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MLB Power Rankings: Power at the top

Jun 20, 2013, 5:29 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today

By Steve Roney
CSNwashington.com

There's a line of demarcation right now in major league baseball — 39 wins. A quick glance at the standings shows that each team with at least 39 wins either occupies, or is within two games of, a playoff spot. Does your favorite team have fewer than 39 victories? They'd better play in the NL West, where San Francisco, Colorado, and San Diego are all within three games of first place — behind the Diamondbacks, who have a record of 39-33.

Here's how Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman, Nats writer Chase Hughes, and I see the rest of the majors shaking out:

1. St. Louis Cardinals (46-26; LW: 1) - Hughes: The Cardinals have one of the best pitching staffs and lineups in the majors, and have been fortunate to stay very healthy. Everything is going their way.

2. Boston Red Sox (44-30; LW: 2) - Roney: Not to kick a dead topic, but closer is my least favorite role in sports. Felix Doubront pitches eight innings, giving up three hits with no walks on just 93 pitches. John Farrell brings in Andrew Bailey to slam the door, and he gives up a homer on his second pitch, tying the game at 1-1. Infuriating.

3. Cincinnati Reds (44-29; LW: 3)  - Hughes: Arroyo, Latos, and Leake are all pitching like All-Stars. If they can keep it up the Reds are as complete a team as anyone.

4. Atlanta Braves (43-30; LW: 4) - Roney: El Oso Boo-boo just hit the DL, sidelining one of Atlanta's most reliable power bats. Kudos to the Braves, however, for shelving him right away.

5. Oakland A's (43-31; LW: 5) - Zuckerman: Their stadium may reek of sewage, but this team smells awfully good right now.

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  1. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    So Mark posting the kudos for that left handed bullpen ace in Seattle, Oliver Perez.I was going to mention that last nite but was too depressed until the too of the 9th, then forgot all about it.

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Top.

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    While I am not a fan of closer role either, that example is more of a poor bullpen management than closer role.rankings really don't mean much but pretty much everyone has nationals at or around the same spot (15th).

  4. Section 222 - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    rankings really don't mean muchActually, rankings don't mean anything. There are nine teams who are between 3 games over .500 and 3 games under .500. They are ranked from 12-19 here. At this point, no one can tell which will contend for playoff spots and which will fade away. The biggest surprises so far (other than the Nats' lousy start) are the Orioles, Rangers, and Pirates from the top half, and the Angels, Dodgers, and Blue Jays. Notice a theme?

  5. SonnyG10 - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    I'll wait for the final rankings.

  6. David Proctor - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    Just to add to the Span discussion a couple of posts ago…Span's problem is his confidence on the base paths, I think. There was a time yesterday (maybe the day before) where RZimm was batting. Span got a GREAT jump and easily had the bag stolen, but he inexplicably stopped because he didn't trust his lead. Span clearly has the speed to steal bases, but I don't think he knows HOW to do it effectively. That is something one of our coaches needs to work on with him. Maybe he just lacks the proper instincts (I feel like he nearly gets picked off every time he's on first). Don't know.Anyway, I would still much rather have Span than Revere. Revere is a disaster in CF and I trust Span's numbers will go up closer to his career numbers.

  7. Section 222 - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    Well put Sonny. And at that point, only #1 matters. This is not horseshoes or archery, as we found out last year.

  8. d'grviii 8 - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

  9. Theophilus T. S. - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    If I were Span, thinking of stealing second while Zimmernan was up (with less than two out), I'd be trying to decide which was more defeating — being wiped out in a strike-em out/throw 'em out DP or cravenly hugging 1B.

  10. m - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    I will be watching Span tonight. I am temtpted to predict his at bats but I will keep any prediction to myself until after the game. I hope he pulls a Werth . We shall see.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 76 57 --
ATLANTA 71 64 6.0
MIAMI 65 68 11.0
NEW YORK 63 72 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 61 73 15.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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