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RED LETTER DAY. Mark it on your calendars. The day the Baltimore Orioles crawled out of the #14 spot in the AL Power Rankings. Let’s put it this way. In Central Park softball beer leagues, sometimes there’s a pitcher who has walked in about 2934 runs.

Then he throws a sort of strike, questionable at best, but compared to his litany of “pitches” that cleared the backstop, this one was not bad. So the ump calls it a strike. Maybe it’s not deserved, but come on, give the guy a break.

Similarly, do the O’s really warrant relinquishing their notorious spot? Maybe not. But they’ve won their last 4 and have actually played .500 ball in the last 10 weeks, a first for this scrappy little no-armed club. Sorry, Tribe. I don’t make the rules. Can’t fight City Hall, you know?

The Yanks slip from the #1 spot only because I can’t in good conscience claim that anyone other than the Southsiders were the hottest team in the league. (I have my moments of objectivitiy. Not many, but they exist.)

Here it comes. Enjoy the novelty, B-more. Relish your day in the sun.

14. Tribe (12)
You should be ashamed of yourselves. It’s like when the kid in “Searching for Bobby Fischer” lost in the first round to some Also-Ran no-name. In 7 moves. You let the O’s take you down. How can you live with yourselves? And what's worse, even your farm system is out of control. 3 minor leaguers got felony charges filed against them, after leaving a guy in Ohio with rib and lung injuries in a bar fight. Which is more hurt than any of the pro-level Indians have inflicted on pretty much anyone lately...

13. Royals (9)
The Royals may very well be the weirdest team in baseball right now. They CONSISTENTLY have the best BA and hitting every week. Yet…nada. To add insult to injury to bizarreness, Guillen’s hitting streak has reached 21. Honestly, the way this season is going, I wouldn’t be surprised if Guillen reached 73 or something. Couldn’t be much more improbable than the 4 no-no’s, right?

12. O’s (14)

Out of the frying pan…and into the #13 spot. Don’t look at it as unlucky. And even if it is, you know you’ll be back at the bottom next week anyway, so it’s only temporary. PS, you guys are the only team whose 1B, none of them, have hit a HR yet. How is that even possible? Seriously.

11. J’s (8)
Sweet Christ, what happened to you guys? .307 OBP? Embarrassing. You guys were hot, but as I’ve said more than once, riding the coattails of past-their-prime bats (cough…Vernon Wells, Jose Bautista..cough) is going nowhere good. TRUST ME. I’ve seen it happen for like 8 straight years with the Yankees. Shawn Marcum is your Adam Banks, though. I like him. He’s good stuff, and manages to hold lefties to .169.

10. A’s (11)
Maybe 5 is the magic number this year…the Yankees are 6-23 when their opponents score 5 or more runs. The A’s are…wait for it…23-1 when they score at least 5 runs. Incredible. For the team that pioneered the Money Ball movement, I think this should be their next big viral marketing.

Focus your ENTIRE game on scoring 5 runs. Screw pitching, defense, etc. 5 runs. That’s all any Oaklander should think about. (Oh, and Arod. Sorry, forgot I had to consider Dallas Braden’s all consuming trains of thought.) But, speaking of pitching, I’m liking the output from Neo-Gio. 80Ks in 16 starts? Not bad, kid.

9. [Devil] Rays (10)

And the slumping continues. I can see this getting worse too. The wheels are coming off. Carl Crawford hurt himself making a throw on Wednesday. He’s day to day, and you know you’re not going anywhere without Superman in the lineup. There’s tension in the ranks, the players are fighting (and not with other teams.

Longorio and Upton got into a face-in-face standoff in the dugout, when Longorio accused BJ of not putting in enough effort in the field.) Oh yeah, and they’ve just suffered their 2nd no-hit of the season. How much does that suck? Shut down not once but twice in the span of 3 months. How do you come back from that? I don’t think you do.

8. Tiggers (5)

Not your best week boys. While Miguel Cabrera continues to put up completely ridiculous numbers (332 BA, 20 HR, 64 ribbies), the rest of the lineup isn’t really pulling its weight. I suppose now would be as good a time as any to broach the subject of why in God’s name does Miguel Cabrera have a nickname? Particularly given the volumes of similar sounding names in the league..

And this isn’t the only way the Tiggers are getting slighted. After the notorious 28-out perfecto, yet another ump has admitted the err of his ways, when he conceded that the called 3rd strike on Damon with the bases loaded…was actually a ball. A ball that would’ve tied the game. What the hell is wrong with these umps? Hasn’t Detroit suffered enough?

7.M’s (13)
Well, you’ve really moved up considerably Seattle. Good for you. 7-3 in the last 10 is pretty good. I just want to point out that you’re playing the Yankees this week, so don’t get too comfortable…especially since we have an ax to grind with a certain former Phillies pitcher who was a little too cocky last October.

But hey, we’re the ones who should be scared, right? Seattle just re-acquired Russell Branyan, who’s about 1000 years old and essentially the purest definition of “on the decline.” You know an offense is getting desperate when this is their solution to one of the most abysmal line-ups baseball has ever seen this century.

6. Twinkies (7)

You’re getting a gift being seeded this high. You really should be hovering past the double-digit range, but since I like you guys, and I still see the effort, I’m gonna help you out. I’m gonna do so DESPITE what I’m about to say: Carl Pavano has been excellent. VOMIT.

He’s won his last 2 starts on undeniably brilliant outings, and what’s worse, he won going up against Halladay and Santana. WHICH MEANS, that Carl “If I made a dime for every day I was on the DL for the Yanks…oh wait, that’s actually what I literally made” Pavano is the first major leaguer in more than 20 years to earn consecutive complete-game victories, both on the road, over past Cy Young Award winners.

You’re on your own next week, Minny. Ship up or shape out.

5. World Series Champions (1)

It really does pain me to do this. But the Power Rankings may be the only time all week I actually try to divorce myself from unapologetic bias. They struggled against the NL, plain and simple. I mean, they still dominate, they’re the Yankees, and the HUGE comeback win against Torre’s Dodgers was less of a win, more of a statement. “Yeah, remember us? Step off, league. We’re back.”

It’s like I said on facebook, which ignited fiery debate from an old high school friend who, if memory serves, would sooner die than acquiesce a point or principle. “Interleague games are like hanging out with ugly chicks. If a really hot girl goes out with frumpy friends, she risks having her entire stock compromised—she looks less good.

But if an average looking girl goes out with frumpy friends, she ends up looking like a million bucks by comparison.” The Yanks don’t look good when they go out with their ugly friends. Teams like the Mariners do. Also, ASG break is coming up…and Yankee fans know what that means…2nd half of the season…(evil laugh)

4. Angels (6)

God, Anaheim. Can you be any more irrelevant? Either own the division or not. All you ever do is threaten to steal the lead from Texas, with varying degrees of effort. Their ERA is pretty bad (4.44) but they strike out a lot of batters. They’re middle of the road in most batting categories, which says one thing and one thing only to anyone who’s ever managed a fantasy team, or anyone who’s ever managed a brain cell: The Angels need to trade. Otherwise, they can say goodbye to the hope of every being a contender.

3. BoSox (4)
For Boston fans, this is bittersweet. Congratulations, boys. #3! Besting the Yankees! Super! Then there’s this, an email I got from the Likable Boston Fan Brigade (pop: 4)… “Sox are fucked. Pedroia fractured is foot. Buchholz went down yesterday. Add Ellsbury, Beckett, Hermida, Lowell. Bad luck. I'm not sure how they'll do it without Pedroia, and he was just starting to go on a tear. Fuck. Lester and Lincecum today. Should be fun to watch.”

(Btw, check out this guy’s blog, trust me he gives New England fans a good name, which is about as easy as sustaining interest in the World Cup now that the US is out.)

2. Rangers (2)
I like this team a lot. They’re so so good, yet only seem to play with any urgency once the other scrubs in their division start giving them a run for their money. They’ve won 20 of their last 25, with a sweet 11-game streak amidst all this. Hamilton is playing like a beast, as evidenced by the 468-foot rocket he hit Sunday—the 2nd longest ever at their stadium. In June, he’s banked 47 hits, which puts him 1 shy of breaking the all-time franchise record, which also succeeded in raising his .281 average to .346.

1. Southsiders (3)

If you thought Josh Hamilton’s bid for Most Improved was impressive, it’s nothing compared to what the ChiSox have done. I can’t believe that a month ago this club was already (understandably) writing off their season. It just goes to show you the whole “it ain’t over til it’s over” maxim actually holds some truth to it. (Sort of like the other day when I saw Cervelli make it to first on a dropped 3rd strike. I never see that happen!)

The rotation is dealing like whoa (cough…Gavin Floyd..cough). They’re 15-2 in the last 17, and find themselves a mere 1.5 games behind in the division. Certainly the next month will confirm whether the Sox have the potential to execute the finest turnaround in recent MLB history (or even not-so-recent MLB history)…or if it’s fleeting luck. After a meh series against the Royals, they’ll have to contend with the Angels and Rangers.

THEN we’ll see. But for now, enjoy the top, Chi-Town. Well earned. Well earned and hella weird. No offense.

1 Comment:

  1. tim said...
    I too am disgusted with the amazing performance of one Carl Pavano. Three hit shut out against the Mets? Are you freakin kidding me?! And is he working part-time in a pizza shop with that mustache? Hey-a who wants-a pizza pie? I also thought that the Champs would be at least in the second position just based on the fact that is the highest we should be at all this season. But we were very sloppy against the senior circuit this season. Esp that one game in Zona. On regards to the Indians goes back to the old joke. A family is in court because the parents are getting divorced. So the judge says: " Son, I'm leaving you in the custody of your father." The kid says "Please, don't leave me with my dad, he beats me." The judge says "Ok, I'll leave you in the custody of your mother then." The kid replies again: "not my mother she beats me too." Finally the judge asks the kid who he wants to live with. He says "The Cleveland Indians." When the judge asked why, the kids responds "because they don't beat anyone." Thus concludes my first ever post to a blog of yours. Let's go Yankees!

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