Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera

Your Monday Morning Power Rankings


As always, the number in parenthesis was where they stood in last week’s — or two weeks’ ago’s — Power Rankings.

1. Indians (6): Why not? They’ve got the same record as Philly and a better run differential in a harder league.

2. Phillies (1): Brutal May schedule for Philly. Just finished with the Braves, then the Marlins, Braves, Cardinals, Rockies, Rangers, and Reds. If they come through that OK, well, they’re definitely OK.

3. Yankees (3): Starting this weekend they have three against the Red Sox and then two against the Rays, but they would be foolish to look past the three against the Royals starting tomorrow.

4. Rays (14): A 5-1 week, a tie for first place and Evan Longoria is back in the fold. Everything is coming up Ray-y.

5. Marlins (5): A huge series against the Phillies starting tonight after which they could leave Citizens Bank Park they could wind up in first place (note to self: look at schedule first before naming ballparks; the games are in Florida).  Hold your nose for Javier Vazquez vs. Joe Blanton tonight but do whatever you have to in order to see Josh Johnson vs Roy Halladay tomorrow.

6. Cardinals (9): They just keep winning series.

7. Braves (19): The hottest team in baseball. And — with all apologies to Phillies fans — the team with the best rotation in the National League at the moment.

8. Angels (8): After three with Chicago, they get back-to-back-to-back road series with Texas, Oakland and Seattle. By the time that’s over, we’ll know a hell of a lot more about the AL West.

9. Rockies (2): Since his high water mark on April 24th, Troy Tulowitzki has seen his average drop 85 points, his OBP drop 97 points and his slugging drop 184 points.  In that time the Rockies have gone 4-7. As goes Tulo, so go the Rockies.

10. Reds (11): Having Cueto and Bailey return in strong form is huge for them.

11. Royals (7): Here’s what I wrote for the Royals’ entry a couple of weeks ago: “Kila Ka’aihue is struggling. Meanwhile, Eric Hosmer is hitting .380 as a 21 year-old in his first go-around at AAA.  You don’t need to be a MacArthur Grant recipient in order to have the sort of creativity required to solve this predicament.” — I’d congratulate myself for my prescience, but I suppose I discounted the value of such prescience in that very comment. Hurm.

12. Giants (13): If they could only play the Rockies all the time.

13. Athletics (17): They took three of four from Texas last weekend. Now they have three on the road against the Rangers starting tonight.

14. Rangers (4): Evan Grant paints a dire picture of the Rangers in the post-Josh Hamilton injury world. They’ve lost six of their last seven series.

15. Pirates (22): It’s nice that they’re at .500, but I bet they get a little tired of getting huzzahs and kudos for merely being adequate.

16. Tigers (12): Two three-hit games in a row for Austin Jackson. If he can figure it out it would definitely help.

17. Red Sox (18): As Pete Abraham notes, Adrian Gonzalez is heating up in a major way. It sort of seems like the Sox are sluggish, but they’re only four back in the East, and the Rays, while impressive, have only played a few games against winning teams.

18. Mariners (30): When last we did a Power Rankings, the M’s were dead last. Then they went on a nice run that would have been better-reflected in their ranking last week, had there been one. Dropping two of three to the White Sox, however, takes the luster off a bit. Sorry for costing you your moment, M’s.

19. Nationals (21): Two of three from the world champs, two of three from the frisky Marlins and three in the toilet against Philly in between. I have a hard time getting a read on this team. Whenever I pay close attention they seem to be a pretty basic last place team. And then, when I’m not really looking, they put together a nice couple of games.

20. Diamondbacks (24): They’re on a string of 14 straight games against the NL West. I’m not saying I’m dying for more Dback games in the early evening back east, but really, I don’t like the unbalanced schedule that much.

21. Blue Jays (15): They’re not playing particularly well, but they are getting healthier.

22. Cubs (20): Two separate stories on the Chicago Tribune’s Cubs page right now describe Mike Quade as “bewildered” and “frustrated.” I love out-of-context stuff that nonetheless explains a lot.

23. Mets (23): They’re on a string of nine straight against the NL West.  Maybe they’ll beat out the Diamondbacks for the early-season division lead.

24. Dodgers (16): A pretty bad week, but with all of the ownership crap floating around it seems like no one is noticing.

25. Brewers (10): The Brewers just finished a 10-game road trip in which they scored 17 runs.

26. Padres (28): To put that Brewers number in perspective, the Padres — one of the worst offensive teams in the game — scored 35 in their last ten.

27. Orioles (25): Is it time for a shakeup? Jeff Zrebiec seems to think so.

28. Astros (27): The Astros rank dead last in all of baseball in 11 pitching categories.

29. Twins (26): To be honest, the Twins seem like the worst overall team, but (a) they beat the White Sox both times they faced them last week; and (b) the Francisco Liriano no-hitter gives them warm-fuzzy points.

30: White Sox (29): Between this past Friday and June 3rd, the Sox will have two games against the division. Just two. That makes it a bit harder to make up a ten game deficit. Then again, so does playing like butt, so maybe it doesn’t matter.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi
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You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.