May 30, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha (52) throws to a Kansas City Royals batter during the third inning of his major league debut at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Power Rankings: Week 9

There was consistency at the top of the rankings as the one through four slots were unchanged.  Lower in the rankings, there was one big jump (the Twins rose seven spots), and one big drop (the Yankees fell 7 spots).

Here are the rankings for Week 9:

1. St. Louis Cardinals (37-19)
1            – The Cardinals’ starting pitching (1st in the majors in ERA, 2nd in WHIP, 2nd in quality starts), has so far separated them from the pack in the ultra competitive N.L. Central. For good measure, their starting staff was bolstered a few days ago with the promotion of top pitching prospect Michael Wacha.
2. Texas Rangers (35-21)
2            – The Rangers continue to roll right along, and they’ll be getting a boost Wednesday when starting pitcher Alexi Ogando comes off the DL to pitch against Boston.
3. Cincinnati Reds (35-22)
3            – Cincinnati has the 2nd best run differential in baseball (+68) and an incredible record at home (20-7). Still, they find themselves looking up at the Cardinals in the N.L. Central.
4. Boston Red Sox (35-23)
4            – The Sox have scored the most runs in baseball (289), are 7-3 over their last 10 games, and are coming off a series win in the Bronx.  It’s still full steam ahead for Boston.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates (35-22)
8           ^ 3
The Pirates have been holding their own against tough opponents lately and their pitching has been great. However, if their offense doesn’t improve (bottom 9 in the league in runs, AVG, OBP, and SLG), a fade seems inevitable.
6. Atlanta Braves (34-22)
6            – Atlanta has been good, but the size of their lead in the N.L. East (6.5 games) is the result of every other team in the division having a record under .500.
7. Oakland Athletics (34-24) 10         ^ 3 The Athletics are on fire again, as they’ve gone 9-1 over their past 10 games.
8. Arizona Diamondbacks (32-24)

11         ^ 3 Aside from Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona has been underwhelming offensively.  However, their pitching (6th in the majors in ERA) has been good enough to have them sitting atop the weak N.L. West.
9. Detroit Tigers (30-25)
7           – 2 The Tigers have outscored their opponents by a ridiculous margin (their run differential is +66), but they’ve lost a bunch of close games lately: 5 of their last 6 by a combined 8 runs.
10. Tampa Bay Rays (31-25)
15         ^ 5

After a sluggish start to the season, it appears that the Rays are finally on track.  Tampa has gone 17-7 over their last 24 games to pull within 3 games of Boston in the A.L. East.

11. Baltimore Orioles (32-25) 13         ^ 2 Baltimore rode the hot hand of Chris Davis (4 more homers) to a 5-2 week.  Davis, 27, is having a ridiculous year, hitting .357 with 20 HR and 52 RBI’s.
12. New York Yankees (31-25)
5           – 7 The Yankees had a 1-6 week, which included a 4 game sweep at the hands of their crosstown rival Mets, and a series loss at home to Boston.  They did, however, welcome back both Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis.
13. San Francisco Giants (30-27) 9           – 4 The Giants continue to plod along, unable to take control of the N.L. West.  Their starting pitching has been a major disappointment, led by Matt Cain and his 5.45 ERA.
14. Cleveland Indians (30-26)
12         – 2 Cleveland is 3-7 over their last 10 games, but find themselves only a half game behind the Tigers in the A.L. Central.  The Indians head to New York to face the struggling Yankees in a 3 game series that starts today.  They then travel to Detroit for 3 games to battle the division rival Tigers.
15. Colorado Rockies (30-27) 14         – 1 The Rockies’ offense (5th best in the 4 major categories), is keeping them in the thick of things in the N.L. West.  They’re just 2.5 games out of 1st.
16. Washington Nationals (28-29)
16          – The underachieving Nats will likely be without Stephen Strasburg (lat) for at least 1 start, but they’re about to welcome back Jayson Werth.  The only reason the Nationals didn’t drop in the rankings after a 2-5 week, is because their talent level is far superior to that of the teams below them.
17. Philadelphia Phillies (27-30)
19        ^ 2 Coming off a 3-4 week, the Phillies rose 2 spots in the rankings by default.  Someone who obviously deserves mention is OF Domonic Brown, who has clubbed 8 homers over his last 9 games.  For the season, he has 16 HR and 40 RBI’s.
18. Minnesota Twins (25-29)
25        ^ 7 The Twins rode a 6-1 week to a 7 spot jump in the rankings.  They now hit the road for a 6 game swing through Kansas City and Philadelphia.
19. San Diego Padres (26-30)
21        ^ 2 San Diego had a solid week against struggling Seattle and Toronto, and will look to keep things going in the right direction tonight in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
20. Chicago White Sox (24-30)
17        – 3 The White Sox failed to win a game this past week (going 0-6).  Their offense has been dreadful overall this season, and unfathomably poor during their 6 game losing streak, during which they were shut out 3 times while scoring a total of 9 runs.
21. Los Angeles Angels (25-32)
18        – 3 After showing signs of life, the Angels had a 2-5 week, culminating with 3 straight losses to Houston.
22. Toronto Blue Jays (24-33)
22         – Toronto’s pitching has been dreadful.  R.A. Dickey, who put together a few solid starts recently, has again regressed, giving up 6 ER in each of his last 2 starts.  Want a disturbing stat?  Dickey’s 5.18 ERA is the best in the Jays’ rotation.
23. Los Angeles Dodgers (23-32) 23         – The Dodgers continue to tread water, playing mediocre baseball while avoiding a complete drop into oblivion.  Perhaps they’ll receive a spark with the arrival of recently called up 22 year old Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig, who has drawn comparisons to Bo Jackson.  The Dodgers signed Puig to a 7 year, $42 million dollar deal last year.
24. Kansas City Royals (23-31)
20        – 4 As they continue to slide into irrelevancy, the Royals have shaken things up by naming George Brett the interim hitting coach.  Some believe that Brett may be the eventual managerial choice when/if Ned Yost is relieved of his duties.
25. Seattle Mariners (24-33)
24        – 1 Recently promoted second baseman Nick Franklin should offer a glimmer of hope in an otherwise down year for the M’s.
26. New York Mets (22-32) 26         – The Mets won 5 in a row (including a 4 game sweep over the Yankees), before pulling an inexcusable no-show over the weekend against Miami.
27. Chicago Cubs (23-32)
28       ^ 1 The Cubs have been pretty bad, but their strong starting pitching has kept them in the majority of their games.
28. Milwaukee Brewers (21-34) 27        – 1 The Brewers continue to slide backwards.  They’re now 4-15 over their last 19 games.
29. Houston Astros (20-37)
Houston had a 6-1 week (including 5 wins in a row) in order to escape the bottom spot in the rankings.
30. Miami Marlins (16-41)

29         – After losing 9 in a row, the Marlins swept the Mets at home, outscoring New York by the score of 24-8 in the process.
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