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Power Rankings: Vol. 6

June 11, 2012
  1. New York Yankees – 35-25 – While the Rangers (4-6 in their last 10) have scuffled the Yankees have excelled lately, going 13-4 in their last 17 games. While they rank a respectable fifth in runs scored in the AL, it’s been their pitching that’s carried them lately. CC Sabathia is 2-1 in his last three starts, going seven innings in all three starts with a 21:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Yanks have won Andy Pettite’s last two starts, in which the old lefty has struck out 18, walked only four and acquired a 1.37 ERA. Phil Hughes (15.1 innings in last two starts, only three earned); Ivan Nova (15 and one); and Hiroki Kuroda (22 innings and only two earned in his last three starts) have been just as good if not better.
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers – 39-22 – The Dodgers are 7-4 since losing Matt Kemp – again – on May 30, and remain five up on the Giants in the NL West. The Dodgers only have four homers in June, and only two regulars hitting above .300 for the month. But they have five regulars out of 10 with at least 20 at-bats in the month who are getting on base at greater than a .355 clip. That’s how they’ve been winning all year: They rank ninth and 16th in runs and slugging, respectively, but their .339 team OBP ranks second for the season.
  3. Tampa Bay Rays – 35-25 – 6-3 in June, including 2-0 in Matt Moore’s two starts in which he’s pitched much better than he has all year. Dating back to May 28, in Moore’s three starts he has 21 innings, a 3.00 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and a 23:6 K:BB. He’s lowered his ERA from 5.07 to 4.59 in those three starts.
  4. Washington Nationals – 36-23 – The Nats just won in Toronto, and have now won four in a row against AL East teams. Edwin Jackson went eight innings and allowed only two earned runs and six base-runners against the third-highest scoring AL team. The Nats starters have a 2.82 ERA in June, which has helped lower their league-leading 2.98 ERA.
  5. Texas Rangers – 35-26 – The Rangers have hit a rough patch, going 4-8 in their last 12, including some embarrassing losses to the A’s. Derek Holland was placed on the DL Thursday and will miss at least 11 more days.
  6. Chicago White Sox – 33-27 – The White Sox are one of the more pleasant stories of the year, with bouncebacks – Adam Dunn (20 homers, .369 OBP, .557 slugging) and Alex Rios (.299/.343/.457, with seven steals and six homers) – and breakouts – Gordon Beckham (eight homers and a .437 slugging since May 3) and Alejandro De Aza (.307/.385/.429, with 17 extra base hits and 13 steals) – to go along with the usual suspects like Paul Konerko and, uh, Paul Konerko. Chris Sale hasn’t been too shabby either: He leads the AL in wins, ERA and WHIP.
  7. Atlanta Braves – 34-26 – The Braves, as well as the Cardinals, are very Jekyll-and-Hyde-ish. The Braves, recently winners of six in a row, have dropped two straight. From May 21 to the 28, they lost eight in a row. To start the season they lost four in a row, but followed that up by two five-game win streaks sandwiched around a lone loss. The answer, obviously, lies in between the two extremes, but leans more toward the winning streaks. But with prolonged slumps like the Braves are capable of – and showed us last year in September – it could be another stressful summer in the A.
  8. Toronto Blue Jays – 31-30 – The Jays lost twice tonight – once to the Nationals and once to the injury bug; Brandon Morrow left in the first inning of tonight’s game with an apparent oblique injury. Oblique injuries are tricky, and I’d guess that Morrow will see some DL time. That’s bad news for the Jays, who rely on Morrow and Ricky Romero as their only two consistent starters.
  9. Los Angeles Angels – 32-29 – Remember when the Angels were out of the playoff hunt in April? That was funny. The Angels are 26-15 since a five-game losing streak ended on April 27. Albert Pujols is finally hitting, and so is Mike Trout, who has 18 extra base hits in only 40 games, to go along with 13 steals and a .348/.404/.544 line.
  10. Baltimore Orioles – 34-26 – The O’s have taken a slight step back recently, but are still well over .500 and rebounded nicely after a six-game losing streak to win four of six from the Sawx and Phillies. The Orioles are 11-5 in one-run games, compared to, say, the 3-11 mark the Jays have, and are 9-2 in extra innings. The secret? A major league-leading 2.37 bullpen ERA, supported by Jim Johnson’s 3.2:1 K:BB, 1.29 ERA and 0.71 WHIP, which have netted him 18 saves; and the sub-2.00 ERAs from Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala, Darren O’Day and Matt Lindstrom, who’ve combined for an 88:30 K:BB.
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