Another week, another king. No team has been able to hold number one for more than a week, however there have been a couple that have stayed in the top 5 non-stop and have been in position to make the move for the spot. This week there are three new teams that will break into the mix, including one that was as far back as #26 just three weeks ago. Also, a rough week from the two party crashers in the American League has halted their ascension up the boards.

Doc and the rest of the Phils arms have finally pushed them to top of the list.

All of this, and my take on where the MVP and Cy Young races are shaking out.

1. Phillies (2): The Phils finally make the push over the hump and make it to number one, after a three-week stint at #2. Dropped the first series of the week in Milwaukee, but swept a weekend tilt in San Diego, including 18 scoreless innings to start the series.

2. Yankees (3): The only made it to the field four times last week, due to mixture of a light schedule and rain cancellations, but they won three of those showdowns, and Curtis Granderson made them count (.421 avg, 3 home run week).

3. Rangers (6): After a rough week, the Rangers came back to form, going 4-2 in LA and Kansas City. Adrian Beltre came alive for the first time for the club, with a seven RBI week.

4. Rockies (1): The Rockies fell from number won after dropping four of six against the Giants and Marlins. After knocking the ball around the week before, they struggled to get it started this week, only managing to go over three runs once.

5. Marlins (11): The hottest team in baseball took the fight to any and everybody that took the field against them, and after being a #26 ranked afterthought in this poll a few weeks ago, they have pitched their way into the mix with the best clubs in baseball. Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the 9th inning against the Rockies and Josh Johnson led them to victories over the Pirates and Rockies.

6. Indians (4): The skyrocket season for the Tribe hit its first turbulence this season, as they went to a four game split with the Royals and then dropped two to the Twins over the weekend. However, they still have the most wins in the AL and control the AL Central.

7. Tigers (12): The resurgence in Detroit continues, as the Tigers went 5-1 last week, and pulled firmly into the middle of the AL Central free-for-all. Ryan Rayburn knocked in 8 runs, and Miguel Cabrera punished pitching to the tune of a .429 average.

8. Angels (5): After starting off strong against the Rangers, with another superb Jared Weaver start and taking two of three, they got handled by the Red Sox over the weekend, losing all four match ups and being shutout in the last two.

9. Cardinals (15): The streaking Redbirds have hit their way into the driver’s seat of the NL Central. Their bats were almost as loud as the storms that plagued the area, while they took two of three from the Nationals, and then did the same to their division rival Reds to move into first place in the Central. The Cards .293 team batting average is tops in all of baseball.

10. Royals (7): Back-to-back for the Missouri teams in this week’s poll, with Royals falling down to the second of the two. This happens due to a 2-5 week that featured alternating wins and losses versus the Indians in a battle for #1 in the AL Central, then was followed by a three game sweep at the hands of the Rangers. This became their first losing series all season.

11. Rays (22): The Rays have put their 2-10 start to the year far behind them, as they have been unconscious recently, going 9-3 since. Last week, their pitching made its presence felt continually, especially James Shields, who threw two complete game, four-hitters last week, surrendering one run in the first game, and making the second one a shutout.

12. Reds (8): The rough times in Cincy continue, as the Reds tied or dropped both series last week. The beginning of the week featured a four game losing streak at the hands of the Pirates and D’Backs, then a bad trip to St. Louis cost them control of the N.L. Central.

13. Red Sox (26): Will the real Red Sox please stand up? After notching six wins last week against the Blue Jays, A’s and Angels, the much-maligned Sox are starting to come around, and took five road victories in the process. Daisuke Matsuzaka picked up two wins and pitched 16 scoreless innings in the process, and Jed Lowrie ripped his way to a 10 hit week as well.

14. Brewers (18): They continued to live up their unpredictable nature this week, by looking like a completely different club than the week before. They started the week off by taking two or three from the Phillies (including beating Roy Halladay 9-0 on Tuesday), and finished it up by taking two of three from the Astros. In good news, Zack Greinke is rehabbing, and should bring some stability back with him.

15. A’s (14): Once again, the river ran dry for the A’s at the plate, and they turn in a so-so performance as a result. It’s all or nothing for the Athletics, as in their three wins they scored 5 or more runs, but in their three losses they notched a total of three runs…which all came in one game.

16. Giants (9): The Giants were cruising headed into last weekend, winners of their last four series. However, they ran into a wall in the second half of the week, dropping four straight to the Rockies and Braves. Tim Lincecum tied a great Giant record in the process (most double-digit strikeout games), but then set a bad personal one as well (most walks in a game, six, in losing to Atlanta Saturday).

17. Dodgers (21): Matt Kemp is on a tear this year, and what is most important is that he getting timely hits. No hit in the last week was more timely for the Dodgers than his two-run walk off homer in the 12th inning against the Braves, which gave them their 3rd of 5 wins last week.

18. Braves (19): The inconsistency that has defined the Braves season was either removed or reinforced by their performance last week, which started by losing three games in Los Angeles, then ended by sweeping the Giants. It’s hard to say so far, so the “wait and see” road is probably the safest assessment of them still.

19. Nationals (16): The N.L. Central has not been kind to the Nationals, as they lost two of three in St. Louis, then split a weekend trip to to Pittsburgh that will be decided on Monday. The Nats have been very solid to start the season, but their starting pitching has to stay solid for them to continue to be a tough out for them to continue to play the spoiler.

20. Blue Jays (17): The top of the A.L. East made last week an ugly one for their Canadian counterparts, as the Jays dropped a game to the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox each. This fortune could be changed if they could find a way to put someone on base in front of Jose Bautista (4 home runs last week, but only 4 RBI).

21. Cubs (24): Hosted a tight series against the Padres to start the week off, but then turned around and opened up the floodgates versus the Dodgers over the weekend, giving up 19 runs in two losses. The pitching staff continues to be inconsistent, but with Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells on the verge of rejoining their staff, perhaps it will start living up to its potential.

22. Twins (30): Even though Joe Mauer hasn’t taken back to the field yet, the Twins showed some life this week. A strong outing from Francisco Liriano and Justin Morneau coming back into form propelled them to four wins over the Orioles and their division leading Indians.

23. Orioles (13): The fall of the O’s continued, who after coming out the gates atop the A.L. East, they have gone into the tank. They dropped four of six last week, although they briefly broke an 8-game losing streak, they have dropped their last three behind that.

24. Mariners (27): A little more consistency out of Seattle, as they went 3-4 on the week against the Tigers and A’s. The highlight of the week was, as usual, Felix Hernandez’s outing, who threw 7.2 innings of 4-hit ball in a 1-0 win over the A’s. Ichiro contributed a MLB-leading 13 hits last week as well.

25. White Sox (10): No team is falling quicker than the White Sox right now, as their 15 spot fall from last week show here. 2 weeks ago seemed like a rough stretch, when they dropped 5 of 6, but then they followed it up last week with an even worst showing, that featured a 1-6 mark. Their last 11 games have featured 7 and 3 game losing streaks. It’s way too early to write them off, but this is a highly confusing futility streak they are on.

26. Mets (29): The Mets turned their fortunes around some, getting a much-needed boost in the return of Jason Bay (.333 avg, 2 doubles and a homer in his first week back), and got a sweep of the D’Backs at home to show for it. David Wright contributed 3 home runs as well, as the Mets offense is taking over where their pitching lacks.

27. Pirates (26): The Bucs are starting to settle into their usual role towards the bottom of the N.L., as they were swept in short order by the Marlins midweek, and then are struggling to overtake the Nationals now.

28. Astros (28): Holding down the #28 spot for the second consecutive week, they opened up the week taking two from the Mets, but then proceeded to drop three of their next four from those same Mets and the Brewers. And now they await the division leading Cardinals to come visit them. Tough break.

29. D’Backs (24): They continued to have the Reds card, as they picked up their third and fourth wins of the season against them, but then they were handled by the Mets over the weekend, and now take their former place in this poll as a reward.

30. Padres (20): Well the good news is that they got their ace Mat Latos back. The bad news is basically everything else, as they lost six games and were shutout three times last week.

M-V-ME: My Picks for the best of each League

NL: Matt Kemp The Dodgers’ center fielder is on a tear, and is taking his club’s win total along with him. His .402 average and 35 hits lead the N.L. in both categories, and he is top 5 in home runs, RBI, doubles and steals as well. Most importantly, he’s performing in the clutch and getting his numbers when they are most needed. His walk-off home run on Wednesday was his second of the season, and he continues to rise up amongst the most dangerous hitters in the game. (Runners Up: Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki)

AL: Alex Rodriguez With three MVP’s already on his mantle, this isn’t a surprising place to find A-Rod in, however it is surprising to find him here already this year, considering he’s missed some action with a side injury already. He came back in a major way, including hitting his 22nd career grand slam and boosting his RBI total to the 10th best of all-time. His .354 average is currently fourth best in the AL and he is in the top 5 in home runs, RBI and on-base percentage. He’s maximizing his time on the field and pushing the Yanks to the top of the East in the process. (Runners Up: Alex Gordon, Jose Bautista)

KINGS OF THE HILL

NL: Josh Johnson: Last year’s ERA champ in the N.L. is proving to be just as difficult to cross the plate against this season. His 1.06 mark is the best in either league, and this time around the Marlins are capitalizing on them for him. He has three wins already this season, after only being able to be credited with 11 total last season. It takes a tremendous performance to knock Doc Halladay from this role, but Johnson is showing he’s up to the task early on this year. (Runners Up: Roy Halladay, Jaime Garcia)

Johnson is finally being rewarded for his dominance on the mound in 2011.

AL: Jared Weaver: It’s getting to the point where I can just cut and paste last week’s entry on Weaver into this slot, because he’s simply head and shoulders over everyone else in the American League that throws a baseball for a living this year. For good measure, here’s the current scorecard. Weaver leads the league in wins (5), strikeouts (39), ERA (1.23), WHIP (0.76) and is a disappointing (sarcasm) third in innings pitched (36.2). Any questions? (Runners Up: Dan Haren, Josh Beckett)

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Comments
  1. Oates says:

    Ok so my Royals recap of the week:

    Bizzarro week for us. Splitting that series w/ Cleveland and getting swept by Texas showed me one thing in particular: the Royals are a good team but we arent that good where we can give away runs. Just about all of our walked batters & unearned base runners scored this week. The bullpen, esp Jeffress and Collins, have struggled with the strike zone. We also are still having problems with turning RISP into runs. Too many times, we’ve had to watch the Royals not advance runners from 3rd or put the ball in play at all. Its almost endemic of the Royals offense.

    Onto the good, Davies and Sully have turned in 2 straight good performances. Hoch had 5 perfect innings before hitting that big-inning wall. Gordon, Frenchy, Betimite are all hitting the cover off the ball and Aviles might be back to his swing. Aaron Crow is still lights out and the new guy, Louis Coleman, is continuing his pattern of being untouchable w/ hitters. This week we have a battle for 1st place again w/ Cleveland. I’d like to see if we took some of the lessons from the Texas series and come in and play good ball.

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