Urban: Power Rankings: Brewers crash the party


Urban: Power Rankings: Brewers crash the party

Aug. 15, 2011


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 (1)
Philadelphia Phillies (78-41) Someone found a way to slow them down Sunday: Mother Nature.2 (5)
Milwaukee Brewers (70-51)Hawkins, Axford and Saito a terrific trio at back end of bullpen.
3 (3)
New York Yankees (72-46)Trailing the Red Sox in AL East but playing better baseball.
4 (2)
Boston Red Sox (73-46)Big series at home this week vs. Rays while Yanks get KC.
5 (4)
Atlanta Braves (70-51) Not even looking at NL East standings. They rule Wild Card chase.
6 (7)
Texas Rangers (69-52) Do they secretly wear As t-shirts under their game jerseys?
7 (11)
Arizona Diamondbacks (68-53) Jason Marquis injury a major potential momentum killer.
8 (6)
San Francisco Giants (66-55) Can someone please find a spot for Brandon Belt every day now?
9 (9)
Detroit Tigers (64-56) Least imposing division leader of the lot if Verlander isnt pitching.
10 (13)
Chicago White Sox (60-60) Finally back to .500 after winning eight of past 10. Theres hope.
11 (10)
St. Louis Cardinals (65-56) And folks were actually worried about Pujols (29 HRs75 RBIs)?
12 (8)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (65-56) Hard to say mid-Aug. series is makebreak, but 4 vs. Texas is HUGE.
13 (14)
Tampa Bay Rays (64-55) They feel like a contender in every way until you look at the standings.
14 (17)
Cincinnati Reds (59-62) You knew the Dontelle Willis joy ride would end soon, right?
15 (18)
New York Mets (58-62) Top half of league rankings and more than 20 games out. Parity sucks.
16 (12)
Cleveland Indians (60-57) Probably deserve to be ranked higher, but something feels wrong there.
17 (15)
Toronto Blue Jays (64-55) Another team likely in favor of 8 playoff spots, division be damned.
18 (16)
Pittsburgh Pirates (56-63)Come on, guys. Get it back together. Lotta people pulling for you.500.
19 (21)
Washington Nationals (57-62) Nine games over at home this season says theyve got some pieces.
20 (19)
Florida Marlins (56-64) Between Jack McKeon and Logan Morrison, No. 1 in smack talk.
21 (24)
Los Angeles Dodgers (55-64) Matt Kemp continues to shrug off circus, post MVP numbers.
22 (22)
Colorado Rockies (56-66)Mark Ellis must be thinking hes part of the problem at this point.
23 (23)
Oakland Athletics (53-67) Not in million years did anyone think defense would be the Achilles heel.
24 (27)
Seattle Mariners (52-67) Just handed Boston first series lossnon-split since late June.
25 (20)
Minnesota Twins (52-67) Anonymity can be good, but not when it pocks a big-league roster.
26 (25)
San Diego Padres (54-68) Still not a club anyone should be fired up to play down the stretch.27 (28)
Chicago Cubs (53-68) If you sold out every game, what would motivate you to get better?28 (26)
Kansas City Royals (50-71) The fade has been hard, no doubt, but no longer a laughingstock.
29 (29)
Baltimore Orioles (44-67) A million games out and still drew 18,000-plus Sunday. Impressive.30 (30)
Houston Astros (38-83) Remember Matt Downs? Starting first baseman here. Seriously.

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Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

SAN FRANCISCO — Over in Cleveland earlier Friday, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer for the visiting team and five other players chipped in a pair of hits. The Royals had six runs, which meant that when Jim Johnson closed the Giants out a few hours later, what has seemed true all season became officially true. The Giants have the lowest-scoring lineup in the majors.

At 3.32 runs per game, they have dipped below the equally-disappointing Royals (3.38). They are capable at the moment of making any pitching staff look dominant. A 2-0 shutout was the first of the year for the Braves, who previously had just two games this season where they allowed fewer than two runs. 

“Six runs in (the last) four games … I thought we would come home and get some rips in tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Bruce Bochy said. 

The manager’s frustration showed late in this one. After the only rally of the game — a two-run single by opposing pitcher Jaime Garcia — Bochy took his cap off and rubbed his forehead. He dipped his head and briefly stood as if he was going to fall asleep on the rail. The bats were equally still. 

The Giants had just four hits, all of them singles against Garcia, who is a nice pitcher but hardly one of the league’s best. One was an infield single by Eduardo Nuñez, another a single through Garcia’s five-hole, and a third a generous ruling by the official scorekeeper. 

“It comes down to, you’ve got to get some hits and create opportunities, and we’re not doing it very often,” Bochy said. “It’s just a matter of guys getting somewhat hot. We did, we had some success, and we won some games. The thing you like to see is some good cuts and I didn’t think we got enough of those tonight.”

That run, which spanned the last homestand and small parts of two road trips, has come to a screeching halt. The Giants have lost five of six. It seems silly to scoreboard-watch in May, especially when a team is playing like this, but it’s worth noting that the teams the Giants eventually need to catch keep winning. They fell 12 games back of the Rockies and 11 back of the streaking Diamondbacks. They are 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who might be the best team in the whole league. 

Matt Cain did his part to allow the Giants to keep pace. He got beat just once in seven sharp innings. The Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, who bounced a single into left. Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw was short and hit the runner. A second run scored. 

“That’s tough,” Cain said. “(Garcia) was throwing the ball really good and that’s what it comes down to, you’re looking for that one hit and he did it. He’s a good hitter. We’ve seen it in St. Louis. But it definitely is tough when the pitcher does that … it just stinks on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher.”

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

NEW YORK — Jed Lowrie is the counterpoint to the A’s home run-crazed offensive attack.

Sure, the A’s switch-hitting second baseman can muscle up and clear the fence. But Lowrie’s approach is more about spraying base hits all around and using the whole field. He was at it again in Friday’s 4-1 A’s victory over the Yankees, going 3-for-4 and delivering an RBI single that snapped a scoreless tie in the eighth.

“I always have to carry his glove out to second for him because he’s always on base,” shortstop Adam Rosales said. “He looks really good at the plate right now, and he’s kind of just putting us on his back. It’s contagious to see a guy like that doing so well.”

Lowrie bumped his average up to .310 with Friday’s game. Until he grounded out in the sixth, he’d notched hits in seven consecutive at-bats dating back to Tuesday night. That streak fell one shy of the A’s record for most consecutive hits. Three players share the record at eight — Josh Reddick (in 2016), Dave Magadan (1997) and Brent Gates (1994).

“It’s all about the work,” said Lowrie, whose 15 doubles are tied for third in the AL. “Everything comes together when you’re seeing it well. I’m seeing it well but the approach hasn’t changed.”

With two runners aboard and two out in the eighth, Lowrie punched an RBI single to right off Tyler Clippard for the game’s first run. It was the breakthrough the A’s needed after they’d struck out 13 times in seven innings against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka. Khris Davis followed Lowrie’s hit by beating out an infield single to score another run. Then Stephen Vogt added a two-run homer in top of the ninth to make it 4-0, and that provided some cushion as closer Santiago Casilla gave up a run and made things tenser than they should have been in the bottom half.

Davis, the most fearsome hitter in Oakland’s lineup, is thrilled to have a productive Lowrie batting in front of him as the No. 3 man.

“Somebody’s gotta hit .300,” Davis said. “All year he’s been our most consistent hitter and best hitter. I hope he keeps going.”

The A’s have won four in a row at Yankee Stadium dating back to last year. It’s their longest winning streak in the Bronx since a four-gamer at the old stadium in 2006. And it was a good way to begin a seven-game road trip for the A’s, who came in with the league’s worst road record at 6-15.


Rosales had puffiness under his right eye and said he was anticipating a shiner after his hard head-first dive into third base didn’t go as planned in the eighth. He scraped up his face pretty good after going first to third on an errant pickoff throw and taking a hard dive into third, only to find the dirt wasn’t giving.

After addressing reporters, Rosales said he was on his way to find an ice pack.