Welcome to the second installment of the power rankings. It was a great week for hosiery and fish as the White Sox, Red(leg)s, and Red Sox rose in the rankings, while the Devil Rays went up two spots and the Marlins made their debut on the list. However, it was a bad week for winged creatures as the Angels took the biggest dip of 4 spots and the Blue Jays fell from #8 to off the chart.
Current Rank (Previous Rank)
1. (3) Chicago White Sox: Season 83-46, Past Week 16 - 4
The Sox were the hottest team of the week. After starting the week losing 2 out of 3 against the Yankees, the Sox went on a tear. They scored an impressive 3-game sweep of the AL West leading Angels and came within one extra inning loss of duplicating the feat against the AL East leading Red Sox. With impressive performances against the other division leaders, the Sox currently look like the team to beat.
2. (2) Arizona Diamondbacks: Season 84-45, Past Week 13 - 7
The Diamondbacks had a solid week as they won every series. In their only series with a possible playoff opponent, they took the series at Florida 2 -1, including a dramatic 11th inning victory in the first game which was a great pitcher's duel between #1 starters Tejada and White. This team just keeps on winning games with excellent pitching and stays put at #2 on the list.
3. (1) Philadelphia Phillies: Season 79-50, Past Week 10 - 10
The Phillies had a rough second half of the week with a 3-7 stretch, including a bad 3-game sweep at home versus the Cincinnati Reds in which they were outscored 26-9. The Phils were using their 3-4-5 starters in this series against the 5-1-2 of the Reds, but it did show that good pitchers can shutdown this prolific offense. Their mediocre showing this week sees the Phillies drop 2 spots to #3.
4. (5) Cincinnati Reds: Season 77-52, Past Week 13 - 7
The Reds could have been higher this week if we only knew for sure which team they are. Are they the Big Red Machine that swept the Phillies and took 3 of 4 from the playoff bound Dodgers? Or are they the team that lost 2 of 3 against both the Braves and Padres, two teams that will be playing golf in October.
5. (7) Boston Red Sox: Season 74-55, Past Week 13 - 7
The Red Sox just keep getting better as the season wears on. Despite a close series loss against the White Sox, the Red Sox looked very impressive this week with series wins against Wild Card leading Kansas City and Toronto and a sweep of the AL South leading Devil Rays. Their pitching has been outstanding as they gave up 4 runs or less in all but three games this week. With Bollea coming off the DL next week, Boston is looking more and more like a serious contender.
6. (6) Los Angeles Dodgers: Season 79 -50, Past Week 11 - 9
Other than their setback losing 3 of 4 against the Reds, the Dodgers won series they should win taking 2 of 3 from five different non-playoff teams. Their pitching still impresses as they played many close games, but they need to win against the playoff teams to crack the top 5.
7. (9) Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Season 77 -52, Past Week 12 - 8
That three game sweep at the hands of the Red Sox looms large, but the Rays move up two spots by virtue of their domination of non-playoff teams and a series win against the Angels. Their week opening series against the White Sox and week closing series against the Red Sox will tell quite a bit about their playoff prospects.
8. (4) Anaheim Angels: Season 74-55, Past Week 10 -10
Perhaps their opening ranking was a bit too high as the Angels were swept by the White Sox and beaten by Tampa. They also failed to impress in taking 4 of 7 from the Blue Jays. The best thing this team has going for it is that their large division lead will allow their regulars to be well rested for the playoffs.
9. (10) Kansas City Royals: Season 72-57, Past Week 12 - 8
The Royals are another tough team to peg as they were involved in more blowouts this week than any other team. Unfortunately, they were at the losing end of almost as many as they won. But Rivera just keeps on winning, and with him on their side their is still hope for this wild card team.
10. (NR) Florida Marlins: Season 71-58, Past Week 10 - 10
The Marlins have back doored they way onto the countdown this week with a mediocre week, while the Blue Jays had trouble competing with playoff teams and dropped off the list. A four game split with #2 Arizona is the highlight of the week. This is another team that lacks the consistency of the top teams and has an uncertain playoff future.
Dropped Out: (8) Toronto Blue Jays