Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekly Power Rankings - All Star Week, The Calm Before the Storm

All-Star week was a fairly calm week for the power rankings as most teams held their place, with only exception being the plummeting Redbirds who have been replaced in this week’s edition by the charging Redlegs. Next week however could see some shake up as it is time again for some divisional games.

Current Rank (Previous Rank)

1. (1) Philadelphia Phillies: Season 65-27, Past Week 12-5
This week the Phillies left a small chink in the armor exposed, dropping series against the ~.500 Marlins and the last place Padres. With the NL’s top offense led by back-to-back MVP Jake Clapp and Home Run Derby winner Del Wilhelm as well as the NL’s second best pitching staff this season, the Phillies continue to be the team to beat.

2. (2) Kansas City Royals: Season 60-32, Past Week 11-6
The Royals looked good this week as they took series against fellow playoff competitors Anaheim and Portland. Their only blemish was a close series loss to the Mariners. With the #1 ranked offense and pitching in the AL, a Royals – Phillies world series is looking like a strong possibility.

3. (3) Charlotte Knights: Season 56-36, Past Week 10-7
The Knights faced what was probably the toughest schedule this past week and came out of it fairly strong. Series wins against Detroit, Anaheim, New York, and Portland were unfortunately marred by a sweep at the hands of the Red Sox. A major series looms ahead against rival Kansas City this week that could determine the dominant AL team.

4. (4) Arizona Diamondbacks: Season 57 - 35, Past Week 11-6
The Diamondbacks hold their position on the charts due to the strength of their pitching staff, which as of late has been looking like the dominant group of last season. Unfortunately the D’backs played to the level of their competition this week as they won series against playoff competitors Cincinnati and Montreal while dropping series against the young, not quite ready Pirates and Mets. They are going to need to be more consistent this next week to hold this spot.

5. (6) Boston Red Sox: Season 55-37, Past Week 10-7
The Red Sox need to figure out which team they are. Are they the team that swept the Charlotte Knights? Or are they the team that was swept by the Angels and lost 3 of 4 against the young, division-leading Twins? Fortunately, they have plenty of time to figure it out as they have no divisional competition and can coast into the postseason.

6. (5) Anaheim Angels: Season 52-40, Past Week 7-10
Also facing a difficult schedule this past week, the Angels got beat up. Their one bright spot of sweeping the Red Sox was followed with series losses to the Royals, Knights, and Twins. The Angels cannot shake their divisional opponents and this looks to be an exciting pennant race with important divisional games this week.

7. (7) Portland Beavers: Season 52-40, Past Week 8-9
It was a bit of a shaky week for the Beavers as series wins against Texas and Minnesota were followed by losing series against the Orioles and the Knights. It’s a big week coming up against divisional opponents and will be a good test for this young pitching staff.

8. (10) Seattle Mariners: Season 51-41, Past Week 10-7
After fading for the last two weeks, the Mariners came around this week and put themselves right back in the middle of the wild AL West race. With their only series loss this week against the rising Twins, the Mariners looked for real with an impressive series win against the Royals. While the offense wasn’t always there, the pitching was very impressive this week and was the key to the resurgence. Next week, we shall see how that pitching can do against Portland and Anaheim. Stay tuned.

9. (8) Montreal Expos: Season 51-41, Past Week 9-8
This week the Expos made it seem as if any playoff appearance they might make will be a short one as the Phillies and D’backs beat them 5 games to 1. Fortunately they were able to salvage the week by beating teams they should beat at Florida and DC. With the surging Reds coming to town, the Expos playoff hopes will be up for grabs.

10. (NR) Cincinnati Reds: Season 51-41, Past Week 12-5
The defending champs are back! A series loss against the Diamondbacks was the only dent in an impressive week that saw the Reds rise up to fiercely challenge the Expos for the AL North title. Cliff Rivers has put on a power display since joining the club with 15 homers in 24 games. The Reds look like a team on a mission since the big trade and look poised to capture their 3rd straight NL North title.

Dropped: NR. (9) St. Louis Cardinals: Season 47-45, Past Week 5-12
The Cardinals have been sinking fast and now find themselves in a fight for the division with the Florida Marlins.

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