MLB POWER POLL: Week 9

Posted: May 30, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

There has been a lot of turnover all around the Show, and this week’s Power Poll reflects it. Two teams that spent the better part of the first two months of the season close the cellar in their divisions completed quick rises to the top of their divisions. In the National League, three East teams reached 30 wins, while on the opposite coast the entire world got shook up, in multiple ways. As for the A.L., the East gained a fourth different team to reach the top of division already, and saw the first guy reach 20 homers.

Ian Kennedy (6-1, 3.01 ERA, 59 K's) anchors yet another 2011 last-to-first resurrection, this time in Arizona.

At the top of the Poll here, after week off from the top, we see a familiar squad regain #1, while on the other hand, the bottom feeders are getting way too “comfortable” in that spot. More on them, and the 28 clubs in-between here:

 

 

1. Phillies (2): The Phillies regained Chase Utley this week as well as the top spot here while running through the Rockies and Mets with little interference. Despite being in a division with three of the four best records in the N.L., they have been in first place consecutive all year in the East….and are just now getting close to full strength.

2. Indians (1): The Tribe faced two of their peers this week in Boston and Tampa, and only mustered two wins. The three game mid-week losing streak was their longest of the season, which speaks to their consistency.

3. Cardinals (5): Colby Rasmus had a big weekend, going 4 for 4 with two triples on Friday and hit his first home run in over a month, as the Cards took four of six on their week-long west coast trip.

4. Red Sox (10): The way the Sox are playing right now has that horrible start that had them buried in the East just two weeks ago looking like a mirage. Carl Crawford’s resurgence has led the way, including going 8 for 9 over two games, as the Sox won both by putting up 14 runs in each.

5. Yankees (6): The Yanks have hit 19 more home runs than any team in baseball (79), yet still have struggled to put together a prolonged winning streak to return of the A.L. East (no win streak longer than 3 games all season).

6. Marlins (7): Even with ace Josh Johnson continuing to man the D.L., the Marlins remain the best team to not lead a division all season, as their sweep of the formerly red-hot Giants last week proved.

7. Rays (4): The Rays couldn’t hold off the hell-hot Red Sox from overtaking them in the East, and have also fallen a half game behind the Yankees as well, proof that nearly every game is a must win in baseball’s best division.

8. Rangers (8): Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz had immediate impacts in their return to health, both homering in their first game back on Monday. Consequently, the Rangers had their best week in over a month as well.┬áCoincidence….?

9. D’Backs (18): Since May 17th, the Diamondbacks have lost exactly once and it separates their two six-game winning streaks. In the process they have come from an 18-23 standing to being a 29 win divisional leader.

10. Giants (3): This was about as bad of week as could be imagined by the Bay. Not only did they lose five of their last six games, they lost Buster Posey for the next 110 as well after breaking his left leg and ankle in a gruesome injury. He may have taken the Giants hopes to repeat atop the West along with him too.

11. Braves (11): The N.L. East is the only division with three teams to reach 30 wins this season, but the Braves are the definition of tough luck, as they can’t break out of third place despite winning four of five last week.

12. Brewers (13): The Brewers have finally gotten back to full strength, and it shows. Since opening the month on a six game losing streak, they have haven’t lost back to back games have won 16 of their last 21 games. Watch out Cardinals…

13. Angels (13): With a light week of work behind them against the A’s and Twins, the Angels remain in the mix with the rehabbed Rangers in the West, with Torii Hunter beginning to round back into shape as well (.308 average last week, .240 for the season overall).

14. Reds (9): They can’t seem to get right recently, and it all traces back to pitching (or lack thereof). They demoted Opening Day starter Edison Volquez to the minors this week and Travis Wood’s 5.11 ERA is the lowest among their starting rotation.

15. Blue Jays (16): Jose Bautista became the first player to reach 20 home runs this year, and they took three of four from the White Sox this weekend to stay in the picture in the A.L. East, just three games back. Ricky Romero is quietly having a great year to add the much-needed stability they’ll need from their rotation if they will close the gap anymore.

17. Mariners (20): The Mariners pitching-led climb up the standings continues, as they nearly swept the Yankees at home over the weekend. However, if they are to be taken serious, Ichiro and Chone Figgins (a combined 7 for their last 75) have to wake up at the top of their lineup.

18. Rockies (14): Their 15-run outburst against the Cardinals on Saturday ended their four game losing streak, but it was way closer to the exception than the rule for a Rockies club that is hitting only .245 on the year.

19. A’s (22): The West is so wide open that the A’s despite being in last place are still only a game and a half from being back on top of it. Josh Willingham (four extra base hits and nine RBI last week) could finally becoming the spark the offense needs to make a move in Oakland.

20. Pirates (19): Kevin Correia became the first N.L. pitcher to reach seven wins for Pirates and they continue stay close to .500, despite having a losing record at home for the year.

21. Dodgers (24): After taking two wins against a strong Marlins club this weekend (their first series win since May 9-12, perhaps they are getting ready to get in the mix in ever-changing N.L. West.

22. Orioles (25): The O’s had a week that summarizes their efforts this year perfectly this week. They opened up the week making short work of the Royals during a sweep….and then capitalized on that momentum by turning around and being swept by the A’s.

23. Mets (21): Off the field they continued to fare just as bad, as owner Fred Wilpon spread his continued critical public assessment of this club by challenging the injured David Wright instead of the club on the field that showed little fight against the Cubs and Phillies.

24. Cubs (27): The roller coaster ride that is the Cubs continued this week, as they won and lost games by 10 runs against the Mets and Pirates. As long as their starting pitching continues to be lackluster (only the injured Matt Garza has an ERA under 4.00) their struggles will continue.

25. Royals (17): The landslide of the Kansas City Royals continues, as they were handled in short order by the Orioles and Rangers. Overall, they have had two five-game losing streaks in the last two weeks have dropped seven of their last eight.

26. White Sox (23): The Sox were building some momentum up in the Central to try to make a move, but then the Blue Jays took 3 straight from them over the weekend and Ozzie Guillen responded by launching into their critics in his own unique style. That could be becoming a limited time act soon.

27. Padres (28): Ryan Ludwick’s 10 game hitting streak came to an end this week, but it raised finally gave the National League’s worst offense (.296 team on-base percentage, worst in either league) a much needed spark.

28. Nationals (26): They’ve dropped firmly into last place in the East, and to make things worse, manager Manny Acta and their major offseason signing Jayson Werth have fallen out already. The annual long summer in D.C. has officially started.

29. Astros (29): Brett Wallace and Hunter Pence are leading a lineup that has some potential, but their pitching staff continues to hit (J.A. Happ homered sunday) better than it pitches (the ‘Stros were outscored 22-11 while being swept in Arizona over the weekend).

30. Twins (30): They have basically become this year’s equivalent of the 2010 Mariners: much talent and expectation, but sank by injuries and inconsistencies. Their Mauer-less offense is last in the Majors in runs scored with 175.

 

No MVP or Cy Young picks yet this week. They’ll be discussed in a quarter season All-Star article later in the week.

 

For more around the bases and the League, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan and @STLSport360

 

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