Urban: MLB Power Rankings -- Phillies back on top

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Urban: MLB Power Rankings -- Phillies back on top

June 20, 2011

URBAN ARCHIVE
LAST WEEK'S RANKINGS

Editor's note: Mychael Urban's MLB power rankings -- detailing who's hot, who's not, a little why, a little how, and what it all means.

Mychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com
1 (2)
Philadelphia Phillies (45-28) If they had a legit outfield, theyd win NL East by 20 games.2 (1)
Boston Red Sox (43-28) Adrian Gonzalez making mockery of supposed league-change challenge.3 (6)
New York Yankees (41-29) No complaints in Big Apple about CC Sabathias contract. No easy feat.4 (13)
Cincinnati Reds (38-35) Very little margin for error here. They rake or they probably lose.5 (12)
Tampa Bay Rays (39-33) James Shields very quietly putting up All-Star, Cy Young numbers.6 (5)
San Francisco Giants (39-33) Sweep at hands of As suggests this ranking plummets next week.7 (3)
Milwaukee Brewers (40-33) Similar to Reds in that middle of lineup carries too much of load.8 (7)
St. Louis Cardinals (40-33) Life as St. Louis non-starter: Be ready. Good chance you see time today.9 (10)
Cleveland Indians (39-31) Just when you think theyre frauds, they get back to crisp, team ball.10 (9)
Texas Rangers (38-35) Dog days come early in Arlington. Key to season: Will pitchers wilt?11 (4)
Atlanta Braves (40-33) Rookie 1B Freddy Freeman is what Giants need Brandon Belt to be.12 (8)
Arizona Diamondbacks (39-34) Only a half-game back in NL West, but bullpen just doesnt feel right.
13 (11)
Detroit Tigers (39-33) Justin Verlander used to be about promise, big arm. Now hes about smarts, too.14 (16)
Seattle Mariners (37-35) Franklin Gutierrez could really help out if he ever remembers how to hit.15 (20)
Pittsburgh Pirates (35-36) Still hovering near .500 in race for first winning season since Paleolithic Era.16 (21)
Toronto Blue Jays (36-36) Adam Lind is baseballs version of Warriors Dorrell Wright. Subtle but effective.17 (15)
Colorado Rockies (35-36) Cant afford to have Big Two (CarGo, Tulo) slump. Ever. Not even for a week.18 (18)
New York Mets (35-37) Recent influx of cash might prompt decision to keep, build around Jose Reyes.19 (23)
Washington Nationals (35-37) Smart: moving phenom Bryce Harper to OF. Dumb: insisting he stay in minors.20 (17)
Chicago White Sox (35-38)If you havent heard of Phil Humber, do some research. Intriguing talent.21 (14)
Los Angeles Dodgers (32-41) If they had cash to fortify ho-hum bullpen theyve make noise in NL West.22 (22)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (35-38) Hard to watch Torii Hunter play without the childlike joy thats defined his career.23 (28)
Oakland A's (33-40) Players raving about new skipper Bob Melvin. Everyone else raving about Jemile Weeks.24 (25)
Minnesota Twins (31-39) Hottest team in the game through Sunday but still eight games under .500.25 (24)
Baltimore Orioles (32-37) Derrek Lees rock-solid career winding down in witness protection program.26 (29)
Chicago Cubs (29-42) Carlos Penas agent deserves at least half of what struggling slugger isnt earning.27 (26)
Kansas City Royals (31-41) Matter of time before robust farm system starts spitting out scores of studs.28 (27)
San Diego Padres (30-43) It must have seemed like a really good idea at the time, right Orlando Hudson?29 (30)
Houston Astros (27-46) Might want to bring back Ryan-era softball uniforms to distract disgusted fans.30 (19)
Florida Marlins (32-40) Ten-game losing streak too much for manager Edwin Rodriguez to stomach.
What's on your mind? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

Giants Notes: Span feeling better, hopes to return to lineup Wednesday

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Giants Notes: Span feeling better, hopes to return to lineup Wednesday

CHICAGO -- Joe Panik's leadoff homer in the series opener was a jolt, but the Giants are a much more dangerous offense when Denard Span is clicking atop the lineup, a spot ahead of Panik, and they hope to have that duo going Wednesday. Span got treatment all day Tuesday and said he could return to the lineup against Kyle Hendricks. 

"The swelling has gone down," Span said of his sprained left thumb. "The thing to do is to come in tomorrow, test it out, and if it feels good, you strap it on."

Span said an X-ray came back clean, but he didn't grab a bat Tuesday to test the thumb, focusing instead on treatment. He is batting .326 in nine games since coming off the DL. His replacement in center this week, Gorkys Hernandez, was 0-for-3 against Jon Lester, lowering his average to .160. 

--- The main story from the second game of this series: Johnny Cueto is now dealing with a second blister, and you can see the lack of movement on his pitches. The Cubs took advantage. Lester didn't need much help while throwing a 99-pitch complete game in two hours and five minutes. 

"He threw a lot more changeups than we've seen in the past," Buster Posey said. "He's shown it in the past but tonight he had good command of it. It wasn't just a show-me pitch. He used it a lot and threw it to lefties as well.

Posey twice grounded short rollers in front of the plate.

--- Posey's throw to nab Javy Baez on Monday was one of the best of the year, and on Tuesday afternoon, Bruce Bochy said, "If he's given a chance, I don't think there's anyone better in the game." That might be true, but Willson Contreras is threatening to get into the conversation. He threw an 85 mph rocket to second in the fifth to nab Eduardo Nuñez. If you're wondering how Lester -- who flat-out has the yips about throwing to first base and doesn't do it -- has allowed just six stolen bases this season, look no further than his young catcher. Long-term, Contreras is the guy I would expect to compete with Posey for Gold Gloves. 

"Nuney, with his speed, can go," Bochy said. "Their catcher made a great throw. Put it right on the money."

--- From before Tuesday's game, what do the relievers think of the new hidden bullpen at Wrigley? And if you missed the Power Rankings the other day, the records are outdated, but there are updates in here on old friends Matt Duffy, Chris Heston, Tommy Joseph, Adalberto Mejia, Yusmeiro Petit and others. Petit in particular is incredible ... just keeps doing his thing. 

--- This play was made by the shortstop. That's good for the old UZR.

Injuries to Hahn, Alonso compound A's loss to Marlins

Injuries to Hahn, Alonso compound A's loss to Marlins

OAKLAND — Their pitching staff got banged up throughout the night, but the A’s hope the only lasting damage they absorbed Tuesday night was on the scoreboard.

In the process of an 11-9 defeat to the Miami Marlins, they lost starting pitcher Jesse Hahn to a strained triceps and first baseman Yonder Alonso to a contusion on his right hand and wrist.

The early diagnosis showed they may have dodged a bullet with Alonso — X-rays came back negative for a fracture after he was hit flush in the wrist area on a pitch from lefty Jarlin Garcia. Alonso initially walked off the field after being hit, but after a few moments re-emerged and took first base to run. He was replaced on defense in the seventh.

“I’ve had some history with my hand,” Alonso said afterward. “I broke it three or four years ago. At the time when I got hit, I felt like that was the case all over again. The pain started going away, that’s when I realized I think I’m OK.”

Alonso’s wrist and hand began to swell while he was running the bases, and he had to exit the game. The first baseman had missed the four previous games with a sore left knee, then proceeded to homer in his first at-bat Tuesday, pulling him back into a tie with Khris Davis for the team homer lead at 13. Suffering another injury in the same game could be classified as rotten timing, but Alonso came away feeling fortunate all things considered.

“I think we got very lucky,” he said. “It got me right on the wrist but a little bit on the hand as well. We’re lucky that there’s no break. You just gotta move forward.”

Manager Bob Melvin said Alonso would be a game-time decision for whether he’ll start Wednesday afternoon’s series finale, but with the A’s off Thursday, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they rested Alonso in an attempt to let him heal up for Friday’s road trip opener against the Yankees.

Hahn’s condition seems more ambiguous, and perhaps more troubling. He said he felt fine warming up before Tuesday’s game, but when he took the mound to warm up before the third, he experienced a drop in velocity and couldn’t figure out why.

“I experienced some tightness near my triceps and a big velocity decrease,” Hahn said. “The ball wasn’t coming out (well) at all. It was a weird feeling. I’ve dealt with elbow (problems) before. Usually for me when I have elbow pain I can feel it on my pitches, and I didn’t feel it. It was kinda weird. … It almost felt like a dead arm.”

Hahn gave up a leadoff single to Christian Yelich in the third, then was taken out of the game. Afterward, he and the training staff discussed the possibility of getting an MRI but nothing had been set in stone.

“I’m throwing the ball as hard as I can and I see 89-90 on the board,” Hahn said. “I know something’s not right. But at the same time, I’m not feeling anything. It leaves you thinking. To be in that state of mind on the mound is not good.”

Should the A’s need to fill Hahn’s rotation spot the next time through, and should they want to dip into the minor league ranks, Daniel Mengden is on the same turn with Triple-A Nashville and threw seven scoreless innings Tuesday (81 pitches). He’s on the 40-man roster. Jharel Cotton and Daniel Gossett also are coming off great outings for Nashville, though their turns in the rotation don’t line up as good with Hahn’s.