These weekend series were mostly about domination. Of the 15 series -- many of which started Thursday and were four-game sets -- five were sweeps and five saw teams take three of four. With the Royals set to face the Indians again Monday, it's possible that becomes six series with teams winning three of four. Only two series resulted in splits.
So, amid all that domination, who do I choose for the A grade (we only do one of each of the five letter grades in order to avoid grade overkill this season)? That's easy. The most unlikely sweeper. Still, congrats to the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies and Tigers on their sweeps in addition to the Cubs, Nationals, Mariners, Orioles and Diamondbacks for taking three of four.
|A||They entered the series 6-15 and were facing the defending World Series champion Giants, who entered the series with a 13-9 record. I think many believed this would be a sweep, just not by the Padres. They never blew the Giants out, winning by one twice and two once, but getting a sweep in the first place is worthy of an A. And they even had a dramatic victory Saturday, overcoming a 5-0 deficit and getting a walkoff victory in 12 innings. Well done, San Diego. You get a much-deserved A here.|
|B||Less than a week ago, the Dodgers were reeling, having lost seven of eight. They're now starting to play better baseball, having won consecutive series. The B here is for taking two of three from a previously red-hot Brewers team. Friday night, they took the lead in the seventh and tacked on some insurance in the eighth. And then Sunday they got a pair of solo homers from Carl Crawford and once again some outstanding mound work from the always-studly Clayton Kershaw. Saturday was a loss, which knocks the Dodgers down to a B.|
|C||After squeaking by with a pair of one-run victories Thursday and Friday, the Rangers lost to the Twins by a combined score of 12-2 on Saturday and Sunday. And for the first time all season, the Rangers have now lost consecutive games. They have not, however, lost a single series, and the split here gets them to a C.|
|D||For three games and five innings, the A's were en route to an F on cruise control. They dropped the first three games of their home series with the Orioles by a combined score of 20-5. Then, through five innings Sunday, they trailed the O's 5-0. They would crawl back to a 6-6 tie in the seventh, however, and then got a two-run homer in the ninth from Yoenis Cespedes to tie the game again. And in the 10th, with some help from the Orioles by way of a throwing error, got the walkoff victory. So the A's can salvage a D. But, with all Ds comes the message that things need to be much better.|
|F||It's getting close to debacle level for Toronto right now. After getting swept in four games by the Yankees, the Blue Jays are off to a 9-17 start in a season they entered with lofty expectations. Here's the lineup they lost to on Sunday: Ichiro Suzuki, Robinson Cano, Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, Brennan Boesch, Jayson Nix, Lyle Overbay, Eduardo Nunez, Chris Stewart. That pretty well sums up the April the Jays have had. Also, the Braves and Giants owe the Blue Jays some Labatts for sparing them in this category.|