MLB Power Poll: Rays amp up energy, wins

There were a couple of important performances this weekend that didn’t involve Ubaldo Jimenez and his no-hitter, or the Mets and Cardinals and their 20-inning marathon.

Two contenders went on the road and took key series. The Marlins won two of three from the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, and the Rays went into Boston and swept the Red Sox in a four-game set at Fenway Park.

The Yankees move up in this week's Power Poll, thanks in part to Nick Swisher's hot bat.
The Yankees move up in this week’s Power Poll, thanks in part to Nick Swisher’s hot bat.

Early, but nonetheless impressive showings from the two Florida teams. Anyway, on to the poll.

1. Yankees (last week 5). The Yankees just keep mowing down the top teams in the A.L. And that’s with three starters — Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher and Nick Johnson — all hitting .200 or worse entering the week. Those slumps will end soon enough.

2. Rays (11). Matt Garza won his third consecutive start on Sunday, shutting out the Red Sox at Fenway. His ERA for the season is 0.75, his WHIP 0.88 and he’s pitched eight innings in all three starts.

3. Phillies (1). The powerful Phillies lineup managed just one run over the final two games of the home series against the Marlins.

4. Twins (4). The 3-4-5 hitters in the Minnesota lineup are doing quite well, thank you. Joe Mauer is hitting .378, Justin Morneau is batting .319 and Michael Cuddyer is at .340.

5. Athletics (6). Here are the ERAs for Oakland starting pitchers entering the week — 2.41, 2.65, 2.65, 2.70 and 3.38. That’s the biggest reason the A’s have a two-and-a-half game lead in the A.L West.

6. Giants (2). Across the bay, the ERAs for the Giants’s starters aren’t too shabby either — ace Tim Lincecum is at 0.90, Barry Zito is a 1.86 and Jonathan Sanchez is at 2.19.

7. Cardinals (7). The Cardinals have played four series entering the week, and they’ve won two of three in each one.

8. Marlins (8). After Ricky Nolasco earned a complete-game victory Saturday against the Phillies — he allowed one run and five hits — Nate Robertson shut out the Phillies for 6 1/3 innings, and the bullpen took care of the rest.

9. Braves (13). The brake pads on the Jason Heyward hype machine are wearing thin. In fact, after his game-winning based-loaded hit with two outs in the ninth inning Saturday against the Rockies — he has 15 RBIs and a .302 average for the 7-5 Braves — those pads might be completely gone.

10. Tigers (9). The Tigers enter the week with six regulars posting an on-base percentage of .385 or higher, including rookie starters Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore.

11. Blue Jays (3). Bad week for the Jays, who dropped five of seven games to fall into third place in the A.L. East.

12. Pirates (19). The Pirates finished off a three-game sweep of the Reds on Sunday, and despite being negative-22 in run differential, they’re 7-5 and one game back in the N.L. Central.

13. Rockies (14). That Ubaldo Jimenez guy is pretty good.

14. Indians (28). Things are looking up in Cleveland this week. Not only have the Indians won four in a row, but uber-prospect Carlos Santana is crushing Class AAA pitching — he has a .414 average and four home runs in eight games.

15. Dodgers (18). Manny delivered a signature Mannywood moment on Sunday. His pinch-hit two-run homer in the eighth inning lifted the Dodgers past the rival Giants and lifted his season average to .375.

16. Nationals (20). Overall, this has been a solid start to the season for the Nats. Jason Marquis, though, has been horrible. Through three starts, he’s 0-3 with a 20.52 ERA (which means the Nats are 6-3 in games Marquis does not start).

17. Padres (29). What are the odds the Padres, Pirates and Indians would all sweep a series in the same weekend? San Diego took three from the Diamondbacks.

18. Mariners (22). After a horrible start to the season, the Mariners took two of three this week at home against the A’s and the Tigers.

The Angels are liking Joel Piniero on the mound so far.
The Angels are liking Joel Piniero on the mound so far.

19. Angels (23). Free agent acquisition Joel Piniero turned in a stellar start in Yankee Stadium this week, limiting the home team to just one run in seven innings.

20. Royals (27). The Royals enter the week with a team batting average above .300. The Royals enter the week with a team batting average above .300. The Royals enter the week with a team batting average above .300. Yep.

21. Rangers (15). The Rangers were swept in New York, and a three-game series in Fenway Park starting Tuesday is never an easy assignment.

22. Brewers (16). They were shut out on Saturday in Washington, then scored 10 runs in the first inning on Sunday against the Nationals.

23. Cubs (21). Geovany Soto hit .133 in his first five games, then .546 in his next four.

24. Diamondbacks (12). The D-backs have lost four of five, and they enter the week in the same spot they ended last season — in last place in the N.L. West.

25. Reds (17). Different players lead the Reds in runs (Drew Stubbs, 8), homers (Scott Rolen, 3), batting average (Joey Votto, .283) and RBIs (Johnny Gomes/Orlando Cabrera, 8).

26. Red Sox (10). Boston went 1-5 last week. The Red Sox will try to reverse that slide with home games against the Rangers and Orioles this week.

27. Mets (25). Crazy series in St. Louis this weekend, but the bottom line is the Mets lost two of three to stay in last place in the N.L. East.

28. White Sox (26). Gavin Floyd (three starts, 9.00 ERA), Freddie Garcia (two starts, 8.10 ERA) and Jake Peavy (three starts, 6.00 ERA) have struggled, and the Sox are last in the A.L. Central.

29. Orioles (24). Rookie starter Brian Matusz is 2-0 for the Orioles, who enter the week with a 2-11 record.

30. Astros (30). The Astros have hit just three home runs as a team entering the week. Fifty players have at least three home runs this season.

Ryan Fagan is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at rfagan@sportingnews.com, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ryan_fagan.

There were a couple of important performances this weekend that didn’t involve Ubaldo Jimenez and his no-hitter, or the Mets and Cardinals and their 20-inning marathon.

Two contenders went on the road and took key series. The Marlins won two of three from the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, and the Rays went into Boston and swept the Red Sox in a four-game set at Fenway Park.

The Yankees move up in this week's Power Poll, thanks in part to Nick Swisher's hot bat.
The Yankees move up in this week’s Power Poll, thanks in part to Nick Swisher’s hot bat.

Early, but nonetheless impressive showings from the two Florida teams. Anyway, on to the poll.

1. Yankees (last week 5). The Yankees just keep mowing down the top teams in the A.L. And that’s with three starters — Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher and Nick Johnson — all hitting .200 or worse entering the week. Those slumps will end soon enough.

2. Rays (11). Matt Garza won his third consecutive start on Sunday, shutting out the Red Sox at Fenway. His ERA for the season is 0.75, his WHIP 0.88 and he’s pitched eight innings in all three starts.

3. Phillies (1). The powerful Phillies lineup managed just one run over the final two games of the home series against the Marlins.

4. Twins (4). The 3-4-5 hitters in the Minnesota lineup are doing quite well, thank you. Joe Mauer is hitting .378, Justin Morneau is batting .319 and Michael Cuddyer is at .340.

5. Athletics (6). Here are the ERAs for Oakland starting pitchers entering the week — 2.41, 2.65, 2.65, 2.70 and 3.38. That’s the biggest reason the A’s have a two-and-a-half game lead in the A.L West.

6. Giants (2). Across the bay, the ERAs for the Giants’s starters aren’t too shabby either — ace Tim Lincecum is at 0.90, Barry Zito is a 1.86 and Jonathan Sanchez is at 2.19.

7. Cardinals (7). The Cardinals have played four series entering the week, and they’ve won two of three in each one.

8. Marlins (8). After Ricky Nolasco earned a complete-game victory Saturday against the Phillies — he allowed one run and five hits — Nate Robertson shut out the Phillies for 6 1/3 innings, and the bullpen took care of the rest.

9. Braves (13). The brake pads on the Jason Heyward hype machine are wearing thin. In fact, after his game-winning based-loaded hit with two outs in the ninth inning Saturday against the Rockies — he has 15 RBIs and a .302 average for the 7-5 Braves — those pads might be completely gone.

10. Tigers (9). The Tigers enter the week with six regulars posting an on-base percentage of .385 or higher, including rookie starters Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore.

11. Blue Jays (3). Bad week for the Jays, who dropped five of seven games to fall into third place in the A.L. East.

12. Pirates (19). The Pirates finished off a three-game sweep of the Reds on Sunday, and despite being negative-22 in run differential, they’re 7-5 and one game back in the N.L. Central.

13. Rockies (14). That Ubaldo Jimenez guy is pretty good.

14. Indians (28). Things are looking up in Cleveland this week. Not only have the Indians won four in a row, but uber-prospect Carlos Santana is crushing Class AAA pitching — he has a .414 average and four home runs in eight games.

15. Dodgers (18). Manny delivered a signature Mannywood moment on Sunday. His pinch-hit two-run homer in the eighth inning lifted the Dodgers past the rival Giants and lifted his season average to .375.

16. Nationals (20). Overall, this has been a solid start to the season for the Nats. Jason Marquis, though, has been horrible. Through three starts, he’s 0-3 with a 20.52 ERA (which means the Nats are 6-3 in games Marquis does not start).

17. Padres (29). What are the odds the Padres, Pirates and Indians would all sweep a series in the same weekend? San Diego took three from the Diamondbacks.

18. Mariners (22). After a horrible start to the season, the Mariners took two of three this week at home against the A’s and the Tigers.

The Angels are liking Joel Piniero on the mound so far.
The Angels are liking Joel Piniero on the mound so far.

19. Angels (23). Free agent acquisition Joel Piniero turned in a stellar start in Yankee Stadium this week, limiting the home team to just one run in seven innings.

20. Royals (27). The Royals enter the week with a team batting average above .300. The Royals enter the week with a team batting average above .300. The Royals enter the week with a team batting average above .300. Yep.

21. Rangers (15). The Rangers were swept in New York, and a three-game series in Fenway Park starting Tuesday is never an easy assignment.

22. Brewers (16). They were shut out on Saturday in Washington, then scored 10 runs in the first inning on Sunday against the Nationals.

23. Cubs (21). Geovany Soto hit .133 in his first five games, then .546 in his next four.

24. Diamondbacks (12). The D-backs have lost four of five, and they enter the week in the same spot they ended last season — in last place in the N.L. West.

25. Reds (17). Different players lead the Reds in runs (Drew Stubbs, 8), homers (Scott Rolen, 3), batting average (Joey Votto, .283) and RBIs (Johnny Gomes/Orlando Cabrera, 8).

26. Red Sox (10). Boston went 1-5 last week. The Red Sox will try to reverse that slide with home games against the Rangers and Orioles this week.

27. Mets (25). Crazy series in St. Louis this weekend, but the bottom line is the Mets lost two of three to stay in last place in the N.L. East.

28. White Sox (26). Gavin Floyd (three starts, 9.00 ERA), Freddie Garcia (two starts, 8.10 ERA) and Jake Peavy (three starts, 6.00 ERA) have struggled, and the Sox are last in the A.L. Central.

29. Orioles (24). Rookie starter Brian Matusz is 2-0 for the Orioles, who enter the week with a 2-11 record.

30. Astros (30). The Astros have hit just three home runs as a team entering the week. Fifty players have at least three home runs this season.

Ryan Fagan is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at rfagan@sportingnews.com, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ryan_fagan.

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