Tagged: Cleveland Indians

Umpire Suspended for the Botched Call Nobody Cares About

No, not that botched call. It seems no matter how poorly Angel Hernandez umpires a game, he will forever go unpunished (unless the court of public opinion counts, which sentenced him to life without parole about 15 years ago).

On the other hand, according to MLB’s official Twitter, Fieldin Culbreth was fined and suspended two games for screwing up a rule in yesterday’s Angels-Astros game:

Culbreth–and his whole crew–definitely made the wrong call in that game, but it didn’t end up costing the Angels, who came back to win the game anyway. Hernandez, on the other hand, blew a home run call that would have tied the game in the ninth inning for the A’s in Cleveland earlier this week.

But, wait. He even blew the call again after consulting instant reply, deciding there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the initial ruling. You can see that play here:

Not enough evidence, huh? Did Hernandez stop to think maybe that was enough evidence? That just maybe, he is one of the worst judges of “evidence” the world has ever seen? At least he had the gall to admit his mistake to reporters after the game. Oh, wait.

Man, that guy really sucks. Why is he still employed again?

– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news!

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3U3D Break It Down: A.L. Central

Last season, the AL Central was not only the weakest top to bottom in the American League, but you could also argue it was the weakest in all of baseball.  While no team last surpassed 88 wins, the AL representative in the World Series came from the Central.  Will Detroit win the division for a 3rd straight year? Or will the White Sox be able to fend off a Tigers push? Will Cleveland’s new manager Terry Francona bring back playoff baseball for the Indians? Are the Royals finally ‘there’?

whitesox

Chicago White Sox: Chicago looks to be primed to make a run at an AL Central title this year and it starts with their rotation. The 1-2 punch of Chris Sale and Jake Peavy will provide solid outings all year but the injury to John Danks might prove to be too costly.  It’ll be up to Dylan Axelrod to step up in Danks’ absence.  The two biggest question marks for the lineup are will Adam Dunn mash all season long again and can Paul Konerko stay healthy and lead the way in what may be his last season?

Indians

Cleveland Indians: The Indians have a lot to be excited about heading into this season and it starts with accomplished manager, Terry Francona. The sheer experience Francona brings to the clubhouse will propel Cleveland past last season’s 68 wins.  New additions Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Drew Stubbs, and Mark Reynolds provide the ability to score runs with Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana. The real concern with the Indians will be the starting rotation.  Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brett Myers are going to have to carry the load if this team is going to be successful in 2013.

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Detroit Tigers: The defending AL Champs have everyone back from last year with a key addition in Torii Hunter and a healthy Victor Martinez.  This team is built to win now and should run away with the division.  But there is one giant hole; the role of closer.  The Tigers will start the season with a closer by committee strategy that will rotate Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit, and Octavio Dotel.  The rotation is the best in the league with a perennial Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez., and Rick Porcello. Expect to see this team deep in October.

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Kansas City Royals: Every year for the past 5 years, the talk about the Royals has been “they are 1 or 2 years away”.  This organization has plenty of young talent but its put up or shut up time.  James Shields and Ervin Santana join 2012 mid-season acquisition Jeremy Guthrie to form the 2nd best pitching staff in the Central.  If Butler, Moustakas, and co. can stay healthy, the KC Royals will be playing meaningful games through September and might see some post-season action.

Twins

Minnesota Twins: When you’re Opening Day starter is Vance Worley, you have seen better days.  To make this season a success, the Twins need to break up the M&M boys.  It makes more sense for Morneau to be dealt purely based on contract size, unless the Twinkies want to absorb some of Joe Mauer’s $23M/year deal.  Josh Willingham provided much of the offense last year while having a career year.  The only way I can see this team avoiding a 100-loss season is if Willingham duplicates his 2012 stats AND they do not trade Mauer or Morneau.  It might be more beneficial to bite the bullet this year and start stocking up for 2014.

Awards Watch

A.L. MVP

Adam Dunn – Chicago White Sox

Michael Bourn – Cleveland Indians

Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers

Billy Butler – Kansas City Royals

Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham – Minnesota Twins

Cy Young

Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers

Max Scherzer – Detroit Tigers

James Shields – Kansas City Royals

Rookie of the Year

Aaron Hicks – Minnesota Twins

Will the Tigers run away with this division? Is this the last time you can see the M&M boys in Twins uniforms? Comment below!

– Angelo Fileccia (@GODF_TH_R)

Ranking the World Baseball Classic Rosters

World-Baseball-Classic-2013In about six weeks, the World Baseball Classic will be upon us again and Team USA will look to win its first title in the competition’s history. They’ve got a good shot — manager Joe Torre released his roster on Thursday, and they are absolutely loaded.

Unfortunately for fans of Team USA, one glance at a few competing rosters will stop the celebration in its tracks. Can someone unseat two-time defending champions, Team Japan? Will Team USA improve upon their 4th-place finish in 2009?

We can’t predict the results down to the wire, but we’re here to do what we do best at Three Up, Three Down. We rank the rosters! So strap in, baseball fans, and see if your favorite team stands a chance:

**The “Stick to Soccer” Group**

Brazil hat wbc

#16: BRAZIL

Notable player(s): Barry Larkin, Manager (and Hall of Fame Reds SS)

International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Ranking: 20

Breakdown: Good thing for their dominance on the international soccer scene, because Brazil isn’t going anywhere in the Classic. Yan Gomes was the first Brazilian player to ever reach the big leagues, and the country itself only has 14 players signed to Major League contracts. How they will win: They won’t. Why they won’t: See “How they will win.”  

china wbc cap

#15: CHINA

Notable player(s): Bruce Chen, SP, Royals 

IBAF Ranking: 18

Breakdown: The Chinese baseball team is a decade away from being a serious contender, but they are headed in the right direction. They’ve made steady improvements over international tournaments since a decent showing at the 2009 WBC, in which they eliminated Chinese Taipei. How they will win: Hustle, starting pitching. Why they won’t: Not enough of either.

Spain wbc cap

#14: SPAIN

Notable player(s): Paco Rodriguez, RP, Dodgers/Engel Beltre, OF, Rangers

IBAF Ranking: 16

Breakdown: I’m not sure what to think about Spain. They lack star power, but did knock off Israel and South Africa in qualifiers. The roster is dotted with promising Major League prospects, but I don’t foresee Spain winning more than a game, maybe two in the WBC. How they will win: Breakout tourney from Beltre. Why they won’t: Their Pool C competition is stacked (Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic).

italy wbc cap

#13: ITALY

Notable player(s): Jason Grilli, RP, Pirates/Francisco Cervelli, C, Yankees/Nick Punto, IF, Dodgers/Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs/Chris Denorfia, OF, Padres

IBAF Ranking: 9

Breakdown: Not only did we miss out on a Hall of Fame induction for Mike Piazza, but he won’t be participating on Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic either. Props to the Italians for back-to-back Euro Championships, but the competition is pretty weak over there right now. I think they will be humbled in the WBC. How they will win: Play with a chip on their shoulder. Why they won’t: Even the MLB-level hitters are thin.

kingdom of netherlands wbc cap

#12: KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS

Notable Player(s): Jair Jurrjens, SP, MLB Free Agent/Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox/Jurickson Profar, 2B, Rangers/Jonathan Schoop, 3B, Orioles/Andrelton Simmons, SS, Braves/Roger Bernadina, OF, Nationals/Andruw Jones, OF, MLB Free Agent

IBAF Ranking: 7

Breakdown: The Dutch soccer team is one of my favorites to watch. And for the first time in recent memory, so will their baseball team. They just missed my “dark horse” cut, due to sheer overall talent of the rest of the field. But the Major League potential of some youngsters on this roster is extremely intriguing. They’ve won 20 of 32 Euro Championships ever played. How they will win: Infield of dreams breaks out. Why they won’t: Not all the youngsters will perform.

**The Dark Horses**

south korea wbc cap

#11: SOUTH KOREA

Notable player(s): Jae Seo, SP, former Met, Dodger, Ray in MLB

IBAF Ranking: 4

Breakdown: I feel ridiculous ranking Korea this low, considering their past successes in the WBC. But, it’s the third time this tournament has been played and each team has scouting on the opposition now. I don’t think South Korea will sneak up on anyone this time around. How they will win: High on-base percentage, good defense. Why they won’t: Too much good competition.

Australia-WBC-hat

#10: AUSTRALIA

Notable player(s): Peter Moylan, RP, Dodgers

IBAF Ranking: 10

Breakdown: There’s a handful of good Major League players (like A’s closer Grant Balfour) who hail from the land down under, but there isn’t a whole lot of MLB experience on this roster. Team Australia still has a shot at advancing, but they may have more trouble than in years past. How they will win: Pure grit. Why they won’t: Not enough runs, upstart opposition in Pool B.

canada wbc cap

#9: CANADA

Notable player(s): Jesse Crain, RP, White Sox/John Axford, RP, Brewers/Jameson Taillon, SP, Pirates/Russell Martin, C, Pirates/Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays/Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins

IBAF Ranking: 6

Breakdown: We all know that Canada produces some bona fide stars in MLB (Joey Votto, anyone?), but not all are present and accounted for on this roster, similar to Team Australia. They still have the talent to make a run with Lawrie, Morneau and Martin in the middle of the lineup though. How they will win: Dominant bullpen, good middle of the lineup. Why they won’t: Too much youth in the rotation.

taipei wbc cap

#8: CHINESE TAIPEI

Notable player(s): Chien-Ming Wang, SP, MLB Free Agent

IBAF Ranking: 5

Breakdown: There’s a reason that Team Chinese Taipei is a top-five ranked country right now. But their proudest current professional representative (Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen) is not on the team yet. This team is still legit, and has a very winnable pool group. How they will win: Small ball. Why they won’t: Overall talent is lacking.

**The “Justtttt A Bit Outside” Group**

puerto rico wbc cap

#7: PUERTO RICO

Notable player(s): Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals/Carlos Beltran, OF, Cardinals/Angel Pagan, OF, Giants/Mike Aviles, IF, Indians/Javier Vasquez, SP, MLB Free Agent

IBAF Ranking: 12

Breakdown: There may be no more high-ceiling-yet-average team in the WBC this year. Team Puerto Rico has finished fifth at both tournaments preceding this, and killed Team USA in 2009 before being ousted by them two games later on a walk-off hit. Even with players such as Molina, Beltran and Pagan, they won’t even be favorites in their own pool. How they will win: The Major League talent they have is relentlessly good. Why they won’t: Lack of depth in the rotation.

mexico 2013 wbc cap

#6: MEXICO

Notable player(s): Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers/Luis Cruz, 3B, Dodgers/Yovani Gallardo, SP, Brewers/Danny Espinosa, 2B, Nationals/Sergio Romo, RP, Giants

IBAF Ranking: 11

Breakdown: In their pool, Team Mexico will have to deal with Team USA, but other than that they should be favored to top Team Canada and Team Italy to move on. They have a decent infield, top-of-the-line ace, and one of the best closers in baseball. How they will win: Adrian Gonzalez goes off, Gallardo is dominant. Why they won’t: Romo is neutralized unless they have a lead late.

cuba wbc cap

#5: CUBA

Notable player(s): None 

IBAF Ranking: 1

Breakdown: Don’t let the lack of notable players deceive you — this team is good. Really good. They have played in the IBAF World Cup 29 times and won 25 gold medals, finishing second the other four times. In the WBC, Team Cuba has finished second and fourth (which, at the time, was their lowest finish ever in international competition). They just can’t legally have players like Aroldis Chapman or Yoenis Cespedes on their squad, otherwise they might be even better. How they will win: Hard-throwing starters, handful of five-tool prospects. Why they won’t: The top four teams are just too stacked.

**The Favorites**

japan wbc hat

#4: JAPAN

Notable player(s): None

IBAF Ranking: 3

Breakdown: Again, don’t let the lack of Major League firepower fool you. Much like Cuba, Team Japan has been a hotbed for MLB stars over the years (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Yu Darvish). Even though none of them joined the fray in 2013, this team is stacked. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of future MLB players come off this roster after good WBC performances. After all, they are two-for-two in WBC titles up to this point. How they will win: Ichiro-style on-base scavengers, deceptive pitching. Why they won’t: Not having Ichiro and Darvish, among others, will end up costing Team Japan.

dominican republic wbc hat

#3: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Notable player(s): Santiago Casilla, RP, Giants/Octavio Dotel, RP, Tigers/Alexi Ogando, RP, Rangers/Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays/Wandy Rodriguez, SP, Pirates/Edinson Volquez, SP, Reds/Carlos Santana, C, Indians/Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers/Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees/Edwin Encarnacion, DH/OF, Blue Jays/Hanley Ramirez, IF, Dodgers/Jose Reyes, SS, Blue Jays/Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers/Melky Cabrera, OF, Blue Jays

IBAF Ranking: 13

Breakdown: The only reason Team Dominica is ranked so low by the IBAF is because all those notable players are stars in the big leagues, and don’t regularly compete internationally for their country. But now that the WBC has rolled around again, this is one unbelievably good team. My only concern is their starting pitching depth. How they will win: Scoring 15 runs per game (no…really). Why they won’t: Like I said, starting pitching depth. Will Volquez and Rodriguez be enough?

USA wbc hat

#2: UNITED STATES

Notable player(s):  Jeremy Affeldt, RP, Giants/R.A. Dickey, SP, Blue Jays/Craig Kimbrel, RP, Braves/Kris Medlen, SP, Braves/Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants/Chris Perez, RP, Indians/Joe Mauer, C, Twins/Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds/Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies/David Wright, 3B, Mets/Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees/Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers/Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins/Adam Jones, OF, Orioles/Joe Torre, Manager

IBAF Ranking: 2

Breakdown: I didn’t even pick all the “notable players” I could have for this team. It’s Team USA’s equivalent of the MLB Dream Team, and Justin Verlander still is undecided as to whether he’ll join the rotation. This team is already a favorite with a balanced lineup and very strong pitching staff, but adding JV would be a coup. Check out fellow Three Up, Three Down host Bryan Mapes’ grades-by-position for Team USAHow they will win: Veteran experience, explosive pitching. Why they won’t: The bane of their existence, Team Japan, will come along eventually.

venezuela wbc cap

#1: VENEZUELA

Notable player(s): Anibal Sanchez, SP, Tigers/Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners/Francisco Rodriguez, RP, MLB Free Agent/Ronald Belisario, RP, Dodgers/Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks/Salvador Perez, C, Royals/Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers/Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians/Miguel Cabrera, 3B/1B, Tigers/Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants/Marco Scutaro, 2B, Giants/Carols Gonzalez, OF, Rockies/Gerardo Parra, OF, Diamondbacks

IBAF Ranking: 8

Breakdown: The quantity of star power on Team Venezuela might not match up to Team USA or Team Dominica, but the quality is far and beyond. When you start your rotation with Hernandez and stack the middle of your lineup with the reigning Triple Crown winner between Gonzalez and Sandoval, you are a very, very scary team. Even though their WBC pool is very tough, it would be a momentous upset to not see Team Venezuela make moves in the 2013 tournament. How they will win: A large margin of victory. Against anyone. Why they won’t: Slumping hitters or being outplayed by one of the other favorites.

And that’s a wrap. This writer believes Team Venezuela is the team to beat, with Team USA, Team Dominica and Team Japan not far behind. But in all honesty, there are about 10-11 teams who could potentially take home the title in 2013. Root for your team and country to take home top honors, and stay tuned to Three Up, Three Down because we’ll have all your World Baseball Classic coverage.

Like what you see? Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for more WBC and MLB news and analysis.

– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Grade That Trade! Everyone Loves Mike Aviles Edition

Less than two weeks after trading their manager John Farrell to the Boston Red Sox for Mike Aviles, the Toronto Blue Jays have turned and shipped Aviles off again, in return for some bullpen help.

As far as the hot stove is concerned, this move is luke warm; but when all is said and done in 2013, we could see the players involved paying big dividends for their new teams.

In what will undoubtedly be the trade with the coolest names involved this off-season, the Cleveland Indians are trying to add a little young punch to their lineup. Let’s break it down:

Indians Get:

C/IF/OF Yan Gomes

IF Mike Aviles

Blue Jays Get:

RP Esmil Rogers

Both Gomes and Aviles are right-handed hitters, something the Indians sorely lacked in 2012. Both are relatively young and promising, with the ability to play multiple positions. With the exception of pitching, you can pretty much cover the entire diamond defensively with Gomes and Aviles.

In Rogers, the Blue Jays get a promising, young, right-handed reliever to add to the ‘pen. With multiple starters going down with injuries in 2012, this blogger wonders if Rogers will get a shot to start a little bit in Toronto? In his second full season in Colorado, Rogers started 13 times – since then he’s been used strictly out of the ‘pen.

Last season with Cleveland, Rogers had the most impressive portion of his pro career. In 44 appearances, he held a 3.06 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and a nifty 4.5 K to BB ratio. Rogers struck out over a batter per inning, but his past performance is questionable.

For someone with as much talent as the 27-year-old Rogers, his career numbers don’t reflect what he’s capable of. In 185 innings as a reliever in Colorado, his ERA was nearly 7.00 and his WHIP hovered around 1.82. Then again, that’s in Colorado, where pitching stats go to die.

A quick glance at his home/road splits tell me that his numbers away from Coors Field were better, indicating that he may have been a victim of that crazy mountain air in Denver. I doubt Rogers will actually be considered for a set-up or closing role, but if he continues to improve in a normal atmosphere like he did in Cleveland, you never know.

The Indians land a couple young bats that I personally like a lot. Yan Gomes (pronounced: “Yawn”) is more than just an awesome name. He only got a taste in the bigs last year, compiling a .204 average with four home runs and 13 RBI in 98 at-bats for the Jays.

But, he started 24 games, appeared in 41, and split time at all the following positions: first base, catcher, third base, DH, and two outfield spots. He seems to be a good defender regardless of where he’s placed, and only made one error in 119 innings at first base.

Before being promoted, Gomes hit .328 with 13 homers and 59 RBI in 79 games at Triple-A, and tossed in a nice .380 on-base percentage to complement a .938 OPS. Clearly, the kid can hit. If the coaches in Cleveland can get him used to playing every day at the Major League level, they may have a very good player on their hands by the time he hits his prime.

We all know Aviles, too. He’s been around for five seasons now, and finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting as a Kansas City Royal back in 2008. Though he’s always been considered a role-playing utility man, his career average is .277 and he has started multiple games at shortstop, second base, and third base.

Even though Aviles is likely in Cleveland to play that utility role again, he can provide some pop and is a guy that plays the game the right way. Personally, I’m a big fan of Aviles and think he’s a very good spark guy, much in the mold of Nick Punto or David Eckstein.

It’s a tough call, but I think I’m going to give the slight edge to the Indians in this trade, because they acquired two bats that can make immediate impacts. While Rogers has all the tools to become a good bullpen arm in Toronto, it remains to be seen if he can continue to improve.

If you like hot stoves, and we don’t mean the ones you cook on, follow @3u3d on Twitter and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook!

– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

2012 Power Rankings: Monday, August 6th

Another week in the books and we saw some major shuffling, but mostly static across the board. The trade whirlwind is over, but moves are still being made through waivers. The Giants picked up Jose Mijares from the Royals, and the Dodgers snagged Joe Blanton from Philly.

Does those transactions move them up in the rankings? I’ll tell you one thing. The Tribe will continue its downward spiral. An 0-10 stretch and a punch less overall team will send a team nowhere but down. And how bout an 8-2 previous 10 for Atlanta, who climbs way up, despite being a Wild Card team.

As always, look for the three big, red down arrows for our biggest losers and the three big, green arrows for the biggest winners. Here are this week’s official Three Up, Three Down MLB Power Rankings:

30. Houston Astros (36-74, 2-8 in last 10, last week: 30)

The Astros have lost 30 of their last 34 games. Do I even need to say anything else? They are so by far the worst team in baseball, it’s almost funny. But then you feel bad for laughing. It’s just really awkward. The ‘Stros are a legitimate “threat” to lose 110 games.

29. Colorado Rockies (39-68, 2-8, 29)

Things are getting rockier and rockier (see what I did there?) in Colorado. They’ve had enough pitching woes as it is, but now Jonathan Sanchez and Christian Friedrich are down with injuries, joining their buddies Todd Helton and Michael Cuddyer on the DL.

28. Chicago Cubs (43-64, 3-7, 27)

Believe it or not, games are about to get more exciting in Chicago despite the constant losing. Top prospects Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson were called up recently, and Cubs fans have to be interested in seeing what this new, young dynamic lineup can put together.

27. Kansas City Royals (45-63, 4-6, 28)

Every time the Royals lose a game, I cry a tiny bit. I can’t decide if I’m more just depressed for the fans of Kansas City who had a promising team on paper for once, or embarrassed at my own failed prediction. At least Billy Butler is still awesome.

26. San Diego Padres (47-64, 4-6, 24)

So, how does a team that goes 4-6 over the last 10 games jump two spots in the power rankings? Um…have you SEEN the San Diego beaches? Sorry, other states. The Friars still need a lot of help, but maybe them selling the team for $800 million is a good starting point.

25. Cleveland Indians (50-59, 0-10, 17)

That big old zero is not a good thing. It means the Indians have gone on to the field and looked more like the team at the beginning of the movie Major League more than a real, live baseball team. Out with Derek Lowe and Johnny Damon, in with the new, they say!

24. Philadelphia Phillies (49-60, 4-6, 23)

Philadelphia sold away half their roster at the trade deadline, then immediately won the first two games in August. And then they sucked again. Well, then…wasn’t that fun? Carlos Ruiz hit the DL, officially ending any comeback talk that might have been creeping out of Philly.

23. Miami Marlins (49-60, 4-6, 21)

Remember when the Marlins and Phillies were going to pit their fancy, expensive players against each other in a 162-game battle for NL East supremacy? I have to brag – I never fully bought into the hype. And it’s making me look dang good.

22. Milwaukee Brewers (49-59, 5-5, 26)

Ho-hum, the Brewers were average, and Ryan Braun did some cool things and Michael Fiers continued to be the most unknown rookie sensation this side of Saturn, and the bullpen is still terrible, and Milwaukee brews good beer and ten games under .500 means no playoffs.

21. Minnesota Twins (48-61, 7-3, 25)

The Twins have been surprisingly adept on offense since last week. Granted, playing the Indians will do that to you these days. But Ben Revere, Denard Span, Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham – these guys aren’t as bad as we originally though. With a pitching upgrade, they are a sneaky pick in 2013.

20. Toronto Blue Jays (53-55, 4-6, 18) 

Womp womp! This just shows how incredibly valuable Jose Bautista is to the Jays. That being said, role players are showing some resiliency for this team. Against A’s closer Ryan Cook over the weekend, they hit game-tying homers in the top of the 9th. Two games in a row.

19. Seattle Mariners (51-60, 7-3, 22) 

For the second straight week, the M’s are moving up in the world. I really like the make up and young talent on this team. I have a feeling they will be in contention in about two years, right when King Felix’s contract ends. When did the AL West become such a good division?

18. New York Mets (53-56, 5-5, 20)

After a horrendous first week in the rankings, the Mets climbed back a couple of spots to respectability with a 5-5 stretch over their last 10. The second half slide continues in general, but at least they aren’t so god-awful to watch lately.

17. Boston Red Sox (55-55, 6-4, 19)

I’m not necessarily on the bandwagon, but if the Red Sox reel off a 7-3 or 8-2 stretch of 10, you may see me chasing after it trying to jump on. We know the pitching is bad, but so what? They have offense for miles, even with Big Papi on the DL for a couple of weeks.

16.  Arizona Diamondbacks (55-54, 6-4, 16)

I truly thought the D’Backs were going to come in and stay hot for this week. But aside from a (very disheartening for me, I might add) sweep on the road against my Dodgers, they haven’t done much to allow total faith in this team. They are very, very close though.

15. Tampa Bay Rays (56-52, 5-5, 14)

While Jered Weaver, Justin Verlander and Chris Sale continue to grab the headlines, David Price will continue to be the other best pitcher in the league and lead his offensively passive squad to a potential playoff berth. Hipster, tilted sideways hat and all.

14. Baltimore Orioles (58-51, 6-4, 15)

I hate being that guy, but I just don’t believe the O’s can carry this into the postseason. That being said, I AM definitely in the “let’s see them get a winning season” camp. Both goals are lofty, but 24 more wins will seal it! Come on Adam Jones, keep it up!

13. Oakland A’s (58-51, 4-6, 7) 

Not quite a complete fall from grace, but the A’s are showing that they are, in fact, beatable. Rookie (obviously) starter A.J. Jenkins hits the DL. Rookie (obviously) starter Dan Straily slides in without missing a beat. So much pitching, so little veteran experience. That will be their undoing.

12. Los Angeles Angels (59-51, 4-6, 10)

I dropped the Angels a couple of spots, mostly because the teams that passed them were a little bit better last week. They lost a couple tough ones in Arlington, but remain close in the division. Albert Pujols is still really, really good by the way. And don’t you forget it!

11. San Francisco Giants (59-50, 4-6, 9)

The Giants’ slide seemingly came out of nowhere. But the normally reliable starting pitching has faltered, and Hunter Pence hasn’t quite yet become accustomed to the new digs. San Francisco could be in big trouble playing the Cardinals on the road this week.

10. Los Angeles Dodgers (59-51, 6-4, 8)

My Dodgers have hung around a half game out, and get the benefit of the doubt for two reasons here: First, it’s my favorite team. That’s how I roll. But in all seriousness, the Dodgers have been a slightly better offensive team over the last seven days than their rival Giants.

9. Detroit Tigers (59-50, 6-4, 12)

Justin Verlander just struck out 14 batters in a game. Still think they REALLY won’t win the AL Central? Come on, people. If Mike Trout doesn’t win MVP, there’s really only one other guy it could be. He goes by Miguel Cabrera and he likes to hit baseballs very far.

8. Chicago White Sox (60-48, 7-3, 11)

That being said, the Sox have done pretty dang well for themselves. Most teams crumble under my massive expectations, but the Youk-stah is helping keep them on top. For now. Wait until the soft middle of the August schedule is over before we get a real look at this team.

7. St. Louis Cardinals (60-49, 7-3, 13) 

One of our biggest movers is St. Louis, who just keeps winning. Unfortunately for them, so does Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, the two teams they are trailing in the division. But the Cards have the best offense in the Majors and continue to be buoyed by quality starting pitching.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates (62-46, 6-4, 6)

Here’s our weekly “countdown to a winning season” team. The awesome, cuddly story that is Andrew McCutchen and his wild band of Buccos is now only 19 games away from that coveted .500 mark! If they don’t get there, it would be truly one of the biggest disappointments in sports history at this point.

5. Texas Rangers (63-45, 5-5, 4)

Ryan Dempster, Shmyan Shmempster. I still don’t understand the concept behind that weird speech style, but Dempster got shelled in his first American League start. Hopefully that’s not a harbinger of things to come, because Roy Oswalt is already a failed signing.

4. New York Yankees (63-45, 4-6, 3)

The Yankees continue to play average baseball with Alex Rodriguez on the DL. And you all thought he didn’t matter anymore! Just kidding. But Ivan Nova needs to step his game up, though I don’t think anyone is doubting them for winning the East again.

3. Atlanta Braves (63-46, 8-2, 5) 

Big movers here, and it might be a surprise. I promise this isn’t just to get in our host Mapes’ good graces. The Braves really have been that good. Apparently as soon as Chipper Jones gets on Twitter, the bats start lighting up in Atlanta. By the way, what a MOVE getting Ben Sheets, huh?

2. Washington Nationals (66-43, 7-3, 2)

The team leading the Braves in the standings is none other than the Washington Nationals. Bryce Harper has kind of faded away, but the pitching is still fantastic and Michael Morse is taking his turn manning the reigns of the offense. Hashtag, Natitude!

1. Cincinnati Reds (66-43, 7-3, 1)

My girlfriend currently hates me because I told her in March that no matter what she said about her beloved Cardinals, I was sticking with my preseason NL Central pick. And here they are, deserving of the top spot in the MLB Power Rankings for the second straight week. And yes, I’m sleeping on the couch.

*Records current as play began on Monday, August 6th, 2012*

Do you agree with the rankings? Disagree? Want to punch us in the balls? Comment below to let us know how you really feel! And while you’re at it, follow us on Twitter @3u3d and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook.

– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

What About the Indians?

I saw an interesting Tweet this morning. It sarcastically made a play at the whole Ozzie-Guillen-said-something-stupid thing that’s taken over the baseball media for the past 48 hours. Guillen’s mouth getting him in trouble is nothing new, but he went to whole new heights by saying he loved Fidel Castro.

Especially in Miami. Especially especially in Little Havana. Before I get into this, let me just say that I’m completely in agreement with the five-game suspension handed down by the powers that be in the Miami Marlins organization. And of course, Guillen was completely out of line with his comments.

But the aforementioned Tweet read something along the lines of (and I paraphrase from memory): “But let’s not worry about Chief Wahoo and the Indians logo. Or the tomahawk. Native Americans aren’t real people anyway.”

Hm…touche, anonymous Tweeter! Lost in the “don’t offend Cubans” debacle, has been the fact that baseball has completely ignored the complaints of Native Americans for years. This has been an ongoing issue in baseball for a long, long time. I’m completely 100 percent on the side of groups who campaign to have the offensive logos and traditions stopped. And here’s why:

The counter-arguments range anywhere from “they shouldn’t take offense, it’s just a silly thing” to “get over it, we won.” I won’t even justify the ignorance of the latter with a response. But the fact remains that it isn’t a silly thing. Native Americans aren’t being unreasonable with their requests.

It’s baseball that is being unreasonable. In the name of tradition and yearly revenue, you’re willing to completely ignore the fact that something you heavily market is offensive to a large majority of a certain culture? That’s ridiculous.

Sorry, Cleveland. I think the logo is cool and all, but it’s time to go. This is like making an awesome YouTube video with stolen music in the background. You knew it was going to get taken down, but it was pretty sweet while it lasted, huh?

If Ozzie Guillen is getting a five-game suspension for a couple stupid comments that ticked off Cubans, why can’t Major League Baseball afford to make a couple touch-ups to a logo that has been downright racist towards Native Americans for decades?