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Grading the weekend series: Tribe called best

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

What kind of grade did leaping Jason Kipnis and the Indians earn? A good one.
What kind of grade did leaping Jason Kipnis and the Indians earn? A good one. USATSI

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Grades are upon us! Keep in mind that the stern judgments to follow -- delivered from on high, from someone (me) wearing judge's robes and a magistrate's wig -- concern only the weekend series completed on Sunday. Nothing of the past, nothing of the future. Got it, frank-and-beans?

Let us begin ...

TeamGradeAnalysis
ANot only did the Tribe sweep the Mariners, who came into Cleveland having won 11 out of 16, but they also cuffed around the great Felix Hernandez on Sunday. Another dominant start by Justin Masterson is just gravy. The Indians have made it easy to forget that they started the season 5-10. Most estimators give them roughly a 60 percent chance of making the playoffs.
B+There's no doubt that the Rockies benefitted from an accommodating schedule early in the season. True enough, they came into the weekend home set against the defending-champion Giants having dropped four straight series (including one to the Cubs). Contrary to expectations, though, the Rockies took three out of four, largely by beating up on the struggling San Fran rotation. They'll enter the week just a game back of the Diamondbacks.
C-It's not particularly shameful to lose a road series to a darn good team like the Rangers, but the Tigers did more than that. They dropped three of four over the weekend in Arlington, and in the process they burned through the bullpen in a big way. In fact, Detroit relievers made 12 appearances in the series, worked 17 1/3 innings and threw 278 pitches. All of that in a series in which they had the rotation lined up perfectly. So why "just" a C-? Because Miguel Cabrera.
DIf you're the Royals, and you have designs on contention but are worse on paper than another one or two teams in your division, then you can't do what they've done so far in 2013. And what they've done in 2013 is lose 10 one-run games. Granted, there's a lot of blind luck baked into a team's record in contests decided by a single run, but it still can't be done if you hope to overcome underdog status in a fairly compressed division. The weekend sweep in Oakland brought three more one-run losses in span of three games. Again, not permissible for a team in KC's position.
D-What's the last thing is a disappointing team possibly on the brink of pink slippage needs? To blow a late-inning lead. But that's what they did in Atlanta on Sunday. They leave Atlanta having been swept and finding themselves 2.5 games … out of fourth place. The bullpen is simply a wreck right now. The only consolation is that they didn't start Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke in the weekend series.
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