Samstag, 10. Mai 2014

MLB Guardian Liberty Voice Power Rankings: Detroit Tigers Kings Again

After a three week drop from the top spot, the Detroit Tigers climb back into the No. 1 spot,  and are kings again in the Guardian Liberty Voice baseball writers’ power rankings of the 30 MLB teams. After a eight-game winning streak, they jump five places to the top spot, dropping the Milwaukee Brewers to No. 2.
While the five place climb is very impressive, no team saw a more dramatic increase than the Miami Marlins, who jumped 14 places, after winning nine of ten games. The Seattle Mariners jumped nine places, as the GLV baseball writers boast their ranking following an 8-2 stretch.
The Atlanta Braves saw the biggest drop, falling from the No. 2 ranking to No. 8.
Detroit Tigers
1. Detroit Tigers: (+5) The Tigers are making mincemeat of the AL Central as they now hold a five-game lead over the 18-17 Chicago White Sox. Detroit is riding an eight-game winning streak right now, and their winning percentage for the season is now 100 points higher than the closest AL team. Miguel Cabrera is looking like his old in the first week of May, posting a .346/.393/.731 slash line with two homers and 10 RBI. Max Scherzer has continued to prove himself worthy of an enormous contract and the rest of the rotation is following suit. While the bullpen situation is worrisome, Joel Hanrahan should be ready in about a month, so he should provide help. Even with the shaky bullpen, the Tigers rank second in the AL in ERA, and with the highest OPS in the AL as well, it will be a difficult task for any team to dethrone Detroit this season.– Jough Brasch, Tigers Tale

Milwaukee Brewers
2. Milwaukee Brewers: (-1) Milwaukee Brewers are having a bit of a slump the last two weeks. Between injuries, pitching and hitting, the Brewers have had a hard time getting anything going the last few series they have played. Injuries have made the Brewers switch-up their strategy, and there will be some growing pains in that area. The pitching has not been consistent and the hitters have been struggling as well. They will need to regroup and settle in. Although they have not been completely impressive, they are still top dogs in MLB and should remain there.– Jabar Morarend, Brewers Beat

Oakland Athletics
3. Oakland Athletics: (0) The injuries are mounting up, but unfortunately for their AL West competitors, so is their win total. Even with a 5-5 record in their last ten games, they still maintain a lead in the division, and are getting contributions from all parts of their team. Manager Bob Melvin is making himself an early Manager of the Year candidate. – Rich Peters

San Francisco Giants
4. San Francisco Giants: (0) The surprising Giants continue to play well, and are holding off the hard-charging Rockies. Matt Cain went down, but they have gotten consistent pitching across their staff, and their line-up has gotten big hits when they need them.– Rich Peters

Colorado Rockies
5. Colorado Rockies: (+4) The Rockies continue to win series, and are getting some more-than-adequate pitching to go with their league-leading bats. Nolan Arenado is riding a 27-game hit streak. Nine of the team’s regular players have batting averages of over .300. Troy Tulowitzki leads the team at .414. The team has gone through a health crisis of a sort, with a virus making its way through the clubhouse. C Wilin Rosario and IF Josh Rutledge have been placed on the 15-day DL with high fevers and headaches.– Chuck Podhaisky,Rockies Rundown

Washington Nationals
6. Washington Nationals: (+4) The Nationals are finally getting more consistent pitching from their staff, but have yet to put together the kind of streak that this kind of team is capable of. Injuries are keeping this team from really going viral, but now the Doug Fister is returning, expect this team to really take off.– Robert Pannier, Nationals Nation

New York Yankees
7. New York Yankees: (-2) The Bombers have been picked apart left and right, losing two series in the last week. Things did not look good heading to play the Angels, a team the Yankees often struggle with. As part of Derek Jeter’s retirement extravaganza, the Angels gave him a surfboard. Jeter then repaid the Angels kindness by hitting his first home run of the year. The Yankees need his bat to liven up, as they have lacked some punch of late.– Brian Moore, Bomber Boulevard

Atlanta Braves
8. Atlanta Braves: (-6) After going on a 7-game losing streak, the winning ways of the Braves have faded — along with the early hype surrounding the team. While the pitching has been above average, it is Atlanta’s offense that has put them in a slump. The Braves’ batters have been awful at hitting with runners on base in basically every aspect, and if the team hopes to make it to the playoffs, this will have to drastically change.– Glen Parris, Bravos Beat

Baltimore Orioles
9. Baltimore Orioles: (+5) The O’s are battling the injury bug pretty hard right now, but still sit atop the AL East with the Yankees. If the Orioles can continue the sweep of the Rays and beat the lowly Astros in the next series, it should set up for a big matchup against Detroit at home.– Ryne Vyles, O’s-Zone

Miami Marlins
10. Miami Marlins(+14) Riding a five game win streak, and winning nine of their last ten games, the Marlins have jumped into first place in the NL East. They have become one of the best hitting teams in baseball, and their young pitching staff is gelling and making a statement that they are ready for primetime.– Robert Pannier, Marlins Matters

Los Angeles Dodgers
11. Los Angeles Dodgers: (-4) L.A. returns home after dropping consecutive series’ on the road to the Marlins and Nationals. Clayton Kershaw has made his return and the Dodgers have yet to get it going on all cylinders. Fifteen of the team’s 16 losses have come when they score four runs or less, and in ten of those games they scored less than two runs. The Dodgers still rank in the top ten in most pitching and hitting categories, but consistency has been an issue. Puig, Gonzalez, Uribe and especially Dee Gordon have been hot at the plate, but the rest of the lineup needs to start chipping in more.– Justin Hussong

St. Louis Cardinals
12. St. Louis Cardinals: (-1) The roller coaster continues for the defending National League Champs. Just when it seemed that all-star Allen Craig was finally starting to get his bat going he goes on a 1 for 20 skid and gets a night off from manager Mike Matheny. Adam Wainwright keeps them going though, winning his seventh game over the Braves this week.– Mick Varner, Cardinals Corner

Texas Rangers
13. Texas Rangers: (-5) The Rangers are in a mini-slide, losing seven of their last ten games. Prince Fielder is starting to hit, but he is still well off the production the team expected from him. An inconsistent pitching staff is causing serious problems for this team.– Robert Pannier, Rangers Round-up

Boston Red Sox
14. Boston Red Sox: (+2) Boston is still yet to put together a winning streak of three games, but things are beginning to round into form. The Sox have won four of five, taking a series against the A’s and sweeping the Reds in a two-game set. On the field, Boston has finally put together a complete trip through the starting rotation without any hiccups, as Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront have looked better of late, after disastrous starts to their seasons. The returns of Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks have paid immediate dividends on the lineup, as has Dustin Pedroia’s embracing of the leadoff spot, which was a black hole early on.– Justin Hussong

Chicago White Sox
15. Chicago White Sox: (+2) The White Sox have won four straight as they have taken advantage of a punchless Cubs team to open up the month of May. The Sox bullpen continued its stellar work on Wednesday, extending its scoreless streak to 20 1/3 innings.– Jeremy Mika, Dirty Laundry

Los Angeles Angels
16. Los Angeles Angels: (-3) The Angels finally found themselves above .500 last week, and hoped to continue their momentum and make an early push for first in the AL West. However, after losing back-to-back series against the Rangers and Yankees, the Halos find themselves below the mark and muddled in the middle of the league once again. LA suffered another devastating loss when third baseman David Freese was hit by a pitch, resulting in him missing extended time with a finger injury, There is a small silver lining for the Angels, however, despite the loss of Freese. Rookie CJ Cron has been brought up to help fill the offensive void, and is red hot. Cron collected three hits and a pair of RBI in his major league debut, including a first pitch single in his first ever at bat that brought home a run. He is currently batting .421. – Chris Chisam, Halo Heartbeat

New York Mets
17. New York Mets: (-5) A sweep at Miami has sent the New York Mets down to fourth place in their division. The Mets were shutout in the last two games against, scoring only three runs total in a series where they did not even face Marlins ace Jose Fernandez. The team is going to fade without hitting, and in an effort to spark something they have recalled Wilmer Flores from AAA. Flores had been playing shortstop in the minors this year, a position he is ill-suited for but one the Mets desperately need improvement from. They might be willing to sacrifice defensive value there to get another quality bat in the lineup.– Brian Moore, Metropolitan Avenue

Seattle Mariners
18. Seattle Mariners: (+9) Winning eight of their last ten games, the Mariners are on a hot streak and have vaulted themselves into second place in the AL West. Kyle Seager had a hot week, blasting four home runs in four days. The return of Hisashi Iwakuma has made this one of the most dominating pitching staffs in baseball.– Robert Pannier

Toronto Blue Jays
19. Toronto Blue Jays: (+1) The Blue Jays are looking to get an identity, as they have played just well enough to stay above .500. The hitting has been incredible, especially Jose Bautista who has reached base in 36 straight games. The Jays need someone other than Mark Buehrle on the starting staff to put together consistent starts. If they can get one or two others of their starters to pitch in, watch out.– Robert Pannier, Blue Jays Perch

Kansas City Royals
20. Kansas City Royals(-5) Until this team decides to start hitting, mediocrity is as far as they are going. Their pedestrian run-production is wasting solid pitching performances, and until they are able to get some power from their line-up they are going to continue to struggle to win games.– Robert Pannier,Royals Proclamation

Cincinnati Reds
21. Cincinnati Reds: (-3) Poor Bryan Price. The Cincinnati Reds’ rookie manager is getting what he can out of his team but the most injured team in Major League Baseball continues to put players on disabled list as quickly as they come off. Cincinnati had worked their way to five games behind the Milwaukee Brewers and one win from a .500 record. Then Jay Bruce goes on the disabled list and they drop two straight.– Mick Varner, Reds Rundown

Minnesota Twins
22. Minnesota Twins: (-3) 3-7 in their last ten games and currently struggling through a three-game losing streak, the Twins find themselves in last in the AL Central. The hitting is starting to struggle, as Trevor Plouffe and Chris Colabello are coming back to earth, and the hitting is no longer able to mask the poor performances of their pitching staff.– Robert Pannier, Twins Speak

Tampa Bay Rays
23. Tampa Bay Rays: (-1) The Rays remain winless in four games this season against the Orioles, losing 4-3 last night after reliever Brandon Gomes gave up a two run shot to Jonathon Schoop. The one bright spot was an effective 5 2/3 inning starting effort by Cesar Ramos. Alex Cobb may get off of DL and back into the rotation by the end of May. David Price takes the mound tonight to close out the series against the O’s.– William Costolo, Tampa Bay Tidbits

Philadelphia Phillies
24. Philadelphia Phillies(-3) The Phillies had reached above .500, but a four-game losing streak dropped them to last place in the NL East. The aging team is playing above the expectations of many analysts, but they are going to need a consistent stretch to make a run in this division.– Robert Pannier

Cleveland Indians
25. Cleveland Indians: (0) A three-game winning streak moves the Indians out of the last place in the AL Central. With the Minnesota Twins in town, they have a chance to make some real strides to improve their record, and to put last place in the rearview mirror. 4-11 road record is hurting this team’s chances of getting hot.– Robert Pannier, Tribe Tribune

Pittsburgh Pirates
26. Pittsburgh Pirates: (0) The Pirates are still in free fall, manager Clint Hurdle is still managing a non-existent offense and general manager Neil Huntington is still keeping hot prospect Gregory Polanco at AAA affiliate Indianpolis. The Pirates continue to try and hang on until Polanco is allowed to come up in June and closer Jason Grilli and catcher Russell Martin return from injury. – Mick Varner, Pirates Parcel

San Diego Padres
27. San Diego Padres: (-4) Padres continue their struggles at the bat and now rank last in MLB in four offensive categories, BA (.215), OBP (.266), runs (91), and slugging (.326). Friars are looking to get Chase Headley and Carolos Quentin back in the lineup in a few days, once they complete their rehab in the Minors. – Robert Pannier

Chicago Cubs
28. Chicago Cubs: (0) The Cubs started the month on a sour note in the Crosstown Classic versus the White Sox. They have lost the first three games of a four-game series and scored a grand total of six runs in that time. The usually calm and cool manager Rick Renteria even got himself ejected on Wednesday for arguing balls and strikes.– Jeremy Mika, IvyLine

Arizona Diamondbacks
29. Arizona Diamond Backs: (+1) The Diamondbacks have taken two series’ in a row and are consistently getting quality starts out of Arroyo and McCarthy. If the D-Backs can remain steady on this road trip and start taking care of business at home, by mid-May Arizona could be creeping back near .500… a good sign heading into summer.– Ryne Vyles, Snake Pit

Houston Astros
30. Houston Astros: (-1) As the other teams in this division start to put it together, the unfortunate recipient of this is the Astros. They are getting no hitting at all, and despite the surprising performance of their pitching staff, the pitchers are unable to mask the anemic performance by their hitters. If they cannot get any improvement in their line-up, the Astros may be looking at a 115 loss season.– Robert Pannier

The Guardian Liberty Voice Baseball Writers MLB Power Rankings comes out every Saturday. See Previous Weeks Rankings

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