I didn’t have any get-up-and-go last Monday, so I gave the Power Rankings a miss. Back at it today, where we find greater separation than we’ve seen so far this year. Which is to be expected. I mean, by late July you are who you are.
As always, the last ranking is in parenthesis. As are parentheticals serving other purposes, but I trust you can figure it out.
1. Red Sox/Phillies (tie; and don’t ready anything into the order; that’s just how I wrote them) (2, 1): Kind of a cop out, I’ll admit. Both have been great since the break, but both have done it against a bunch of tomato cans like the Orioles, Cubs, Mariners and Padres. Philly has the better record, Boston the better run differential. Mostly, though, after a week off the ranking plus the All-Star break, I just want to hit reset and go forward from here. Now watch as both Boston and Philly fans tear me a new one in the comments!
3. Yankees (3): Fresh off the A’s, the Yankees now get series against the Mariners and Orioles. Time to make a move on them Sox, gents.
4. Rangers (5): Do they make a deal of some kind? After that white-hot streak they now sit with a four-game lead over Anaheim. I’d be content to stand pat rather than chase Heath Bell or Carlos Beltran or whoever, but no one really asked me.
5. Braves/Giants (4, 6): Yeah, another tie, another copout. I think the Braves are better. I don’t feel it, though. Not that I’m objective. I always go for the doom first, warranted or not, when it comes to the Bravos.
7. Diamondbacks (10): They’re dropping like flies due to injuries, but Kirk Gibson keeps them chugging.
8. Angels (7): Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells are all on pace for career-worst seasons, yet the Angels are still more competitive than a lot of folks thought they’d be. Viva pitching: the Halos have the lowest ERA in the American League.
9. Tigers (13): A two-game lead in the AL Central? That’s gigantic! OK, maybe not, but it seems it. The Tigers are a notoriously bad second half team, but they’ve started out 5-4 after the break. Which in the Central is like .750 ball. OK, maybe not that either, but it seems it.
10. Rays (8): Boston and New York beating them up since the break isn’t terribly surprising. Dropping two of three to Kansas City wasn’t expected, however.
11. Cardinals (9): I don’t get the Colby Rasmus trade talk. He’s at his absolute lowest point as a major leaguer right now. Even if the Cards want him gone, isn’t it highly likely that he’ll pick it up going forward and thus look way more appealing to other teams this winter, for example? Dealing him now is the functional equivalent of the Cardinals telling the rest of baseball that he’s worthless.
12. Pirates (12): Nice story notwithstanding, I still think this is smoke and mirrors. The offense is insufficient and the pitching has experienced a lot of good luck. Let us not mistake a pleasant surprise for a legitimately competitive force.
13. Brewers (11): Did not know this: the Brewers are the worst baserunning team in the game.
14. Indians (13): Four losses in a row to division rivals.
15. Reds (18): Yesterday was the first time in over a month that they won back-to-back games. And yet they’re only three games out. They’ve underperformed their run differential pretty dramatically. I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see them get on a roll soon.
16. Blue Jays (17): Six of their next 12 are against Baltimore, and then they get three against the A’s. That’s good for them, but just be sure to temper your “hey, look what the Jays are doin’!” talk during that period.
17. Mets (15): They don’t play baseball anymore. They exist solely as the vehicle for Carlos Beltran trade rumors. It’s true!
18. White Sox (20): They begin a stretch against Detroit, Boston, New York and Minnesota. If they survive that, look out. If not: deader than vaudeville.
19. Nationals (16): 2011 Nationals under Jim Riggleman: 38-37 (.507); 2011 Nationals under Davey Johnson: 9-14 (.391).
20. Rockies (21): It’s like a 1967 Camaro that hasn’t left the driveway in a long time. You know it would be awesome if it would ever get running, but the odds of that ever happening grow longer every day it stays up on blocks.
21. Marlins (19): 2011 Marlins under Edwin Rodriguez: 32-39 (.451 ); 2011 Marlins under Jack McKeon: 17-13 (.567).
22. Twins (22): I outsource this one to Gleeman, who writes over at his personal blog:
Yesterday marked the two-thirds point of the 18-day, 19-game stretch that figured to define the Twins’ season leading right up to the July 31 trade deadline. So far they’re 6-6 and seven games out of first place, which is a half-game further back than the start of the stretch and the same deficit as a month ago. For all their getting healthy and turning things around the Twins have basically tread water for a month, leaving only 61 games to close a seven-game gap.
23. Dodgers (24): Does any manager have a tougher gig than Don Mattingly this year?
24. Athletics (25): They’re scoring over five runs a game since the break. That’s somethin’.
25. Padres (26): They’re scoring exactly five runs a game since the break. That’s somethin’.
26. Royals (27): Mike Moustakas is coming around.
27. Cubs (28): The Cubs are going to lead the charge in lobbying against the Astros moving to the American League.
28. Orioles (29): From Jeff Zrebiec’s notes column:
Things could obviously change if the Orioles make a couple of trades before the July 31 deadline, but as things stand, the club may need two starting pitchers, a couple of late-game relievers (assuming Jim Johnson is put in the rotation and Koji Uehara does not return), a power-hitting first baseman, a second baseman (it would be a stretch to count on Brian Roberts right now), a left fielder (Nolan Reimold could have something to say about this) and possibly a DH (Luke Scott is a prime non-tender candidate).
Orioles, you keep saying that word, “rebuilding.” I do not think it means what you think it means.
29. Astros (30): They looked gross against the Cubs and probably are the worst team in baseball but …
30. Mariners (23): … I don’t care what your overall record is. You drop 15 straight, you’re at the bottom of the list. That’s one of my rules. I’m a baaaaad man.