Blame the media for Stephen Strasburg’s recent struggles, that’s what Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Saturday when the team officially announce that their ace’s season was coming to an end after he lasted a career-low three innings in his Friday night start against the Marlins. “The media hype on this thing has been unbelievable,” Johnson told reporters. The Nationals, who are at the top of this week’s Fox Deportes Power Ranking, have a 5 1/2 games lead over the Atlanta Braves, who’ve won five straight and face them this weekend in D.C. in a three-game showdown.
The Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds flipped flopped this week with the Rangers taking over the two spot. Texas’ lead in the AL West shrunk over the weekend to just 3 1/2 games over the surprising Oakland A’s. Facing a possible playoffs foe in the Tampa Bay Rays on the road, the Rangers were held to just five runs this weekend as they lost two of three to the Rays.
Despite heading into tonight’s three-game series against Pittsburgh, holding 8 1/2 games lead over St. Louis in the NL Central, the Reds are glad last week came to an end as they struggled against Philadelphia and baseball’s worst team, the Houston Astros, pulling out just one win against each team last week. Johnny Cueto added to Cincinnati’s misery by failing to beat the Phillies on Labor Day and the lowly Astros yesterday. Cincy’s next nine games are against the Pirates, Marlins and Cubs.
San Francisco remains ranked fourth this week. Last night against the Dodgers, Barry Zito looked like the pitcher the Giants thought they would be getting when they signed him to a seven-year, $126 million deal before the 2007 season. He pitched 6 1-3 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits as the Giants extended their lead to 5 1/2 games over the Dodgers in the NL West.
Things could be worse for the Yankees but they managed to get out of Baltimore by rebounding from Saturday night’s highway robbery, a blown call by the first base umpire on a game-ending double play and routing the O’s yesterday. New York leads the Orioles by only one game in the AL East with Rays knocking on the door too, just two games out. The Yankees will deal with the Rays this weekend but first head to Boston for a three-game set beginning Tuesday night. Wouldn’t the Red Sox love to have a say in the divisional race?
1- Washington Nationals 2- Cincinnati Reds 3- Texas Rangers 4- San Francisco Giants 5- New York Yankees 6- Baltimore Orioles 7- Oakland Athletics 8- Atlanta Braves 9-Tampa Bay Rays 10- Chicago White Sox 11- Detroit Tigers 12-St. Louis Cardinals 13-Los Angeles Dodgers 14- Pittsburgh Pirates 15- Los Angeles Angels 16- Arizona Diamondbacks 17- Philadelphia Phillies 18- Milwaukee Brewers 19-New York Mets 20-Seattle Mariners 21-San Diego Padres 22- Toronto Blue Jays 23- Kansas City Royals 24-Miami Marlins 25-Boston Red Sox 26- Cleveland Indians 27- Minnesota Twins 28-Colarado Rockies 29-Chicago Cubs 30-Houston Astros