On the day after one of the most hated men in the world was brought to justice, I get back to the game that gets my mind off even the most dire circumstances: Baseball. ESPN.com lists the power rankings for May 2nd:
My power rankings for May 2 are:
5. St. Louis
Cleveland is sitting on top of the AL Central, a division that in previous years held hefty competition. This year, outside of the NL West could be the worst division in baseball. But, despite the division that Cleveland is in they are number one in the AL in batting and third overall in batting across the majors. They have a newfound ace in ex Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson who is boasting a 2.25 ERA. Travis Hafner is batting a bloated .342 at the top of their lineup. My only concern is questions in the bullpen. Only time will tell if Cleveland will be able to consistently hold it’s own against the top teams in the league. But, right now they are riding the wave.
With the pitching staff that the Phillies boast it comes as no surprise that they are at the top of their division with an 18-9 record. Roy Halladay leads the all-star rotation with a 2.14 ERA. But, despite their great pitching the Phillies are only 11th overall in runs scored and are tied with the Florida Marlins. With Brad Lidge due to return as closer in June, there are definitely questions on the back end of their rotation. Is Lidge going to be the closer of 2008 or be closer to the closer of last year with a obnoxious 7.21 in regular season appearances. The Phillies may have some tension develop if Lidge doesn’t come off strong coming out of the gate, because Ryan Madson has been stellar filling in for Lidge.
The Yankees have gone into this year with quite a few question marks. Will Jeter rebound from the worst year of his career? Will Burnett step up and be the pitcher that the Yankees acquired? Will age catch up with the veterans? Not acquiring Cliff Lee doesn’t look so bad when your fill in starter veteran Bartolo Colon has a 2.49 ERA in three starts. The “aging” team has been hitting the ball hard, leading all of the majors with 45 home runs showing that offense won’t be a problem this year. Pitching on the other hand is still up in the air, Philip Hughes MRI came back negative, but his symptoms of dead arm are still there, not a good sign for the Yanks. Unless, this is the year that role players step up and support the veterans.
The infamous Marlins. Every few years they come out of nowhere and shock everyone. This seems to be one of those years (so far). The Florida Marlins are currently tied with the Phillies on the top of the NL East. Their number one starter is 6-3 with a league leading 0.88 ERA. Hanley Ramirez is bound to come out of his slump, maybe just in time for them to “need” him and around the same time for Logan Morrison to get off the DL. The Marlins have what it takes to hang in there with the Phillies, but once again, time will tell.
5. St. Louis
The St. Louis Cardinals are only leading the league in batting and are holding strong on top of the NL Central. Houston must moss Berkman now. When the Cardinal bats fall cold, Berkman saves the day. Kyle McClellan has been a pleasant surprise going 4-0 filling in for the injured Adam Wainwright. In tonight’s upcoming series, the Marlins will be enforcing the Joba rules on their future ace Anibal Sanchez which clears the way for the Cardinals starter to step up, catch the game tonight to see if he does just that. McClellan had command control last week. But, he does have a .257 ERA in his six previous starts against the Marlins. Albert Pujols is batting .241, that means one thing, that won’t last long. Berkman and Pujols should be a deadly combo.
Jered Weaver and Dan Haren have been the one two punch that the Angels have asked for. Rich Thompson has taken a page out of Mariano Rivera’s book with the cut fastball. The Aussie leads the Angels bullpen with a 2.51 ERA. The Angels pitching has been stellar, but their bats not so much. Izturis is leading the Angels batting .333. But, with Vernon Wells slumping with a .172 ERA the Angels are missing an important part of their offense. But, hey pitching wins championships.
It is too early in the season to make long term predictions, but it is a safe bet that at least 5 of the 6 teams I mentioned in my power rankings will be their till the bitter end. One team will certainly take a nose dive, but then again, that is what makes baseball so much fun……