The time for passing out grades is nigh. So we're here, dressed up like a schoolmarm and ready to pass academic judgment.
As noted in the headline, the grades to follow concern not the entire week that was but rather those series that started on Thursday or Friday -- i.e., the weekend series that wrapped up on Sunday. It so happens that we saw a number of decisive outcomes in sets involving division rivals, league heavyweights and a World Series favorite taking on a certifiable jalopy.
Have your GMs sign these report cards and return them to us on Monday ...
It was billed as a showdown between two of the best teams in baseball, and perhaps it really was just that. Based on outcomes, though, there was no comparison between the two opponents. In sweeping the Red Sox at home, the Rangers held Boston to a total of four runs in three games. As well, Texas pitchers struck out 31 batters over 27 innings. Those Rangers now find themselves tied with the aforementioned Red Sox and the soon-to-be-mentioned Cardinals for the best record in baseball. No Josh Hamilton? No sweat. Early in he season, the knock on the Rangers was that they'd played a fairly weak schedule. This weekend, though, they proved their mettle in a big way against the AL East leaders.
|A||Yep, we're dishing out two A grades this time. The Cardinals barged into Milwaukee and swept a four-game series against their division rivals (and in doing so, they reclaimed the Eye On Baseball Heavyweight Championship). Taking four on the road and grabbing the belt and the title will earn you a lofty grade every time. The first-place Redbirds won once in blowout fashion (Sunday, 10-1); once in semi-comfort (Friday, 6-1); once via one-run, come-from-behind efforts (Saturday, 7-6); and once by staving off a furious Brewer comeback (Thursday, 6-5). In other words, the Cardinals mastered Milwaukee in about every conceivable way.|
|B||In their first-ever visit to Planet Coors, the Rays managed to take two of three from the first-place Rockies. The Rays did so despite another poor start from notional ace David Price. Coming into this series, the Rockies in 2013 were a robust 9-3 at home, while the Rays were a paltry 4-11 on the road. Needless to say, those trends reversed in a hurry.|
|D||Los Angeles was swept by the arch-rival Giants. So why no "F" for the boondoggle in blue? They avoid bottom-most status because each game of the series in San Fran was decided by a single run. In other words, the Dodgers put up a fight. The reality of a sweep, though, earns them a "D." Their chief undoing was that starters not named "Clayton Kershaw" combined to give up nine runs in 7 1/3 innings of work. Speaking of one-run games, 14 of the Giants' 31 games to date have been decided by a lone run.|
|F||Sure, the standards for Houston aren't terribly high, but what unfolded at home against the Tigers was F-quality in any context. First and foremost, they were swept in a four-game series in their own ballpark. Adding those miseries is the fact that Detroit out-scored their hosts by a humiliating tally of 26-2 (!) over the final two games of the series. The Astros' run differential now stands at -75, and they're on pace for 119 losses.|