The Call to the Pen: April 18th, 2016

Welcome back to The Call to the Pen! Great week across the board for baseball. Bryce Harper hit his 100th career home run, the Cardinals proved that they are not to be forgotten in the strong NL, and the Phillies are ahead of the Mets in the standings (can’t say for too much longer). Let’s look at my power rankings…

Power Rankings

The Bottom:

30) Minnesota Twins (3-9): Down 1
29) Atlanta Braves (3-9): Up 1
28) San Diego Padres (4-9): Down 4
27) Miami Marlins (3-7): Even
26) Tampa Bay Rays (5-7): Down 1

25) LA Angels of Anaheim (5-7): Up 3
24) Milwaukee Brewers (5-7): Down 4
23) Philadelphia Phillies (6-7): Up 3
22) Seattle Mariners (5-7): Up 1
21) Arizona Diamondbacks (5-8): Up 1

The Twins were 0-9 coming into the weekend but not even a sweep of the Angels could keep them out of the bottom; they’ve scored a major league low 28 runs. The Marlins are struggling right now as they didn’t move this week. Miami is starting to show signs that maybe they’ll be more towards the bottom than we initially thought. The two big movers in this section are the Padres (who were shut out in five of their first ten games, an MLB record) and the Brewers (who have allowed the second-most runs in the Bigs). Upwards we have the Phillies (see below) and the Angels (who have really just been on the right side of other teams sliding).

The Middle:

20) Houston Astros (5-8): Up 1
19) Oakland Athletics (6-7): Down 5
18) Cleveland Indians (5-5): Even
17) Cincinnati Reds (6-6): Down 12
16) New York Yankees (5-6): Down 4
15) Toronto Blue Jays (6-7): Up 2
14) New York Mets (5-6): Up 1
13) Colorado Rockies (7-5): Up 3
12) Boston Red Sox (6-5): Up 1
11) Texas Rangers (7-6): Up 8

How the “mighty” has fallen. The Reds weren’t supposed to be very good and had taken advantage of a weak schedule and poor starts from most of the favorites. Cincy went on the road to Chicago and St. Louis and it did not go well as they were outscored 48-21. The A’s and Yankees also move down for mediocre weeks. In Oakland’s case, their offense just hasn’t shown up yet. The Blue Jays offense has indeed arrived but it is not at the explosive level I thought it would be. The Mets are the most perplexing as they are towards the bottom of the majors in scoring. The Rockies continue to be hot and the Rangers have scored the most runs in the American League.

The Top:

10) Detroit Tigers (7-4): Down 1
9) Chicago White Sox (8-4): Up 1
8) Pittsburgh Pirates (7-6): Down 2
7) Baltimore Orioles (8-3): Down 3
6) Kansas City Royals (8-4): Down 4
5) San Francisco Giants (7-6): Down 2
4) LA Dodgers (8-5): Up 4
3) Washington Nationals (9-2): Up 8
2) St. Louis Cardinals (7-5): Up 5
1) Chicago Cubs (9-3): Even

The Nats are starting to take full advantage of playing in the NL East going a league-best 6-1 on the week; their only loss coming in extras yesterday to the Phillies. Their offense is beginning to explode (thanks to Bryce Harper taking off and hitting home runs in six-straight games) and the pitching has been fantastic even with Max Scherzer starting off 2016 on the wrong foot. The Dodgers and Cubs pitching has been fantastic as well. The Royals defense is what we’ve coming accustom to but they haven’t pulled away in the AL Central just yet thanks to strong starts from Detroit and Chicago. The Cardinals may be the biggest story right now as they lead the majors in scoring by a large margin. They scored 85 runs which is 14 more than the next team, the Cubs. Many people sold off the Cards before the season started but they will still be a force in a strong NL Central. The Cubbies are still the class of the league though. While they aren’t leading the majors in runs scored nor have allowed the least, they are still the most complete team. It’ll be interesting to see how the numbers will turn out due to disparages between the divisions in the NL.

Phillies Update:

Once again, the Phillies end the week on a high note! Matty D and I renewed our rivalry on the golf course yesterday but we had our eyes on the score as extras began. Aside from having to face the powerhouse Nationals this weekend, the Phillies showed off their young talent that they’ve acquired in last year’s trades. This was epitomized by Vince Valasquez’s 16 K shutout last Thursday against the Padres. I’m very excited to see how the Phillies will continue to develop and even more excited to see that they’re still ahead of the Mets. Speaking of, the defending NL Champs come to Philadelphia this week for a three-game set and will travel on Thursday for a weekend series with the Brewers.

Disagree? What do you think of the new format? Let me know in the comments

(cover photo via)

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