By Ted Keith
September 10, 2009
MLB Power Rankings
21 San Diego Padres
Last Week: 22
The Padres are doing their part to play spoiler, taking two of three on the road from both the Dodgers and Giants heading into yet another matchup with an NL Wet contender, the Rockies, this time in San Diego. The Padres strong play is nothing new. Since July 28, they have the fifth-best record in baseball, trailing only the Cardinals, Yankees, Rockies and Angels. Kudos to Bud Black and his club for not mailing it in.
22 Oakland Athletics
Last Week: 23
Do the A's know the way to San Jose? A study released this week says the A's should move south of Oakland. The A's have called Oakland home for over four decades, during which time they have won four World Series titles, given the world double-knit uniforms and orange baseballs and served as ground zero for the Steroids Era. San Jose is the 10th-biggest city in the country, but it's most famous for having an underachieving hockey team and a Dionne Warwick song. Putting aside the various economic factors involved, from a purely baseball standpoint, if this were to happen by the 2011 season (the A's current lease at McAfee Coliseum goes through 2010), that would be right about the time for the A's to start making another revival and become a contender again. Especially if Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez can become above-average major league starters in two years' time.
23 Cincinnati Reds
Last Week: 26
They swept the Braves three straight in Atlanta to push their winning streak to a season-high seven games -- then lost three straight to the Rockies in Colorado. The last in the win streak came when pitcher Micah Owings was sent to the plate to bat with the bases loaded against his hometown team and was promptly hit in the head. It was a scary scene (not funny like in cartoons), but fortunately Owings was fine. Manager Dusty Baker may start giving Owings even more chances with the bat, which is a great idea because he may just be the best hitting pitcher in the game, with a .296/.328/.538 line and eight home runs in his three big league seasons (including three this year, or triple the amount Willy Taveras has).
24 Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 19
Ah, youth. The Diamondbacks enjoyed the fun and endured the frustration of their two talented young outfielders. Chris Young, the former star and current owner of a .198 batting average, was very nearly benched for the season before erupting for three home runs last Sunday against the Rockies (the day after his 26th birthday), part of a week in which he batted .364 with five home runs. Then there was Justin Upton, the current star, who was benched by manager A.J. Hinch for failing to hustle when he smoked a fly ball off the wall but had to settle for a single. Upton apologized, but he wasn't the only member of his family who had that problem this week. His older brother B.J. lackadaisically tracked a fly ball against the Yankees only to have it hit off his glove for a three-base error. Aside from Young's power display, the younger Upton's transgressions were the more telling sign of what was almost entirely a lost week (1-6 record) for the Diamondbacks, and one that ended with them back in the NL West basement.
25 Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 24
Grady Sizemore was finally shut down for the season so he could have not one but two surgeries (one on his elbow, one on his lower abdominal). With the departures already of Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez, the Indians are now threatening the Royals and A's for "most anonymous team in the American League" honors (though perhaps not as anonymous as they used to be). If there has been one player of late worth getting to know, it's reliever Chris Perez, who had a scoreless streak of 22 2/3 innings (the longest in the majors at the time) snapped recently, and who would be a potential option at closer if the Indians decide to deal Kerry Wood -- along with Travis Hafner, one of the few players left casual fans might recognize -- in the offseason.
26 New York Mets
Last Week: 25
David Wright is back, Carlos Beltran is back and Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado still might be back before the season ends. Time for the Mets to make their patented late-season charge! Except they're hopelessly buried in the standings. And they're still missing Johan Santana, J.J. Putz, John Maine and Oliver Perez. And they usually collapse this time of year. Oh, never mind. Better topic for discussion then: Why won't the Mets move the fences in at Citi Field? Do they like seeing their franchise player and fan favorite hit just five home runs in their own ballpark all season? I'd say this is a strange decision, but then, these are the Mets we're talking about here.
27 Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 28
The Royals put together their first three-game winning streak against American League competition in four months, but what was more impressive was that they did it against two likely division champions in the Angels and Tigers (of course, they had lost three straight to the Angels before that, but still, let's give them some credit here). In the race to avoid 100 losses, every little bit helps.
28 Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 27
Because of three off days, the Orioles had a very light week, which is probably a good thing, because it was mostly all bad news. Lost in all the attention about the Pirates clinching a 17th consecutive losing season was the fact that the Orioles lost their 82nd game last week, giving them 12 straight years of sub-.500 records. Of course, that was nothing compared to having a Cal Ripken monument stolen from outside Camden Yards. The theft came almost 14 years to the day since Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's hallowed consecutive games streak of 2,130, or roughly the number of seconds the thieves got away with their crime before being arrested.
29 Washington Nationals
Last Week: 29
After another ugly week that included just one win, it's clear that the only thing that matters at this point in the season is getting Teddy Roosevelt a win in the President's Day race, which I think is even funnier than the Sausage Race in Milwaukee. It seems poor Teddy has never won, and has suffered some serious and often embarrassing setbacks, like being decleated by a pierogi. It looked like he finally had a win this week, only to be disqualified for Unauthorized Use of a Feline (insert joke here). Check out for all the horrible details on how the 26th President of the United States has remained winless all year long.
30 Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 30
Where would the Pirates be without Garrett Jones? Well, considering they've lost 13 of 15, and that the only two wins have come thanks to Jones' late heroics (a go-ahead, eighth-inning home run to beat the Phillies on August 27 and a walk-off single to beat the Cardinals last Sunday), they'd be looking for their first win of the month. As it is, they have one win in September, which means zero chance of moving out of last place in the Power Rankings.
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