MLB POWER POLLS – Week 1.5

Posted: April 4, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB
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Didn’t I just do this? This “second” edition of the Power Poll is both puts this in its correct Monday time slot & shows how the first weekend of the baseball season played out.

As for the actual listing below, this is a balancing act between expectations, matchups & results. It’s far too early to make any type of judgement on shortcomings, or overachievement, of any team. The Rays & Brewers will win a game at some point this season, just like the Royals & Pirates will most likely lose more series than they win. But seeing what is out there already still shows some set up for how the game is so far. So without further ado…..week 1, continued.

Oswalt's first outing against his former employer put an exclamation point on the Phillies weekend...and their potential.

1. Phillies (2): The debut go around for the top 3 of their big 4 showed there is much do about something in Philly. In Halladay, Lee & Oswalt’s first go around, 19 innings pitched, 23 strikeouts & 1 walk. Most importantly? 3 Philly wins.
2. Rangers (6):
The AL Champs picked up where they left off, absolutely pounding the ball all weekend (26 runs) & more importantly, showing the Red Sox that they won’t be handing their crown over without a lot of fight.
3. Yankees (3):
Behind a tremendous debut for Mark Teixeira, the Yanks pounder their way to a 2-1 to the year against a powerful Tigers squad.
4. Reds (7):
Last year’s NL Central champs got out to a quick start against a Milwaukee club that is primed to be a challenge all summer. Nothing like making a 3-0 statement early to set a pecking order.
5. White Sox (4):
The Sox put up 15 runs on Opening Day, yet needed nearly everything they got all weekend, as their pitching made them need every bit of their constant offensive onslaught. Luckily Carlos Quentin & Adam Dunn were up for the job.
6. Red Sox (1):
After getting swept in Texas to start off the season (and in an aggressive fashion…), the Sox are going to have to come together on the field as well as they did on paper.
7. Dodgers (16):
Taking 3 out of 4 from the World Champs is a good way to start for new manager Don Mattingley.
8. Braves (9):
The Nationals didn’t pose much of a challenge to the Braves, as they took 2 out of 3 & had both an Opening Day shutout & an 11 run outburst on Sunday.
9. Orioles (20):
Baltimore’s new bats have gotten the headlines, but it was their pitching (3 total runs surrendered for the series) that put in the most work in their sweep of the Rays.
10. Blue Jays (19):
More of the same & something new from the Rays. The same? 7 total home runs, including 2 from Jose Bautista & JP Arencibia each. The new? They pitched well enough to support them (outscored the Twins 22-8).
11. Royals (29):
A flare for the dramatic (2 walk-off wins) pushed the Royals to the top of the AL Central with a 3-1 mark.
12. Rockies (12):
The Rockie split their first two games of the season, and Carlos Gonzalez (.444 avg) continued to carry the load.
13. Padres (23):
An up & down weekend for the retooled Padres, opening with a non-stop barrage against the Cardinals early in the series (16 runs in two wins), before being shutdown (literally) in-game three.
14. A’s (11):
Strong starting pitching from Brian Anderson, Trevor Cahill & Gio Gonzalez was not enough, as their bullpen blew two wins late.

15. Giants (5): Rough start for the defending champions, dropping three of four to their rivals in LA. They straighten out and get it together, but the bullpen and the lineup can’t waste strong starting efforts as they most got, and did, this weekend.
16. Tigers (13):
It’s tough to start off any season against the Yankees, as they dropped two out of three to the Bombers. They didn’t go down easy though, and Mariano Rivera was bout the only thing that could stop them in the end, can’t hold that against team.
17. Mariners (26):
The Mariners rose to face the challenge of the A’s, and beat them at their own game: winning the series with pitching. For a change, it wasn’t just Felix Hernandez doing it either (although his complete game, five hit debut was a great way to kick things off).
18. Mets (21):
Ike Davis’ hot start, combined with some solid efforts from the starting rotation, led the Mets to season-opening series win over the Marlins, who they will be in close contention with all summer.
19. Brewers (8):
They lost some heartbreaking matchups this weekend, but most alarming is how they happened: a 3-run lead blown by closer John Axford in the bottom of the ninth and a 12-3 beating to round the series out against a Reds team they are expected to challenge all summer.
20. Pirates (30):
Timely hitting (a Neil Walker grand slam) and solid pitching (a new concept in Pittsburgh) led the Bucs to a series win in Wrigley Field. The Pirates with a winning record? Whoa.
21. D’Backs (25):
Bad April weather in Denver (who’d have thought that possible…) forced their series to be held to only two games, which they split. The win came on a wild pitch in the 11th inning, which gave new closer J.J. Putz his first chance to shut the door, which he did in strike (13 pitches, 2 K’s).
22. Cubs (18):
Rocky start for the Cubs has a team, losing their home opener to the lowly Pirates. Youngster Starlin Castro did his part however, with two triples in an eight hit weekend.
23. Cardinals (15):
The pitching woes (a Ryan Franklin blown save and a Saturday afternoon bullying of Jake Westbrook) got the Cardinals season off to rough start, before Jaime Garcia tossed a four hit shutout on Sunday to salvage the start to baseball in St. Louis. Off the field, an emergency appendectomy for Matt Holliday kept the rollercoaster that is Cardinal baseball in 2011 going full speed in the wrong direction.
24. Angels (17):
Torri Hunter (2 home runs) is off to a big start, but dropping three of four to the Royals to start off the season does nothing to provide any sense of comfort to the Angels hope for a rebound before Kendrys Morales returns.
25. Rays (14):
Evan Longoria is a candidate for worst week ever. First his spring training home is vandalized, then the Rays muster only 3 runs across three games to start the season while being swept by the Orioles at home, and then ends the weekend on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle. At least he can count on everything get better from here on out….except maybe the Rays offense without him.
26. Marlins (22):
Gaby Sanchez (.462 average, 3 doubles) & Josh Johnson (6.2 innings with 3 hits) showed up to play this weekend, but not much else for the Fish, as they dropped two of three to the Mets while opening up their new digs in Sun Life Stadium.
27. Nationals (27):
Other than John Lannan’s solid Saturday winning effort, not much else to be excited about for the Nats, as they varied between being shutdown and beaten down on the bookend games of the weekend.
28. Twins (10):
Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano combined to give up 11 runs in just over eight innings as the Jays assaulted the Twins, who couldn’t answer back at the plate either while losing their opening series of 2011.
29. Indians (28):
Until Sunday’s 7-1 victory authored by Justin Masterson, the Indians looked like they were throwing underhand to the White Sox, giving up 23 runs in their first 18 innings of baseball this year.
30. Astros (24)
: The Phillies rotation is going to drop a lot of teams down this list this season, and the Astros are just the first victims of them. However, Brandon Lyons’ blew their only chance at a highlight this weekend, when blew Brett Myers’ bettering of Roy Halladay (not often you can say that either) in the ninth inning on Opening Day.

M-V-ME: My picks for the best of the best in each league, week-to-week. (All stats through noon of today)

N.L.: Ryan Howard-Phillies (.538 avg, 1 home run, 6 RBI)

Even without Chase Utley in the mix yet, Howard is beating the ball all around Citizens Park. Whether he continues to see many chances to do it in the depleted Phils lineup, remains to be seen. (Runners Up: Matt Kemp, Starlin Castro)

A.L.: Mark Teixeira-Yankees (.333, 3 home runs, 7 RBI)

Tex is a notoriously slow starter, but always finishes amongst the league leaders in everything. If he keeps up this pace early, some huge numbers could be being posted by the Yankee first baseman. (Runners Up: Carlos Quentin, Ian Kinsler)

Tex become the first Yankee to ever to open a season with a homer in each of the first three games since Dave Winfield in 1985.

ARMED AND READY: My picks for the best on the hill in each league, week-to-week

N.L.: Clayton Kershaw-Dodgers (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 9 strikeouts)

He spoiled the party and woke up Giants fans from any type of World Series hangover with his dazzling work on the hill on Thursday night to open up the season. Only five batters were fortunate enough to reach base the entire night. (Runners Up: Jaime Garcia, Roy Halladay)

Kershaw outdeuled a two-time Cy Young winner in Tim Lincecum to open up the season on an upset note for the Dodgers.

A.L.: Felix Hernandez-Mariners (1-0, 2.00 ERA, 5 strikeouts)

More of the same with him, and that means singlehandedly carrying the Mariners to wins. He went the whole way in his first start of 2011, and after giving up a two-run homer in the first inning, he allowed 3 hits over the next eight innings and cruised to his first victory of the season, and first complete game of the year in baseball. (Runners Up: Jared Weaver, Jeremy Guthrie)


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