Grading the Week: Reds streaking on the road
It's time to hand out five grades for the week, with the Reds sitting at the front of the class.
Time for weekly grades, where we assign each of the five traditional letter grades to one team each. We don't grade all 30 teams every single week. That would get a bit tedious, what with the 162-game schedule. With that in mind, definitely consider teams like the Athletics (4-1 this week) and Braves (6-1) as honorary A students, though. They just weren't the top dog this week, because ...
|A||They've played seven games of their 10-game road trip and it couldn't be much better. The Reds took two of three from the Cubs in Wrigley Field before getting the first four-game sweep by a visitor in AT&T Park history. They outscored the Giants 20-6 in those four games, doing almost everything well. Overall, the Reds have won 14 of their past 18 games and have moved into a tie for the second wild-card spot. The team wasn't really healthy for the entire early part of the season before this hot streak, so things are definitely looking up for the Reds.|
|B+||The Dodgers took on the Missouri teams this week for seven games and won both series. They grabbed two of three against the Royals in Kansas City and then took three of four from the Cardinals at home. Being stifled by the Cardinals bullpen on Friday night and Zack Greinke losing to the Royals on Monday keeps them from an A, but they didn't even need an A performance to grab a share of first place (see below).|
|C||After a 10-game winning streak vaulted them into first place in the AL Central, the Royals took a big step backward and lost four straight. So this week marked a big test for the them. Following that losing streak, they faced the two Los Angeles teams in six home games. They ended up going 3-3. That's acceptable, but they'll need to be better to run down the Tigers, who now lead them by 3½ games.|
|D||After being swept by the Tigers in three games, the Rangers had lost eight games in a row and there have already been reports that they are preparing to be sellers at the trade deadline for the first time in recent memory. They did rebound by winning two of three from the Twins, so that salvages a D for the week. Still, they are seven games below .500 and 14 games out of first place. In fact, the Astros are only two games behind them for fourth place in the AL West.|
|F||Not even Tim Lincecum's second career no-hitter could save the Giants from this spot. In seven games at home, the Giants went 1-6 and were outscored 33-12 by the Reds and Padres. They had a 9½-game lead in the NL West earlier this month, but that is now all the way gone, as they are in a virtual tie for first with the Dodgers now. Overall, the Giants have lost 15 of 19 games. If that's not worthy of an F, I'm not sure what is.|
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