Roberts: Tuesday’s Top 10
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- Philadelphia Phillies (1) 82-44
Another week at #1 for the Phillies; who continue to prove their superiority to everybody else in the baseball universe by their stellar play Despite losing 2 of 3 to the Nationals including the final game in heartbreaking fashion what makes the Phillies so daunting is there ability to avoid losing streaks. During the course of a long baseball season every team will go through their struggles. The Phillies have been the exception, think about this sick stat. They have lost back to back games ONCE since June 4.
- New York Yankees (3) 77-48
Leapfrogging the Red Sox in the standings has also helped the Yankees jump ahead of them in the power rankings. As I have said forever, the head to head games mean very little. I mean the Yankees have gotten tarred and feathered by Boston this year, yet still maintain a lead in the AL East. With A-Rod back in the lineup, Derek Jeter making like its 5 years ago, and Curtis Granderson continuing his MVP year, the lineup is as good as anybody’s and the pitching problem has turned into a pitching surplus especially with Phil Hughes finding himself.
- Boston Red Sox (2) 77-50
The Sox are a tad banged up health wise and have a tough challenge this week in dealing with the Texas Rangers. For whatever reason the Sox have really struggled against Texas the last few years, especially CJ Wilson who knocked them off on Monday handing Boston their 4th straight loss to Texas in 2011. Despite the injuries to their lineup the real question remains the rotation after Lester and Beckett. John Lackey may have 11 wins but does anyone in Boston have confidence in him right now to start a Game 3?
- Atlanta Braves (5) 77-52
Brian McCan is back and Jose Constanza has arrived…those two things have contributed to a much improved Atlanta offense. Still not a murders row by any stretch the weak Braves lineup is starting to find its groove. Constanza seemed like a typical no name to burn the Mets, but he has been on fire for weeks now and has actually supplanted Jason Heyward as the primary right fielder. Heyward is obviously the future, but right now Atlanta is looking for offense and is doing the right thing by riding the Constanza train as long as it goes. But what’s really scary about Atlanta is the pitching, we know about the pen, but even with Tommy Hanson out the Braves bring up yet another young arm that looks legit. Beachey, Minor and now Randall Delgado who was very impressive in his major league debut have all shown the depth of the Braves farm system arms.
- Milwaukee Brewers (4) 77-53
The Brewers remain a red hot team…24 of 28 to put some serious air between them and the Cardinals in the NL Central. Not only are they running away with the division, but Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are running away with the MVP award. The question is which Brewer should take it? My vote is for Braun, but both have had incredible MVP years, and it looks quite likely one of them will win it.
- Texas Rangers (7) 74-55
After winning the first 3 games against the Angels in their 4 game series the Rangers had opened up a 7 game lead in the AL West. What happened since are the Angels sending a message that they are not going away that easy. The Rangers had started their 10 game road trip by going 6-0, but losing 3 of the next four has brought the Angels a little bit closer in the race for the west. The Rangers see each other 6 more times…3 this weekend in Texas and 3 to end the season in Anaheim.
- Detroit Tigers (NR) 69-58
The good news is Jose Valverde still hasn’t blown a save this year, the bad news is it looks like it’s inevitable. It never seemed more inevitable than on Sunday when it took an incredible throw by Austin Jackson to shoot down the tying run at the plate in the 9th inning to save the game. Despite that, the Tigers continue to lead the AL Central and their sweep of the Indians over the weekend gave them a bit of breathing room. Everyone is waiting for the White Sox to make their move, but it may be too late.
- Los Angeles of Anaheim (8) 69-59
Yes the Angels are red hot, winners of 4 in a row to answer the 5 game losing streak they had previously but the best news of the week occurred off the field. Jered Weaver who is probably in 2nd place in the AL Cy Young race decided to forego free agency and sign a 5 year contract extension. Though he’s being paid rather handsomely, the Angels don’t have to deal with the predator Red Sox and Yankees making major bids to steal him away in a few years. As far as on the field is concerned, they better perform better against Texas this weekend than they faired last week in losing 3 of 4.
- San Francisco Giants (9) 68-50
Despite Beltran and Brian Wilson’s injury and a stretch where they lost 16 of 24, the Giants are still alive and well in the NL West. Luckily for them the D-Backs have been cooled of considerably (See Below) but what really can help San Francisco is a very favorable schedule leading up to their series against Arizona on Labor Day weekend. They open up a 12 game home-stand Tuesday that starts off with San Diego, Houston and Chicago before their series with Arizona. Better yet after 3 games in San Diego they have another 6 game home-stand against Los Angeles and San Diego again. It is time for the Giants to be bullies to take back control of the NL West.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (10) 69-59
From red hot to ice cold for the clinging to first place Diamondbacks. As we commented on a few weeks ago right here, the D-Backs had a favorable schedule they needed to fatten up on. Mission accomplished as they spanked Houston and the Mets by winning 6 of 7. But they have fallen flat on their face against the beasts of the easts, losing 5 of 6 to the Phillies and Braves. The problem has been the offense, which was held to just 7 runs during the 5 game losing streak.