Seven Weeks In - MLB: Power Rankings, Matchups, Highlights and more
Alright, alright, so the Boston Red Sox didn’t sweep the New York Yankees. They lost the two out of three in heartbreaking fashion. Who cares? It’s mid-May, the season is long and I’m not panicking. Both teams part ways until the end of June and it’s sure to be another wild matchup in New York. It’s just a shame that one of these teams will be relegated to a wild card slot when the leader of the AL Central is sitting just a hair above 500. But may the best team win and all that jazz.
We’ll be focusing on the rest of the league for this week’s “What To Watch,” but I wanted to give a quick shout out to tonight’s matchup between Rick Porcello and Sean Manaea. Boston’s Porcello has been incredible this year, with a 2.79 ERA through eight starts. He was nearly sub-two, when the Yankees shelled him for five earned runs in his last outing. Tonight, he goes head to head with the man who no-hit the Sox back on April 21st. The Oakland A’s Sean Manaea was nearly flawless through his first six starts but has been more pedestrian of late, giving up four earned runs in each of his last two games. That said, he’s still one of the best pitchers in baseball with a 2.11 ERA and a league-leading 0.72 WHIP. I’ll be enjoying the game from the Monster seats so keep an eye out for me.
(image via MLB)
Top Three Plays
What Can’t He Do?
He’s 25 Years Old.
What To Watch
Everything I said about the Red Sox, Yankees and strength of the AL East could be said about the AL West as well. The defending world champion Houston Astros look to be as good as we all thought, while the Los Angeles Angels have proven that they’re early success was 100% fluke-free. What we’ve got here are two very good teams and only one spot atop the division.
This is the second time I’ve spotlighted this matchup this year and for good reason. Consistently in our top five power rankings, the Angels and Astros can’t seem to pull away from one another. In their first matchup, the Angels took two out of three close games. Both teams scored 12 over the series with each game being decided by three runs or less. The Astros are one game up but the Angels have the head-to-head advantage and are playing at home this time around. There’s a lot of intrigue here.
With Shohei Ohtani pitching last night, he’ll miss this series. That’s a shame given his incredible outing against the Twins this weekend – striking out 11 over 6 1/3 innings. That’s 19 total outs and nearly 60% of them went down swinging. We’ll see his bat, but not his arm and that’s the only downside to this series.
The story will instead by the Angels offense against the Astros pitching. Mike Trout is one of the hottest hitters in baseball, and possibly the most talented. It’s May 14th and he’s already got 45 hits, 25 RBIs and 12 home runs. He’s tied with Manny Machado and trailing only Mookie Betts with the second best OPS in the league.
But he’ll have his work cut out for him against Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander – statistically the two best pitchers in baseball. Verlander has a league-leading 1.21 ERA and 0.72 WHIP, while Cole sits in second place among stat-leaders with a 1.43 ERA and third with a 0.74 WHIP. There’s a ton of talent on the field and lofty expectations for post-season success. This should be a fun series to watch if you don’t mind staying up for it.
Game one kicks off tonight at 10:07 ET, followed by a 10:07 start tomorrow and a 9:40 start in Wednesday’s finale. Cole and Verlander pitch Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
New York Yankees (28-12) ---
Boston Red Sox (28-12) ---
Houston Astros (26-16) +2
Atlanta Braves (24-15) +2
Los Angeles Angels (24-16) - 2
Arizona Diamondbacks (24-16) - 3
Pittsburgh Pirates (23-17) ---
Milwaukee Brewers (24-17) +2
St. Louis Cardinals (22-16) ---
Chicago Cubs (21-16) +1
Seattle Mariners (22-17) +1
New York Mets (19-18) - 4
Philadelphia Phillies (23-16) +3
Washington Nationals (24-18) +4
Colorado Rockies (22-19) - 2
Toronto Blue Jays (21-20) - 2
Cleveland Indians (20-19) - 2
San Francisco Giants (20-21) - 1
Oakland Athletics (19-21) ---
Minnesota Twins (17-19) ---
Detroit Tigers (17-22) +2
Tampa Bay Rays (16-22) - 1
Los Angeles Dodgers (16-24) - 1
Texas Rangers (16-26) +1
San Diego Padres (16-26) +1
Miami Marlins (14-26) - 2
Cincinnati Reds (14-27) +2
Kansas City Royals (13-27) - 1
Baltimore Orioles (13-28) +1
Chicago White Sox (10-27) - 2
**No team can move more than 4 spots from week-to-week.