We are officially through April of the 2022 MLB season. After the shortened Spring, it feels like teams will now start turning it on and play their best baseball.
This week, we will talk about the issue of some teams having an issue with opponents continuing to score when they are up big.
Alcides Escobar a couple weeks ago had an issue with Thairo Estrada stealing second when the Giants were up by six runs in the 9th and then tried to score later that inning.
Now this incident is ridiculous. It is a six-run game. That is not exactly a guaranteed victory. But we have seen teams down 10 find issue with similar occurrences in recent years. I think for the most part, both teams should keep playing like it is a tied game.
Now if a position player is pitching, then things are a little different. That is the white flag that they are just trying to get the game over with.
However, I always look back at one game. In 2001, the Seattle Mariners led the then Cleveland Indians 14-2 in the 7th inning. Cleveland came back to win the game 15-14. When one game could end up being important when the season is over, you never assume you have a win in the bag until the game is over. Players are playing for contracts and other incentives. Quit complaining just because you are on the losing end of things.
With that being said, let’s now look at where every team stands as we get things started in the month of May.
1. New York Mets (16-7) +1
We have a new top team in the power rankings. The Mets have been unbelievable and are as balanced as any team in the league. They are the only team in baseball to have won every single one of their series in 2022 after taking two of three from both the Cardinals and Phillies. Of course the highlight of the week was their combined no-hitter against Philadelphia. In other big news the team showed that they are focused on winning over anything else as they designated Robinson Cano for assignment. It is more than likely that Cano is done in Queens.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (14-7) -1
The Dodgers .500 week lost them the top spot this week. While they did take two of three from Detroit, they lost two of three to Arizona in another divisional series loss. Now nobody is going to panic about this team. They are gonna cruise right into the playoffs. However, if they want to break the 2001 Seattle Mariners record of 116 wins, they can’t lose games to Arizona or Colorado. They have a short two game series with the Giants this week in an opportunity to show they are still the superior team in the NL West.
3. Toronto Blue Jays (15-8) –
Toronto just keeps rolling along. Another week and two more series wins over playoff caliber teams as they took three of four from Boston and two of three from Houston. The offense is as explosive as they come and the rotation is turning out to be absolutely filthy. I give them the edge over the Yankees because they have been more consistent and I trust this rotation and lineup more. They get a chance to prove it as they host the Yankees for three this week. Kevin Gausman has been the best free agent signing for any team this season. In five starts Gausman is 2-1 with a 2.27 ERA and 41 strikeouts without allowing a walk. This team feels special.
4. New York Yankees (16-6) +5
Nine straight wins for the New York Yankees have them flying up these rankings. Sweeps of the Orioles and Royals this week just keep the Yankees taking advantage of lesser opponents to start the season. Now they get a big opportunity and test as they head to Toronto for three this week. If they take that series, this team will have an argument to be number one next week. Anthony Rizzo is raking right now and if Joey Gallo gets going this might be the most powerful lineup of this century.
5. San Francisco Giants (14-8) -1
Splitting a two game set with Oakland is no big deal. Losing two of three to Washington? That is not going to cut it in this division race. Now I do not think this will be the norm for the Giants. They will be at their absolute best this week when they take on the Dodgers for two. After that, they host the Cardinals for four. It will be a very tough week for San Francisco and they must play a lot better than they did last week if they want to even go .500.
6. Los Angeles Angels (15-8) +6
The top team in the AL West looks like they will be in the #6 spot. This week it is the red hot Angels. A four game sweep of the Guardians really set the tone and then they split four with the White Sox. A new name you might want to keep track of is Taylor Ward. He hit four home runs and drove in 11 this week in a fantastic breakout week. They feel different than they have in the past and as long as they can stay healthy, they will be right towards the top of the West.
7. San Diego Padres (15-8) –
San Diego took advantage of an easier schedule this week by sweeping Cincinnati and taking two of three from Pittsburgh. Now they will go to Cleveland for two and then host the red hot Marlins for four. Manny Machado has been the MVP of the National League so far. Machado leads all of baseball in hits and is still an elite defender. Credit to Bob Melvin because now the Padres are starting to get closer to living up to the hype.
8. Milwaukee Brewers (15-8) +3
Are the Brewers starting to figure things out on offense? Because if they are, look out. After losing a one off game to the Giants, Milwaukee went on to sweep Pittsburgh and take two of three from the Cubs. They are still waiting for Christian Yelich to get going, but Willy Adames is still one of the sneaky good pickups from last season. After a slow start to 2022, the shortstop looks like he is waking up and leading the resurgence of this offense.
9. St. Louis Cardinals (12-9) -4
It wasn’t exactly a good week for the Red Birds but it also wasn’t a terrible week. After dropping two of three to the Mets, they went on to split four with Arizona. The offense has fallen asleep all of a sudden. Any team with Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt should not struggle to score runs. This week they will play one in Kansas City as a makeup game before hosting Kansas City for two and then a big test as they head to San Francisco for four. Those head to head matchups with the Brewers will be very important and they have to hit to be able to counter the elite pitching of Milwaukee.
10. Tampa Bay Rays (12-10) –
Tampa Bay went 3-3 this week by taking two of three from Seattle and then dropping two of three to Minnesota. This team is ravaged by injuries. The rotation is just being pieced together and now their hottest hitter Ji-Man Choi is on the IL as well. With the way Toronto and New York are playing, the Rays have to try to just stay within striking distance. A trip out west won’t be easy as they visit Oakland for three and then Seattle for four.
11. Minnesota Twins (13-9) +4
The Minnesota Twins are red hot as they have now won eight of their last nine after sweeping Detroit and then taking two of three in Tampa. Byron Buxton is still the star of this team but Joe Ryan is pitching himself into the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year race. Ryan is 3-1 with a 1.17 ERA. This team looks like they can contend with Chicago in the AL Central. Now they head to Baltimore for four and then return home for three with Oakland.
12. Seattle Mariners (12-10) -6
The Mariners went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. After a 7-2 homestand, Seattle went and dropped two of three to both the Rays and Marlins. The offense’s inconsistency is a little worrisome. Mitch Haniger is back on the IL but JP Crawford is showing that he is worth every penny of his five year extension. Three in Houston will be followed by a return home for four with Tampa Bay. The Mariners need to show they can beat playoff teams.
13. Colorado Rockies (13-9) -5
I think we all expected the Rockies’ stay inside the top 10 to not last for long. They were swept in a four game set by Philadelphia but then responded by sweeping a three game set with Cincinnati. I still won’t write them off as a potential wild card team. They are in a loaded division which won’t help but this team has belief. Now they host Washington for three before heading to Arizona for three. A very manageable week awaits.
14. Miami Marlins (12-9) +3
The Marlins seven game win streak was snapped on Sunday against Seattle, but that happened after their best week of the season. A sweep of the Nationals and then taking two of three from the Mariners was outstanding for the Marlins. This pitching staff is still so talented and Pablo Sanchez was the best pitcher in the National League in April. If the lineup can be average, this team will contend for a Wild Card. They host Arizona for three before heading to San Diego for four this week.
15. Houston Astros (11-11) +1
The Astros are getting closer to the team we have seen over the last five years but still aren’t there yet. Taking three of four from the Rangers and then dropping two of three to Toronto is what we expect from this team based on what they’ve shown us this season. Jose Altuve returning from the IL will help build the offense back up. Kyle Tucker might be the most popular Astro due to the fact he can rake and wasn’t there for their infamous scandal in 2017. Houston will host Seattle for three and Detroit for four this week.
16. Atlanta Braves (10-13) +3
Ronald Acuna Jr. returning is very good for baseball. He is one of the most electric and talented young players in the game. Don’t expect for him to just be the same dominant player he was before he tore his ACL. It will take time for him to work his way back. The Braves will play the Mets for four and then the Brewers for three this week. That is a schedule nobody wants at this point in the season.
17. Cleveland Guardians (10-12) +1
Cleveland got beat up against the Angels as they were swept in the four game series. They were able to respond by sweeping Oakland in a three game set. Now this looks like the #3 or #4 team in the division. I don’t think they can do much better than that. Now they also have a tough week this week when they host the Padres for two and then the Blue Jays for four.
18. Philadelphia Phillies (11-12) +4
Philadelphia coming up with a big sweep of the Colorado Rockies was a great start to the week. Especially when they then went and dropped two of three to the Mets. Bryce Harper still isn’t 100% but if the rotation and live up to their potential they shouldn’t need too much from the offense. Now they will host the Rangers for two before getting another crack at the Mets in a four game series at home.
19. Chicago White Sox (8-13) -6
My preseason World Series pick does not look very good right now. The White Sox are hurt and nobody is stepping up outside of Dylan Cease. Losing two of three to Kansas City is unacceptable but splitting a four game set with the Angels isn’t that bad. This week they take on the Cubs for two and then visit the struggling Red Sox for three.
20. Boston Red Sox (9-14) -6
Things looked promising last week when the Red Sox split four with Toronto. Then they went and lost two of three to the Orioles. That results in another bump down the rankings. Alex Cora publicly called out his team over the weekend so we will see if anything changes. Xander Bogaerts is playing for a contract but if the Red Sox don’t turn things around could he be a name to keep an eye on at the deadline?
21. Arizona Diamondbacks (10-13) +7
This was a great week for the D-Backs. A massive series win over the mighty Dodgers was followed by a four game split with St. Louis. Pitching has been a strong suit of this squad this year as they have the second best starting rotation ERA at 2.60. Can they build on this? Only time will tell. But they will visit Miami for three and then host Colorado for three. Those are winnable series.
22. Texas Rangers (8-14) +4
Dropping three of four to Houston was followed up by taking two of three from the defending champions this week. The Rangers invested so much in their offense this winter and the results have been mediocre so far. Marcus Semien has to figure things out. A .149 average isn’t going to cut it. The Rangers will go to Philadelphia for two and then visit the Bronx to take on the red hot Yankees for three.
23. Oakland Athletics (10-12) -3
There just isn’t a lot to be excited about when it comes to Oakland baseball. A two game split with the Giants was followed by being swept by Cleveland. Fans are boycotting the ownership decisions by not showing up to games. Oakland baseball is an absolute disaster. Now they host the Rays for three before going to Minnesota for three.
24. Chicago Cubs (9-13) –
The Cubs won their opening series of the season against Milwaukee. They haven’t won a series since. They dropped two of three to both Atlanta and Milwaukee this week. Seiya Suzuki is awesome to watch and that is really it for the Cubs. They will be at home all week as they host the White Sox for two before the Dodgers come to town for three.
25. Pittsburgh Pirates (9-13) -4
The Pirates just avoided a winless week thanks to a win on Sunday against the Padres. They did go 1-5 against Milwaukee and San Diego this week which is about what we expected from this team this season. The bullpen is one to keep your eye on. There are a few nice pieces out there that could be shopped come July. The Pirates will visit Detroit for two and then Cincinnati for four this week.
26. Detroit Tigers (7-14) -4
Coming into 2022, the Tigers were a sleeper to contend for the Wild Card. In April, they were just asleep. Detroit is yet to win a series after being swept by Minnesota and dropping two of three to the Dodgers this week. This is a pretty young team so they will continue to grow and work their way into things. Now with two against the Pirates and four in Houston, the Tigers are an afterthought in the AL Central.
27. Baltimore Orioles (8-14) -1
The Orioles lost five straight including being swept by the Yankees this week. They would then win back to back games to take the series against Boston to end the week on a high note. I really don’t have much to say about this team. They host Minnesota for four this week and then the Royals for three. Be honest how many Orioles players can you actually name?
28. Kansas City Royals (7-13) -1
The Royals managed to take two of three from the White Sox before being swept by the Yankees. This is clearly the worst team in the American League. The pitching just isn’t there and the lineup has a ton of holes in it. Salvador Perez doesn’t look like he will duplicate his fantastic season in 2021. Now Bobby Witt Jr. might be the only reason to watch the Royals this season.
29. Washington Nationals (8-16) –
Sure they were swept by the Marlins to start the week. But taking two of three from the Giants was a fantastic way to end the week for a team that hasn’t found much success this season. Nelson Cruz sadly may be at the very end of his career. The power isn’t even there this season as he has just two home runs through the first month. He was one of my favorite Mariners and it sucks to see such a likable guy look like a shell of himself.
30. Cincinnati Reds (3-19) –
There are football teams that win more than three games in a month. What is going on in Cincinnati is pathetic. The way the front office handled the offseason is an insult to a great fan base. I feel for Reds fans and I hope that they can somehow turn things around because nobody deserves this.