Thursday, July 24, 2008

MLB Power Poll

This blog needs an injection as no one has posted in a over a week. I've been busy at work while I'm sure my colleagues have just been lazy. Last week the poll took a hiatus for the All-star game so we have a lot to catch up on here. Let's take a look at how much the rankings changed since then. A new addition is the Number in Perentheses before the team name. It represents that team's previous ranking. A dash means they were absent from the last edition.

1.) (4) LA Angels of Anaheim (62-39)- LA regains the top slot for the second time. They've somehow took over the top record in baseball by quietly playing error free baseball over the past 2 weeks. The Halos have won 7 of 8 and something that's been missing all year (the offense) is finally starting to get into gear. They've scored 11+ runs twice since the all-star break. It's starting to look like K Rod is gonna set the record for saves in a season. He's 15 away from tying Bobby Thigpen with 2 months to go in the season.

2.) (3) Chicago Cubs (60-42)- The Cubbies make their highest appearance on the Poll since hitting #1 four weeks ago. They've got the top record in the NL, but are only 1 up on the streaking Brewers. It's important that they start taking a page from Milwaukee and start a streak of their own. They go for their 3rd in a row tonight against the Marlins, but haven't won more than 3 straight in a month and a half.

3.) (5) Boston Red Sox (60-43)- The Red Sox will get a Huge boost tonight in their lineup when David Ortiz returns against the Yankees. Big Papi has been MIA since the beginning of June and he couldn't have picked a better time to return. The Red Sox are tied atop the NL East and will need to put on a good show this weekend if they don't want to be in a 3 way war with the Yanks and Rays. It's been awhile since a Boston/New York matchup has actually been as important as the media is making it out to be. Tonight it's a battle of the aces and J. Chamberlain faces J. Beckett.

4.) (6) Milwaukee Brewers (59-43)- The Brew Crew is by far the hottest team in baseball right now. With 8 straight wins under their belts, Milwaukee is just a game back of the Cubs in the NL Central and have a 3 game lead over STL in the Wild Card race (the team they just swept). The CC Sabathia trade has give the Brewers an enormous advantage in pitching depth over the rest of the league. He's 4-0 with CG in his past 3 games. A spectacular series looms next week as Chicago travels to Wisconsin for a 4 game set.

5.) (1) Chicago White Sox (57-43)- Big drop for the Chi Sox this week. Their record isn't awful in their last 10 (4-6), but they've been past by teams that are just superior right now. At one point it looked like the White Sox were going to run away with the NL Central, but a combination of their lackluster play and the resurgence of Minnesota and Detroit has left their title in the balance.

6.) (2) Tampa Bay Rays (59-42)- The Rays are playing themselves out of contention with just a 4-10 record since the second week of July. Their schedule hasn't even been difficult. Their last 4 series have been against the A's, Brew Jays, Royals, and Indians. They're gonna need to turn things around quickly if they want to stay afloat in the ultra competitive AL East (3 teams in the Top 7 of this Poll).

7.) (9) New York Yankees (56-45)- The Yanks are on a sizzling 6 game win streak and could be tied atop the AL East with a sweep of the BoSox and 3 straight losses by the Rays. Early on it didn't look like New York would be able to overcome the loss of Chien Ming Wang, but Joba Chamberlain has filled in admirably and has become the new ace of a surprisingly durable staff that includes vets Mike Mussina and Andy Pettite. "The Hut" has much to prove tonight against last year's Cy Young Runner Up Josh Beckett.

8.) (-) New York Mets (55-47)- The Mets have been arguably just as good as their cross-town rivals. After a 10 game win sreak, the Amazin's just won their last 2 against their division foes to the south. They just passed Philly with the last win to take a 1 game lead in the NL East. They've got another big series against the next team in the poll with the fresh faced Mike Pelfrey taking the hill tonight. He had won 6 in a row before imploding in his last start at Cincy.

9.) (8) St. Louis Cardinals (57-47)- The red birds were looking to make a statement in their series with the Brewers this week. They made a statement alright, but it wasn't the one they were looking for. Milwaukee swept the Cards in the Lou to go pull 3 ahead in the standings. The Cardinals now get to look forward to an 11 game stretch against NL East division contenders starting with the Mets tonight.

10.) (10) Philadelphia Phillies (54-48)- The Phillies got a taste of their own medicine this week. Last season, it was Philly sneaking up on the Mets to take the division lead and snag a playoff spot, but this year the tables were turned, albeit a lot earlier in the year. Philadelphia still has plenty of time to regain control, but they absolutely must trade for a pitcher if they want to feel better about their chances of taking the NL East crown.

Others Receiving Votes: Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins

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