A new team has grabbed the top spot in the MLB Power Rankings for the third straight week, as the St. Louis Cardinals have pried the No. 1 position away from the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Cardinals were ranked No. 3 last week but made a two-spot jump up to No. 1. in part thanks to a slight bump in their strength of schedule. St. Louis is currently first in the NL Central thanks to a steady rotation and the powerful trio of Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, and Lance Berkman in their lineup.
St. Louis has been able to weather the loss of starter Adam Wainwright thanks to the superb transition of Kyle McClellan from the bullpen to the rotation. In McClellan's seven appearances this season the Cardinals are 7-0, and McClellan is 5-0 with a 3.30 ERA. Not bad for someone who hadn't started a game in the major leagues before this season.
The Cardinals have also received a surprise with the early start from Berkman. Last year with the Astros and the Yankees Berkman hit 14 home runs and had 58 RBI. This season he already has 10 home runs and 32 RBI while hitting .374.
St. Louis may have climbed up to the No. 1 spot this week, but they could have short run if the Braves and Phillies continue on their current run.
The Braves are locked in at No. 2 for the second straight week after winning seven of their last eight games. Atlanta might not have the high-profile rotation of the Phillies, but they may be able to match the Phillies with an underrated starting five. Jair Jurrjens started the season on the disabled list, but since his return he is 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA - including a win over the Phillies last week in which he held Philly to one run over 6 1-3 innings. The Braves face the Phillies again this week in what should be a competitive series.
Rounding out the rest of this week's Top 5 are Florida at No. 4 for the second week in a row, and the Angels at No. 5, up from No. 8. The Angels are 4-1 in their last five games and are winning despite getting little production at the plate from Vernon Wells and having Kendrys Morales still on the disabled list. Morales' recovery from a broken leg is going very slowly and he could be out for at least another month. Rookie Mark Trumbo has kept the Angels from missing Morales too much, with a team-leading six home runs and 17 RBI.
One of the biggest losers on the rankings this week were the Boston Red Sox. The BoSox dropped from No. 13 last week to No. 19, a six-position fall. Bettors have been losing money on Boston all season long, and anyone hoping for a turnaround is still waiting. Boston was favored in their last 14 games but they were only 7-7 during that span.
|Chi White Sox||127.63||0.52||66.45|