By: Chris Larson
Hope you all had a great Fourth of July and got to spend the day BBQing, watching fireworks, and most importantly watching some baseball! The Fourth of July is always a great day to do all of those things and reflect on how fortunate we are to live here in the United States even though it might not always seem that way with some of the stuff that happens on a daily basis.
Anyhow, if there was a theme to describe this past week in baseball, it would have to be: offense palooza because it sure felt that way in a couple of different games. The games that fell in line with that theme were the Dodgers 17-1 blowout win over the Pirates on Monday night, the Red Sox 11-4 win against the Nationals on Tuesday, the Nationals 14-12 comeback win over the Marlins on Thursday along with the Phillies 17-5 win over the Pirates Friday. If that wasn't enough offense for you, let's not forget about the three high scoring games on Saturday either when the Red Sox won over the Royals (15-4), the Nationals blew out the Marlins (18-4), and the Dbacks pounced on the Padres (20-5). By the way, that was the most runs the Diamondbacks have ever scored, during a single game, in franchise history!
Now that we have those blowout scores out of the way, let's get to the real deal of what else happened this week along with the Top 15 Power Rankings and who the four MVPs from both leagues were below.
Week in Review
Top 15 Power Rankings
1. Boston Red Sox (62-29) [Ranking Last Week: 3]
2. Houston Astros (61-31) [Ranking Last Week: 2]
3. New York Yankees (58-29) [Ranking Last Week: 1]
4. Seattle Mariners (57-34) [Ranking Last Week: 5]
5. Chicago Cubs (51-36) [Ranking Last Week: 6]
6. Milwaukee Brewers (54-36) [Ranking Last Week: 9]
7. Philadelphia Phillies (49-38) [Ranking Last Week: 7]
8. Cleveland Indians (49-39) [Ranking Last Week: 4]
9. Atlanta Braves (50-39) [Ranking Last Week: 8]
10. Arizona Diamondbacks (50-41) [Ranking Last Week: 10]
11. Oakland Athletics (50-40) [Ranking Last Week: 11]
12. Los Angeles Dodgers (48-41) [Ranking Last Week: 13]
13. Colorado Rockies (46-44) [Ranking Last Week: N/A]
14. St. Louis Cardinals (46-43) [Ranking Last Week: 15]
15. Washington Nationals (45-44) [Ranking Last Week: 14]
Summary of Thoughts
As is the case with every week's report, the top 3 teams are identical once again only in different order this week. Boston comes out on top simply because of their record and the fact that they have 62 wins which is very impressive. Plus, you can't overlook the offensive impact that both J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts have had on their lineup overall. Furthermore, the Houston Astros had a nice week and finished the week amid a 6-game win streak. The Astros have a +188 run differential on the year and have expanded their lead over the Seattle Mariners in the AL West to 3 and 1/2 games. I don't think anyone saw the Mariners being able to beat out the defending champs for the AL West, but it looks like that separation is starting to take place now. As for the Yankees, they are 6-4 over their last 10 games, but have the fewest wins among the three teams. Still, the Yankees have a very impressive roster, as has been mentioned numerous times before, and plenty of talent on their big league club.
In regard to the 4 and 5 spots, Seattle moves up to the 4 spot because of their record and the fact that they are 7-3 over their last 10 games. For the Mariners, right now is an exciting time because it appears as though the team will finally break it's postseason drought and will no longer be the only pro team that hasn't made the playoffs over the last 17 years. That is assuming that everything continues to go well for the team and you know if it does, Jerry Dipoto will not shy away from adding to the big league roster at the trade deadline. The Cubs take hold of the 5th spot as they have played well as of late and continue to keep the pressure on the Milwaukee Brewers for the first spot in the NL Central.
Also in the Top 10, the Milwaukee Brewers made the largest gain of any team listed and rightfully so. Milwaukee continues to play a dominating force of baseball and has the best record in the National League which deserves plenty of credit. With that being said, Milwaukee still needs to make a big splash move at the trade deadline and the Cubs appear as though they will pull off the division win, but it will be a fascinating race to watch going down the stretch regardless of the final outcome. As for the team that moved down the most, the Cleveland Indians, it is certainly no knock to them. Cleveland got lost 2 out of 3 to the Oakland Athletics over the weekend, which was a bit of a knock for them considering the grand scheme of things. Still, the Indians are a team that no one wants to play in October and are very capable of moving up in the rankings at anytime.
Finishing out this thoughts section, it was difficult to not include the Oakland Athletics in the Top 10 considering how they continue to play and the fact that they beat the Cleveland Indians 2 games in a row, but it's hard to put them ahead of other teams like the Phillies, Braves, and Diamondbacks considering how good all three of those teams are. Oakland has been a very big surprise and who knows if they will ultimately make the postseason or not, but regardless of the final result, this has been a tremendous progressive season for the A's and one that they hopefully build off moving forward because the core and the talent is certainly there. Now, Oakland just needs to focus on keeping that core intact and adding on complimentary pieces to go along with that core.
MVPs of the Week
1. Avisáil Garcia (Chicago White Sox): 9-for-27 with 1 double, 5 home runs, 7 RBI, 2 walks, a .333 batting average, and a .367 on-base percentage
2. Mookie Betts (Boston Red Sox): 10-for-27 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 3 RBI, 3 walks, a .370 batting average, and a .452 on-base percentage
3. Mike Fiers (Detroit Tigers): 1.29 ERA over 14.0 IP with a .160 Opponent Batting Average Against and a 0.71 WHIP
4. Nathan Eovaldi (Tampa Bay Rays): 1.38 ERA over 13.0 IP with 14 strikeouts and a 0.77 WHIP
1. Wil Myers (San Diego Padres): 6-for-20 with 1 double, 1 triple, 4 home runs, 8 RBI, 5 walks, a .300 batting average, and a .440 on-base percentage
2. Charlie Blackmon (Colorado Rockies): 9-for-26 with 3 home runs, 5 RBI, 1 walk, a .346 batting average, and a .357 on-base percentage
3. Junior Guerra (Milwaukee Brewers): 0.82 ERA over 11.0 IP with 12 strikeouts
4. Anibal Sanchez (Atlanta Braves): 2.84 ERA over 12.2 IP with 12 strikeouts and a 0.87 WHIP