By Joe Lemire
June 03, 2010
MLB Power Rankings
11 Texas Rangers
Last Week: 11
Vladimir Guerrero once again leads an AL West club in the Triple Crown categories -- only, it's not 2004 anymore. Six years have passed -- though Guerrero is now seven years older -- but Vlad the Impaler is raking again, leading the Rangers with a .335 average, 12 homers and 44 RBIs.
12 San Francisco Giants
Last Week: 13
For few others would a 5-2 record and 3.14 ERA be considered "struggling," but for Tim Lincecum those numbers are a little unsettling, especially since he hasn't gone six full innings in any of his last three starts, during which he's pitched to a 8.22 ERA. Lincecum has failed to complete the sixth in only 17 of his 100 career starts.
13 Colorado Rockies
Last Week: 14
Jim Tracy won his 100th game as Rockies manager on Saturday, the one-year anniversary of his hiring. He took over for Clint Hurdle in May last year, guiding Colorado to a 74-42 record and a wild-card berth; so far this season the club is 28-24, giving Colorado a mark of 102-67 during Tracy's tenure.
14 Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 6
Teams occasionally fall into slumps, but the Phillies are entering some pretty dire straits. In their last 11 games they are just 2-9, capped by a sweep of the now-division-leading Braves. During that time Philadelphia's 4.5-game lead evaporated and has been replaced by a 2.5-game deficit. The bats are mostly to blame: The Phillies have hit just .197 with two home runs and averaged a pitiful 1.3 runs per game during that stretch.
15 Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 9
While Armando Galarraga rightfully deserves most of the headlines for his kinda, sorta perfect game, there was another Tigers pitching performance this week that's as important to the club's outlook this season. Max Scherzer had a 7.29 ERA in eight starts before being demoted to Triple A for two weeks, where he regained his command and allowed only one earned run in 15 innings. Scherzer then returned to the Tigers on Sunday and threw 5.2 shutout innings in which strikeouts accounted for 14 of his 17 outs. Detroit was sufficiently convinced of Scherzer's progress that it traded Dontrelle Willis to Arizona on Tuesday.
16 Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 15
On the list of attributes describing the AL leader in sacrifice bunts, one would hardly expect to find "Oakland Athletic" and "first baseman" among them, yet Daric Barton leads the league with eight.
17 Florida Marlins
Last Week: 16
The Marlins have hit a new money-grubbing low: After only 25,086 fans attended Phillies starter Roy Halladay's perfect game at Sun Life Stadium (65.1 percent capacity), the Marlins decided to sell the considerable inventory of unused tickets at face value to fans look for souvenirs.
18 New York Mets
Last Week: 19
To what new low has the Oliver Perez era fallen? Despite carrying an 0-3 record and 6.28 ERA, the lefty recently refused a minor-league assignment and has been banished to the end of the bullpen. After the Padres' 18-6 win over the Mets, a story carried the headline, "San Diego Padres whip New York Mets so badly that Oliver Perez gets to pitch." When manager Jerry Manuel was asked if Perez's presence on the major-league roster was hurting the team, Manuel said "only if we need a long reliever," insinuating that anytime Perez pitches he's hurting the team. And, worse still, two Mets anonymously told the New York Post that the club should simply cut Perez despite his three-year, $36 million contract.
19 Washington Nationals
Last Week: 18
Five years ago, during their first season in D.C., the Nationals were a hot ticket for reasons other than boasting the top pitching prospect in baseball. The Nats went on a 10-game home winning streak in early June 2005 and claimed first place in the NL East. They drafted franchise third baseman Ryan Zimmerman during that stretch and seemed to be building toward perennial contention -- but, as expertly detailed by the Washington Post's Barry Svrluga, that all changed fast.
20 Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Week: 21
The ubiquitous ballpark blooper reels -- you know, the videos that inevitably feature a dozen different slow-motion replays of Tommy Lasorda getting hit by a bat and falling to the ground -- have a new clip for all eternity: Angels first baseman Kendry Morales, having hit a walkoff grand slam, breaking a bone near his ankle while making a celebratory jump onto home plate.
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