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.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa hit the 30-homer threshold on June 21, 1998 in only his 71st game of the season. For perspective, the 2018 Cubs leader in homers on June 21 is Javy Baez with 14 and Mike Trout leads all of baseball with only 23.

At this point, Mark McGwire was ahead of Sosa, but the Cubs slugger was pulling closer. McGwire had 33 dingers on June 21 while Ken Griffey Jr. had 28 and Greg Vaughn had 25.

Sosa' June 21 homer came off Tyler Green and was his 5th blast of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field that year. But the Cubs lost that series, despite Sosa's efforts.

Fun fact: Sosa drove in 10 runs in the three-game series with the Phillies that summer while the rest of his teammates combined for only 9 RBI.

Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of

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AP

Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of

The Cubs have been a different team the last six weeks, looking a lot more like the resilient bunch from 2016 than the sluggish 2017 squad that lacked energy. After some wacky circumstances Monday and a tough loss in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Cubs came out and showed what they’re made of in the last two games of the series against the Dodgers, a team that knocked them out of postseason play last fall.

Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki sum up the longest short homestand (or shortest long homestand?), updating the status of Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow, the Cubs pitching staff and how the team is rounding into form as the season’s halfway mark approaches.

Check out the entire podcast here: