Cubs

MLB Power Rankings: Baseball back in a big way in New York

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MLB Power Rankings: Baseball back in a big way in New York

While the Houston Astros have fallen back to reality a bit, the aging Yankees and up-and-coming Mets are proving that baseball is back in a big way in New York. Oh yeah, and some guy named Bryce Harper is taking the nation's capital by storm.

With that comes another week of MLB Power Rankings from CSNChicago.com's Tony Andracki and JJ Stankevitz. Stay tuned for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

Rank Team
Last Week Comment
1 1

Ran into a brick wall in Pittsburgh over the weekend, but still the unquestioned leader atop every rankings.

2   4

They're crushing the ball, scoring at will and lead MLB in run differential.

3   3

Not that their bullpen needed to get better, but Ryan Madson’s resurgence (1.62 ERA after three years out of the majors) has been huge. 

4   5

Michael Pineda has a 54/3 strikeout-to-walk ratio, though they’ll need to get Masahiro Tanaka back to keep their rotation from crumbling.

5 2

Enter the week with a five-game cushion in the AL West, which has been surprisingly sub-optimal this year.

6   6

Bartolo Colon has a 40:1 BB:K ratio. UN. REAL.

7 13

Bryce Harper on pace for 132 Rs, 56 HRs, 142 RBI, 137 BBs...and he won't be 23 until October.

8 7

Victor Martinez and Kyrie Irving have something in common: They’re both struggling to play on essentially one healthy leg. 

9 16

Mark Buehrle has a 6.00 ERA and has allowed six home runs in six starts.

10   8

Second in the NL in runs scored and Matt Kemp still has yet to heat up.

11   11

Andrew McCutchen has 8 hits in his last 20 at-bats and is still hitting only .223. That's how slow his start was.

12   14

Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer have held up a rotation besieged by injuries so far. 

13 15

Dee Gordon is hitting .509 (29-for-57) at home. Uhhh...

14 9

Have lost 7 of 9, can't find a way to beat the Brewers and pitchers struggling to get anybody out. Rough stretch for these young Cubs.

15 18

They have a 4.49 rotation ERA and a .698 team OPS. And yet, they’re 18-14 entering the week.

16 25

They're 14-16 with a +18 run differential? Don't see that one everyday.

17 12

Allowing 1.19 home runs per nine innings, the highest rate among American League clubs. 

18 17

Add the OPS of Matt Joyce and Chris Iannetta together and you get .715. 

19 19

Even with Nelson Cruz hitting better than anyone in baseball, this lineup still has a .691 OPS, seventh-worst in baseball. 

20   22

Billy Hamilton can steal bases, but he has just a .563 OPS. Yikes.

21 21

They're on a roll and Hunter Pence's return is just around the corner.

22 20 Clay Buccholz, Justin Masterson, Joe Kelly and Wade Miley all have ERAs over 5.00. In related news, pitching coach Juan Nieves was fired last week. 
23   23

Don't look now, but the Bravers are clear winners of Shelby Miller (1.66 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) for Jason Heyward (.683 OPS) trade with STL.

24 26

They’ve won every series they’ve played at home, but have to fix that 2-11 road record.

25 24

Corey Kluber’s 3.20 FIP is encouraging in light of his 5.04 ERA, but he still hasn’t been close to his 2014 Cy Young dominance.

26 10

Losers of five in a row entering the week and are nine games under .500, but these are the A’s, so counting them out this early would probably be foolish.

27 27

They had to option Rougned Odor down to the minors last week. Too bad they didn’t call up his brother, who’s also named Rougned Odor, to replace him on the roster.

28 29

Hey, if they played the Cubs every series, they'd be in the Top 10 on these rankings.

29 28

On April 25, Rockies were 10-7. Since then, COL has gone 1-10 with four rainouts.

30   30

They've scored 91 runs in 32 games. Gross.

Twitter user shaming Astros post-cheating scandal is a Cubs fan

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USA TODAY

Twitter user shaming Astros post-cheating scandal is a Cubs fan

Twitter user @AsterikTour has gained notoriety recently for constantly barraging the Houston Astros in the aftermath of their cheating scandal. The account (appropriately named “2020 Astros Shame Tour”) has amassed 118,000 followers and pulls no punches with its intentions. From the account’s bio:

One year to shame them all, one year to jeer them, one year to boo them all and from your seat deride them.

Asterik Tour’s sadistic nature towards the Astros leads one to believe the account's mastermind is a Yankees or Dodgers fan. Houston stole signs in 2017, when they beat New York (ALCS) and Los Angeles (World Series) in the postseason. The account's architect is a fan of neither squad, however.

27-year-old Brendan Donley is a Cubs fan.

*Gasps*

According to the Washington Post, Donley, who lives in Michigan, became obsessed with the fallout of Houston’s scandal. He wanted a centralized location to keep up with all things Astros and took matters into his own hands.

“If I’m obsessed, I figured maybe other people are, too,” Donley told the Washington Post

Donley posts memes relating to the scandal, videos of Astros players getting plunked in spring training games and fan-made signs jeering the club. He made it clear he doesn't wish for the players to be harmed but didn't think much of the team's apologies post-scandal.

“For some people, there’s nothing they could say that could return them to good graces," Donley said, "but for a lot of us, if you just said ‘I’m really sorry, I know I did something wrong, I’ll never do it again and we feel ashamed for what we’ve done,’ I feel like people would accept that.”

That's a fair assessment. The fact a Cubs fan is so passionate on the scandal shows the scrutiny towards Houston isn't going away anytime soon.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Ross-ter Rundown: Can Jon Lester bring it for 1 more year?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Ross-ter Rundown: Can Jon Lester bring it for 1 more year?

As the season draws closer, it's time to discuss every player that will be on the final roster on Opening Day. We start with Cubs veteran pitcher Jon Lester.

Jeff Nelson sits in for David Kaplan and is joined by NBCS Cubs writer Tim Stebbins and NBCS producer Nate Poppen to debate if Jon Lester can help stabilize the starting rotation for at least one more season, and where do you place him in the rotation.

(1:37) - One word to describe Jon Lester

(5:42) - Lester didn't start his Cubs career very well

(10:40) - Lester eventually proved why he got the contract

(14:40) - How will the relationship change between Jon Lester and David Ross

(19:00) - Lester's inability to throw to first base

(23:00) - Projections for Lester in the 2020 season

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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