Another week of baseball is in the books, which means it's time for our weekly grades. As a reminder, we're pretty flexible with our grades. We grade individual series, teams, players, coaches, umpires, whatever. We try to stick to the usual A through F scale but will make exceptions from time to time. To state the bleeding obvious, five grades means that any number of notable team and individual performances won't be represented herein.
|A+||Felix Hernandez. King Felix began his week by holding the Yankees to two runs over seven innings in a Monday start at Yankee Stadium, which, of course, is a pretty tough environment for right-handed hurlers. Then on Sunday he smothered the Rays, shutting them out over seven innings and striking out a career-high 15 batters in the process. So that's one week, 14 innings, two runs, 23 strikeouts and one walk. A+ indeed.|
|A+||And here we have another right-hander who authored a dominating two-start week. On Sunday against the Padres, Jordan Zimmermann took a perfect game into the sixth and wound up crafting a two-hit shutout. In the process, he became the first hurler in the history of the franchise (i.e., including the Expos days) to pitch a two-hit shutout while striking out 12 or more batters and walking none. Oh, and on Tuesday, he worked eight scoreless against the Phillies.|
|B+||Sunday's one-run loss to the Marlins cost the Cubs an "A" mark for the week, but a B+ is pretty much an A by the standards of the 2014 North Siders. Since Monday, they've gone 5-1, sweeping the Mets and then taking two of three from the aforementioned Marlins. Included in that stretch is a pair of walk-off wins. In a related matter, the Cubs no longer have the worst record in baseball (assist: Rays, Phillies), which was the case not so long ago.|
|D+||It was certainly a poor start to the week for the reigning NL champs, as they dropped three of four to the Royals and then lost the opener in Toronto (at which point they had lost eight of 10). The Cardinals did some quality salvage work on Saturday and Sunday, however, in taking the final two from the first-place Jays by a combined score of 10-0. In the end, though, it's a losing week.|
|F||Are the Phils the worst team in baseball? After this week's misadventures, you can make the case. Since Monday, they've been swept by the Nationals and beaten in two out of three by the sub-.500 Reds. Among NL clubs, only the Diamondbacks have a worse run differential. Also of note is that these same Phillies presently rank 27th in strength of schedule.|