The Philadelphia Phillies have the best pitching staff in Major League Baseball, the best record in all of bseball and this week, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee and the boys are back on top of The Wife Hates Sports MLB Power Rankings, too.
Elsewhere, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox remain in striking distance, while the Milwaukee Brewers continue to ride their strong play and rise up the charts.
KP’s MLB Power Rankings: August 8, 2011
Note: Records and point totals as of Monday morning and do not include night games
1. Philadelphia Phillies – 74-40 (195 points) – Last Week: #3
Riding its major league best pitching staff, the Phillies have vaulted back to the top of the rankings, and now have a commanding lead on the NL East division.
2. New York Yankees – 69-44 (191 points) – Last Week: #2
An eight-game win streak and a series of blowout victories are the likely reason that the Yanks gained a slight edge over Boston, but New York’s performance against the Sox can’t be ignored.
3. Boston Red Sox – 70-43 (185 points) – Last Week: #1
Sporting a 10-2 record against the Yankees this season, it’s an easy argument to say the Red Sox belong ahead of the Yankees, and it’s likely they’ll jump in front of them again soon.
4. Texas Rangers – 64-51 (121 points) – Last Week: #4
The Rangers may have a sub-.500 record on the road, but the Texas pitching staff has best ERA in baseball (3.15) when pitching away from home.
5. St. Louis Cardinals – 62-53 (95 points) – Last Week: #6
The St. Louis offense has kept the Cardinals high in the polls, and last week’s four-game road sweep of the Marlins – where the Cards allowed just 11 total runs – was a boost, too.
6. Atlanta Braves – 66-49 (88 points) – Last Week: #5
The Achilles’ heel of the Braves is the team’s inability to hit well against left-handed pitching. Atlanta is batting .222 as a team against lefties, the worst in baseball.
7. Milwaukee Brewers – 65-50 (82 points) – Last Week: #12
So far in August, the Brewers are the hottest hitting group in all of baseball, batting .328 as a team – which is 30 points higher than any other squad.
8. Los Angeles Angels – 63-52 (76 points) – Last Week: #7
How much have players like Wells and Abreu struggled? The Angels as a team is batting just .222 since the All-Star Break, which is the worst in baseball during that span.
9. Tampa Bay Rays – 59-54 (60 points) – Last Week: #10
The trade talk surrounding B.J. Upton isn’t just due to his .227 average or contract status, but also due to the performance of Desmond Jennings (.344 avg, 3 HR, 11 RBI’s in 61 AB’s).
10. Detroit Tigers – 61-53 (56 points) – Last Week: #15
Jered Weaver and C.C. Sabathia have been solid, but Detroit SP Justin Verlander (16-5, 2.30 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 186 K’s) deserves to be the Cy Young favorite in the AL.
11. Arizona Diamondbacks – 62-52 (53 points) – Last Week: #8
Arizona has struggled offensively thus far in the month of August, batting .218 as a team, which is the worst in all of baseball to this point.
12. San Francisco Giants – 63-52 (47 points) – Last Week: #11
Just how much have the Giants relied on their pitching? As a team, San Francisco has scored 399 runs, by far the fewest in the National League.
13. New York Mets – 56-57 (43 points) – Last Week: #9
New York’s offense continues to take major hits, as over the weekend, both Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy suffered injuries. Murphy (sprained knee) is likely out for the year.
14. Toronto Blue Jays – 58-56 (38 points) – Last Week: #14
Toronto rookie catcher J.P. Arencibia (18 HR and 52 RBI’s in 87 games) has been one of the more under-the-radar rookie performers of the season.
15. Cincinnati Reds – 55-59 (33 points) – Last Week: #12
In 828 AB’s this season against lefties, the Reds are hitting .289, which is the best average against left handers in Major League Baseball.
16. Chicago White Sox – 55-58 (23 points) – Last Week: #16
The next ten games are key to Chicago’s playoff hopes, as the White Sox face the struggling Orioles and Royals, then follow with a key three-game set against the Indians.
17. San Diego Padres – 51-64 (11 points) – Last Week: #24
A bit of an anomaly in this position, but the last place Padres made a major jump by playing .500 ball on the road and outscoring opponents by 23 runs last week
18. Cleveland Indians – 56-56 (8 points) – Last Week: #19
Ubaldo Jimenez had a sub-par first outing for the Indians, lasting just five innings, while giving up seven hits and five earned runs.
19. Florida Marlins – 55-59 (5 points) – Last Week: #18
Leo Nunez (3.48 ERA, 31 saves and 49 K’s in 51 2/3 innings) has quietly been one of the best relievers in the National League this season.
20. Colorado Rockies – 53-62 (-5 points) – Last Week: #20
With Ubaldo Jimenez gone, expect the Rockies to move forward with Jhoulys Chacin (9-8, 3.45 ERA, 118 K’s) as its #1 starter next season.
21. Los Angeles Dodgers – 52-61 (-6 points) – Last Week: #22
The financial struggles of the Dodgers have been no secret. The latest report says that poor attendance numbers is “expected to cost the Dodgers about $27 million”. Ouch.
22. Washington Nationals – 55-59 (-7 points) – Last Week: #23
Exciting news for Nats fans: In his first rehab start of the season (at Class A Hagerstown), Stephen Strasburg struck out half the batters he faced (4 of 8).
23. Pittsburgh Pirates – 54-59 (-12 points) – Last Week: #17
Ten straight defeats, a goose egg in August and a winless stretch since the trade deadline are all signs that the Pirates’ ship may finally be sinking.
24. Oakland Athletics – 51-63 (-19 points) – Last Week: #21
Here’s a shocking stat: Post All-Star Game, the A’s are batting .299 as a team, which is the best average in baseball during that span.
25. Kansas City Royals – 49-65 (-32 points) – Last Week: #25
The Royals are batting .277 as a team during the day. Only the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds have a better batting average during day games.
26. Seattle Mariners – 49-64 (-42 points) – Last Week: #27
The Mariners have a brutal stretch coming, as over the next 12 games, Seattle plays at Texas, vs. Boston, vs. Toronto and then at Tampa Bay.
27. Chicago Cubs – 49-66 (-59 points) – Last Week: #28
A seven-game win streak didn’t put the Cubs any closer to the pennant race, but it did give the city a boost, as well as push the team further away from the cellar.
28. Minnesota Twins – 51-63 (-77 points) – Last Week: #26
The early-season Twins appear to be back. Minnesota has lost seven of eight and scored just five runs over its last four games (all losses).
29. Baltimore Orioles – 44-67 (-115 points) – Last Week: #29
Adam Jones is quietly enjoying his best season to date, playing great defense and posting solid numbers on offense (.292 avg, 20 HR, 69 RBI’s and 21 doubles).
30. Houston Astros – 37-77 (-139 points) – Last Week: #30
Random stat of the day: The Astros are batting .280 in games when the score is tied. Only the Yankees and Mets have a higher average in such situations.
* All stats per MLB.com
Note: RED = Falling 3+ spots from last week, GREEN = Rising 3+ spots from last week
The Wife Hates Sports’ MLB Power Rankings system has a method to its madness, attempting to be different and not just rank by popularity and record. It mixes a secret formula of six completely different categories, meshed into a points system. The categories don’t just include team results regarding record, but how each team has performed recently, as well as incorporating some statistics on both a team’s offense and pitching staff, too.