Friday, May 16, 2008

Weekly Power Rankings - Interleague Play Shakes Up the List

This week the top three spots held firm although that #3 spot is rather precarious and some of last season’s regulars had a very good week to raise their stock. Ultimately though, it appears that this season is becoming a legendary one in Philadelphia.

Current Rank (Previous Rank)

1. (1) Philadelphia Phillies: Season 53-22, Past Week 14-5
The impressive hitting has been fully supported this season by some quality pitching to make the Phillies the scariest team to face by far. Another impressive showing this week saw the Phils take every series in which they were involved. If there was a ranking higher than number one, the Phillies would have earned it as the team is currently on pace for 112 wins.

2. (2) Kansas City Royals: Season 49-26, Past Week 12-7
The Royals continue to be the benchmark for performance in the AL this season with their top ranked offense and excellent pitching. They slipped up a bit in interleague play, losing series to their cross-state rivals in St. Louis and to the standings rising Marlins. This coming All-Star week presents some good tests for this team with games against Portland, Anaheim, and division rival Charlotte.

3. (3) Charlotte Knights: Season 46-29, Past Week 10-9
The Knights had a bit of a mediocre week this last week as they lost their series versus two teams on the rise of late, the Florida Marlins and the Chicago White Sox. Their series victory over the division leading Cardinals helps them maintain their position on the list, though it is much shakier. This coming week will be a challenge as they face all teams in the playoff hunt in Detroit, Boston, Anaheim, New York, Portland, and rival Kansas City.

4. (9) Arizona Diamondbacks: Season 46 - 29, Past Week 14-5
After last week’s big dip on the list, the D’backs were on fire this week with the top record in interleague play and have raced out into the lead for their third straight NL West title. The vaunted pitching staff took command this week en route to 5 shutout performances. With the pitching back to form, Arizona will be difficult to catch and again looks to be the primary rival to the Phils NL supremacy, though the gap is much wider this season.

5. (NR) Anaheim Angels: Season 45-30, Past Week 15-4
Perhaps the failed Ortiz deal was the best thing for this team as Aaron Holliday has been outstanding and this team has caught fire, rising from the ashes all the way to the fifth spot. With the Mariners and Beavers stumbling a bit, the Angels have put themselves back in the lead for their third consecutive division title. With the next three series against the Red Sox, Royals, and Knights, we will see what this team is made of.

6. (10) Boston Red Sox: Season 45-30, Past Week 12-7
The Red Sox keep up their consistent winning ways with a solid week with their only setback being a 2-1 series loss to the mighty Phils. Without any serious competition for their division title, once again the Red Sox will likely be a well-rested and dangerous playoff opponent.

7. (6T) Portland Beavers: Season 44-31, Past Week 10-9
The Beavers have broken their tie this week with Northwest rival Seattle, but unfortunately its more as a result of the poor performance by the Mariners than anything positive for Portland. While the Beavers were losing to teams from the NL West, the Angels flew past and put the Beavers in wild card territory. With some critical series this week against the Royals and Knights, Portland’s standing is likely to move, in which direction is yet to be determined.

8. (5) Montreal Expos: Season 42-33, Past Week 9-10
It was an up and down week for the Expos as they suffered a sweep versus the hard charging White Sox, had a victorious sweep of the Blue Jays, got swept by the young Twins, and did the sweeping of the Tigers. With series against the playoff competing D’backs, Phillies, Marlins, Nationals, and division rival Reds, it could be a make it or break it week next week for the Expos.

9. (4) St. Louis Cardinals: Season 42-33, Past Week 7-12
The Cardinals plummeted down towards the earth this week. Losing 5 of 7 against the Phillies was not unexpected, but the three game sweep by the Rangers left quite a sting. This next week the Cardinals get a chance to prove they belong on the list with series against San Francisco, Chicago, and Arizona.

10. (6T) Seattle Mariners: Season 41-34, Past Week 7-12
The Mariners tried their darnedest to get bumped off the list this week with series losses to Arizona, LA, San Diego, and the Yankees. Their only saving grace that prevented their bump off of this list was a three game sweep of the Giants who thanks to this series are the team getting bumped out. The Seattle offense shut down this week and needs to return soon if the Mariners want to continue competing for the playoffs.

NR (8) San Francisco Giants: Season 42-33, Past Week 9-10
Last week’s question: Will they be on the countdown for the long haul?
Answer: Not this week when the teams ranked around them had great weeks and their mediocre showing includes a sweep by the #10 team.

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