Adrian Gonzales (.293AVG, 19HR, 62RBI) was on a better team, I truly believe his RBI total would be in the 90’s right now. He is baseballs top 3 first basemen in the league, but the rest of the Fathers are closer to the bottom. The only bright spot right now is that Jake Peavy is back and healthy.
26 (26) Washington Nationals (29-42) – YES!!! The Nats swept a team. It just sucks that it was the Mariners. But a win is a win and this hopefully will build up some momentum going into Minnesota. The Nats finally found their swing and managed to beat the M’s with their offense.
27 (28) Colorado Rockies (28-41) – Brad Hawpe has made his presence felt since his return from the DL; A grand slam being one of them. Garrett Atkins is also picking up the slack in Matt Holliday’s absence. The pitching is still bad but does anyone expect a Cy Young winner in Colorado anytime soon. Not I.
29 (30) Kansas City Royals (28-42) – A nice little hot streak took them out of last place, and thank God for it. I really want this team to succeed. Beating the Dbacks 2 of 3 games is a nice step back into the race (Seeing how they are only 10 back, anything is possible). And Yes, we witnessed a Gil Meche win!!!
30 (29) Seattle Mariners (24-45) – Getting swept by the Nats at home earns you last place. That and this team plays with no passion or honor. That’s all I have to say about the Mariners.