Your Monday Morning Power Rankings

36 Comments

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.

Julio Urias to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.

It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

Getty Images
4 Comments

Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.