Hello, Cardinals fans and welcome back to another edition of my power rankings. Well, welcome to all fans, but I have an apology to Cardinals fans. Let's tell a story about accountability first. It'll make sense, I swear.
Back in my post-college years, I still played summer ball for a bit. There was one umpire who I believed was the best in the league and having played in that league for a few years, I had developed a good relationship with him. His name escapes me -- sorry, it's been nearly 20 years -- but we'll call him James.
One time, I had worked a 3-2 count and got a fastball that looked about a foot outside. I dropped my bat and started to head to first. When I heard him ring me up, I couldn't believe it. He never missed like that. I start giving him the ol' "you're better than that, James. That ball is a foot outside, that's awful," etc. I'm sure I dropped an f-bomb or two in there. All he did was take it for a second and then finally yelled he'd heard enough and get back to the dugout. He didn't want to eject me, he said. I didn't want that, either -- plus, I really did like him! -- so I relented.
I was going to just leave it be. These games don't mean anything anyway. But after the game, on my way to my car, James approaches me. He was fully accountable and said he blew the call and he's so sorry. No excuses. He said right after he rung me up, he knew he blew it and was asking himself how and why. I said no worries at all and it was already water under the bridge.
Words couldn't describe how much I appreciated the accountability. I wasn't even asking for it, but he felt like he needed to let me know.
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In that spirit, Cardinals fans, I missed on my Cardinals ranking last week in a bad way. It doesn't matter what they did this week. Putting them number 18 last week was ridiculous. It was a bad miss and I'm really sorry about that. I could offer up an explanation, but it would only look like an excuse. It's not like I underrated them preseason. I picked them to win the Central. I just missed last week.
Of course, they then went out and went 5-2 this week. Since starting 8-10, the Cardinals have gone 13-4 with a +25 run differential. Not only do they lead the NL Central by a pair of games, but they sport the best record in the NL. Only the Red Sox have a better record among all MLB teams.
If you look at some of the personnel (Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong, just to name two), it feels like they could be playing even better. Harrison Bader recently came back from injury. Rookie Dylan Carlson is on a tear and ace Jack Flaherty is 6-0 with a 1.70 ERA in his last six starts.
The Cardinals have a big week coming, with a chance to put some distance between them and the Brewers (three in Milwaukee) and then make a statement against the Padres in San Diego, including on two national broadcasts.
For now, they are in the top three and have successfully humbled me.
|Aside from their opening weekend sweep at the hands of the Orioles, this has been the most consistently winning team in 2021.||3||39-26|
|The White Sox have won 11 of 15 and it would be great if Tony La Russa would stop messing up. The loss of Luis Robert hurts, of course, but they are playing great baseball and have the best run differential in the sport.||3||40-24|
|Pick any of these top three for the top spot this week and I wouldn't argue.||15||32-32|
|Matt Chapman appears to be heating up. In his last 12 games, he's hit .326. Through his first 24 games, he was hitting .152. The smart money is a power surge comes next.||2||39-27|
|OK, so it's only 22 games, but Buster Posey is hitting .400! (The .760 slugging percentage is absurd, too).||4||40-24|
|Almost quietly, they've won 10 of their last 13 and are right on the heels of the White Sox. The upcoming schedule is pretty favorable, too.||8||34-27|
|What a week, huh? The Mets have won five in a row and now occupy first place. They also had some weird drama over the weekend -- that ultimately is going to be much ado about nothing -- and now there are actual concerns about Jacob deGrom's injury. Heads are spinning!||4||32-24|
|Very encouraging week for the pitching staff with Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack returning and throwing well. The team hasn't been very close to 100 percent all season.||5||37-29|
|They've won six of eight and are possibly licking their chops right now, staring at a three-game home series against the Yankees (who it's been well-established they've owned for a bit).||3||41-24|
|Giancarlo Stanton is all kinds of hot right now and the Yankees have won nine of 12. Can they turn the tide against the Rays?||3||33-31|
|Through 116 career games, Yordan Alvarez is hitting .324/.407/.650 with 35 doubles, 34 homers and 103 RBI. Yowza.||4||36-28|
|Unfortunately, they haven't been able to keep George Springer on the field. They have been in a rough spot on the schedule and that continues moving forward for the foreseeable future. Go look. It doesn't really soften up much until June 18. The drop here isn't so much about the Jays as it is them being jumped by hotter teams.||4||32-30|
|The roller coaster ride continues!||10||29-33|
|I guess the Phillies, too, like roller coasters. They suffered a heartbreaker last Sunday night, won five straight, blew Saturday night's game multiple times and then were pretty well worked over Sunday night. They're still in fine shape overall.||6||31-31|
|Apparently I cursed the Brewers by rewarding them with No. 1 last week. They had lost six in a row before Saturday's win and had to send Christian Yelich back to the injured list.||14||37-27|
|Forget Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo. Wade Miley is the ace!||6||31-31|
|With the outfield injuries mounting, they could sure stand to see a good version of Joc Pederson. He's now six for his last 12, so it's a start.||7||37-27|
|Maybe the series win over the Dodgers gets them back on track after that five-game losing streak. Tough week coming (3 at HOU, 3 at BOS).||1||32-32|
|I just don't know. That's a 1-5 week with the only win by the count of 14-11, during which game they had a 13-0 lead and nearly blew it. Since the 13-2 start, the Dodgers are 5-15. My guess is there will be a surge back toward the top soon enough. For now, I see nothing wrong with putting them this low at a snapshot in time. I thought maybe about 15 would work, but the four teams immediately above them represent the last four series the Dodgers have played -- and all four beat them.||17||38-26|
|Adolis Garcia has played in Cuba, Japan, the Dominican Republic, the minors and this year went through waivers unclaimed. He's now starring for the Rangers as a 28-year-old rookie. And will you look at that? The Rangers are sitting at .500.||6||25-40|
|Rough week with series losses to the Rangers and Orioles. Is it the seemingly annual course correction?||6||31-35|
|And just like that, they've lost eight in a row.||12||30-33|
|They need an awful lot more out of offseason acquisitions Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber if the offense is going to find any consistency, even with Juan Soto back from injury.||7||26-35|
|The Marlins are 2-8 in one-run games and have a plus-20 run differential. Marlins optimists have reason to believe things will turn based upon those two measures. And hey, they're only three games out.||3||29-35|
|The John Means no-hitter was an absolute clinic and it's too bad it wasn't perfect. It was unbelievably close.||--||22-41|
|Last week, I talked about how hot they were and how that had them within striking range of first place. They went 0-6 during the week. My bad?||9||20-45|
|This is getting ridiculous. The Twins are 12-9 in nine-inning games. But they are 0-4 in seven-inning games and 0-7 in extras. And now Byron Buxton is hurt.||6||26-38|
|After a win on April 27, the Pirates were actually over .500. They've gone 2-8 since.||--||23-40|
|If you want to make money, bet against the Rockies on the road. They are now a miserable 2-14 away from Coors Field.||--||25-40|
|The Tigers have won two of their last four games. Before that, they had only won two of 11. Progress!||--||26-38|