The Call to the Pen: June 6th, 2016

Welcome back to The Call to the Pen! Took a week off due to a marathon study session last week. I tweeted out the Rankings which can be found on our Twitter Feed. A great week in majors that saw the unfortunate end to both Xander Bogaerts’ hit-streak and to Jake Arrieta’s loss-less streak. Let’s get to the Power Rankings…

Power Rankings

The Bottom:

30) Atlanta Braves (16-40): Down 1
29) Minnesota Twins (16-40): Down 1 
28) Cincinnati Reds (21-36): Up 2
27) San Diego Padres (23-35): Even 

26) Oakland Athletics (25-32): Even
25) Arizona Diamondbacks (25-34): Even

24) Milwaukee Brewers (26-31): Down 1
23) Colorado Rockies (25-31): Down 2
22) Tampa Bay Rays (25-30): Down 2  
21) New York Yankees (26-30): Down 2 

The Rockies have been one of the most intriguing teams to me in 2016. Their offense is one of the best in baseball as Nolan Arenado continues to smack the cover off of the ball (.291 BA, 18 HT, 47 RBI). Carlos Gonzalez has hit MASSIVE home runs for the Rockies this year, most notably smashing a 438′ bomb yesterday against the Padres. So why, when their offense is so powerful, are they 23rd? The obvious is that they’re six games under .500 and having gone 2-5 this week against the Reds and Padres. The big drag on the Rockies statistically is their pitching staff ranking at the bottom of the league in ERA, WHIP, and Opponent’s BA.

The Middle:

20) Philadelphia Phillies (28-29): Down 3 
19) LA Angels of Anaheim (26-30): Up 3
18) Houston Astros (28-30): Up 6
17) Detroit Tigers (28-28): Up 2 
16) Chicago White Sox (29-28): Down 2
15) Miami Marlins (30-27): Up 1
14) Toronto Blue Jays (30-27): Up 1
13) Kansas City Royals (30-26): Down 4 
12) LA Dodgers (31-27): Down 1
11) St. Louis Cardinals (30-27): Up 2 

The Blue Jays are 8-2 in their last ten games with both losses coming at the hands of the Red Sox. Toronto has been able to get the bats going recently while the pitching staff has been stellar. Marco Estrada took a no-hitter into the 8th inning for the 3rd time this season as the team only beat the Sox 5-4. If the bats return to their explosive potential, we could be seeing three AL East teams in the Top 10. The Astros continue to streak along as they’ve won eight of ten and now sit only two games under .500. The play their in-state rivals this week in a pivotal four-game series in Arlington beginning tonight. Dallas Keuchel takes on Cole Hamels tomorrow night for the marquee game of the series.

The Top:

10) Pittsburgh Pirates (30-26): Even
9) Cleveland Indians (31-24): Up 3
8) Seattle Mariners (31-25): Down 1
7) New York Mets (31-24): Down 3
6) Baltimore Orioles (32-23): Up 2
5) Washington Nationals (34-23): Even

4) Boston Red Sox (33-24): Down 2
3) San Francisco Giants (35-24): Even
2) Texas Rangers (34-22): Up 4
1) Chicago Cubs (39-16): Even

The Top 14 spots continue to shuffle around but the Cubs remain at the top. The Pirates, Mariners, and Mets have cooled off a bit recently but all are still showing signs that they can be towards, if not at, the top of their respective divisions if not for dominate leaders. The Rangers are red hot as they begin the aforementioned four-game set with the Astros. The Giants remain of the better teams even after dropping the final two games in St. Louis this weekend. The Orioles have taken a slight lead on the Red Sox in the AL East after splitting the series the two played in Baltimore last week. Baltimore’s pitching will need to remain consistent if they are to gain any ground over Boston while the Sox are hoping they shake their recent woes as they travel to San Francisco this week. MadBum takes the bump on Wednesday against David Price. Considering Bumgarner’s desire to partake in the Home Run Derby, Madison could do to Price what he did to Kershaw.

All Star Votes:

American League:
1st Basemen: Eric Hosmer (KC)
2nd Basemen: Robinson Cano (SEA)
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts (BOS)
3rd Basemen: Manny Muchado (BAL)
Catcher: Salvador Perez (KC)
DH: David Ortiz (BOS)
Outfielders: Mark Trumbo (BAL), Mike Trout (LAA), George Springer (HOU)

National League:
1st Basemen: Anthony Rizzo (CHC)
2nd Basemen: Daniel Murphy (WSH)
Shortstop: Corey Seager (LAD)
3rd Basemen: Nolan Arenado (COL)
Catcher: Yadier Molina (STL)
Outfielders: Dexter Fowler (CHC), Jay Bruce (CIN), Carlos Gonzalez

Phillies Update:

The last time I posted, the Phillies were starting to cool off as they headed off on road trip that started the big slide. Frankly, the results were more of what we all would have expected from the Phils coming into 2016; especially against the Cubs. The series this past weekend started to give some hope however, specifically Sunday’s game. The Phils struggled in the first game against the Brewers on Thursday night but the team returned to its grinding ways on Friday, winning 6-3. After tough go on Saturday, the bats came ALIVE Sunday as the Phillies hit four homers in the 8-1 victory, matching their season-high. Going forward, the Phils’ youth will continue to be the main variable in their output. The young pitching should stay relatively stable but the bats will probably go through power outages like what we just saw at least two or three more times as we enter the summer months. It’s hard to believe that they’re going to finish around .500, but they won’t be as bad as they were last year. This week, the team finishes up this homestand against the Cubs with the same pitching matchup as the sweep a few weeks ago. The Phillies go on a small road trip to Washington for the weekend.

Disagree with the Rankings? How about my All Star votes? Let me know in the comments

(cover photo via)

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