By: Chris Larson
Based on the way this past week has played out, we continue to see that there are clearly the elite teams along with the haves and have nots. However, the Texas Rangers came out of nowhere this past week and have been on a nice run, while the Cincinnati Reds also made some noise. It's refreshing to see because it keeps things competitive for all 30 teams regardless of where they are within the standings! With that being said, here is this week's Week In Review and Top 15 Power Rankings report:
Week In Review
Top 15 Power Rankings
1. Houston Astros (52-27) [Ranking Last Week: 1]
2. New York Yankees (50-25) [Ranking Last Week: 3]
3. Boston Red Sox (52-27) [Ranking Last Week: 2]
4. Cleveland Indians (43-33) [Ranking Last Week: 9]
5. Arizona Diamondbacks (44-33) [Ranking Last Week: 7]
6. Atlanta Braves (44-32) [Ranking Last Week: 6]
7. Philadelphia Phillies (41-34) [Ranking Last Week: 13]
8. Los Angeles Dodgers (41-35) [Ranking Last Week: 9]
9. Milwaukee Brewers (45-32) [Ranking Last Week: 10]
10. Seattle Mariners (47-31) [Ranking Last Week: 4]
11. San Francisco Giants (40-39) [Ranking Last Week: N/A]
12. Chicago Cubs (42-33) [Ranking Last Week: 5]
13. St. Louis Cardinals (40-36) [Ranking Last Week: 12]
14. Oakland Athletics (40-38) [Ranking Last Week: N/A]
15. Los Angeles Angels (41-37) [Ranking Last Week: 14]
Summary of Thoughts
Once again, as repetitive as it sounds, the top three teams are the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox. The order is different this week, but the theme remains the same: all three of those teams have the makings of a World Series Championship caliber team and there is plenty to like in all departments on each 25-man roster. The Astros still have the advantage when it comes to the starting rotation, almost all three are identical offensively, and the Yankees take home the title of best bullpen when discussing those three. Not to mention the fact that all three of those teams are above the 50 win plateau so far this season. Many Astros fans probably remember when it would take an entire season to get to 50 wins and even that was a struggle during those lean years!
Outside of those three, the Cleveland Indians made a nice climb this week given the run they've been on as did the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cleveland continues to receive outstanding performances from each of their starting pitchers and the offense has finally come into form. Early on this season, it seemed like the bats just weren't hitting whatsoever for the Tribe, but that seems to have been washed away and the lineup is finally back to rolling. As for the Diamondbacks, Arizona's starting rotation combined for a 0.75 ERA over this past four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates and no one can overlook the fact that the Dbacks still have the best bullpen in all of baseball. Both the Indians and Dbacks will be fun teams to watch at the trade deadline, as both are expected to be aggressive, but on different fronts. Arizona could afford to add another bat to their lineup and potentially another arm, while the Indians will likely be focused solely on bullpen help.
Another team that made a huge leap was the Philadelphia Phillies who jumped up to the 7th spot from the 13th hole last week. Philadelphia might have lost last night's Sunday Night Baseball matchup against the division rival, Washington Nationals, but they still sport a 7-3 record over their last 10 games and there is plenty to like about their team. Just two weeks ago, it seemed as though the Phillies might be fading into dusk, but they are right back in the thick of this thing and remain 2 and 1/2 games back of first place in the NL East.
As for the team that had the biggest downward spiral this week, that honor belongs to the Chicago Cubs. Chicago has been very hot and cold all season long, but are still relevant in second place in the NL Central and only 2 games back of the division leading, Milwaukee Brewers. Still the Cubs have lost 4 games in a row and was swept over the weekend by a team that was expected to be one of the worst in all of baseball. Over the past week, the Cubs pitching staff has posted a 4.80 ERA over 60 IP and has surrendered 32 earned runs along with 36 walks during that stretch. On the offensive side of things, the Cubs lineup recorded 59 strikeouts over the past week and combined for a .220 batting average along with a .314 on-base percentage.
MVPs of the Week
1. Nelson Cruz (Seattle Mariners): 12-for-24 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 8 RBI, 2 walks, a .500 batting average, and a .538 on-base percentage
2. Francisco Lindor (Cleveland Indians): 8-for-20 with 1 double, 3 home runs, 7 RBI, 5 walks, a .400 batting average, and a .519 on-base percentage
3. Jose Berrios (Minnesota Twins): 0.68 ERA over 13.1 IP with 18 strikeouts and a 0.98 WHIP
4. Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox): 1.29 ERA over 14.0 IP with a .146 Opponent Batting Average Against and a 0.64 WHIP
1. Derek Dietrich (Miami Marlins): 10-for-21 with 3 doubles, 3 home runs, 4 RBI, 1 walk, a .476 batting average, and a .522 on-base percentage
2. Jose Bautista (New York Mets): 6-for-13 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 7 RBI, 10 walks, a .462 batting average, and a .696 on-base percentage
3. Eric Lauer (San Diego Padres): 0.75 ERA over 12.0 IP with a 0.92 WHIP and 11 strikeouts
4. Trevor Williams (Pittsburgh Pirates): 2.08 ERA over 13.0 IP with a .133 Opponent Batting Average Against and a 0.62 WHIP