Thursday May 13th, 2010

MLB Power Rankings
21Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 20
How long until heart-attack closer Brian Fuentes relinquishes the job to Fernando Rodney? In eight total appearances Fuentes has blown two saves in six opportunities and has a 7.04 ERA.
 
22Atlanta Braves
Last Week: 23
The Braves may be slumping and in last place in the NL East, but here's one happy occasion for the club: It announced this week that Tom Glavine's No. 47 will be retired in a ceremony this August. Not coincidentally, the left-hander's 17 years with Atlanta coincided with the franchise's glory run, when they won 14 straight division titles and the 1995 World Series, which Glavine nailed down with eight innings of superb shutout pitching in Game 6. All told, he won 244 games for Atlanta, fourth on the Braves' alltime list, trailing only Warren Spahn, Kid Nichols and Phil Niekro. Glavine is one spot ahead of John Smoltz and two in front of Greg Maddux.
 
23Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 15
The Diamondbacks collectively seem to have a very patient approach at the plate, having seen the most pitches per plate appearance of any team in the NL (4.04), a full 0.38 more than the division rival Giants, who have seen the fewest. Of course a lot of those deep counts are because Arizona swings and misses -- a lot. The D-backs lead the majors by missing the baseball on 26.7 percent of their swings despite first baseman Adam LaRoche holding the title as baseball's most discerning with his swings, offering at just 13.3 percent of pitches outside the zone, according to Fangraphs.com. Meanwhile, teammates Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds rank Nos. 1 and 3 in the majors in strikeouts with 47 and 43.
 
24Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 21
You snooze, you lose? That's what kids are taught growing up, that you should seize the moment. Well, Ken Griffey Jr., once known as "The Kid" reportedly missed a turn to pinch hit because he was sleeping in the clubhouse, a charge the team vehemently denies despite the Tacoma News Tribune quoting two players anonymously who say he was. The Mariners are now boycotting that veteran reporter, rather than boycotting the teammates who (allegedly) ratted out Griffey.
 
25Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 27
Who the Indians' closer is only matters so much -- the last-place Indians have only had eight save opportunities all year -- which is why restoring now-healthy Kerry Wood to that role seems so clearly an effort to bolster his trade value. With an expiring contract, the Indians will undoubtedly try to move him at the deadline for a prospect or two.
 
26Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 24
The good news is that 30-something veteran sluggers Paul Konerko (a major-league leading 13 home runs) and Andruw Jones (nine homers) have found the fountain of youth. The bad news is that they're not sharing it with the team's youth, as second baseman Gordon Beckham, 23, is batting just .191 with one homer and Carlos Quentin, 27, is batting .180 with four homers.
 
27Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 26
Seemingly only the Royals would sanction a player's bad habits, but sure enough, on royals.com this week was this story, entitled "Betancourt allowed to catch one-handed." After the poor-fielding shortstop dropped a routine popup (and was subsequently fined by the team), manager Trey Hillman said Betancourt would be allowed to continue attempting to catch popups one handed because that's how he's always done it.
 
28Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 28
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is having a nice season amidst the otherwise difficult Pirates campaign. In addition to batting .317, he is the only player in baseball who has at least 10 doubles, 10 RBIs, 10 walks and 10 stolen bases.
 
29Houston Astros
Last Week: 30
It took until their 33rd game for the Astros, owner of baseball's most anemic offense, to score their 100th run. Don't read too much into that, though. The Astros last failed to hit the century mark of runs through 33 games in 1992, en route to an 81-81 season. The fewest Houston has scored through 33 games is 91 in 1964, a year in which they finished 66-96; the most the 'Stros have scored in 33 games is 193, which they did in 2000 when they had a 72-90 record.
 
30Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 29
It's almost as if Earl Weaver were still managing, only without the talent for three-run homers. The Orioles have the fewest stolen bases in the majors (nine) and are tied with Toronto for fewest sacrifice hits (two).
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