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.
In this week, the Power Rankings feature the two teams of the Bay Area on top. The powerhouse Toronto Blue Jays have pulled away in the American League East and are making progress up the rankings. A couple teams from the West and a couple teams from the East carry the back end of the Power Rankings as they continue to make a push for three of the dominant teams of the 2014 season up to now.
1. San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants continue to have a secure hold atop the Power Rankings with the best record in the league. After completing a sweep of the Minnesota Twins, the Giants welcomed the Cubs into AT&T Park. After losing the first game, Tim Hudson continues his outstanding season with his new team while veteran Giants starter Tim Lincecum pitched five no-hit innings as they each were a part of a shutout to take the series. Defeating Adam Wainwright in a three-game series at St. Louis is also a good way to stay one of the best teams in baseball.
The other team of the Bay Area continues to stand side by side nearly on top of the Power Rankings. With a decisively high run differential, the A’s are the best team in the American League. The A’s did run into the buzzsaw of Blue Jays high-powered offense but they bounced back to split a four-game series with the Detroit Tigers. The A’s would also soundly defeat the Angels in the first two games of their series. The A’s do not have many flaws up and down their lineup or in their rotation. If the bullpen can hold up behind the precise lefty arm of Sean Doolittle, the A’s could definitely stay high on the Power Rankings.
3. Detroit Tigers
Splitting a series with the best team in the American League is not a terrible thing. The week for the Detroit Tigers has not been too good. They lost the series to the Texas Rangers with 12 runs in each of the last two games. The Tigers sacrificed offense for athleticism and defense. As a result, the Tigers do not score as much as they used to, despite having the best hitter in the game, Miguel Cabrera, and one of the hotter bats in the game today, Victor Martinez. With less scored, the Tigers need their closer, Joe Nathan, to get himself right if the Tigers intend on giving the A’s a threat for the best in the American League.
4. Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers won the three-game series with the Miami Marlins with the win to start this week. The Brewers are getting contributions by many players like catcher Jonathan Lucroy, outfielders Ryan Braun and Khris Davis. In addition, Mark Reynolds is supplying power in the absence of Aramis Ramirez at the hot corner. At the time, the second place Baltimore Orioles came into town and the Brewers were able to win that three-game series too. The Brewers currently sit at the top of the National League Central. The Orioles and the Marlins are close to the top of their division
5. Toronto Blue Jays
This week saw the Toronto Blue Jays win four more games of their nine-game winning streak by sweeping the struggling Tampa Bay Rays. The Jays would lose their winning streak against the visiting Kansas City Royals but they would bounce back from the two losses to open the series with another high-powered showing. Not surprising, the Jays finished off the month with a dominant 12-2 win, but they did it without a home run. Slugger Edwin Encarnacion hit five home runs in this week alone. Not just a slugging team, the Jays pitchers are being led by, of all people, Mark Buehrle with his ninth win of the season coming this week.
6. St. Louis Cardinals
This week started with the St. Louis Cardinals turning to Adam Wainwright for eight scoreless and their division rival, Cincinnati Reds. His second start of the week, against the San Francisco Giants, did not go as well, allowing seven runs over 4.1 innings. Despite first baseman Matt Adams going on the disabled list, there was a positive to take from this. The end of May could be the beginning of a bright future. Outfielder Oscar Taveras made his MLB debut in the last game of the month and proceeded to hit his first career home run too. The team got a little stronger with the addition of Taveras and the return of Jaime Garcia. The odds of returning to the success the Cardinals had last season are very slim but if they can find some of it, they will be in a better position to take over the Central.
7. Atlanta Braves
After shutting out the potent Colorado Rockies, the Braves not only ended the 10-game winnings streak for the Boston Red Sox, the Braves were swept soundly by the once struggling Red Sox. The inconsistent offense of the Braves appeared once again during the four-game series with the Boston Red Sox. Despite scoring six in the first game, they scored only six over the next three games. The Braves would respond well with a pair of wins over the second place Miami Marlins. Freddie Freeman is still the steadiest presence on the Braves’ offense but Heyward and Justin Upton will need to add to the offense if they want to move up in the Rankings.
8. Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels would take the three-game series with the Kansas City Royals but consistency would not be the strength of the Angels. Since May 23, the Angels would alternate wins and losses. The Angels would split a four-game series, scoring 13 runs in their wins and just two in their losses. By the end of the week, the Angels would run into the best team in the American League, the Oakland A’s. The Oakland A’s would defeat the Angels decisively in both games. The Angels are a distant second from the A’s but if the season ended after May, the Angels would be a wild card team. No team should be satisfied with wild card but the return of Josh Hamilton could be the jolt this team needs to make the West a competitive race.
9. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers would take two out of three with the Philadelphia Phillies and there also happened to be a no-hitter by Josh Beckett. Then, in the series against the Cincinnati Reds; Hyun-Jin Ryu was nearly perfect but he will just have to settle with defeating one of the best this season, Johnny Cueto. Zack Greinke would allow more than two runs for the first time in over 20 starts but won regardless. The Dodgers would also go on a small three-game losing streak that included two with the Pittsburgh Pirates but they came back with a definitive 12-2 win to finish off the month strong. With Ryu back, Greinke and Kershaw have a third to their very strong pitching staff. Consistent offense and a reliable bullpen would begin to give the Giants a reason to sweat, but it’s hard to see that happening soon.
10. New York Yankees
Win season series and you will stay above .500 like the New York Yankees. After taking two out of three with the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees would continue their travel to visit the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Yankees would win two out of three with the St. Louis Cardinals and despite being shutout by Cardinals’ starter Lance Lynn, the Yankees had a winning road trip. The Yankees will aim for yet another series win with the visiting Minnesota Twins. The Yankees will need to string together wins on a more consistent basis if they wish to stay in the top 10 of the Power Rankings and more importantly, reach the top of the American League East.