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2007 MLBreakdown #3 (Week 5)
by James Deaux (MLB)
Posted on May 7, 2007, 7:04 PM

Who would have thought that the AL East would be the worst division in baseball on May 7th? Boston is the only team in that division above .500 at the moment. Meanwhile, Milwaukee has amassed the best record in baseball while showing very few, if any, weaknesses. They currently hold almost as large a lead over the rest of the NL Central as Boston does over the rest of the AL East. Let's see where everyone else falls. (You already know where Kansas City and Washington are.)

1. Boston Red Sox
Season Record: 20-10
High/Low Ranking 1/1
Last Week: 1st
Story: Daisuke Matsuzaka hasn't been bad, but he certainly hasn't been worth over $100 million. His major problem is pitching with runners on base—particularly with RISP/2 out (.353 BAA). He doesn't exactly have amazing numbers pitching at Fenway so far, either (7.58 ERA/.276 BAA).

2. Milwaukee Brewers
Season Record: 21-10
High/Low Ranking 2/6
Last Week: 4th
Story: Prince Fielder might need some on-field etiquette lessons, but you cannot argue with the production he is churning out (.298/9/26). Carlos who?

3. New York Mets
Season Record: 19-11
High/Low Ranking 2/4
Last Week: 2nd
Story: The next two weeks will really tell what this team is made of, as they have 3 games at SF, and then a 10-game homestand against the Brewers, the Cubs and the Yankees.

4. Cleveland Indians
Season Record: 18-10
High/Low Ranking 3/12
Last Week: 3rd
Story: I would really love an explanation as to how it is even remotely fair that Cleveland will have to play an extra game in Seattle as the "home team". What are the Indians—the New Orleans Saints of MLB?

5. Atlanta Braves
Season Record: 19-11
High/Low Ranking 3/5
Last Week: 5th
Story: Kelly Johnson has been an on-base machine at the top of the Braves' batting order. He has racked up 28 walks, 33 hits, and 59 total bases to make for a nifty .459 OBP (5th best in MLB).

6. Detroit Tigers
Season Record: 19-11
High/Low Ranking 6/11
Last Week: 11th
Story: I think Daniel Cabrera might have awoken a sleeping giant when he pegged Gary Sheffield last week. The Tigers have won 7 in a row and 14 of their last 15.

7. Los Angeles Angels
Season Record: 17-15
High/Low Ranking 7/15
Last Week: 9th
Story: This should come as a surprise to no one, but Vladimir Guerrero leads the Angels in batting average, home runs, RBI and OPS. Shocking, I know.

8. Los Angeles Dodgers
Season Record: 18-13
High/Low Ranking 2/8
Last Week: 7th
Story: The Dodgers are second to last in the league in home runs, but who needs home runs when their lineup puts the ball in play so much? They have struck out 64 fewer times than their opponents.

9. San Francisco Giants
Season Record: 16-14
High/Low Ranking 9/13
Last Week: 10th
Story: I hardly think it was fair to Tim Lincecum to not have Barry Bonds in the lineup last night. Oh, well. Welcome to the majors and all that jazz.

10. San Diego Padres
Season Record: 17-14
High/Low Ranking 7/10
Last Week: 12th
Story: It's scary to think how many wins Jake Peavy could amass this season if he could ever get some run support. He is averaging well over a strikeout an inning.

11. Chicago Cubs
Season Record: 15-14
High/Low Ranking 11/21
Last Week: 23rd
Story: Derrek Lee is showing us that his 2005 breakout season was the real deal. He currently leads the majors with a .417 batting average and is second in the NL with a 1.108 OPS. Nobody seems to be able to get this guy out.

12. Minnesota Twins
Season Record: 16-15
High/Low Ranking 8/12
Last Week: 8th
Story: The Twinkies have lost 5 of their last 7. Methinks this team is going to sorely miss Joe Mauer in the heart of their batting order; not to mention the fact that they haven't had Michael Cuddyer in the lineup for the last 5 days.

13. Arizona Diamondbacks
Season Record: 17-16
High/Low Ranking 6/14
Last Week: 6th
Story: The Diamondbacks have lost 5 straight games two times this season. How can you have Brandon Webb going against a recalled Jorge Sosa and lose? Simply put, the Mets own them at Chase Field.

14. Oakland Athletics
Season Record: 15-15
High/Low Ranking 14/16
Last Week: 16th
Story: The Athletics play Kansas City seven times in the next ten days. Talk about good timing, because this Oakland team has no offense that can be spoken of.

15. New York Yankees
Season Record: 14-15
High/Low Ranking 15/27
Last Week: 27th
Story: I think every Yankee fan out there will agree with me that when you put Carl Pavano's contract into perspective, it makes Roger Clemens' prorated contract look like a flea market bargain.

16. Seattle Mariners
Season Record: 13-13
High/Low Ranking 16/25
Last Week: 18th
Story: How's this for a laugh? Jeff Weaver has allowed more earned runs than anyone else in baseball, but he hasn't pitched enough innings to qualify for end-of-the-year accolades such as the Cy Young, best ERA, etc. I love this sport.

17. Florida Marlins
Season Record: 14-16
High/Low Ranking 17/20
Last Week: 20th
Story: Dontrelle Willis has a 5-1 record, but looks can be deceiving. He has a 5.44 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. What is particularly odd is that he has a 6.85 ERA at one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball—his own.

18. Chicago White Sox
Season Record: 14-14
High/Low Ranking 10/18
Last Week: 14th
Story: I am truly amazed that this team is at .500. They have the third worst offense in the majors and the 11th best ERA in the majors. Who are these guys beating?

19. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Season Record: 14-17
High/Low Ranking 19/27
Last Week: 21st
Story: How many days until Al Reyes (1.20 ERA, 10 SV) is traded for yet more offensive prospects that have no shot at reaching the D-Rays' major league roster? This club seems to be allergic to pitching.

20. Cincinnati Reds
Season Record: 14-17
High/Low Ranking 15/20
Last Week: 15th
Story: Primary catcher David Ross has struck out in almost 40% of his at-bats and has an anemic .195 batting average. Adam Dunn is the only person on that team who can afford to strike out at that high a rate, but even he doesn't have a BA that low.

21. Baltimore Orioles
Season Record: 14-17
High/Low Ranking 5/21
Last Week: 17th
Story: The Orioles' fast start seems like a distant memory now that their pitching is reverting back to what it normally is year in and year out—mediocre. At least they have Erik Bedard.

22. Philadelphia Phillies
Season Record: 14-17
High/Low Ranking 19/28
Last Week: 19th
Story: Ryan Howard's horrendous start has to be some kind of historical collapse for a reigning MVP at this point. Two or three weeks into the season, you could understand a slow start. We're starting Week 6 and he is batting smack dab on the Mendoza line and has a mere 5 home runs and 19 RBI. He does have a .381 OBP, but a large chunk of that is from 11 intentional walks. Pitching to reputation, much?

23. Colorado Rockies
Season Record: 13-18
High/Low Ranking 22/26
Last Week: 26th
Story: Speaking of on-base percentage, Todd Helton has an astounding .526 OBP, which is second only to that guy in San Francisco. One reason that is so high is that he has walked 30 times and struck out a mere 9 times. It's good to see that last year was a fluke due to illness, and that he is still as lethal a hitter as there is in baseball.

24. Toronto Blue Jays
Season Record: 13-18
High/Low Ranking 13/24
Last Week: 13th
Story: How in the world did I think this team warranted the 13th spot last week? They are right back where they were in my first rankings column—24th. Toronto has lost 13 of its last 18 games to fall into dead last in the AL East. Their recent 0-6 road trip is only the second time in their club's history that they have ever gone winless on a road trip of at least 6 games.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates
Season Record: 13-17
High/Low Ranking 19/25
Last Week: 22nd
Story: The Pirates don't have a single player in the top 40 in the National League in batting average. Jack Wilson is the closest with a .288. It seems like when their pitchers don't throw 2-hit shutouts they are almost automatically in trouble.

26. Houston Astros
Season Record: 13-17
High/Low Ranking 11/28
Last Week: 28th
Story: It's probably a good thing that Roger Clemens didn't re-sign with the Astros. If he had, the piddly run support he got last year and the year before would have looked like a bonanza compared to how little this year's Houston club would have gotten him.

27. Texas Rangers
Season Record: 13-18
High/Low Ranking 25/27
Last Week: 25th
Story: What does it say about the AL West as a whole when the Rangers are five games under .500, but only 3.5 games out of first place?

28. St. Louis Cardinals
Season Record: 12-17
High/Low Ranking 20/28
Last Week: 20th
Story: This team is a disaster. Chris Carpenter is going to be out for at least three months, which further decimates an already horrendous pitching staff. Then there's the Cardinals' offense, which has scored fewer runs than any team in baseball. What this all amounts to is a team that has surrendered 53 more runs than they've scored. The Cards will be extremely lucky if they don't finish in last place.

29. Kansas City Royals
Season Record: 10-22
High/Low Ranking 29/29
Last Week: 29th
Story: Gil Meche has been outstanding (3rd best ERA in the AL), but Odalis Perez has the worst ERA in the AL among pitchers who have enough innings pitched to qualify (6.75 ERA). When you do anything worse than Sidney Ponson, that says something.

30. Washington Nationals
Season Record: 9-22
High/Low Ranking 30/30
Last Week: 30
Story: I don't think it's too farfetched to assume that Washington is going to be in the 30-hole for the whole season.

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