Thursday, June 26, 2008

MLB Power Poll

Lotttttta action this week. After a stagnant Power Poll in the last edition, there were plenty of movers and shakers thit time around, especially in the bottom of half of the poll. While the top 3 look have been safe lately, there are a few teams in the middle that are making some real noise in hopes of knocking the big dogs off of their perches. Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks because there could be trouble brewing for baseball's elite.

1.) LA Angels (48-31)- The Angels finally take over the top spot to become the fourth team to hold the distinction in the poll. There's very little separation between the top 3 clubs, but the Halos get the edge by virtue of their superior play over the past week. They swept the suddenly chilly Phils and won their most recent series against the Nats. Next up is the battle of LA as the Angels visit the Dodgers.

2.) Boston Red Sox (49-32)- Boston was looking very shaky up until Monday. Since the beginning of the week, they've won 3 of 4. Dice K is back, but he looked miserable in his last start lasting 1 IP and giving up 7 runs. Ouch. He'll look to rebound against Houston tommorow. The Red Sox still hold the best record at home in all of baseball, but they won't be seeing Fenway for a longggg time. They embark on their longest road stretch so far this year as they play their next 10 games away from Boston.

3.) Chicago Cubs (49-30)- The Cubs were dangerously close to losing their top spot last week after getting swept by the Rays last week, but they followed that with a sweep of their own over their cross-town rivals, so I thought maybe they'd righted the ship. Now they've lost 2 of 3 to the pathetically mediocre Orioles. I can't in good standing keep them on top any longer. The NL is clearly the weaker league right now and therefore the North siders take a tumble.

4.) Tampa Bay Rays (47-31)- The Rays have stormed back into the spotlight with wins in 7 of their last 9 games including two sweeps. Tampa's offense really sparked this week against Florida scoring 27 runs in three games. Today they also received a beautiful performance from Matt Garza who has finally started to pan out for Tampa. He tossed a one hit gem to shut down the Marlins. Get ready for a heavy weight matchup in the Sunshine state early next week as Boston comes to Tampa for a 3game set.

5.) St. Louis Cardinals (45-35)- Back to the NL where the Red Birds represent the number 2 team from the senior circuit. St. Louis has actually been outplayed by Milwaukee over the past couple of weeks, but with the much welcome return of Albert Pujols (4 for 4 against the Tigers today), the Cards can't be denied the 5 hole. They'll have to bring the heat in their next series against KC. The Royals swept them last week.

6.) Milwaukee Brewers (43-35)- That's right, the top 3 teams in the National League are all represented by NL Central teams. It shouldn't really surprise anyone as the division is the best and most competitive in all of baseball. The hottest team in the league has to be the Brew Crew, who have only dropped two contests in their last 10 games. Milwaukee's pitching staff looked pretty bleak after Yovanni Gallardo was lost for the year with a leg injury, but Manny Parra has stepped up to pitch respectably and Ben Sheets continues to dazzle the competition and the roster actually looks like it can hang with the Brewers high-octane offense.

7.) New York Yankees (42-36)- The Central is clearly a cut above the other divisions in the NL, but in the AL it's all about the East. Did you notice that the only team not from these two divisions in the top 7 is the Angels. Interesting. The Yankees are playing inspired ball lately, but they can't really gain any ground on the rest of the division because of how well the Red Sox and Rays are playing. They should be able to find some extra motivation over the next week as two of their series are against their two biggest rivals (Mets and Bo Sox).

8.) Minnesota Twins (43-36)- The only team hotter than the Brewers are the Twins. They've won 9 in a row and are right on the heels of Chicago for the AL Central lead. It appeared that the White Sox would never be toppled from atop their mountain, but things have changed with the sudden power surge in Minnesota. They've scored 57 runs during their win streak. The M brothers have been outstanding lately with Joe Mauer looking for a batting crown and Justin Morneau trying to top the league in RBI.

9.) Chicago White Sox (43-35)- The Chi Sox were able to squeak out a win today to hold their razor thin division lead over Minny. That lead could be non-existant next week because they've got a date with the Cubbies starting tommorrow. The one thing going for the White Sox is that they're home for their next 10 contests where they're 24-11 on the season.

10.) Philadelphia Phillies (43-36)- The Philles are very very lucky to hang onto the last spot in this poll. They've looked like absolute garbage lately (2-8 in their last 10). Sure they lead the NL East, but that's the same as the D-backs topping the NL West. Both divisions blow. It's kind of ridiculous. Most people thought that the East would be the dominant division not only in the NL, but possibly all of baseball. Instead the Mets and Braves have greatly underachieved and the Phillies are looking more like pretenders instead of contenders.

Also Receiving Votes: Oakland A's, Florida Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers

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