MLB Power Rankings Week 6-8: Here Come the St. Louis Cardinals...Again

Lake CruiseAnalyst IMay 23, 2011

MLB Power Rankings Week 6-8: Here Come the St. Louis Cardinals...Again

0 of 17

    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    St. Louis Cardinals fans don't want to hear anything about the Cincinnati Reds—unless it's about beating them.  Hear this: The Reds got swept by the Cleveland Indians over the weekend and dropped 2.5 games behind the Redbirds.

    This comes after the Reds swept the Cards in Cincinnati and briefly took over first place.  Yes, despite the plethora of injuries, the Redbirds are rolling like the Mississippi River they play ball by.  Play it smart and get this ball started.  Roll audio and switch graphics...

American League: Hideki 'Godzilla' Matsui and the Oakland A's: Getting Better

1 of 17

    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The Oakland A's are trying to stay in the race for the AL West.  They have stiff competition in first place Texas and second place Los Angeles.

    Not many teams are over .500 in the AL.  The A's aren't one of them, unfortunately.  Which teams in the AL make Lake's Power Index this week? 

    Whether your fortunes come in Osaka or Oakland, keep reading to find out. 

5. Texas Rangers: Ron Washington and Crew Have Been Righting the Ship

2 of 17

    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Neftali Feliz is converting every save opportunity, and Michael Young is holding it down for the offense.  

    The around .500 Rangers will soon get Josh Hamilton back and could make a run to separtate from the pack.

    We'll see what's popping when Ham comes back from his injury. 

4. New York Yankees: Fading and Still One of the Few Teams Above .500 in the AL

3 of 17

    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The Yankees blew the Mets out in the finale of their series this past weekend.  The navy blue gave the blue and orange the blues.

    Now, New York has to battle to keep pace with the Red Sox and the Rays in the AL East—one of the toughest divisions in baseball.

3. Boston Red Sox: They Were Hoping to Get to .500 and Beat the Yankees to Boot

4 of 17

    Elsa/Getty Images

    The above .500 Red Sox rolled the Yankees in Boston, but their race to the top was derailed by the news John Lackey is going on the shelf.

    He hasn't been as effective as they'd hoped in the last two seasons, so it could be a blessing. 

    It sounds harsh, but it's MLB

2. Tampa Bay Rays: The Surging Rays Aren't Sliding Away Going Forward

5 of 17

    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    The Rays have been running away from the pack since Evan Longoria returned.  They tied the Yankees for first place going into the weekend.

    Come Monday, they're still there.  America had better realize the Rays are for real.

1. Cleveland Indians: All Fruits Ripening for the Raking Tribe of Ohio

6 of 17

    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Michael Brantley and the Indians scalped the Reds over the weekend and proved they're the best team in baseball so far this season.

    Chris Perez—formerly of the Redbirds in St. Louis—has been solid so far and is making the Cardinals wish they still had his services as a closer. 

National League: The Colorado Rockies: The Giants Took Their Mojo

7 of 17

    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The Rockies got swept by the Giants two weekends ago and are starting to fade.  Barely keeping their heads above .500, Colorado will need to pick it up.

    But are they good enough to make my top five NL teams.  Advance to the next slide to see what's up.

5. Milwaukee Brewers: Bud Selig's Team Seemingly Wants a Winning Season

8 of 17

    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The Brew Crew swept the Colorado Rockies over the weekend and are on the heels of the Cincinnati Reds for second in the NL Central.

    If the Brewers' pitching staff reaches its potential, then they could challenge for the division crown.  I'll be watching to bring you the latest news about the Brews of Wisconsin.

4. San Francisco Giants: Holding Steady After Knocking off the Rockies

9 of 17

    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Giants are in first place and looking to put some distance between them and Colorado.  The Rockies got swept by the Giants earlier this season and haven't been the same.

    The NL is tough and teams are trying to distance themselves from the rest of the pack, but it's been very competitive so far.  If the Giants can keep it up, then they'll have a shot at back-to-back World Series titles.

3. Florida Marlins: The Fish and Closer Leo Nunez Have Been Saving Miami

10 of 17

    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The Marlins got done up by their state rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Marlins lost their ace—Josh Johnson—to injury over the weekend.

    I'll be watching to see if they can hold off the Atlanta Braves for second in the NL East.

2. The Phillies Were No. 1 in Winning Percentage in the Majors

11 of 17

    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    The Phillies hope to get Chase Utley back, and boy do hey need him.  In their last nine games, they are 3-6 and averaging less than two runs.

    They have the struggling Cincinnati Reds coming up starting today.  We'll see how that goes.

1. St. Louis Cardinals: The Redbirds Have the Cincinnati Reds Seeing Red

12 of 17

    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Even though the Reds swept the Cardinals two weekends ago, the Cardinals are still very formidable.  If they shore up their bullpen, watch out.  The Cardinals are serious World Series contenders this year.

    The latests in the seemingly endless line of closers—Fernando Salas—could be a keeper.

In the Majors: Lake's Final 4 so Far

13 of 17

    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Reports of the Bronx Bombers' death have been greatly exaggerated.  The Yankees are still tied for first place in the AL East and managing to keep the Bronx zoo closed.

    The Big Four will need to continue to do the job for New  York. 

    Going into Week 8. here are Lake's Final Four in MLB to date...

4. Philadelphia Phillies: Chase Utley's Return Had Better Help the Offense

14 of 17

    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The Phillies will need to step on the gas and hope Chase Utley brings a hot bat.  This isn't the same old Phillies offense.

    The boys from Philadelphia are in need of some desperate hitting to hold off the Cardinals and Marlins—who have just about as many wins—for No. 1 in the NL.

3. Tampa Bay Rays: They're Sneaky Good

15 of 17

    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    James Shields shut the Marlins down on Sunday afternoon, and he helped Tampa show Miami a thing or two about professional baseball.

    The Marlins are high in the L.P.I., but Tampa Bay treated them like their junior varsity. 

2. St. Louis Cardinals: Good Starting Pitching and Veteran Leadership

16 of 17

    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    So the offensive woes continue in Philadelphia and the St. Louis Cardinals have just about as many wins as the Phillies.  This may come as a shock to some, but the Cardinals are pitching just as well as the Phillies right now.

    Left-hander Jaime Garcia is a leading candidate for the Cy Young.  He's leading the league in ERA and came into Sunday's game against the Royals with an 0.38 ERA in his last three starts including Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

    They lead the league in shutouts and winning percentage.  The offense is batting .280 or better, and they're driving in big runs.  Speaking of about the one the No. 1 team on my list is on?  They are the top story this year so far.

1. Cleveland Indians: They've Snuck Up on People so Far, We'll See How It Goes

17 of 17

    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    They have the talent and it's coming to fruition now.  If they can stay healthy and Michael Brantley continues to perform, watch out.

    They play strong defense, hit with power and steal bases when Choo is healthy.  After rolling the Reds over the weekend, the Indians have to wonder what's next.

    Clinching the division seems like a wrap at this point.  I'm staying on point as I stroll out of here.  Sail with me next time on the smooth waters of Lake's Power Cruise.