The Call to the Pen: July 11th, 2016

Welcome back to The Call to the Pen! Another quick strike this week. Today was a busy, busy day at the office so I no time on the lunch break to write the post you all anxiously wait for every week. Gonna run through the rankings, and the Phillies update quickly to talk about the All-Star Game. I was hoping to get to this post earlier today so I could preview the Home Run Derby tonight. I loved the format last year and this year hopes to build off of that momentum. The timing makes the Derby quick and fun instead of running until midnight when the kids (to whom this event is the coolest) can see who the Champ is instead of having to sneak out of bed. Anyway, let’s get to the Power Rankings…

Power Rankings

The Bottom:

30) Atlanta Braves (31-58): Down 1 
29) Cincinnati Reds (32-57): Down 1
28) Minnesota Twins (32-56): Up 2 
27) Tampa Bay Rays (34-54): Even 

26) Arizona Diamondbacks (37-52): Down 5
25) LA Angels of Anaheim (37-52): Up 1
24) Milwaukee Brewers (38-49): Up 1

23) Oakland Athletics (38-51): Up 1

22) San Diego Padres (38-51): Even
21) Colorado Rockies (40-48): Down 1

The Middle:

20) Philadelphia Phillies (42-48): Up 3 
19) Kansas City Royals (45-43): Down 2
18) New York Yankees (44-44): Up 1  
17) Chicago White Sox (45-43): Down 1
16) Detroit Tigers (46-43): Down 1
15) Seattle Mariners (45-44): Down 2 
14) Pittsburgh Pirates (46-43): Even
13) Miami Marlins (47-41): Up 5
12) New York Mets (47-41): Down 2
11) St. Louis Cardinals (46-42): Even 

The Top:

10) Houston Astros (48-41): Up 2
9) LA Dodgers (51-40): Down 3 
8) Baltimore Orioles (51-36): Down 1
7) Toronto Blue Jays (51-40): Up 2
6) Boston Red Sox (49-38): Up 2
5) Cleveland Indians (52-36): Down 3  

4) Texas Rangers (54-36): Down 1
3) Washington Nationals (54-36): Up 2
2) Chicago Cubs (53-35): Down 1
1) San Francisco Giants (57-33): Up 2

The Giants have taken over the Cubs! For those who at least saw the highlights of MadBum’s one-hitter last night, this should be no serious surprise. The Cubs have been ice cold recently and the Giants haven’t slowed down one bit as proven by MadBum last night and Cueto being named the NL Starter for tomorrow. I think the Cubs can and will rebound, but right now San Fran gets the top spot. Despite falling three spots, the Dodgers are still playing very good baseball for not having Clayton Kershaw. The Blue Jays still continue to claw their way back into the AL East further showing the divide between the good and bad teams. The Rays can pretty much be counted out at this point and the Yankees could come back considering any of the other three AL East teams are more primed for a deadline deal, it could be getting bleak in the Bronx. I’ll try to go over some Buyers and Sellers maybe next week as the markets become more apparent.

Phillies Update:

Another great week! A sweep of Atlanta and splitting with a good Rockies team at Coors Field. 5-2 isn’t bad at all for a week and is certainly the right foot to enter the All Star Break on. The most impressive thing to me has been how players are developing into their roles and stepping up when they need to. Cameron Rupp is a great example of this. Platooning (starting to win over the starting role) at catcher up having those big days to help the team rebound when necessary like yesterday. Maikal Franco is also finally finding his groove and is smacking the crap out of the ball. The Phils actually have a respectable RD for the lower echelon of teams; it’s still third-worst in the Bigs, but not by an awful margin anymore so I’ll take it.

2016 MLB All-Star Game:

Saving the best for last. July is my favorite month of the year not just because of my birthday. There’s the 4th of July, the end of Wimbledon, the British Open (check back later this week for my preview), and the MLB All-Star Game; EASILY the best of the four major sports. Say what you will of the World Series implications or of the supposed rigging of Derek Jeter’s final game two years ago, but the event is just all-around awesome.

Very 💪 starting lineups for the #ASG.

A post shared by MLB ⚾ (@mlb) on

Long time readers have seen my picks but these starting lineups are fantastic. I could go on and on about them but I’ll keep it brief. Marcell Ozuna starting for the injured Dexter Fowler is an awesome choice, the guy can hit the ball very well. Kris Bryant will probably get two ABs but I’m excited to see Nolan Arenado come into the game, he’s up there with Manny Muchado for the best third basemen in the game right now. If you don’t take anything else away from these lineups: Eric Hosmer and Anthony Rizzo are both batting sixth and both can crush the ball. If the pitching doesn’t come out dominate (Sale and Cueto easily can), a slugfest could ensure at Petco almost like in 2012. My Pick: NL wins 6-4

Disagree with the Rankings? Let me know in the comments

(cover photo via)

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