Your Tuesday Morning Power Rankings

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1. Yankees (1): A bit of a blah week, but when the number two team loses five straight, you’re going to keep your number one ranking.

2. Rays (2): It’s way more important that they continue to hold off the Red Sox than it is for them to catch the Yankees. Wild Card teams do pretty darn good, historically speaking, so why burn yourself out? But yeah, I wish this were a legit pre-1994-style pennant race.

3. Rangers (4): Starting today they run through a Yankees-Red Sox-Rays gauntlet. With a big division lead, it’s a nice time for a test.

4. Padres (3): Dropping two of three to the Dbacks is nothing to be proud of, but doing it while the Giants were dropping three of four to the Braves made for nice timing.

5. Braves (8): Last night’s debacle notwithstanding, it’s been a pretty good week for Atlanta. Pushing the Mets that much closer to the brink is always satisfying, and taking care of the Giants was a nice gauge of where they currently stand.

6. Phillies (9): They’re on a stretch where 16 of 19 games are at home, with only a short trip up to New York to interrupt things.

7. White Sox (6): Detroit proved to be no competition while the
Orioles smacked them upside the head. This says more about the state of
the Orioles and the Tigers than it does the White Sox, methinks.

8. Twins
(7): They’ve made up four games since the middle of July, all without the benefit of Justin Morneau. And they may not be getting him back for a while. Tall order.

9. Reds (12): Grabbing Jim Edmonds didn’t pay off last night, but I like the move. I’m tempted to even call it inspired. I’ll just say, though, that if Walt Jocketty goes out and gets more former Cardinals it’s gonna start to look a little Single White Femaley to me.

10. Cardinals (11): They have their three top starters lined up to go after the Reds this week. Carpenter did his job last night. Garcia and Wainwright need to do their jobs tonight and tomorrow. If they do, the Cardinals have restored order. If, however, the Reds somehow manage to take both of those games, it’s time to get nervous.

11. Red Sox (10): They’re not going away, but you have to figure that the loss of Youk is going to eventually prove to be too much to bear.

12. Giants (5): Jonthan Sanchez predicted that San Francisco would take all three games against the Padres at home this weekend. Bold words, grasshopper. You get the first game on Friday night.

13. Blue Jays (13): Someone — I think on Twitter or something — said the other day “how many divisions would the Jays be leading right now if they didn’t play in the East?” I think my answer is “none.” If they weren’t in the East they wouldn’t have a 12-0 record against the Orioles. And while the Red Sox have hurt them (2-7), Toronto has played the Yankees and Rays fairly well (11-10). 

14. Athletics (15): I don’t know if they’ll ever have a decent, stable home but the young pitching has to give people hope.

15. Rockies (14): Winners of seven of ten, but it just feels like they’re not getting any traction at all.

16. Dodgers (18): Brutal schedule ahead: Phillies, Braves, Rockies and Reds.

17. Mets (20):  This rise in the rankings has less to do with anything good the Mets did than bad stuff the teams below them did. Sometimes your Power Ranking lot improves simply by stinking less than the next guy.

18. Marlins (19): Why do I find it hilarious that Wes Helms called a team meeting

19. Angels (16): Yeah, I know they’re playing better, but getting swept by the Orioles kind of puts the nail in the coffin of the season, ya know?

20. Tigers (17): A couple of weeks ago it was “can we hold on until Brandon Inge comes back?”  Well, he’s back and the answer was no. Not that his absence is what caused the tailspin. Basically, everything that could have gone wrong has, and this was a team that needed things to break right in order to make some noise this year.

21. Brewers (21): Signing Corey Hart and talking to Rickie Weeks about extensions and trading for Chris Dickerson seem to be the acts of a team that will be trading Prince Fielder this winter.

22. Nationals (22): I like that they’re honoring Andre Dawson tonight. Now, if they’d don some Expos uniforms on throwback night we’d really be getting somewhere.

23. Astros (24): The Astros have been scoring a ton of runs lately.

24. Royals (25): Zack Greinke is pessimistic, but I can think of way worse places to be than Kansas City right now. There’s talent there. Kyle Farnsworth has been banished. There’s hope.

25. Indians (26): I made brief reference to the Indians having reason to hope lately, but Paul Cousineau at The DiaTribe really puts that in perspective in this post. They’ve been winning and doing so against good competition.

26. Cubs (23): This season cannot end fast enough for Chicago. And there needs to be a serious, Astros-style purge of this roster this winter. Time to tear it down and start all over.

27. Orioles (last): In Buck we Trust. Five wins in the first six games, baby.

28. Diamondbacks (27): I’m kind of surprised that Luis Gonzalez is the first Diamondback to have his number retired. I mean, yeah, the hit in the 2001 World Series guaranteed that it would happen eventually, but what’s Randy Johnson so busy doing this summer that he can’t be so honored?

29. Pirates (last): Thankfully for the Pirates announcer shenanigans don’t count in the power rankings of that bush league act following the walkoff would have had them down in 126th place.

30. Mariners (last): When you get you manager fired you should probably be in last place.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

MIAMI, FL - MAY 21: Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the first inning of the game against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park on May 21, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Marlins 9, Rays 1: Jose Fernandez struck out 12 in seven innings. After the game he said “it’s time for me to learn how to manage myself on the mound and learn how to pitch.” Wow, he’s doing all of this in ignorance? Just imagine how many dudes he’d strike out if he learned to pitch. It’s like Barry Allen in season 1 of “The Flash” when he still didn’t even know what he was doing but was still pretty impressive. I mean, look at Fernandez in the picture above. He even sorta looks like The Flash.

Astros 4, Orioles 2: George Springer hit two solo homers, but the real story was, once again, just how strikeout-tastic the Astros pitching staff was. Astros pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts on the night. That goes with their 18 strikeouts on Wednesday night and their 19 strikeouts on Tuesday to set a new major league record for strikeouts in a three-game series with 52. The New 52, as it were.

Pirates 8, Diamondbacks 3: Gerrit Cole hit a three-run homer but the Pirates blew the lead he gave them. Luckily Josh Harrison, who didn’t start because he was sick, came off the bench to hit  two-run double in the bottom of the sixth to give them back the lead for good. They’d add some insurance later. Always gotta be careful not to add too much insurance, though, as it may inspire Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray to bump you off. Or maybe Kathleen Turner and William Hurt.

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 1: J.A. Happ allowed one run over seven innings and notched his sixth win. He outdueled CC Sabathia who turned in his best outing of the season (7 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 7K) but simply didn’t get the run support. Sabathia allowed one earned run in 20 innings in the month of May.

Nationals 2, Cardinals 1: Homers from Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa backed Joe Ross, who is quite quietly having a sweet season at the back end of the Nats’ rotation, boasting a 2.52 ERA in nine starts. OK, he’s probably not boasting. He seems like a fine young man who lets his actions speak rather than his words. That’s what my source tell me, anyway. My source is Joe Ross’ mom. I’m worried that she may be biased, however, so I’m using a second source: his grandma. I’m gonna get to the bottom of this Joe Ross character controversy, that I can promise you.

Rockies 8, Red Sox 2: Jackie Bradley Jr.’s hitting streak ends at 29. And with that, Joe DiMaggio cracks open the bottle of champagne he saves for the end of every hitting streak of 25 games or more. Mercury Morris taught him that trick and you can never go wrong with doing something Mercury Morris thinks is cool. Trevor Story hit his 13th homer.Carlos Gonzalez and Dustin Garneau went deep too. Clay Buchholz‘s ERA is now 6.35.

Brewers 6, Braves 2Ryan Braun and Jonathan Villar each homered as the Brewers swept the Braves. They have three wins in Turner Field in three games this year. Atlanta has two wins in Turner Field in 22 games this year.

White Sox vs. Royals — POSTPONED: I don’t care if it rains

(Let’s all go to the bar)
I don’t care if there’s a hurricane
(Let’s all go to the bar)
And I don’t care if I’m the one to blame
(Let’s all go to the bar)

Video: Bryce Harper launches a homer into the upper deck

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 24: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals looks on against the New York Mets at Nationals Park on May 24, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has had a tough month of May. Opposing pitchers have become increasingly unwilling to throw hittable pitches in the strike zone for him, and he’s had trouble adjusting. Entering Thursday’s action, Harper was hitting .194/.454/.306 with two home runs in 97 plate appearances this month. 31 of those plate appearances ended in a walk, nine intentionally.

Harper finally got a pitch to hit in the sixth inning against Cardinals starter Mike Leake. Leake threw a 1-1 curve and Harper promptly launched into the upper deck at Nationals Park. It’s Harper’s 12th homer of the year.

Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s hitting streak ends at 29 games

BOSTON, MA - MAY 25:  Blake Swihart #23 of the Boston Red Sox congratulates Jackie Bradley Jr. #25 after he scored a run against the Colorado Rockies  during the fifth inning at Fenway Park on May 25, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was unable to continue his hitting streak on Thursday night, going 0-for-4 out of the leadoff spot against the Rockies in an 8-2 loss. He hit a deep fly ball to right field in the first inning, missing a home run by a few feet. He hit another deep drive in the fifth, but it was caught in front of the wall in center field at Fenway Park by Charlie Blackmon. In his final at-bat, Bradley weakly grounded out on the first pitch from Jon Gray to lead off the eighth inning.

Bradley’s 29-game streak tied Johnny Damon for the fourth-longest streak in Red Sox history. Dom DiMaggio still has the longest in club history at 34 games.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was able to extend his hitting streak streak to 19 games. He went 1-for-3, hitting a line drive single in the first.

Softball legend Jennie Finch to manage a professional men’s baseball team

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03:  Jennie Finch attends a press conference at Marathon Pavilion in Central Park on November 3, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images)
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Softball legend Jennie Finch will make history on Sunday when she will serve as a guest manager for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League. She will become the first woman to manage a men’s professional baseball team.

In the club’s announcement, GM Jamie Toole said, “We are really excited to have Jennie come out and manage the team. She is an incredible athlete and a wonderful person, and we hope our fans will enjoy seeing her in a Bluefish uniform for the day.”

Finch won the 2001 Women’s College World Series with the University of Arizona. She won the gold medal with Team USA in the 2004 Summer Olympics and silver in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Finch is only managing one game, but it’s still a positive step for inclusiveness in professional sports. Hopefully, in the future, we see more women in sportswriting, broadcasting, coaching, and front office positions.