MLB Team Power Rankings:Week 2; Who's Succeeding and Who's Losing Ground
The 2010 season started with the biggest rivalry in sports history with a game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in Boston's Fenway Park. The sox won the first game but could not win the remaining two games of the series.
In Minnesotta the Twins christened a new stadium introducing their fans outdoors baseball. They beat the Red Sox 5-2 in the home opener handing Jon Lester another loss.
Meanwhile in the National League, the Phillies continue to live up to the expectations. The Phillies have delivered blows to the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros in their opening series'. The Astros entering their second week of play are without a win, while in the NL West the San Francisco Giants have only suffered one loss at the hands of Jason Heyward and the Atlanta Braves.
This season has some new leaders and losers but some of the leaders may become losers, soon. Here's a list of the top Major League Baseball teams.
1. New York Yankees
They won the World Series, enough said.
The Yankees began their season with a loss but still with a huge weight lifted off of their shoulders. Although Yankee fans still expect them to continue winning the Yankees were able to put some nightmares in the past. One is the fact that they lost eight straight to the Red Sox until they finally beat them in August of the 2009 season. Alex Rodriguez produced in the playoffs and many critics cannot complain saying that he is no good in the playoffs.
Following their series with the Red Sox, the Yankees moved on to play Tampa Bay. Of the three games at Tropicana Field the Yankees were able to win two. One of their two games included a gem by C.C. Sabathia. Through 7.2 innings, Sabathia had no hits and only a few walks. The next day Burnett followed and was able to get the win.
On Tuesday, the Yankees returned home to the Bronx for their home opener against the Angels which included the ring ceremony for their World Series Rings (Above). Against the Angels, former Yankee outfielder Hideki Matsui received a standing ovation but Andy Pettite drew an even larger roar when he struck Matsui out in the first inning. The Yankees beat the Angels 7-5 and are now sitting atop the division accompanied by Toronto with a 5-2 record. Boston trails by two games while Tampa trails by one.
2. San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants began their season 4-0, sweeping the winless Astros and beat the Atlanta Braves in the home opener in San Francisco.
The Giants showed potential towards the end of the 2009 season as they attempted to make a run for the wild card slot which was won by the Colorado Rockies.
Their pitching staff led by young ace Tim Lincecum has shown that pitching does win games. The first three pitchers in their rotation are Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Matt Cain. Zito and Lincecum are both 2-0 while Cain has not had a win or loss this season. Although his ERA is 4.05, Cain has still been able to keep the Giants within range of the opposing teams.
Although pitching is the driving force behind their team, many of the batters have shown up to play this season. With a .421 batting average, seven runs batted in, and one home run, Bengie Molina has shown his skills with the lumber. His family has mostly been associated with their ability behind the plate, exemplified by his brother Jose's play in the playoffs during the 2009 season when he threw behind a batter's back to Mark Teixeria and was able to get the man on first out.
Along with Molina, Pedro Sandoval has been on a hot streak. Also with one home run and .414 average Sandoval has been able to rear the Giants forceful pitching staff. Although Sandoval has not been able to drive in as many runs as Molina he has a stolen base and has been able to draw walks.
With such a strong start, could this be the year the Giants go all the way?
3. Philadelphia Phillies
Another team off to a scorching start is the Philadelphia Phillies. The defending National League Champions have set out to return to the World Series for the third year in a row.
So far the Phillies have had an easy schedule, with games against the Nationals and Astros the Phillies have participated in a few slugfests' since the start of the season. With an 11-1 rout of the Washington Nationals on opening day in Washington and and 8-0 pummeling of the Astros, the Phillies have been able to coast their way to the top of the standings in the east.
With stars like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley the Phillies are expected to return to the playoffs with a high-powered offense and a strong pitching staff led by veteran Roy Halladay. The Phils' traded for Halladay during the off-season, sending ace Cliff Lee to the Mariners.
In the National League East there has not been much competition. For the past three years, the New York Mets have been choking as October approached and could not even be considered as a playoff team due to the fact that they had over 100 million dollars of their payroll on the bench. Ever since their World Series victory in 2003 the fall from grace for the Florida Marlins has been rough placing them second to last in the division each year. With a still developing team the Washington Nationals have been out of the playoff conversations for a long time and they won't begin for a while. The team that has given the Phillies the most trouble within the division is the Atlanta Braves. The Braves also on a hot start with rookie sensation Jayson Heyward have been the only team in the division to give the Phillies some minor trouble.
With such an easy schedule to open the season and such high expectations this could be the season where the Phillies fail their fans and miss the playoffs.
4. St. Louis Cardinals
Knocked out early in the playoffs last season the Cardinals are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2009.
This season the Cards' have only lost two games. Both losses have come from walk-offs against the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers.
Led by sluggers Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday the Cardinals were one of last years favorites. Pujols in his first seven games has been showing his tremendous power with five home runs, fourteen runs batted in and .407 average. Pujols' best game so far was opening day in Cincinatti when he went 4 for 5 with two home runs and three runs batted in. With Holliday hitting behind Pujols, this will be a great year for all fans of Albert especially fantasy owners who will be getting a lot more from him now that pitchers will have two powerful threats awaiting them when they play they Cardinals.
Like many good teams, the pitching staff for St. Louis has been assisting. With pitchers like Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter the Cardinals should not be getting into anymore close game situations especially with their hot offense. While Wainwright has an earned run average of 1.20, Carpenter's is well over five but he has not been dealt a loss yet.
Although they have had some early problems the Cardinals will still be seen as favorites to advance in the playoffs with a stable pitching staff and slugging offense.
5. Minnesota Twins
On Monday, the Minnesota Twins opened their new ballpark Target Field with a series against the Boston Red Sox. The Twins won the game 5-2 and have an off day on Tuesday.
In their first two series' the twins won five of seven against the white sox and the Angels.
Motivated by the love from their fans and the promise of having Joe Mauer for many years to come will be a driving factor in the success of the Twins. Mauer who is the catcher and hometown hero would have become a free agent after this season and signed one of the highest contracts that would keep on the Twins until 2018.
During the off-season the Twins signed former Dodger Orlando Hudson who will be switching with Jason Kubel at second base.
With a consistent offense the Twins share the same quality in their pitching staff. With Nick Blackburn and Carl Pavano as their top two starters the Twins are looking for Pavano to keep moving forward and forget his Yankee past and for Blackburn to continue his success.
The Twins could be a sleeper when it comes time to decide who will go far and who is gonna lose in the first round of the playoffs.