NL Central dominates the rankings
Biggest Gainer - SF Giants (+4)
Biggest Loser - SD Padres (-6)
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (LW 2) Week 3 record (5-2)
When you own the best record in baseball at 18-8 and are a perfect 10-0 at home to start the season, you deserve the number 1 spot. The main knock on this club is the bullpen. The Dodgers' pen ranks only behind the revamped (and expensive) Mets pen in ERA. The Dodgers have got fat off the NL West, with only 3 games thus far outside the division. The road looks to get even easier for the boys in blue, as they welcome the 13th ranked Diamondbacks followed by the perennial 16th ranked Nationals to Chavez Ravine next week.
2. St. Louis Cardinals (LW 1) Week 3 record (4-2)
True they dropped a game (decidedly) to the Nationals last week, but they still are off to one of the best starts in franchise history. They have a pair of unblemished starters in Kyle Loshe and Adam Wainright, and they both look to improve to 4-0. The Cards head home to host a pair of two game series against both teams from the Keystone state before welcoming the suprising Reds.3. Philadelphia Phillies (LW 4) Week 3 record (3-2)
The Phillies continue to dominate the Mets in recent history and look to continue that trend after mother nature ruined the rubber game this week. They recieve a walk-off win courtesy of Sean Green's bases loaded walk to climb within a half a game of the reeling Marlins (pun intended). Shane Victorino continues to persue the "most exciting player" title from Jose Reyes, for whatever that means. He is a riot to watch. They have an interesting 2 game series against the Cardinals before taking on the Mets at Tax Payer's park.
4. Florida Marlins (LW 6) Week 3 record (3-4)
They initially bounced back nicely against a team they seem to own, the Mets, before they stunk it up at Wrigley. Hanley Ramirez' injury was scary to watch, especially those of us who watched what happened to Jayson Werth after he was hit in a spring training game on the wrist. There are so many little bones that an injury there has devistating consequences at times. They get bumped up to 4th this week for having a good showing in New York, but their hold is tenuous. They are the only division leader with a negative run differential (-2) which is not a good omen.
5. Cincinnati Reds (LW 5) Week 3 record (3-3)
A mediocre week for the Reds as they split they won a series against the Pirates but lost the series to the Astros. Johnny Cueto looked great in a shutout of the offensively-challenged bucs. More alarming to me is the lackluster attendance in Cincy. This is one of the proudest franchises in baseball (and the oldest) and they're drawing crowds of 12K, 9K, and 12K on a weekday series against Houston. Either the local economy or the weather is poor in the old rust-belt because this team is worth watching.
6. San Francisco Giants (LW 10) Week 3 record (4-2)
Boy that pitching is tough. Randy Johnson is looking very formidable again and Barry Zito looks like he's worth about half the contract he recieved (which is huge improvement compared to the first 2 years of said contract). Tim Lincecum has settled down to show why he's the defending Cy Young and the bullpen has held it together for the most part. They took home series from both the Dodgers and Rockies and get to travel to Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles next week.
7. Milwaukee Brewers (LW 9) Week 3 record (5-2)
I really want to rank the Brewers higher than 8th, which is right in the middle of the league, but I can't. They fattened up on the Pirates for the 150th straight time before nearly dropping 3 of 4 to the Diamondbacks, at home. Dave Bush has been impressive so far this season and that 1-0 win from Yovani Gallardo with Gallardo hitting the homerun was thrilling. We'll see where they go from here as they have a short trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnatti before hosting the despised Cubbies.
8. Chicago Cubs (LW 11) Week 3 record (4-3)
The Cubs got a huge Grand Slam from both Ryan Theriot and Derek Lee en route to a 3-1 series victory over the fish. They dropped a few games in the desert earlier this week but will have a tough test hosting the Giants before heading to Houston and Milwaukee to face two fiesty division rivals. Hopefully Carlos Zambrano's injury isn't serious, and I don't want to hear any abolish the DH junk because he injured himself running out a (beautiful) bunt.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates (LW 3) Week 3 record (1-5)
Huge dissapointment for the Pirates this week. They were climbing the board quickly and I even put them at #3, which is huge, before they absolutely tanked against the Brewers and Reds. They have a chance to finally win a game against the Brewers again next week and hopefully show more promise. The team is still .500, which is a bit of a moral victory for Pirates fans these days.
10. New York Mets (LW 12) Week 3 record (2-3 )
When are the Mets going to break out? I have no doubt they will, but we're now 4 weeks in the books and they're still 3 games under .500. The NL West is largely percieved to be the weakest division in the NL (if not baseball) yet if the Mets played in said division, they would now be 8 games back in the win column. Instead they're only 3 games back and with the demotion of Oliver Perez, the rotation might see more consistancy.
11. Houston Astros (LW 13) Week 3 record (4-2)
Another team I would like to rank higher. They play tough, and I feel I owe them for thinking they were so bad in the beginning. They've played well of late, but I suppose they will be consistant will all the veteran leadership they have on the team. Jose Valverde has landed on the DL, but LaTroy Hawkins has picked up right where he left off, and has now surpassed him in saves.
12. Atlanta Braves (LW 7) Week 3 record (2-4)
This team reminds me of the Mets in many ways. I expected more from them than I've seen and I'm sure they're going to break out any time now. But, they haven't. Instead they drop series to both the Cardinals and Reds without generating much offense. They've only scored 98 runs which is good for last in their division. To put a positive spin on it, they've also given up the fewest amount of runs in their division, so the pitching is a reason to be optimistic. They face all division opponents next week in hopes of closing the 2.5 game gap between them and the division leading Marlins.
13. Arizona Diamondbacks (LW 15) Week 3 record (4-3)
Positive signs coming from this squad this week as they have a winning week and are only 3 games under .500 at this time. Rich Harden is the most mentioned pitcher who is filling the void left by Brandon Webb, but Doug Davis keeps on keeping on to the tune of 2.91 ERA. They face the Dodgers in hopes of being the first team to beat the blue crew at home this season.
14. San Diego Padres (LW 8) Week 3 record (1-6)
Pathetic week. I live in San Diego and listen to many of the media down here. This city is absolutely convinced that the season for the Pads is a wash, and this was the team they exptected from the go. They are swept by LA in a 4 game series for the first time in franchise history and haven't won a game started by either Chris Young or Jake Peavy, in 3 turns of the rotation now. Not much positive coming out of America's Finest City right now.
15. Colorado Rockies (LW 14) Week 3 record (3-3)A better week from the Rox though they are still the 2nd worst team in the NL right now. Troy Tulowitzki has endured a murderous season thus far (and I would know, beacuse I'm the idiot who drafted him for my fantasy team). As mentioned in last week's rankings, however, Jason Marquis has been spectacular for the Rockies and if they continue to slide, he would be a tantalizing piece to trade.
16. Washington Nationals (LW 16) Week 3 record (2-4)
At least they didn't lose on Sunday. The finale against the Cardinals was rained out, but they did get a victory against the NL Central leaders. Want to see pitching at it's worst? Check out Daniel Cabrera's day against the Mets. 2.1 IP, 5 Runs, 6 Hits 4 BB and 1 K.