Throughout the 2014 regular season, some teams will shine and some will falter. Power Rankings will identify who has been moving upwards and who may be hitting a cold spell.
This week saw a change at the top. The Bay Area teams still remain in the lead but they swapped spots. The National League saw a change in the East that knocked a frequent member of the top 10 off while a team of high expectations made their debut.
The battle of the Bay area for who is number one finally saw a change. After a week that saw some weakness in the A’s, the new king of the Power Rankings won six out of seven in the week. The lone loss came against the Texas Rangers in a 14-8 loss. The A’s would win three of the first four with the Boston Red Sox, all wins by one or two runs. The five-game winning streak to end the week gave the Athletics the best record in the league.
2. San Francisco Giants
A pair of rough weeks for the best in the National League has removed them from the number one spot in the Power Rankings. In a short week that featured five games, the Giants lost four of them. A six-game losing streak could generate some drama in the National League West as the Los Angeles Dodgers are able to make up some ground in the standings.
3. Milwaukee Brewers
How long can the surprise Milwaukee Brewers maintain their hold on the National League Central lead? After losing two out of three with the Cincinnati Reds, The Brew crew would make the trip to Arizona for a four-game series with the Diamondbacks. The Brewers have the second best record in the league and have a sizable lead over the second place St. Louis Cardinals. Injuries have come into play on the Cardinals’ rotation so the division is the Brewers’ to lose, if that could even happen.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
With the Giants’ struggles, the Dodgers have pushed themselves up the Power Rankings with a sweep of the Colorado Rockies. It also helps that Clayton Kershaw throws one of the best games in baseball history. The Dodgers are starting to look true to their expectations so the Giants must beware as the race gets tighter for the National League West title.
5. Washington Nationals
The struggles of the Atlanta Braves have created the opening the Washington Nationals need to slip into first place. At the time, the Nationals have a slim half game lead over the Braves. Infielder Anthony Rendon has been such a strong presence in the Nationals’ order that his value at third base has forced veteran Ryan Zimmerman into the outfield. Pitchers Doug Fister and Tanner Roark lengthen the already potent Nationals rotation. The Braves gave the Nationals the a lane to pass by and if the Nationals stay healthy, the Nationals will have the Braves eating their dust for the foreseeable future.
6. St. Louis Cardinals
Start the week finishing off a five-game winning streak but follow it with a three-game winning streak and the Cardinals find themselves rather stationary in this week’s Power Rankings. The Cardinals will have some adversity to overcome in bunches as both Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha will be seeing time on the disabled list. The Brewers have a nice lead over the Cardinals but the Wild Card is easily within reach.
7. Toronto Blue Jays
The close knit American League East got a little bit closer for the Toronto Blue Jays. After taking two out of three with the third place Baltimore Orioles, the Blue Jays would travel to New York and be swept by the second place Yankees. The Blue Jays would also split the first two games in Cincinnati but the first game featured an outstanding comeback from an eight-run deficit. The offense is fairly dependable but the defense around their pitchers and the bullpen behind the starters has been a little unreliable. The East will be close so the Jays need to watch their back.
8. Detroit Tigers
After winning a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins, the Detroit Tigers ran into the hot Kansas City Royals. The Royals would decisively take three out of four and briefly had a hold on the Central crown. The Tigers would come away with one win in the Royals series and built on it with two more wins in Cleveland, taking the series and retrieving their spot on top of the American League Central.
9. Los Angeles Angels
The appearance of the Los Angeles Angels is not as a threat to the powerhouse Oakland Athletics. In fact, the Angels are more likely a threat for a Wild Card spot than the West, but you get in however you can. After losing their interleague series with the Atlanta Braves, the Angels would also lose two out of three in Cleveland but bounced back within their division by taking the first two in a three game series with the Texas Rangers. The bullpen is still the primary concern with the Angels and if they want to maintain a hold on one of the Wild Card spots, they will need to solve this in some way.
10. Kansas City Royals
Starting off the week with the last four games of a 10-game winning streak is a quick way to push you up the Power Rankings in a rapid pace. The Kansas City Royals would also take three out of four with the Detroit Tigers. The Royals briefly experienced first place before ending the week where they started. The young Royals team entered with high expectations of them and they are starting to show why many believe they were a threat for contention this year.