Mikey’s MLB power rankings

Things have shifted a lot in MLB since I took a hiatus last weekend. Wow, have they ever shifted. The Rockies have now lost 5 in a row and are fading out of the race. The Phillies have won 11 in a row to take over the top spot. The Rays are ahead of the Yankees now in the AL East and the Twins are as hot as the Phils. The Braves are whopping 7 games back of the Phillies now. Damn, this is getting fun.

1. Philadelphia Phillies (93-61)—Peaking but maybe too soon. Still, when you have Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels, it’s not really fair. And everyone else is getting healthy now.

2. Tampa Bay Rays (92-61)—They finally overtake the Yanks, but have company up here. Still, they’ve been consistent all year and they have David Price at the top of their rotation.

3. Minnesota Twins (92-61)—Even without Justin Morneau, this is a very dangerous team. But are they peaking too soon as well?

4. New York Yankees (92-62)—When I heard the New York sports talk guys being all gloom and doom after a split with the Rays this past week, I didn’t understand it. But when you look at the remaining schedules of both teams, you get it. A loss to Boston last night probably didn’t do much for Yankees fans’ confidence.

5. San Francisco Giants (87-67)—Making for one of the most compelling pennant races, because the winner will move on while the loser may not even take the wild card.

6. San Diego Padres (86-67)—Looking back, that long losing streak came at the right time, and the wrong time, at the same time.

7. Cincinnati Reds (86-68)—The magic number is 3. I wonder if Brandon Phillips will get a Christmas card from the Cardinals’ organization this year.

8. Atlanta Braves (86-68)—Now trailing in the wild card race by a half-game. This is another compelling race that shouldn’t have been so compelling, but seriously, how do you hold off the Phils and that pitching staff?

9. Texas Rangers (85-68)—Magic number is 2, will they be the second team to clinch?

10. Boston Red Sox (85-68)—I don’t think they’ve officially been eliminated yet, but it’s getting very, very late. And what a shame for a team that really is as talented as most of the teams on this Top 10 list.

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Hiring Kevin Towers as GM a great move by Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks practice at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, in this October 2, 2007 file photo. Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has to deal with a small but growing movement that wants to either boycott or move next year's All-Star game, in Phoenix. At issue is Arizona's pending immigration law, allowing police to check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons, if they are reasonably suspected of being in the country illegally.  REUTERS/Jeff Topping/Files  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY LAW SPORT BASEBALL)

The deal isn’t completed yet, but once it is the Diamondbacks should reap the rewards of hiring a man that should still be employed by the Padres.

Kevin Towers led the Padres to four division championships and an appearance in the 1998 World Series when he was their general manager from 1995 until he was fired in October of last year. He was let go after two losing seasons in 2008 and 2009, yet before he was canned he built the team that has shocked everyone in 2010. (As of this writing, the Padres are clinging to a one-game lead in the NL West.)

Towers was the person that traded for Adrian Gonzalez following the 2004 season – the same deal that also brought starter Chris Young to San Diego. He also drafted Jake Peavy in the 15th round (472nd overall) of the 1999 MLB Draft and then traded him to the White Sox for, among others, starter Clayton Richard, who is now a valuable piece of the Padres’ future.

San Diego is in first place right now largely because of the success of Richard and Mat Latos (another one of Towers’ draft picks), an outstanding bullpen, Gonzalez and Jon Garland.

Outside of Garland, Towers had a hand in all of the above factors that have attributed to the Padres’ success in 2010. When he left, the San Diego front office did next to nothing to improve the team in the offseason and even thought about trading Gonzalez on several occasions last winter.

Granted, Towers is just one man and it takes a team of scouts and personnel directors to run a baseball team. But given his track record, two losing seasons shouldn’t have cost him his job in San Diego.

No matter – he’s going to be Arizona’s GM soon enough and considering the Diamondbacks are a team that has underachieved over the last couple of seasons, he’s the right man for the job. The club needs an experienced leader – someone that know how to build through the draft and with youth – and that’s what they’ll get out of Towers.

It might take a year or two, but Arizona should be competing again soon.

Mikey’s MLB power rankings

The Yankees just keep winning, and suddenly the Padres keep losing, sitting with an 8-game losing streak, but still clinging to a three-game lead over the Giants. We may wind up with very few pennant races, but we are likely to have lots of new match-ups in the postseason this year. For that, I’m excited. And let me go out on a limb here. Watch out for the Rockies. They have this knack for winning 98% of their games in September and climbing fast in the standings.

1. New York Yankees (85-50)—They haven’t lost since I did my last rankings. The Rays caught up, but then the Yanks jumped back out to a 1.5-game lead. I know I’ve been high on the Rays, but the Yankees ain’t gonna fold. And CC for Cy Young?

2. Tampa Bay Rays (83-51)—With a 7-game lead in the wild card, that’s got to be what the Rays are gunning for. And they’d have to suffer a major collapse for that to happen at this point.

3. Cincinnati Red (78-56)—No longer a flash in the pan, the Reds are not just for real, they are striking fear in every other MLB team. How about the addition of Aroldis Chapman? Did anyone thing he would be helping this team in a pennant race in September?

4. Minnesota Twins (78-57)—The White Sox have Manny Ramirez now, but that won’t stop the Twins from pulling away this month.

5. Atlanta Braves (78-57)—Hanging tough as the Phillies make a charge. This could be one division race worth biting your nails over.

6. San Diego Padres (76-57)—Speaking of biting nails, how are you Padres’ fans feeling these days? Yikes.

7. Texas Rangers (75-59)—Now with a 9-game lead, Nolan Ryan can print those playoff tickets.

8. Philadelphia Phillies (77-58)—This team has caught fire at the right time, and we all knew they had it in them. One game back, and the Braves could wind up missing the postseason entirely after a great year.

9. Boston Red Sox (76-58)—A good season, and they’d be in the divisional hunt in every other division but the AL East.

10. San Francisco Giants (74-61)—With the Padres losing 8 in a row, the Giants have still not been able to capitalize. And now they trail the Phillies by 3 games in the wild card hunt.

Mikey’s MLB power rankings

Wow, things are getting wild. The Rays and Yanks are now tied for first in the AL East, and the Red Sox are not going away. The Padres have a commanding 6-game lead. The Braves have lost four straight, but the Phils could not capitalize. The Reds are hot and the Cards are not. The Twins and Rangers have not been hurt by recent mediocre play. So there you have it, and here you have your power rankings….

1. New York Yankees (78-50)—It was only a matter of time before the Rays caught up, but until Tampa goes ahead in the standings, the Bombers are still the team to beat.

2. Tampa Bay Rays (78-50)—Joe Maddon’s team sure doesn’t mess around, do they?

3. San Diego Padres (76-51)—If you keep waiting for the Padres to come back down to earth, you’re going to be waiting until possibly November.

4. Minnesota Twins (74-55)—Watch out for this team in the postseason. All of a sudden, with Brian Fuentes and Matt Capps, they have a pretty sick bullpen. Joe Nathan who?

5. Texas Rangers (73-55)—Josh Hamilton has an excellent shot at the triple crown, and this lineup has to send shivers through the collective spine of the Yankees’ pitching staff.

6. Cincinnati Red (74-54)—Speaking of triple crown, how about Joey Freaking Votto?

7. Atlanta Braves (73-55)—They can’t sustain losing streaks at this point in the season, but are still hanging tough.

8. Boston Red Sox (74-55)—In what other division can you be 19 games over .500 and in THIRD place?

9. Philadelphia Phillies (71-57)—They had their chance to close the gap this past week, and blew it.

10. San Francisco Giants (71-58)—Lots of talent, but can they put it all together? P.S. What is wrong with Tim Lincecum?

Mikey’s MLB power rankings

With football season upon us, that’s when baseball gets real interesting. To me, there is no better time of year than that first weekend in October when you have four MLB playoff series and a full slate of NFL games. As for the pennant races, they’re starting to shift and some teams are beginning to pull away while others lose hold on their position…

1. New York Yankees (75-47)—A one-game lead but the Mariners are in town this weekend, so it’s as good a time as any to start padding the margin over the Rays and Sox again.

2. Tampa Bay Rays (74-48)—Still hanging on, as the Yankees continue to look in their collective rear-view mirror.

3. San Diego Padres (73-48)—The Giants had their five-game winning streak, and the Padres answered with one of their own, widening their late August lead to 6 games over the G-men until losing last night. Is there any question about manager of the year here?

4. Atlanta Braves (72-50)—Bobby Cox hopes his team will feast on Cubs’ pitching at Wrigley while the Phils face the Nats at home.

5. Texas Rangers (68-53)—The Rangers lost four in a row this past week but still have a seven-game lead over the A’s and Angels. I’d say they have nothing to worry about.

6. Minnesota Twins (71-51)—As we suspected, the Twins keep adding to their lead, now 4.5 games over the White Sox.

7. Cincinnati Red (71-51)—Just when the Cardinals made a statement, the Reds have now won 7 in a row while St. Louis has lost 5 straight, giving Dusty Baker’s boys a 4.5 game lead and increasing the chances Brandon Phillips will start smack-talking again, if he hasn’t already.

8. Boston Red Sox (69-54)—Time is running out on the Sox, and also on Roger Clemens’ days as a free man.

9. Philadelphia Phillies (69-52)—They’ve stayed hot, but so have the Braves. Do you think the Phils wish they still had Cliff Lee?

10. San Francisco Giants (69-54)—Only trailing Philly in the wild card chase by one game, two in the loss column. But a recent slide took them out of that spot and their hopes of a division crown are fading away.

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