News brief 22POWER_B


Last week’s ranking in parentheses:

1. Oakland Athletics (2): Scott Kazmir en route to third All-Star Game, two years after finishing 3-6 with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League in 2012.

2. San Francisco Giants (1): Starting pitchers’ ineffectiveness was primary cause of Giants giving up 51/2 games to the Dodgers in 11 days.

3. Milwaukee Brewers (3): Former MVP Ryan Braun is the household name, but the Crew’s keys are outfielder Carlos Gomez and catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

4. Kansas City Royals (14): Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez on Royals, who overtook Detroit for first place last week by winning three of four at Comerica Park: “I’m kind of happy they’re gone.”

5. Washington Nationals (5): Bryce Harper, rehabbing from thumb surgery, hit 14 balls over the fence during 20 minutes of batting practice Thursday.

6. Los Angeles Dodgers (6): Best homestand of season was capped by Clayton Kershaw’s no-hit masterpiece.

7. Toronto Blue Jays (4): No challenge bigger for manager John Gibbons than monitoring work loads of starting pitchers R.A. Dickey (39) and Mark Buehrle (35).

8. Los Angeles Angels (6): If Angels ever solve their bullpen issues, they’ll be dangerous.

9. Detroit Tigers (7): Manager Brad Ausmus, a smart guy, make a dumb remark and immediately apologized. Twice. Give him a break.

10. St. Louis Cardinals (13): Cards’ heart-of-the-order batters — Matt Holliday and Allen Craig — have yet to heat up.

11. New York Yankees (12): General manager Brian Cashman determined to make trade for impact starter.

12. Baltimore Orioles (11): Minor league castaway Steve Pearce putting together career year at age 31.

13. Miami Marlins (8): Between Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Adeiny Hechavarria, Marlins lead league in vowels.

14. Atlanta Braves (10): Gavin Floyd’s seventh-inning elbow fracture, while pitching a two-hit shutout, underscored a cruel reality: Baseball isn’t fair.

15. Cleveland Indians (16): Tribe hoping Nick Swisher’s walk-off grand slam Thursday will turn around his dismal season.

16. Seattle Mariners (9): Suggested theme song of 2014 Mariners was a No. 1 hit for Ringo Starr in 1971: “It Don’t Come Easy.”

17. Chicago White Sox (17): Sox bats struggle outside The Cell, and they’ve got eight games remaining on a three-city trip.

18. Texas Rangers (18): Manager Ron Washington making do despite injuries, piecemeal roster.

19. Cincinnati Reds (21): Reliever Jumbo Diaz finally got call to The Show after pitching in 340 minor league games in 12 seasons.

20. Pittsburgh Pirates (20): Jason Grilli, who converted 33 of 35 save opportunities last season, is out as Bucs’ closer.

21. Minnesota Twins (19): Hard to believe outfielder/DH Jason Kubel, released Friday, is only 32.

22. Boston Red Sox (23): Slumping David Ortiz took his frustration out last week on official scorer at Fenway Park. Stay classy, Papi.

23. Philadelphia Phillies (28): Phils to NL East: If nobody else wants this thing, we just might take it ourselves.

24. Houston Astros (22): Outfielder Domingo Santana likely will be next top prospect promoted to the ’Stros.

25. Colorado Rockies (24): Momentum from first three-game road sweep of San Francisco in six years lost versus Dodgers, Kershaw.

26. New York Mets (26): Bartolo Colon’s first hit since 2005 was a stand-up double.

27. Chicago Cubs (25): Cubs trusting anticipated trade of Jeff Samardzija returns better prospect package than the M’s got for Cliff Lee in 2010.

28. San Diego Padres (27): Tony Gwynn was among a handful of players who were the most productive — and most admired — in their franchise’s history.

29. Arizona Diamondbacks (29): Baseball ops chief Tony La Russa quietly mulling shake-up plan for offseason.

30. Tampa Bay Rays (30): Coveted second baseman Ben Zobrist looks like Rays’ most viable trading chip.