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MLB Top 5 4/27/11

Another week brings another top 5. This week's list looks very similar to the one posted last week; the only change coming at the 5th and final spot. As the weather's been warming, so have some teams.

The talk of the week surrounds the Boston Red Sox. They have turned up their level of play and are sitting right at the .500 mark. Though they do not quite make my list this week, there is no denying their talent and the fact that they will be frequenting these posts in the near future.

Another team that has been playing well of late is the Florida Marlins. They are 8-2 over their last 10 games and are pressing the Phillies in the NL East. However even with this recent success, there are still doubts about how consistent this young group will be. They have only played 6 games against teams .500 or better so far this year. This next week they have a chance to prove themselves as they face off against the Dodgers, Reds and Cardinals.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies remain at the top of the list this week. A late comeback in the series finale against the Brew Crew last week propelled the Phils to a 5 game winning streak. This run ended last night as Ian Kennedy outpitched Cliff Lee. The bats have cooled as of late as the team is averaging only 2.5 runs per game over their last 10, but even so the team went 6-4 over that stretch because of its dominant pitching staff. One thing to watch over this next week will be how Philadelphia handles the loss of closer Jose Contreras.

jose contreras
How will the loss of Contreras impact the Phils pen?


New York Yankees

The Yankees find themselves in the number 2 spot and the current leaders of the AL Beast. Up until Monday night, offense was king in New York. Before last night, the team was averaging 6.5 runs a game over its past 9. While this lineup will cause many opposing pitchers and managers to lose sleep, their rotation is still filled with question marks. Phil Hughes had another setback and the Yankees are now counting on Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia to provide consistent innings. As long as they can get some contribution from their starters, New York will look to the lineup to continue its winning ways.

Colorado Rockies

Sitting at 15-7, the Rockies are tied with the Phillies for the best record in baseball. They've had early success, but several things jump out at me as I look through their stats. The Rockies are 5th in the league in runs scored, but they are only 24th in team batting average. This tells me a lot of their runs are being scored thanks to timely hitting which usually levels out during a season. The team has also won a lot of close games, 9 of their 15 wins have been by 2 runs or less. While teams can only play who is on their schedule, the Rockies have only faced teams .500 or better 8 times, going 4-4 in those contests. I'm not trying to say this start is a fluke, but I don't think this team is the 2nd best in baseball as their record shows.

troy tulowitzki
Tulowitzki leads the Rockies offense


Texas Rangers

Texas finds itself in the four hole in this week's top 5. The Rangers lost 3 consecutive series before getting healthy against the Kansas City Royals. In that series, the Ranger's lineup found their bats, scoring 22 runs in the 3 games. While its offense has become Texas's trademark, the pitchers have been able to maintain a respectable 3.71 ERA. The Rangers look to continue their recent success against the Blue Jays before setting off on a west coast road trip against the A's and Mariners.

St. Louis Cardinals

For the 2nd week in a row I had to ponder over the list's 5th spot. I debated between the hot Red Sox and the young Marlins, but I eventually decided to go with the Cardinals. St. Louis's 2011 season got off to a rough start, but they have recovered in recent weeks and currently stand at 12-10. After taking a series against their rival Cincinnati Reds, the Cardinals have climbed back to the top of the NL Central. The Cardinals have been on fire since the return of slugger Matt Holliday who is a big reason the team leads the league in batting average and OBP. What I like most about St. Louis is the balanced success of their batters and pitchers; the team ERA sits at 3.19. It probably pains Cardinal's fans to think of the possibilities if Adam Wainwright was holding down a spot in their already solid rotation.
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MLB Top 5 4/20/2011

There was a little reshuffling in my top 5 this week, with one team dropping off the list. The 4 that remain from last week change slots, and the World Series champs make the cut for this week's top 5. It's still very early and there are some other teams with solid records, but it's hard to compare wins and losses when teams are still rounding into regular season form. With that I felt like I had a little explaining to do with my choices.

The Cleveland Indians share the best record in baseball with the Colorado Rockies, but the Indians did not make the cut. They only have played in one full series against a team playing at least .500 baseball and they lost that series to the Angels. Their pitching has been lights out but it's still too early for me to tell if this streak is due to scheduling or a legitimate turnaround. Two other teams that I seriously looked at for spots on the list were the LA Angels and Cincinnati Reds; maybe next week guys.

Philadelphia Phillies

chase utley
The Phils look forward to Utley's return


The top team was not as clear this week as last, but I have to choose one and I'm going with the one that has four aces. The Phillies finished up their NL East tour with the Marlins this weekend, splitting a rain shortened set against Florida. They took the tough loss Monday in extras against Milwaukee; the Brewers taking advantage of the Phillies starting someone not named Cliff, Roy or Cole. There have been positive Chase Utley sightings and people are getting more optimistic about his return. The big question mark going forward for the Phillies will be their bullpen.

Colorado Rockies

The Rockies are currently sharing the best record in baseball with the Cleveland Indians. They are 8-2 over their last 10 games and had a great week last week. They went into New York and swept the Mets and then took 2 of three from the Cubs. Monday night they ran into the wall that is Tim Lincecum. The Rockies have been lead by their bats, but their pitching looks to get a boost Tuesday night with the return of Ubaldo Jimenez. Colorado will look to get back on the winning track against San Fran before heading to Florida and Chicago next week for three game sets against the Marlins and Cubbies.

Texas Rangers

josh hamilton
The Rangers have been reeling since Hamilton's injury


The Rangers were my number 1 team last week after a 9-1 start. Last Tuesday Texas was faced with the unfortunate news that MVP Josh Hamilton would be missing considerable time due to a broken arm. The Rangers have been on a slide since that game Hamilton went down, going 2-4 over their last 6. They ended up losing series to the Tigers and Yankees last week. CJ Wilson was able to right the ship for a night against the Ranger's AL West foes the Angels. Hamilton is not someone that is replaced, but I think the Rangers have the depth to work around his injury for the time being. They play their best ball at home (7-0) and welcome the Angels, Royals and Blue Jays in over the next week.

New York Yankees

The Yankees just made my list last week and were able to move up a spot after a 2 game sweep of the Orioles and series win versus the Rangers. New York found out that it is losing Phil Hughes for some time, but that may be more of a blessing with Hughes' 13.94 ERA. Nonetheless, he was slotting in as their 3rd starter, so the questions marks are still following this Yankee rotation. The hitting has been there, but if this team looks to improve they are going to need more consistency from their starters.

San Francisco Giants

matt cain
Cain and Lincecum lead the Giants


The Champs are here. San Francisco comes in at number 5 for me this week. They had a solid past week, taking series from the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. They started off this week on a good note, with their ace almost no-hitting the leaders of their division. Cain and Lincecum have started the year pitching lights out and Jonathan Sanchez has had a good early showing. While their pitching has been the story, the bats are also carrying their weight. The Giants have a bit of a tough stretch coming up as they finish their series against the Rockies and then head home and welcome in the Atlanta Braves. With Lincecum and Cain sitting at the top of the rotation, the Giants should hang around the top all season.
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