Every weekend throughout the season I’ll be separately assessing the fortunes of teams in the NL and AL and ranking them accordingly. Standings aren’t dependent on record alone and factor in such elements as injuries, strength of competition, and acquisitions, amongst other things. Today, on account of my traveling to Portland in order to not just ingest gallons of coffee, but take in the Nike Hoop Summit, it will be a rather abridged NL version, but one nonetheless. It’s The Senior Class – Week 2 (All records correct as of Saturday morning).
- Washington Nationals (4-2 last week, 7-3 overall) →
- Los Angeles Dodgers (3-2, 7-4) ↑
- St. Louis Cardinals (3-3, 5-5) ↓ Has anyone come up with a good reason why Mike Matheny opted to let Trevor Rosenthal hit with two outs and a RISP in the bottom of the 10th inning last night when he had Pete Kozma on the bench? I know Kozma isn’t exactly hot stuff at the dish, but jeez… #smrtbaseball.
- Milwaukee Brewers (6-0, 8-2) ↑ Your early leaders of the Senior Circuit everybody! Having gone unbeaten over the past week – they secured a sweep against the reigning champion Red Sox to begin the week, easily despatched Philadelphia, and then took down the Pirates yesterday – the Brew Crew have now racked up seven wins in a row, have the best run-differential in the league (+24), and are officially scorching hot. Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy, and my pre-season krush Khris Davis are all raking, while on the other side of the ball, only one starting pitcher has an ERA above 2.60 (Kyle Lohse, at 4.50). If Ryan Braun can continue to respond to the boo-birds as well as he did in Philadelphia – and be able to stay on the field while managing his apparently lingering thumb injury too – Milwaukee could easily continue to surprise their competition all the way to a postseason berth.
- San Francisco Giants (3-3, 7-4) ↑
- Atlanta Braves (2-3, 6-4) ↓
- Pittsburgh Pirates (2-3, 6-4) ↓ To steal from the ESPN Fantasy Focus Baseball podcast, if Milwaukee are bonafide, the Pirates are Bonifacio. Having had a run of luck last year similar to the 2012 incarnation of the Baltimore Orioles, many expected Pittsburgh’s record in one-run games and extra innings to regress back to usual levels this season; instead, five of the Pirates’ six wins have come by one run (as opposed to the Bucs only once losing by such a margin) and the club have gone 2-0 in extras. Yes, led by Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli, they have an excellent bullpen able to lock down wins in the late innings, but having played the lowly Cubs six times already, their strength of opposition hasn’t exactly been overwhelming either. Though it might be a welcome addition for Andrew McCutchen and his .194 batting average, the regression monster surely must arriving at PNC Park soon.
- Colorado Rockies (3-3, 5-6) ↑
- San Diego Padres (3-2 – 4-6) ↑
- Cincinnati Reds (2-4, 3-7)↓ There’s no rest for the wicked; after facing off for a second series of the young season against the powerhouse Cardinals and their loaded pitching staff, yesterday the Reds ran into a David Price-shaped buzzsaw. Today brings no respite either – as they’ll find Alex Cobb opposing them on the mound. There are some positive takeaways from a rough week for ardent Cincinnati fans like me however; Joey Votto will be batting second today (a win for bedroom-managers everywhere in terms of lineup construction), and Billy Hamilton (finally) showed some signs of life this week.
- Miami Marlins (1-5, 5-6) ↓
- New York Mets (3-2, 4-6) ↑ When Bartolo Colon does this, you’re moving up in the rankings regardless of record. Of course, posting a .600 week is always nice too.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (3-3, 4-9) ↓ #FreeArchieBradley!
- Philadelphia Phillies (2-4, 4-6) →
- Chicago Cubs (3-3, 4-6) →
Thanks for sticking with me as I ride by bus. Check back tomorrow for my AL rankings – The Designated 15: Week 2!