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Bias MLBreakdown
by Raine Daniels (MLB)
Posted on April 14, 2006, 11:10 PM

Welcome to the Bias MLBreakdown, a bunch of “B” words constructed by James Deaux and Raine Daniels. The format?? Simple. Every two weeks, James goes to his trusty computer, briefly pauses the porn downloads, and pieces together a list of National League teams from the top to the Marlins. Raine does the same, except switch “Marlins” with ‘Royals,” and “porn” with “traditional husband activities.”

After that process, one of the two writers crushes the lists together in an order befitting their own personal grudges. The rankings are based on record, strength-of-schedule, overall performance, and if they beat Toronto or Atlanta lately. This list is the inaugural regular season edition, so everything we said in our ‘Power Rankings’ of two weeks ago mean nothing and have no bearing on each team’s placement. However, from this list forward, all the Bias Breakdown’s will be related.

Cramming the lists together this week is Raine Daniels.

1. New York Mets
Season Record: 8-1
High/Low Ranking: 1/1
Last Week: --
Story: The unsung hero of this bunch is Brian Bannister who has stabilized the rotation. For now, New York looks unstoppable. (Of course, it helps that the Mets have played the Nats and Marlins eight times already.) The upcoming series with the Brewers looks to be a dandy.

2. Boston Red Sox
Season Record: 7-3
High/Low Ranking: 2/2
Last Week: --
Story: Curt Schilling has been lights out, Beckett has followed suit, and Jon Papelbon has stolen the closer’s job from Keith Foulke for now. They’re still waiting for the rest of the pitching staff to realize the season has started, but a light opening-month schedule works in their favour.

3. Cleveland Indians
Season Record: 6-4
High/Low Ranking: 3/3
Last Week: --
Story: It’s debateable if a team that just lost two of three to the Mariner’s deserves this high a slot, but after taking their opening series against the defending World Series Champs (in Chicago, no less) and sweeping division rivals Minnesota, they’ve came out looking pretty good. Travis Hafner is getting an early jump on the MVP debate.

4. Colorado Rockies
Season Record: 6-4
High/Low Ranking: 4/4
Last Week: --
Story: Who would have thunk it? The Rockies swept the series from the reigning NL West champs on the road. The scary thing is they are winning games with pitching as well as hitting. Watch out for this team.

5. Houston Astros
Season Record: 6-4
High/Low Ranking: 5/5
Last Week: --
Story: Lance Berkman actually being in this lineup at the beginning of the year is the key to this team's early success. (.344/6/14)

6. Minnesota Twins
Season Record: 5-5
High/Low Ranking: 6/6
Last Week: --
Story: A rough record, but a rough start to the season (losing two of three to Toronto and swept by the Yanks, both on the road). Their first stop at home, however?? A sweep of the A’s while roughing up Dan Haren and Joe Blanton. Their offense is off to a scorching start that – if their pitching had caught up – could’ve carried them to an 8-2 record.

7. Chicago Cubs
Season Record: 6-3
High/Low Ranking: 7/7
Last Week: --
Story: Swept their hated division rivals at home, but they desperately need to get their roster healthy. The starting pitching they have beyond Maddux and Zambrano is simply not good enough. Cincinnati has showed us that.

8. Toronto Blue Jays
Season Record: 6-4
High/Low Ranking: 8/8
Last Week: --
Story: They barely lost their series with Tampa Bay, thanks to some shoddy bullpen work, but made up for it by taking two-of-three from the Red Sox (and winning the opener in Chicago). The offense, built with the hope to be only a few notches below their AL East rivals, has thus far been the class of the division.

9. Milwaukee Brewers
Season Record: 6-4
High/Low Ranking: 9/9
Last Week: --
Story: Started 5-0, but hit a rough skid. The offense needs to pick it up for this team to stay contending in that division. Their 37 runs scored are the lowest in baseball right now.

10. Cincinnati Reds
Season Record: 7-3
High/Low Ranking: 10/10
Last Week: --
Story: They'll fall to earth eventually, but the pitching has been decent enough to let the offense out-hit the opponents. Bronson Arroyo (2 HR) needs to pray that he faces Glendon Rusch every time out there.

11. Baltimore Orioles
Season Record: 6-5
High/Low Ranking: 11/11
Last Week: --
Story: I couldn’t make them a top ten team, having gained all six of their wins against Tampa Bay (and getting swept by Boston), but two starters with ERA’s under 2.30?? Impressive no matter whom you face. The series-opening win against the Angels had a significant hand in giving them this spot.

12. Detroit Tigers
Season Record: 6-4
High/Low Ranking: 12/12
Last Week: --
Story: Much like Baltimore, their wins have come against inferior teams (Texas and KC), while their first real test (Chicago) made quick work of them. Still, they have the largest runs scored/runs against differential in the American League.

13. San Francisco Giants
Season Record: 5-3
High/Low Ranking: 13/13
Last Week: --
Story: Barry Bonds is batting a meek .188 and has a single RBI on the young season. Bill Mueller, however, is looking like his old AL batting champion self (16-for-36).

14. Oakland Athletics
Season Record: 5-6
High/Low Ranking: 14/14
Last Week: --
Story: The Angels have the better record, but the A’s have been the better team. A couple of blow-out losses warp some of their pitching stats, but the one’s fortunate enough not to be in those games (namely Rich Harden) have been lights out. Getting swept by the Twins didn’t help their standings, though.

15. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Season Record: 5-5
High/Low Ranking: 15/15
Last Week: --
Story: Taking two-of-three from both the Yanks and Rangers is a nice rebound after losing their series in Seattle. I could’ve had them higher based on their record and schedule, but the fact half their hitting and most of their pitching has been awful, I think I’m being a little generous.

16. St. Louis Cardinals
Season Record: 5-5
High/Low Ranking: 16/16
Last Week: --
Story: Jason Isringhausen is on pace to lose 36 games. 5 walks to 1 strikeout isn't a very good ratio, I'm told.

17. Los Angeles Dodgers
Season Record: 5-5
High/Low Ranking: 17/17
Last Week: --
Story: Injuries are holding this team back. They've scored as many runs as Atlanta, but their pitchers have been slightly less mediocre. Thus, they actually have a .500 record. Oh, and Cody Ross is a beast.

18. Chicago White Sox
Season Record: 5-5
High/Low Ranking: 18/18
Last Week: --
Story: Their offense has either been stellar or Mendoza-ish. Their pitching suffers the same fate, in that they either throw a shutout or last two innings. I guess their entire starting rotation won’t be All-Star’s this year.

19. New York Yankees
Season Record: 5-5
High/Low Ranking: 19/19
Last Week: --
Story: They’re most likely ranked too low, but we don’t call this “Bias” for nothing. Arguably the toughest schedule to begin the season (a West Coast road trip), they survived to come home and sweep the Royals. Expect them to make a huge jump in these rankings next time.

20. Seattle Mariners
Season Record: 5-6
High/Low Ranking: 20/20
Last Week: --
Story: Another team with a harsh opening schedule (Oakland, Anaheim, Cleveland, and now Boston), it’s a shock to see them so close to .500. Maybe if their offense woke up they could’ve pieced together a better record. Already shut out twice??

21. Atlanta Braves
Season Record: 5-6
High/Low Ranking: 21/21
Last Week: --
Story: If someone had told me Atlanta would be the only NL team without a win from their starters eleven games into the season (not to mention a team ERA of 6.67 and WHIP of 1.87), I would have laughed until I cried. Now, I'm just crying. They may boast the best offense in MLB right now, but they cannot score seven runs a game forever.

22. Philadelphia Phillies
Season Record: 4-6
High/Low Ranking: 22/22
Last Week: --
Story: Even after killing the Braves at Turner Field with long ball after long ball, their team batting average with runners in scoring position is an atrocious .190 (by far the worst in the majors).

23. Texas Rangers
Season Record: 4-7
High/Low Ranking: 23/23
Last Week: --
Story: Another team, another tough way to open the season (2-4 record in two series against Boston and Anaheim). However, it’s the offense that has been letting them down (imagine that). If the pitching remains strong when the bat’s eventually wake up, they could be the surprise team of the American League.

24. Arizona Diamondbacks
Season Record: 5-5
High/Low Ranking: 24/24
Last Week: --
Story: Miguel Batista is fitting back in with his former team pretty nicely (16 K's in two starts), but he isn't having many easy innings (1.42 WHIP, .265 BAA).

25. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Season Record: 5-6
High/Low Ranking: 25/25
Last Week: --
Story: A lot of injuries to start the season, specifically at shortstop. Could we see BJ Upton with the big club sooner rather than later?? You also have to wonder how long they can justify keeping Delmon Young in AAA with half of their four-man outfield platoon struggling.

26. San Diego Padres
Season Record: 3-6
High/Low Ranking: 26/26
Last Week: --
Story: Just 62 hits as a team—the lowest in the majors. Apparently, a team batting average of .239 isn't going to win you many games. Who knew? And how does Dewon Brazelton (0-16 career in road games) still have a job?

27. Pittsburgh Pirates
Season Record: 3-9
High/Low Ranking: 27/27
Last Week: --
Story: Jim Tracy's managerial debut in Pittsburgh hasn't been pretty. Jason Bay has an 8-game hitting streak, but his power numbers have been practically non-existent (1 HR and 3 RBI in 11 games). And for the love of all that is holy, can someone please explain Oliver Perez?

28. Kansas City Royals
Season Record: 2-7
High/Low Ranking: 28/28
Last Week: --
Story: An awful record for a not-quite-as-awful team. Facing both the White Sox and Yank’s within a week isn’t good for anybody’s record. Somebody needs to teach Scott Elarton how to induce a groundball.

29. Florida Marlins
Season Record: 3-6
High/Low Ranking: 29/29
Last Week: --
Story: Who wants to bet the combined attendance for this weekend's Nationals/Marlins series at Dolphin Stadium is less than 25,000 people?

30. Washington Nationals
Season Record: 2-9
High/Low Ranking: 30/30
Last Week: --
Story: Jose Guillen is comedy you simply cannot write.

Raine Daniels
AOLIM: YourGoldfish
E-mail: OratoryRaine@Hotmail.com

James Deaux
AOLIM: Mad Hatter Jim
E-mail: oratoryjames@gmail.com



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