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MLB Power Rankings: Red Sox reign

Jul 11, 2013, 6:14 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

By Steve Roney
CSNwashington.com

There were undoubtedly those who figured the Red Sox would rebound from last year's last-place, 69-win season, but anyone who says they picked them to have baseball's best record at about the midpoint of the season is either lying or a huge fan of clam chowder. The AL East in general is top to bottom the best division in baseball — though it can't match the NL Central's elite top three, all five divisional teams are within striking distance of first place, and only Toronto (at 44-46) owns a losing record.
Here's how Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman, Nats writer Chase Hughes, and I see the rest of the major leagues shaking out:
1. Boston Red Sox (56-37; LW: 3)Hughes: Boston has the majors’ best offense and much of it was built on the fly this offseason. Ben Cherington is a clear frontrunner for executive of the year.
2. St. Louis Cardinals (54-34; LW: 1)Zuckerman: They've hit .338 with RISP. That's not sustainable over a full season, is it?
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (54-36; LW: 2) – Zuckerman: The pitching staff remains deep and talented. The lineup could probably use another bat, though.
4. Oakland A's (54-38; LW: 6)Roney: Does anyone have a bigger All-Star gripe than Josh Donaldson? A .316/.385/.529 slash line with 15 homers and valuable defense should be enough to garner some midseason recognition.

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  1. bowdenball - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    The Pirates have lost 6 of 9 in July. Their run differential ranks just 8th in the league. Their run prevention has benefited from an amazing .264 BABIP, easily the lowest in the league, 9 points lower than the #2 team and about 30 points lower than league average. It won't last.They don't belong at #3 in any rankings other than "current winning percentage." The only thing powerful about them right now is the force with which they're plummeting back to earth.

  2. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Dredging this up from the last thread:Ghost said:"I want to see the 2012 version of Hairston!"2 for 6 in Philly with a lead off hit against Hamels and and a late-inning sac fly isn't the worst way to get started here!

  3. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    BTW – not sure if this is kosher here, but since there appear to be a number of deadheads…I'm in a GD acoustic cover band called the Reckoning. We're playing this Sunday at the Greene Turtle in Columbia, MD from 2 – 5. I can post some links to vid/audio if there's interest, but I don't want to push the self promotion too far.

  4. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    JD, 44 games played last year for Segura was fine but the 148 ABs put him 18 over the treshold. His a Rookie as he is referred to but you are correct, he's not eligible for the ROY award.That may put Puig, Rendon, Gregorius, Shelby Miller and Pollock at the top.

  5. Tcostant - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    Kind of scary that the Crds have Chris Carpenter making a Double-A rehap start this week. If he has anything left, that could be a huge lift to the team.

  6. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    3 teams with identical records and you stack the DBacks who are fading fast and the Indians who are dog paddling ahead of the Nats?

  7. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Tcostant, if the Cardinals don't take the NL Central I will be surprised and if the Pirates don't fail I will be surprised.

  8. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/nationals-watch/2013/jul/11/how-anthony-rendon-and-wilson-ramos-have-changed-n/Really good scribing by Amanda on the RR connection. She also brings up the 0-2 swing and in particular his ability to adjust to the inside pitch. Its particularly impressive as he stands so close to the plate the catcher/pitcher believe they can get him there. Uh, no!

  9. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    I'd rather have the Nats listed too low than too high…keep any targets on someone else's back as much as possible!

  10. NatsLady - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Ghost, I wouldn't write off the Reds, especially if they can get Cueto healthy.

  11. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Whoa, Freddie Freeman is only 23? That's impressive…

  12. UnkyD - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Eric! Either post those links, or email them to me. Check my profile to contact me, and let me know how to get hold of one of your stickers… Would love to catch the Reckoning, sometime…

  13. Janus - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    Is everyone done reading Kilgore now that the Post has a paywall? I am :(Need to save my 20 articles for Bos, and you know occasional random "important" news.

  14. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    UnkyD, I still need to count stickers…ultimately I can mail them or pass them off at a game.VideoAudioFacebookIf I'm breaking any established or host-defined protocol here, someone say the word and these posts are gone.

  16. Joe Seamhead - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Eric, funny GD related story, short version: About 7 or 8 years ago my son and his now wife broke down in Oregon while doing a post college graduation trip around the country. Long story short, the mechanic that worked on their van was Bob Weir's brother and he put them up at his place for almost a week while getting parts together for them.The particulars of the stay are rather entertaining.

  17. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    Wow…yeah, I can only imagine! Would love to hear the long version of that stay! ;)

  18. Section 222 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Amanda Comak has a piece up about Ramos and Rendon with this awesome quote from the Rake:“I just try to get the barrel to it,” he said. “Don’t think in baseball. It messes you up.”

  19. Section 222 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    For you html gurus out there (Sofa? Eric?), can you explain why the links I embed in my posts aren't showing up blue or red? If you pass your cursor over the linked text it shows that there are links, but otherwise the are invisible, at least to me. For example I linked to Amanda's piece and if you pass your cursor over "Ramos and Rendon" you'll see it.

  20. baseballswami - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Note to Eck – leave The Rake alone !!!! Just say no to the notebook!!

  21. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    222, how are you encoding the HTML? When I inspect the element, it just looks like this:<a rel="nofollow">Ramos and Rendon</a>Something's getting lost somehow…

  23. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    Sec222, look at my post at 3:02 ;)BTW, that was a great quote but let's face it, he has such a good approach and mechanics that it's second nature to him which makes that "Don't think" as an automatic.Like I said when he was drafted, his coach called Rendon the best hitter he has coached. That was a tall compliment considering he also coached Lance Berkman and a dozen other MLBers. It was cool watching this years College HR Derby won by a Rice kid Michael Aquino.

  24. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    PS – if you want the enclosing carats to show up in your example of how you do it, 222, replace the < with < and the > with >Otherwise, just replace 'em with | or – or something.

  25. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    SON OF AREplace < with &lt; and > with &gt;

  26. sjm308 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Eric – I have no power here but if it involves music, you post away!! We have a family obligation that involves me gilling some ribs and drinking beer but let me know when the Reckoning is out and about. Break an arm or a finger!!Go Nats!!

  27. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    A linked url should look like this, at a minimum:<a href="http://www.natsinsider.com">Nats Insider</a>Don't leave out the quotes or anything.

  28. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Thanks sjm! We rarely play south of Frederick so far, but it should become more common over the next year or so.

  29. Section 222 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    The form you used in your post @3:48 is how I do it. But for some reason, while I've successfully made NatsInsider a hyperlink, it's not showing up in blue or red so people will know they can click on it. Sorry to repeat you Ghost, but I guess hadn't read all the previous comments before I wrote mine. No beer, cold or otherwise, owed for that. Davey should make a T-shirt out of that Rendon quote and send it to Espi.

  30. JD - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    Bowdenball, I agree about the Pirates although they have built up a nice cushion in the WC standings so maybe just maybe they hang on this year. I think the Cards win the division easily and I think Cinci leap frogs Pit into 2nd place. I think the Dodgers win the west comfortably also. I think Arizona's starters are very so so. Their ace was projected as a no. 4 or 5 so he's bound to normalize.

  31. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    222, fwiw, the link that led you to ask this doesn't lead anywhere…You're using <a href> and not <a rel>, right?

  32. JD - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    Sec 222, Espi went 2 for 3 and a walk with a HR and a double last night. He's been hot for about a week and he's not striking out much. One more week like this and he will be back up at the expense of Chad Tracy because he can play all the infield positions.

  33. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    "One more week like this and he will be back up at the expense of Chad Tracy because he can play all the infield positions."Whoa…talk about intrigue!

  34. Get Your Re(n)d On - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Washington Post paywall got you down? Here's a handy hint. When you try to read an article and it tells you you've hit the limit and will now have to pay, just go into your browser's settings and clear out all the Washington Post cookies. Presto, you're back in.WaPo writing isn't worth paying for, except maybe for Boswell.

  35. Eric - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    Or, just block all cookies by default and enable them only when you want to ;)

  36. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    OK, a couple few things on HTML.First: NIDO "How-To … make hyperlinks (first entry, row 2)Since you brought it up — HEY NATS LADY, LISTEN UP — Blogger doesn't allow much HTML, but they do allow the "rel" attribute here, and the "nofollow" tag is useful if you're linking to your own website in here, in case Google doesn't figure out that you're talking about a related topic (an "organic link"), and you care about your search engine rankings. For now, at least, it can help your SEO to include it, thusly: Nats-friendly watering holes all the time, so if you're saying this gig is a Nats Insider event (cuz you just said it is), then I'd say link away, link away, link away, dixieland. Or Link Away, Link Wray.

  37. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Hmmm. *Thuslya rel="nofollow" href="http://www.foo.org and so forth…

  38. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    and then *ERIC–we link to Nats-friendly …

  39. natsfan1a - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    Wasn't that Fay's brother?Link Wray

  40. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    Uh, no. Link Wray, a godfather of rock and roll, inventor of Power Chords.RUMBLETurn it up first.

  41. natsfan1a - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Thanks, I learned something. :-)

  42. Scooter - Jul 11, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    Rumble is the awesome.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 70 82 17.5
Through Wednesday's games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets 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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