Grading the weekday series: Padres sweep into an A

The Padres must have studied, because they performed beautifully on this week's exam.
The Padres must have studied, because they performed beautifully on this week's exam. (USATSI)

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Welcome to grading the weekday series (it's plural, we swear!), where we hand out, um, grades. We don't grade all 30 teams for every series, as that would be overkill. Instead we'll pick one team for each of the five letter grades (though I've made a special exception this week, as you'll see below).

There were only two sweeps this week -- Padres and Athletics -- and the Cincinnati Reds took three of four from the Chicago Cubs . Those were the top dogs. The White Sox and Blue Jays split a weather-reduced two-game series and every other series saw one team take two of three. Anyway, let's get to it.

A The Atlanta Braves went into Petco Park having won seven of their last nine and boasting a 39-24 record. And the San Diego Padres went out and swept the leaders of the NL East. And don't look now, but San Diego is only two games under .500 after starting the season a woeful 5-15.
B+ We're going with a trio of B+ entries here because I felt like what all three teams did was similarly symbolic and possibly turning point-type series. For the Washington Nationals , they entered their series in Colorado with a .500 record overall and a 13-18 mark on the road. They have badly underachieved to this point in relation to preseason expectations. After losing the first game in the series, the Nats pulled it together and played two good games to take the series against a quality Colorado Rockies team. With Ross Detwiler back in the rotation and Stephen Strasburg primed to return Sunday, it may be the start of a run.
B+ The Kansas City Royals started the season 17-10 before going through an utterly dreadful stretch where they won just four of 23 games. They recently got things turned around with a five-game winning streak, but that was against the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros . Facing the mighty Detroit Tigers at home represented a great test, and the Royals passed, taking two of three. The panic part of the season should be safely in the rearview.
B+ The streaky Cleveland Indians brought a seven-game losing streak into Arlington to face a very good Texas Rangers team. After losing the first game, the Indians broke their then-eight-game losing streak and took the final two games. They're only one game under .500 and 4.5 games back of the Tigers. Not bad after an 8-13 start and coming off an eight-game skid. Time for another run?
C The New York Mets lost two of three, but we must consider the opponent. The St. Louis Cardinals are on pace to win 106 games and basically never lose series (as evidenced by their insane title run with our EOB Heavyweight Championship). Plus, with Matt Harvey on the hill Thursday, the Mets put quite the scare into St. Louis and only lost 2-1
D This grade is for the San Francisco Giants on the road. Yes, they won 10-0 over a good Pittsburgh Pirates team Thursday, and that's what saved them from the dreaded F. On the season, the Giants are 13-20 on the road and 5-13 on the road outside the NL West. They now head to Atlanta (outside the NL West!) for a three-game series against a Braves team returning home after being swept. Should be interesting.
F While, yes, the New York Yankees did get swept, we're not picking the entire team here. They were outscored 14-8 in a three-game series on the road against an awesome A's team. I guess you could argue it's F-worthy, but I wouldn't go that far (more like a D). Instead, we're singling out the "performance" of Mark Teixeira , Travis Hafner , Kevin Youkilis and Vernon Wells at the plate in Thursday's 18-inning affair. Those hitters -- the Yankees' 4-7 hitters -- combined to go 0-28 with 12 strikeouts. Now that is an F.
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