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Mikey’s MLB power rankings

The all-star game is behind us now, which means pennant races are about to heat up for real. And there are so many teams in contention this season, it really promises to be a wild rest of the summer. Here is a look at our post-all-star-game power rankings…..

1. New York Yankees (57-32)—Playing with heavy hearts this week after the passing of George Steinbrenner, but nothing else has changed. They just keep winning, and for the Yankees, that’s just what they do.

2. Tampa Bay Rays (54-35)—David Price is the real deal, and one of many reasons this young Rays team is battling the Yankees for AL East supremacy. They’re one of a handful of teams that can compete with the boys from Gotham, but they’d better not get swept this weekend.

3. Atlanta Braves (53-37)—They suddenly have a 5-game lead over the slumping Mets (and 5.5 over the Phils), and have the look of a team that wants to send Bobby Cox out on top.

4. Texas Rangers (52-38)—Cliff Lee and that lineup? The Rangers can start printing playoff tickets now.

5. San Diego Padres (52-37)—At this point, you can’t call it smoke and mirrors. Just like the Rays, this young team plays hard, manufactures runs and keeps games close with solid pitching.

6. Boston Red Sox (51-39)—Someone has awoken the beast that is David Ortiz. Home run derby was just a tease of what’s to come at Fenway this summer.

7. Chicago White Sox (50-39)—A 9-game winning streak was snapped yesterday, but the south side of Chicago is beaming. Too bad Jake Peavy is out for the year, but that doesn’t seem to matter much right now.

8. Cincinnati Reds (50-41)—See Padres, San Diego. Dusty Baker is one heck of a manager, and that is showing again now. Of course, when you have Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen in the middle of your lineup, all is right with the world.

9. Colorado Rockies (49-40)—This year, the Rockies won’t wait to make their move until September. They have already started making it, and the Padres had better watch their collective back

10. Detroit Tigers (48-39)—They have quietly kept right up with the White Sox, just one game back and now 2.5 ahead of the Twins. And Jim Leyland is still one of the best managers in the game.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Is Jake Peavy done for the year?

June 30, 2010:  Starting pitcher Jake Peavy  of the Chicago White Sox delivers a pitch during a game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 7-6.

On July 31 of last year, the White Sox thought that they had acquired the piece that would get them back to the World Series. They sent four prospects (Clayton Richard, Aaron Preda, Adam Russell and Dexter Carter) to San Diego for ace Jake Peavy, whom they thought was worth the compensation even though he was an injury risk.

But that risk just became a reality.

The Sox placed Peavy on the 15-day disabled list with a detached right latissimus muscle. The Chicago Sun Times reports that he’ll see the renowned Dr. James Andrews over the All-Star break and that he could miss the rest of the season.

The injury is obviously a huge blow for the White Sox, who currently sit just one game back of the Tigers in the AL Central. Peavy certainly hasn’t been his dominant self this season (7-6, 4.63 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 93 strikeouts), but don’t forget he missed virtually all of 2009 with an ankle injury and his ERA number was likely to drop as he got more familiar with the American League.

The other frightening aspect of this injury is that Peavy’s career could be done. He has a detached muscle in his back; it’s not like he jammed his finger. He’ll be in good hands with Dr. Andrews, but you never know how a player will respond to an injury like this once he’s ready to get back on the field again.

If the worst thing that happens is he misses the rest of the season, then the Sox should consider themselves fortunate.

Peavy would request a trade if Sox begin to rebuild

Jake Peavy told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that he would ask for a trade if the White Sox decided to start the rebuilding process this season.

“I just want a chance to win,” Peavy said. “I believe it can happen here. I’m excited to be in the situation. Nothing’s changed just because we haven’t played well. I’m excited to be in a situation where you talk about it’s not going to be a rebuilding process. If that were the case, I would certainly try to be moved, but that’s the least of my worries.

“Obviously, something’s got to give,” Peavy said. “We’ve underachieved as a team, as a whole organization. I could not have imagined being in this situation at this point in the year, with what we came into camp with I was excited. Other than the captain [Paul Konerko] and Alex Rios I think everybody has had below their expectations this year. That’s unfortunate but the bottom line is it happened and you’ve got to be professional, you’ve got to battle through it and you’ve got to roll on. Like I said, we’ve still got a lot of baseball left to play and stranger things have happened as you know.”

I highly doubt that the GM Kenny Williams will blow everything up and start from scratch this season, even with the Sox’s current status in the AL Central. (They’re currently 9.5 games back of the Twins in the division and eight games below .500.) He may trade off one or two pieces, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t field a competitive roster in 2011.

The bottom line is that players have to step up. After turning in a promising performance last year as a rookie, youngster Gordon Beckham (.201 average) has really struggled this season. Carlos Quentin and A.J. Pirezynski also haven’t hit, and most of Chicago’s arms (Peavy, Gavin Floyd, Mark Buehrle, Bobby Jenks) have pitched like dung, too.

This club isn’t playing well right now, but even though changes are likely to be made, that doesn’t mean that Williams will dismantle the roster. When he traded for Peavy last year, he envisioned the former Padre headlining one of the best rotations in baseball. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s only June of Peavy’s first full year with the team. Even if the Sox don’t compete this year, it’s doubtful that Williams starts over heading into 2011.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Five new playoff contenders for the 2010 MLB season

While some enthusiasts will argue otherwise, there’s usually not a lot of change from one year to the next in baseball. Most pundits expect the Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox, Angels, Cardinals, Twins, Dodgers and Rockies (all eight teams that made the playoffs in 2009) to be good again this year. MLB isn’t like the NFL where teams make unexpected playoff runs every year.

That said, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple of sleepers to watch out for in 2010. Below are five clubs that didn’t make the postseason last year that have the best odds (in my estimation) of making the playoffs this season.

1. Chicago White Sox
If you read the 2010 MLB season preview, you’re not surprised to see the White Sox at the top of this list. As long as Jake Peavy stays healthy, Chicago arguably has the best starting rotation one through five in the American League. (Boston fans may argue otherwise, but Boston fans can also shove off…just kidding…although not really.) But the key to the Chi Sox’s success this season lies in their offense. Yes, I’m banking on veterans Carlos Quentin, Alex Rios, Mark Teahen, Paul Konerko and Mark Kotsay to have productive years and yes, that may be asking a lot. But Gordon Beckham looks like a star in the making and the addition of Juan Pierre gives the Sox a solid leadoff hitter. I’m well aware that Chicago could finish third in a three-team race in the AL Central, but their pitching is going to keep them competitive all season and I’m willing to bet that their offense won’t be as bad as many believe.

2. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners have all the pieces in place to not only compete for the AL Wild Card, but also unseat the Angels in the AL West. Along with Felix Hernandez, the acquisition of Cliff Lee now gives Seattle the best 1-2 punch in the American League outside of Boston’s Josh Beckett and John Lackey. The problem is that the lineup lacks major punch. Chone Figgins and Ichiro give the M’s quality bats at the top of the order, but can this team score enough runs on a nightly basis? The club has been built on pitching and defense but if they want to make the postseason, the Mariners will have to prove that they can overcome a powerless lineup.

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2010 MLB Preview: AL Central

In order to help get you ready for the MLB season, we’re doing division-by-division rankings with quick overviews on how each club could fair in 2010. Next to each team, you’ll also find a corresponding number written in parenthesis, which indicates where we believe that club falls in a league-wide power ranking. Be sure to check back throughout the next two weeks leading up to the season, as we will be updating our content daily. Enjoy.

All 2010 MLB Preview Content | AL East Preview | AL Central Preview | AL West Preview | NL East | NL Central | NL West

Next up is the AL Central.

1. Chicago White Sox (9)
Some folks will think that this is too high for the White Sox – that they should be behind the Twins and out of the top 10 in terms of the overall power rankings. Some folks will say that Jake Peavy won’t be healthy all season and that the Chi Sox will once again falter as they try to live station to station on offense. Well, I say the folks that disagree with my opinion are friggin idiots. Harsh? Yeah, but it also needed to be said. I realize that I’m taking a risk by moving the Sox to the head of the AL Central, but really, it’s hard to argue that this division isn’t a crapshoot anyway. Every team has question marks heading into the season but at the end of the day, pitching makes or breaks a team. I realize Peavy missed all of last year due to injury, but the Sox were second in the AL in pitching last season with a 4.14 ERA without him. If he stays healthy, Peavy will only add to Chicago’s solid rotation (which also features Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Freddy Garcia) and the addition of J.J. Putz should bolster the bullpen as well. Outside of injuries, the only thing that could potentially hold Chicago back this year is its offense. What do you mean that’s kind of a big deal? I’m banking that youngster Gordon Beckham develops quickly and that Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios return to form. I also think the Sox will get key contributions from the additions GM Kenny Williams made this offseason in Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre and Mark Teahen. I’m not expecting the Sox to magically transform into the Yankees of the AL Central, but I do believe they have enough offense to get by while their pitching carries them to a playoff berth.

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