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Grading the weekday series: Dodgers and Rays get high marks

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Matt Moore (left) and David Price helped the Rays to a passing grade.
Matt Moore (left) and David Price helped the Rays to a passing grade. (USATSI)

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Everything is back to normal now that the All-Star break is over. We had a full slate of weekday games and that means 15 series (plural!) to grade. Remember, we don't grade each individual series. Instead we assign one team (or one aspect of a team) to each of the five traditional letter grades. Onto this week's report card:

TeamGradeAnalysis
AThe Dodgers went into their three-game series against the Blue Jays a half-game back of the Diamondbacks in the NL West and left with a 1.5 games lead. They didn't just sweep the Jays in Toronto either, they made late-inning comebacks in two of the three games. Los Angeles was down five runs as late as the seventh inning on Tuesday before rallying to win, and on Wednesday they scored a run to tie in the ninth before winning in extra innings. After 100 or so games of disappointment, the Dodgers are at the top of the divison and right where most expected them to be before the season.
B+What a week for the Reds. They played four games against the Giants in San Francisco, including a doubleheader on Tuesday, and they completely pounded the defending World Champs. Cincinnati won three of the four games and outscored their host 31-11. 31-11! Yeah, the Giants are not the team they were a year ago, but that's a damn impressive series by the Reds.
BThe Rays came into the week as the hottest team in baseball -- they'd won 17 of their last 19 games -- but they still had some doubters because most of that damage came against bad teams. The four-game series against the Red Sox in Boston would be a litmus test, and they responded by taking two of three before the series finale was rained out. Lefties Matt Moore and David Price deserve an individual "A" -- they threw complete games in the two wins. Moore twirled a two-hit shutout, Price a one-run, five-hitter. The rained out game will be made up this coming Monday, when the schedule allows Tampa Bay to throw Price again. Count on that happening.
D-How did the Orioles respond after I gave them an "A" for their work over the weekend? By losing three of four to the Royals on the road. The first two losses were one-run defeats -- one was an always-grueling walk-off loss -- and the third was a blowout. Baltimore still sits in one of the two AL Wild Card spots, but their lead over the Rangers is down to just a half-game. The two clubs are tied in the loss column as well.
FI so wish I could go lower than an "F." The lowest grade of the week unquestionably belongs to Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who sought out an unauthorized second opinion on his quad injury before allowing the doctor to blab about his "no injury" diagnosis during a radio interview. New York sent him for a third opinion to confirm the original diagnosis and establish a rehab plan, then A-Rod went on the radio himself and insinuated he doesn't trust the team. What a mess. Literally no one enjoys this, except maybe Alex.
 
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