By Joe Lemire
June 10, 2010
MLB Power Rankings
11 Texas Rangers
Last Week: 11
Remember Josh Hamilton, circa 2008? He's back, albeit with a couple fewer moonshots, but after struggling with injuries and at the plate in '09 Hamilton is breaking out in '10. He has batted .429 with three homers and 10 RBIs in the past six games of the Rangers' homestand and has hit .372 in the No. 5 hole for the past 20 games. The downside for fans, however, is that his batting practice sessions are no longer reminiscent of his otherworldly power display in the '08 All-Star Game Home Run Derby. "It's not for a show," Hamilton told the Texas beat reporters. "It's for working on things."
12 Los Angeles Angels
Last Week: 20
Portly former Red Sox general manager Lou Gorman once said, "The sun will rise, the sun will set and tomorrow I'll eat lunch." Increasingly, the new guarantee is that the Angels will contend for the AL West. Only once in the past nine years have they finished any lower than second and after trailing in the division by five games just before Memorial Day, the Angels surged back to the top, recently winning six in a row and nine of 10 to climb within a half-game of the lead.
13 San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 12
Few, if any, would have guessed that a pitcher not named Tim Lincecum would have all three of the Giants' complete games and both of their shutouts, but Matt Cain has been the club ace over the past three week. Cain hasn't gone fewer than eight innings in his last four starts and allowed just one earned run during that time, a span of 34 innings for a 0.26 ERA.
14 Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 14
Phillies fans can never escape bad attention. From the tired ol' stories involving Santa Claus (booed), Michael Irvin (cheered when injured), J.D. Drew (batteries thrown at) and Tie Domi (attacked in the penalty box) to this year's bunch of fans running onto the field (and getting tasered) and a fan who willfully vomited on someone else, there's a new one: video of a young child appearing to drink out of a beer bottle. (The Phillies say the bottle was empty.)
15 Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 13
Touch football games amongst the Rockies might have more sophisticated passing offenses than most. Colorado often drafts the best-available athlete, which often is someone who played high school or even college quarterback. This week the Rockies selected Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker No. 26 overall and N.C. State signalcaller Russell Wilson No. 140. They join Seth Smith, who backed up Eli Manning at Ole Miss, and Todd Helton, who backed up Peyton Manning at Tennessee. Recent former manager Clint Hurdle, bench coach Jamie Quirk and left fielder Matt Holliday all accepted Division I football scholarships before opting to play baseball instead.
16 Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 15
Armando Galarraga gave up a hit to the first batter he faced in his first start since throwing the now-famous Near-Perfect Game. For more on his grace and umpire Jim Joyce's stress, go check out Tom Verducci's beautiful magazine story this week (with a big reporting assist to Melissa Segura).
17 New York Mets
Last Week: 18
The Mets can do nothing easily, so it perhaps was no surprise that even their placing struggling Oliver Perez on the disabled list raised eyebrows, given recent headlines that the club wanted to make roster space by demoting him to the minors. Major League Baseball investigated and found no wrongdoing, but essentially the message was that even the league thinks Perez has pitched poorly not because he's injured but because he's actually not very good.
18 Washington Nationals
Last Week: 19
You may have heard a little something about Messrs. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. Yep, big week for the Nationals. The presence of Strasburg, now slated to pitch every fifth day, on the active roster gives them a boost.
19 Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 16
Since throwing his perfect game, Dallas Braden is 0-4 in six starts with a 4.75 ERA. Apparently, his teammates expect him to be perfect every time out because they've provided virtually no run support. In those six most recent times Braden has taken the mound -- his mound, thank you very much -- the A's have scored a total of just four runs while he was in the game and only nine runs total.
20 Florida Marlins
Last Week: 17
It wasn't just the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, the game's best pitching prospect, who made his debut Tuesday; so did Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton. Generally regarded as the best hitting prospect in baseball, Stanton had three hits against the Phillies. Both players were likely held out of major-league competition, not for reasons of readiness but for reasons of money and arbitration, creating a veritable "Super 2's-day" of baseball.
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