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MAKING THE GRADE: Week 6 MLB rankings

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How bad are the Devil Rays? Why, let us count the ways: They're last in the American League in runs, second-to-last in batting average and home runs, they have yet to record a shutout and they have only four saves. They've been outscored by more than 50 runs in only 33 games so far this season, which means they're down by a run and a half before tonight's game even starts. But that's not the worst of it. To put the DRays' plight into perspective on this, the 10th day of May, consider that they would have to play .620 baseball the remainder of the season, or 80-49, just to pull even with the Red Sox. And this assumes that Boston plays at a .500 clip the rest of the way. In closing: not likely. How about the Marlins, that other Florida expansion team? They made their contribution to the Make Bud Selig Eat His Words Campaign this week by winning four in a row and six of seven overall to pull in front in the NL East. The Marlins are the fifth "non-desirable" to spend time in first place in recent weeks, with the others being the Expos, Reds, Pirates and Twins. These are the clubs making a mockery out of the owners' contraction proposal. We may have suggested this before, but perhaps Buddy should look in the mirror. His Brewers have lost more games than those hapless Devil Rays.
'Making the Grade' rankings
Rk.TeamGradeLW
1. Boston Red Sox 90 T3
2. Seattle Mariners 88 1
3. San Francisco Giants 86 T12
T4. Arizona Diamondbacks 85 T6
T4. Minnesota Twins 85 T6
T6. New York Yankees 84 T6
T6. Chicago White Sox 84 T10
T6. Cincinnati Reds 84 2
9. Los Angeles Dodgers 83 T6
10. Florida Marlins 82 16
T11. Montreal Expos 81 T3
T11. New York Mets 81 T3
T13. Anaheim Angels 80 T22
T13. Oakland Athletics 80 T10
15. Pittsburgh Pirates 79 T12
T16. Atlanta Braves 78 17
T16. Baltimore Orioles 78 21
T16. San Diego Padres 78 15
T19. Cleveland Indians 77 T18
T19. St. Louis Cardinals 77 T12
T21. Houston Astros 76 T18
T21. Philadelphia Phillies 76 T25
T21. Texas Rangers 76 T25
24. Colorado Rockies 74 T22
25. Chicago Cubs 72 20
26. Detroit Tigers 70 28
T27. Kansas City Royals 69 T29
T27. Toronto Blue Jays 69 T25
T29. Tampa Bay Devil Rays 67 T22
T29. Milwaukee Brewers 67 T29

1. Boston Red Sox


Year-To-Date Grade: 90
Pitching: 95
Hitting: 90
Momentum: 95
This Week: 93
Last Week: T3 (90) Let's see, went 7-0 during week with road sweeps over Tampa Bay and Oakland. Allowed an average of 3.4 runs and scored 6.1. Starters are 19-5, bullpen is 5-2. Offense has delivered a double in 25 consecutive games, the most since a 29-game streak during the 1991 season. And Damon is batting close to .500 in late innings. Something to look out for: Left side of infield has 11 errors.

2. Seattle Mariners


Year-To-Date Grade: 88
Pitching: 85
Hitting: 88
Momentum: 82
This Week: 85
Last Week: 1 (76) They've already proven that they can beat the Yankees in the regular season (10-5 the last three years). How about in October (3-8)? With Nelson on the shelf for the next month-plus, the bullpen will be taxed more so than ever before. Have turned to the long ball for compensation. Had 15 in a four-game stretch after none in a previous five-game sequence.

3. San Francisco Giants


Year-To-Date Grade: 86
Pitching: 86
Hitting: 82
Momentum: 88
This Week: 85
Last Week: T12 (83) The Giants are red-hot again, winning seven in a row by a combined score of 34-13. Hurlers have allowed more than two runs just twice in that span. Top three of Hernandez, Ortiz and Rueter have been as good as anyone, and Snow, Bell and Kent are coming alive in front of and behind Bonds.

T4. Arizona Diamondbacks


Year-To-Date Grade: 85
Pitching: 84
Hitting: 89
Momentum: 80
This Week: 84
Last Week: T6 (86) Weird game, baseball: Only lost in D-Backs' last seven was suffered by Johnson against the weak-hitting Pirates. Solid pen has chipped in big-time and starters behind Schilling and Johnson have been doing just enough.

T4. Minnesota Twins


Year-To-Date Grade: 85
Pitching: 90
Hitting: 84
Momentum: 88
This Week: 87
Last Week: T6 (86) Radke had best outing of the season by far Wednesday. Overall staff ERA is now fourth-best in league and improving by the week. Only team other than Boston that has yet to allow 100 walks. Ortiz is about to return, but Koskie could be DL'ed with right hammy.
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T6. New York Yankees


Year-To-Date Grade: 84
Pitching: 80
Hitting: 83
Momentum: 85
This Week: 83
Last Week: T6 (87) The bullpen saw its 20 2/3 scoreless-innings streak snapped by the Mariners. But White ended a career-long 0-for-23. Lilly won't be making too many more starts against Seattle this season: he's 0-3 with a 6.50 ERA in his career against M's. Now 6-0 against Tampa Bay but only 2-4 versus Seattle. Soriano's in an 0-for-7, four-strikeout funk.

T6. Chicago White Sox


Year-To-Date Grade: 84
Pitching: 70
Hitting: 78
Momentum: 73
This Week: 74
Last Week: T10 (74) Washed away the Mike Cameron debacle with a series win over Oakland. Have undergone a seven-game improvement over this time last season. Glover made his first start of season against Texas and allowed three runs in three innings. He hasn't allowed an earned run in last 13 2/3 innings of relief. Buehrle's a six-game winner but on pace to serve up about 40 ding-dongs.

T6. Cincinnati Reds


Year-To-Date Grade: 84
Pitching: 86
Hitting: 90
Momentum: 88
This Week: 88
Last Week: 2 (88) The Reds just keep on ticking despite house of cards rotation. Ace Hamilton is out at least two weeks and league seems to be catching up to Rijo, but Acevedo — Hamilton's replacement — pitched well in relief of Rijo Wednesday. Casey finally homered and offense is quite productive right now.

9. Los Angeles Dodgers


Year-To-Date Grade: 83
Pitching: 96
Hitting: 84
Momentum: 92
This Week: 91
Last Week: T6 (84) Odalis Perez is the steal of the year and Gagne-as-closer has been the revelation of the year. Still aren't scoring much, but don't need to at this point. Sixteen-inning win over Braves Tuesday night could be a launching point.

10. Florida Marlins


Year-To-Date Grade: 82
Pitching: 86
Hitting: 93
Momentum: 92
This Week: 90
Last Week: 16 (84) If the Marlins are in a pennant race and no one pays attention, does it count? Floyd's days are numbered but Marlins are at top of the pack in awful NL East. More than enough hitting thus far from Floyd and blazing-hot Lowell to compensate for expected pitching inconsistencies. Too bad ownership can't (won't?) go for the gusto if they're still in it come July.

T11. Montreal Expos


Year-To-Date Grade: 81
Pitching: 72
Hitting: 72
Momentum: 60
This Week: 68
Last Week: T3 (91) The feel-good story hit a whopper of a bump in the road this week as the Expos lost six in a row by a combined 35-15. Finally gave up for now on Bergeron, who was sent to minors and replaced by Chavez. Still, thanks to the inept NL East, the Expos are still only one game out.

T11. New York Mets


Year-To-Date Grade: 81
Pitching: 85
Hitting: 74
Momentum: 68
This Week: 76
Last Week: T3 (91) Lousy, lousy week at Shea, where Mets learned captain and leader Franco had suffered a potentially career-ending elbow injury. Mets bats had gone into hibernation long before that (eight runs in last five games, all losses). Where are Vaughn and Alfonzo? Estes and Trachsel still battling inconsistency.

T13. Anaheim Angels


Year-To-Date Grade: 80
Pitching: 85
Hitting: 81
Momentum: 82
This Week: 82
Last Week: T22 (90) Had to lose eventually but Toronto and Detroit helped to ensure that losing would stop at two. Sele hasn't survived the seventh in any of his seven starts. Amazingly, have had two players (Kennedy and Ramirez) thrown out at plate on attempted inside-the-park home runs. He might not hit for extra bases but Molina is a pain in the rear in the clutch.

T13. Oakland Athletics


Year-To-Date Grade: 80
Pitching: 62
Hitting: 73
Momentum: 60
This Week: 65
Last Week: T10 (78) Went 1-5 on the week: swept for the first time since last June in San Francisco and swept by Red Sox in a three-gamer for first time since May 1995. Are you sitting down? Justice went on the DL. Starters are 2-6 with an 8.50 ERA in last nine. Return of Mulder, a rich man, should help staff return to normalcy.

15. Pittsburgh Pirates


Year-To-Date Grade: 79
Pitching: 76
Hitting: 68
Momentum: 65
This Week: 70
Last Week: T12 (68) This is two bad weeks and counting for the Pirates, who have been outscored by 28 runs this season yet remained above .500 for a month. Are 2-8 in their last 10 but somehow beat Randy Johnson for one of those wins. Fogg is the real deal but inexperience is starting to show throughout rotation. Kendall is starting to warm up, but the Pirates need a lot more than just him.

T16. Atlanta Braves


Year-To-Date Grade: 78
Pitching: 86
Hitting: 74
Momentum: 77
This Week: 79
Last Week: 17 (82) New offense, same low-octane results for the Braves, who are playing an awful lot of long, extra-inning games for a team with this much wear on its wheels. Good news: Moss had a no-hitter after seven last Friday. Bad news: He'd walked seven, threw 116 pitches and was lifted by Cox with the no-no still intact. Who could have imagined Maddux would be Braves' fourth-best starter at this point?

T16. Baltimore Orioles


Year-To-Date Grade: 78
Pitching: 85
Hitting: 82
Momentum: 80
This Week: 82
Last Week: 21 (82) Don't look now but the O's are 9-4 since last week in April. Of course, have gone 7-0 versus K.C. in that time. Have outscored Royals 55-16. Getting great production out of Julio and Roberts in bullpen, and Lopez is jack-of-all-trades. Segui and management are at it again. How many days until July 31?

T16. San Diego Padres


Year-To-Date Grade: 78
Pitching: 85
Hitting: 77
Momentum: 80
This Week: 81
Last Week: 15 (84) Padres are ahead of schedule, but stop us if you've heard this one before: They need to hit, and soon, in order to stay afloat in the high-powered NL West. Torchings of Howard and Bobby Jones indicate thinness of the rotation.

T19. Cleveland Indians


Year-To-Date Grade: 77
Pitching: 80
Hitting: 81
Momentum: 75
This Week: 78
Last Week: T18 (57) Four wins, even against Texas and Baltimore, is a whole lot better than what they were getting. Scored 18 runs in back-to-back games, which is a two-game high for the season. Diaz has five errors behind the plate. Visquel's streak of errorless games ended at 57. But he also had a five-hit game against Texas.

T19. St. Louis Cardinals


Year-To-Date Grade: 77
Pitching: 78
Hitting: 78
Momentum: 75
This Week: 77
Last Week: T12 (79) Allowed nine runs in three games against the Braves but lost twice. Season already seems six months long for injury-wracked Cards, who have used 11 starting pitchers in just 34 games. Bud Smith looked like he was still hurt in his last start, and Tino Martinez (.193) looks done.

T21. Houston Astros


Year-To-Date Grade: 76
Pitching: 76
Hitting: 84
Momentum: 72
This Week: 77
Last Week: T18 (78) Looked like the Astros had turned a corner by winning two of three from Mets, but promptly got swept by the Phils. Absolutely can't figure this team, and the only thing going for them is the topsy-turvy nature of the NL Central. At least Bagwell (longest homer in Place-Your-Name-Here Field history last week) is heating up.

T21. Philadelphia Phillies


Year-To-Date Grade: 76
Pitching: 80
Hitting: 84
Momentum: 94
This Week: 86
Last Week: T25 (67) Speaking of the awful NL East, the Phils are on pace to lose 92 games but are in the thick of things division-wise. With six straight wins over Colorado and Houston, at least the Phils are beating the teams they should, but they need someone other than Rollins to step up with the bat.

T21. Texas Rangers


Year-To-Date Grade: 76
Pitching: 68
Hitting: 75
Momentum: 72
This Week: 72
Last Week: T25 (83) Benoit is the 15th pitcher used by Texas this season, and the eighth to start a game. Are 2-9 against left-handed starters — last win against a lefty was April 17. Rogers' ERA jumped almost a full run after a horrid outing (four innings, six runs) against Cleveland. Plenty of seats still available for this weekend's series against Detroit.

24. Colorado Rockies


Year-To-Date Grade: 74
Pitching: 88
Hitting: 86
Momentum: 82
This Week: 85
Last Week: T22 (94) Can't figure the Rockies, who in their last four series swept the Phillies and Pirates, got swept by the Phillies and then took the first two from the Expos. Thomson is a feel-good story and a potentially legit ace for the Rockies, who are paying him approximately $120 million less than Hampton. Whoops!

25. Chicago Cubs


Year-To-Date Grade: 72
Pitching: 82
Hitting: 75
Momentum: 75
This Week: 77
Last Week: 20 (71) The Sammy and Kerry Show continues at Wrigley. Sosa has 15 homers and 23 RBI. That about sums it up. Wood was brilliant against Cards this week, and Clement might be ready to join his class. See above about how the only thing really going for the Cubs is the topsy-turvy NL Central.

26. Detroit Tigers


Year-To-Date Grade: 70
Pitching: 75
Hitting: 71
Momentum: 70
This Week: 72
Last Week: 28 (81) Starting pitchers have a 3.38 ERA over the last 15 games and have allowed just 14 home runs, fewest among AL staffs. Hitters not getting on base with any regularity. Team OBP is .321 — not aided much by only 88 walks (opponents have 112 BB). Why all the fuss in New York about the Yankees wanting Higginson? He hasn't hit big in two years.

T27. Kansas City Royals


Year-To-Date Grade: 69
Pitching: 65
Hitting: 60
Momentum: 60
This Week: 62
Last Week: T29 (60) Mizerock should be out of his misery any minute now. Always thought Tony Pena was smarter than that. K.C. does have some Pena-type skills: Have nailed 48 percent of would-be base stealers (12 of 25). Still only 16 home runs.

T27. Toronto Blue Jays


Year-To-Date Grade: 69
Pitching: 65
Hitting: 65
Momentum: 60
This Week: 63
Last Week: T25 (57) Found a way to lose Thursday night despite three-run ninth that gave them a lead over Seattle. Have now lost 12 of 15 and should be mathematically eliminated from the race by about 2:30 this afternoon. Halladay is only starter with more than one win (he has two). Team ERA an impressive 6.16. In the midst of 15 straight against Seattle, Oakland and New York.

T29. Tampa Bay Devil Rays


Year-To-Date Grade: 67
Pitching: 78
Hitting: 60
Momentum: 60
This Week: 66
Last Week: T22 (60) Fourteen and counting. They're 0-for-6 with seven runs and 25 hits in six games against Yankees. Not even drawing crowds when New York comes to town. Cox is only regular batting over .300. Have only 18 home runs. A minor league team if there ever was one.

T29. Milwaukee Brewers


Year-To-Date Grade: 67
Pitching: 66
Hitting: 75
Momentum: 60
This Week: 67
Last Week: T29 (67) Oh well, at least the Brewers are following the script. What an awful organization. Are 3-13 since Royster's 4-0 start and on pace to go 46-116. And yes, it can get worse. Jerry Beach (jbeach@e-sportsnation.com) and Bryon Evje (bevje@e-sportsnation.com) are senior writers for E-SportsNation.com. You can get exclusive news and information from E-SportsNation.com, including in-depth coverage on baseball by subscribing to E-SN Premium. Click here for more details.
Tagged: Red Sox, Angels, White Sox, Indians, Royals, Brewers, Yankees, Athletics, Mariners, Blue Jays, Braves, Cubs, Reds, Astros, Nationals, Mets, Phillies, Pirates, Cardinals, Giants, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Rays, Mike Cameron

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