About a week ago, the. The two New York teams and the two Los Angeles teams were all in first place for the first time ever in Major League Baseball.
At first glance, I internally started laughing at how many people would work themselves up over the whole "Angels don't play in Los Angeles!" thing. It never fails. It's like when people kick and scream about St. Petersburg regarding the Tampa Bay Rays. We're going with the team branding here, yell into the void elsewhere.
My second thought was that it's hard to believe. My third was then to start realizing a lot of circumstances need to converge to make it happen and it's actually not that hard to believe. My fourth was to shut the hell up about this nonsense and instead focus on the four teams.
The Angels are coming off another successful week, thanks to an incredibly-exciting walk-off win on Sunday. They've won four of five, 11 of 15 and are 18-8 since their first series. There will always be skepticism with this group, but there's also reason for optimism.
We've already covered the Mets here in this space of The Official Power Rankings. They finally did not win a series, but they still haven't lost one. They are 8-0-1 in series this year.
The Dodgers remain the most talented, possibly deepest and probably best team in baseball. They have the best record and run differential (if you're into that sort of thing a month into the season).
And then, the Yankees. They started 2-0, but then were 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5. The latter happened after they lost a series to the lowly (yes, still) Orioles. Even after taking two of three from the so-far-woeful Tigers, the Yankees sat at 7-6 and were hardly impressing anyone. They then ripped off nine in a row and I wouldn't move them above third in the power rankings because it hadn't been against the stiffest of competition -- this despite them having the best record. They then went into Toronto and took two of three from the Blue Jays.
Hey, I see you now. I get it.
Like the Dodgers and Mets -- the Angels are a story worth a deep dive soon -- I believe the Yankees have staying power. The rotation seems to have really settled in behind the obvious ace with four quality dudes to varying degrees -- especially if Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino pitch well enough to view Jameson Taillon and Jordan Montgomery as the back-end guys. The offense should be high-powered -- so far it has been, Sunday's doubleheader performance notwithstanding -- and the bullpen is deep and talented.
They will certainly have company in the AL East when it comes to the still-talented Blue Jays and those pesky Rays, who just got really hot in their own right, but the Yankees are going to contend all year. Much like the Mets and Dodgers and (maybe? hopefully?) Angels. Start blaring "New York, New York," "I Love L.A." and all that.
|They've been the best team all along. They were punished last week, as a temporary measure -- such as children being sent to their room without electronics -- and responded by showing just how good they were, again. The key this time around? A two-game sweep of the Giants by a combined count of 12-2.||3||26-12|
|Yes, I considered them for the top spot. There's no wrong answer.||1||29-10|
|Loop the Mets in with the Yankees' answer above (and I just got a hearty chuckle thinking about telling Mets fans to loop themselves in with Yankees fans due to the collective reaction I'd get). There are three upper-elite teams right now and then a separation.||2||27-14|
|As much as I hated Mike Trout's strikeout in the ninth on Sunday, I loved the Shohei Ohtani game-tying double and Anthony Rendon walk-off single as a nice reminder for the masses that this can be a well-rounded team where Trout doesn't have to do everything.||1||24-17|
|After three against the dreadful Cubs (which should be a sweep at this point), the Padres have a stretch that'll test them greatly (3 at ATL, 3 at PHI, 3 at SF, 3 vs. MIL; then after three against the Pirates: 3 at STL, 4 at MIL, 3 vs. NYM). That's just about a month. Let's see what you've got, Fathers.||2||26-14|
|The most remarkable thing about their seven-game winning streak? Runs allowed per game: 0, 0, 2, 2, 2, 2, 0.||8||25-15|
|Rowdy Tellez had a four-game span last week in which he went 9 for 20 with four doubles, three homers and 12 RBI. From April 14-29 (15 games), he had eight hits, two doubles, two homers and five RBI in 44 at-bats. I love you and please never change, Baseball.||1||25-14|
|Just like that, they're right back in the thick of it after a 6-1 week that was nearly 7-0 (though if we're going to do that, we have to point out their improbable comeback on Friday, so it's really a wash). Coming up Monday-Wednesday? The St. Petersburg Rays vs. the Anaheim Angels. See the intro if you're confused.||3||23-16|
|Bittersweet loss of Carlos Correa because he's Carlos Correa, but we also get a glimpse of Royce Lewis. Hey, he has a three-game hitting streak in three games! Watch out, Joe DiMaggio.||--||23-16|
|A bit of a tumble here. They had the opportunity to shut the Yankees down in the midst of that streak, but instead lost the first two games of that series and then dropped three of four in Cleveland. It wasn't a total disaster, but it has to be filed as a bad week.||8||22-18|
|Through just five career games, Juan Yepez is hitting .474/.500/.789 with three doubles and a home run in 19 at-bats. Quite a start!||1||21-18|
|Before salvaging the final two games of the series against the Cardinals Saturday and Sunday, the Giants had lost seven of their previous eight. Did these two games restore their mojo? We'll find out soon enough. They don't play a sub-.500 team again until May 27.||6||22-17|
|Going 4-3 in a week isn't a huge deal or anything, but when it's a split against the Mets (the Braves are the 1 in 8-0-1) and taking two of three from the Brewers, it leads me to believe maybe the champs are on the verge of a run.||4||18-21|
|Thanks to the weather, the Guardians just had a six-day span with three off-days and two doubleheader days. And credit them for going 4-2 through all that rain against two tough teams in the entire week.||4||17-19|
|Last week I said the Diamondbacks wouldn't raise above 19 for the rest of the season. Here I am with my accountability in the form of a top-half appearance. Of course, they have the exact same record they had through 29 games last year...||4||21-21|
|In five years and 100 appearances, including 84 starts, with the Pirates, Chad Kuhl was 25-30 with a 4.44 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. Through five Rockies starts, he's 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. You know what they say, all pitchers have to do in order to be fixed is head to the Colorado Rockies!||--||18-20|
|And here they come. They were too talented to be playing as poorly as they were. It's why we play 162 and not 21.||6||19-20|
|After a seven-game winning streak, they lost six in a row. They won Saturday and looked set to squeak out of San Diego with an admirable split in four games, but the blown game in walk-off fashion was a gut punch. Anyway, do you want an interesting note that has no bearing on what will happen moving forward this season? Go back and read the second part of the Diamondbacks' comment. After they started last season 15-13, the D-Backs were then swept by the Marlins to set them on a path to two of the worst months in MLB history. I bring that up because guess who the D-Backs play next? The Marlins! Oh, baseball.||6||17-21|
|Speaking of gut punches, Friday was really rough. At least the Mariners pulled a rabbit out of a hat on Sunday, but that only broke a six-game losing streak. On the positive side, George Kirby looked great on Sunday with six scoreless innings against the Rays.||6||17-24|
|Give them credit for winning the game following the worst defeat any team will suffer this season. Then again, let's not give them too much credit. It's pretty pathetic to lose a game in which you built a seven-run lead in four innings and still led by six heading into the ninth, especially for one of the teams actively trying to win.||5||18-21|
|This is funny. Last week in the Rangers comment I tried to explain to not get too focused on them jumping seven spots despite a 3-4 week, because so many teams needed to be demoted. This time they drop a spot despite having won five of their last six. In the end, they are sitting in the right place. There was just a lot of noise around them.||1||18-20|
|Here's where the current Orioles' front office has set the bar: I found myself looking at the club's recent body of work and thinking stuff like, "you know, they aren't that bad." They've won five of their last eight, you see. That's gotten them all the way to ... 11-17. It's a low bar. Maybe that's the goal? I don't know. It's only year four of a massive teardown that was already happening (they went 47-115 the season before hiring Mike Elias).||4||16-24|
|I desperately try to not overreact, at least when I'm being serious instead of sarcastic, here in the early going. Yet I'm being very serious when I say it feels like there are legitimate reasons to worry about this ballclub being a pretty bad one this year. And it wasn't too long ago they looked ticketed for the World Series, either (about the seventh inning or so on Oct. 19, 2021, right?).||1||18-22|
|Unlike the teams below them, the Nationals at least appear to be battling at the moment, hence the promotion. A 4-5 trip to San Francisco, Colorado and Anaheim isn't bad at all and they were one out from 5-4.||5||13-27|
|I know sometimes I punish teams for losing certain series. I'm also aware the Pirates just dropped a series to a team that was 3-22 before it started. But the Pirates are a bad team. It's expected bad behavior and there are a handful of teams worth more ire.||1||16-22|
|This is how bad the bad teams are. The Tigers have lost 12 of their last 14 games and have moved up a spot from last week. This is because they are actually competing (last week they lost three consecutive one-run games).||1||13-26|
|You know how ugly it is down here? The Royals are on pace to lose 104 games and there are SIX TEAMS with a worse winning percentage.||1||14-24|
|They've lost 14 of 17 and have looked every bit that bad.||3||15-24|
|That's nine losses in a row. The 2022 version of Rachel Phelps is quite pleased, I'm sure.||8||17-24|
|The Reds won two of three from the Pirates over the weekend and they are still on pace to go 29-133.||--||11-28|