Sorry for the delay in the Power Poll this week, the NBA Finals took a bit of time to wrap up yesterday. However, around that whole mix and mayhem on the court, Baseball had a great week and a good launch into it’s solo spotlight part of the year.
The week started off with yet another statement series atop the A.L. East, and ownership atop it (and CSP’s Power Poll) changed again. The meteoric rise of power of baseball’s hottest team over the last month took them to the top of the N.L. Central and the first coaching change of the season was made to right the path of a one of the main contenders for the Wild Card in the A.L. coming into the season.
The times are already a-changin around the league, and also in the Poll again. Here’s how Volume 11 is breaking out…
1. Red Sox (5): With their third sweep of the Yankees under their belt (which ran their record for 2011 against their rivals to 8-1), followed by taking three from Toronto, the Sox rise to the top of the poll for the first time since the debut edition.
2. Phillies (2): Despite playing with their full expected lineup for under two weeks this season, the Phils have not lost a game where they scored at least 5 runs all season. There will be a lot more of those games coming now.
3. Yankees (1): The Yankees started the week by continuing their troubles against the Red Sox, getting swept at home. They finished the week with Joba Chamberlain and Bartolo Colon joining the growing number of their already limited pitching staff on the DL. On a brighter note, Derek Jeter will most likely get his 3,000th hit this week.
4. Brewers (8): The Brewers runaway train ride through the National League met the league’s winningest club, in the Cardinals, over the weekend…and took three games from them in route to taking over control of Central for the first time in two years.
5. Cardinals (3): The Cardinals ran into a brick wall located in Milwaukee over the weekend, and are now (0-6) on during weekend road series against second place N.L. Central clubs, having twice lost control of the division this year in this fashion.
6. Braves (13): They finally found an opening to make a move in the East by sweeping the slumping Marlins and moving into second place. Johnny Venters’ shutdown act (0.44 ERA) has finally been moved to the ninth inning, assuring that many more Braves games may only eight innings from here out.
7. Giants (7): The Giants traded wins and loses with the Reds and Nationals all week, but retained control of the West despite only managing to bring in over two runs once in the last seven games.
8. Rangers (4): The A.L. Central was not as kind to Texas as they were the week before, with Twins and Tigers combining to snatch 5 games combined, yet they held on to control of the West by a game and a half.
9. Indians (6): They have dropped nine of their last eleven contests and have watched the biggest lead in all of baseball dwindle to a tie in the A.L. Central. Josh Tomlin, Fausto Carmona and Mitch Talbot have all lost both of their last two starts in the process. They’ll look to take momentum from a shutout win in New York into Detroit to defend their place atop the Central.
10. Tigers (12): Austin Jackson is tearing the cover off the ball right now (.370 in June) and Magglio Ordonez is returning this week to put the Tigers at full strength for the first time nearly all year…and right as they have pulled to a tie atop the A.L. Central…and they host the Indians this week with the division up for the taking.
11. Rays (10): They remained a powerhouse on the road this past week, adding 5 wins to their A.L. leading 21 road wins on the season in L.A. and Baltimore.
12. D’Backs (9): They have cooled off from the tear that moved them to the top of the West for a week, but took three of four from the Marlins over the weekend, which puts them in position to move back to the top of the division as they host San Francisco this week.
13. Reds (14): The offense keeps slugging, and now the pitchers are getting in on their half of the bargain as well. After getting bashed around for the duration of May, they didn’t allow more than 2 runs in any game last week and finished the team’s first shutout in over month as well.
14. Mariners (15): Don’t look now, but the Mariners are in position to go for the top of the West and only play 3 road games for the rest of the month, starting with the Angels club they passed this past week.
15. Marlins (11): Things probably can’t get worse than are right now in Miami. They’ve dropped 10 of 11 contests to fall seven games back of the Phillies and still have no date for the return of Josh Johnson or Hanley Ramirez.
16. White Sox (19): After starting 0-8, John Danks won twice last week and surrendering 2 runs across 15 innings in the process.
17. Blue Jays (17): In the ever changing A.L. East, despite finding themselves in the best condition of any East club, are still just a half game out of last place all of a sudden after dropping three to the Red Sox over the weekend.
18. Mets (21): Even though their rotation is far from in the condition it projected as, over the last 17 games they have the lowest ERA of any team in baseball.
19. Pirates (20): Despite a growing Disabled List (which 2010 All-Star Evan Meek joined this past week as well), the Bucs are staying in the middle of the mix, thanks to the continued improvement of Andrew McCutchen.
20. Dodgers (18): Clayton Kershaw proved to be mortal briefly this past week, giving up as many runs (12) in his last two starts as he did in his previous seven combined.
21. Angels (16): The Angels offense is still stuck in it’s slump from last season (if that’s possible) and Vernon Wells’ return offers some hope for a turnaround, as they have fallen into the bottom three in the A.L. in runs scored.
22. Rockies (23): They had more success this past week than they have in a while, but despite scoring 30 runs over the weekend, they still split the series against the Dodgers and didn’t have a single game decided by more than four runs.
23. Nationals (26): Drew Storen’s first full season as a closer continues to be the highlight of the National’s season. He closed out three consecutive wins for the club over the weekend and is 15 for 16 overall in save situations this year.
24. Orioles (25): They showed some life during a a four game winning streak kicked off the week, before dropping an extra inning affair to the Rays on Saturday. They continue their all or nothing ways this season.
25. Royals (27): While their successes have continued to turn down, their prized prospects have continued to turn up. Most recently 2010 Minor League Player of the Year Mike Moustakas joined the mix in KC, and hit his first career homer in his second game up.
26. Padres (22): A sign of the difficulties in San Diego: Chase Headley’s homer on Thursday was the first out of the three slot in the lineup the entire season. The promotion of prized prospect Anthony Rizzo could help change things here by the end of the year.
27. Twins (29): Francisco Liriano returned from a brief stint on the DL, and the rest appears to have paid off. He has struck out 16 in 13.1 innings since in two starts: one being a 1-0 loss and the second being nearly his second no-hitter of the season in a win on Sunday.
28. A’s (24): Manager Bob Geren was fired after the club’s losing streak hit 9 games and Bob Melvin took his place for the remainder of the season…and has gone 1-4 since taking over.
29. Cubs (30): Teams are hitting .267 against the Cubs, 28th worse in baseball…which is a point higher than they are hitting as a club at .266 (third best in baseball). Pitching wins ballgames.
30. Astros (29): A rough week facing the Cardinals followed by the Braves was concluded by their best pitcher in Wandy Rodriguez landing on the DL. These are the breaks on this end of the poll.
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