By Joe Lemire
June 17, 2010
MLB Power Rankings
21 Chicago White Sox
Last Week: 22
MLB Network's new reality show, The Club, which features the White Sox' front office, won't lack for drama. Manager Ozzie Guillen is never afraid to say what's on his mind to begin with, then add the following: his son Oney, who resigned after tweeting negative comments about general manager Kenny Williams; his other son Ozney wasn't drafted by the club until the 22nd round, prompting Ozzie to express his displeasure; and then last week the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Ozzie and Williams nearly came to blows (it has been denied). Winning, it's been said, heals all wounds, which is why the White Sox' injuries are looking pretty sore.
22 Chicago Cubs
Last Week: 21
Not since 1965 had there been 41 outs in one game before a hit was recorded until Sunday night, when the Cubs' Ted Lilly and White Sox' Gavin Floyd each took a no-hitter in the seventh inning. Floyd lost his bid then -- and the game. Lilly, meanwhile, didn't lose his no-no until Juan Pierre singled to lead off the ninth. Only twice in 10 starts has Lilly allowed more than three earned runs, and he's averaged 7 1/3 innings in his last seven outings. Lilly's ERA is 0.01 higher than teammate Carlos Silva's (2.90 vs. 2.89), but poor run support has limited Lilly to a 2-5 record while Silva is 8-1.
23 Milwaukee Brewers
Last Week: 24
Carlos Gomez has introduced the world to the walkoff sacrifice bunt. After Gomez drew a leadoff 10th-inning walk in a tie game against the Cubs last week, Craig Counsell laid down a sacrifice bunt. With the Cubs responding slowly, Gomez rounded second and sprinted to third. When Chicago first baseman Xavier Nady's throw was wild, Gomez scored the game-winning run. It was one of those exciting moments that almost makes the Brewers forget that the disappointing Gomez is batting .242 with a .284 OBP. Almost.
24 Kansas City Royals
Last Week: 25
The Royals are in fourth place, 10 1/2 games out of first. Their top prospect from a couple years ago, the 2005 No. 2 overall pick, is batting .367 with 10 home runs in 41 games at Triple A, and still he hasn't been (re-)promoted. Such is the life of Alex Gordon who admittedly has struggled mightily in the majors, batting just .249 in 346 career games. But Gordon remains in the minors, because, as Royals manager Ned Yost says, "I don't want to bring Alex up here right now if he's not going to play." One would think they could find room for him.
25 Houston Astros
Last Week: 23
The Astros have called Minute Maid Park (nee Astros Field, nee Enron Field) home since 2000, but what should be done with the Astrodome? Three proposals have emerged, costing between $873 million and $1.35 billion to either demolish it in favor of a plaza or re-purpose the space for various centers and storage units. Each of those options is far costlier than the sales tag for Detroit's Pontiac Silverdome, which sold for just $583 thousand.
26 Seattle Mariners
Last Week: 26
No one would accuse the Mariners and Cardinals of being one of those rivalry series that interleague play was designed to create, but it did provide a rare chance to see Ichiro Suzuki and Albert Pujols face each other. In fact, their meeting was the first time in 68 years in which opponents with at least 5,000 at bats and a career average over .330 faced each other since Hall of Famers Paul Waner (Braves) and Joe "Ducky" Medwick (Dodgers) squared off in 1942. Ichiro and Pujols are both .333 career hitters.
27 Cleveland Indians
Last Week: 28
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer thinks the North Koreans have a smart idea that should be copied by the Indians. As written in its Ohio Sports Blog, the paper thinks the Tribe could copy North Korea's attendance rouse of giving away World Cup tickets to Chinese soccer fans who are willing to travel to South Africa even though the Chinese national team did not qualify. Cleveland is averaging less than 20,000 fans per game in which Stephen Strasburg isn't starting, so, the reasoning goes, why don't they give out tickets to baseball lovers who don't have their own team to root for? It can't be worse than playing in front of a half-empty ballpark every night, right?
28 Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Week: 29
The trade of Conor Jackson might be just the beginning of a firesale for the struggling Diamondbacks, who are 12 1/2 games out of first place in the competitive NL West and the division's only club under .500. As's Jon Heyman reports, Arizona won't trade future star right fielder Justin Upton or cost-efficient starter Ian Kennedy, but everyone else could be had for the right price. The offense, which has plated 312 runs, fourth-best in the NL, hasn't been the problem. But the D-backs have allowed a staggering 382 runs, worst in the majors, 19 more than the lowly Pirates.
29 Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Week: 27
The Pirates are mired in another wretched losing streak, having dropped 10 in a row, but somehow this one doesn't seem as bad as April's seven-game skid in which they were outscored 72-12. This time the Pirates have lost six of those games by only one or two runs, so at least they're maintaining some semblance of competitiveness. Alas, even after posting a losing season every year since 1992, Pittsburgh has been unsuccessful in petitioning MLB to add a new category to the standings for moral victories.
30 Baltimore Orioles
Last Week: 30
The Orioles are 30 games under .500 in mid-June. Thirty. Three-oh. And their winning percentage (.273) is no better than a mediocre batting average. They are on pace to win 44 games, with 118 losses. That would challenge the worst record of alltime, in a season of at least 160 games currently held by the 1962 Mets, who went 40-120 in their inaugural season. So yeah, the Orioles remain in last place in the Power Rankings.
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