Friday, June 14, 2024

MLB power rankings: Red-hot Philadelphia Phillies won’t need a turnaround this year

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So, what happens if the Philadelphia Phillies are only now heating up?

The Atlanta Braves would rather not ponder that question, certainly. The Phillies, who knocked NL East champion Atlanta out of the playoffs the past two years did so only after suffering through grim and discouraging Aprils.

This month has been anything but.

The Phillies are closing out the month on a heater, winners of eight of their last 10, including a stirring sweep at San Diego. At 19-10, they’re barely off Atlanta’s major league-best 19-7 pace.

It’s a stark contrast to 2022, when the Phillies were a .500 team after a month, and last year’s 25-30 start that included significant struggles from new shortstop Trea Turner. Well, Turner is producing at an MVP clip already, and no club is getting better starting pitching.

Little wonder that the Phillies are making moves in USA TODAY Sports’ power rankings.

A look at this week’s rankings:

  • Marcell Ozuna has driven in 31 runs in 26 games.
  • We may have reached the “and they never looked back” portion of this program.
  • Bullpen a mess after two blown Craig Kimbrel saves – with Yankees in town next.
  • AL’s No. 2 team ERA (3.08) clashes against No. 1 OPS (.773) in Baltimore.
  • Impressive showing even if they should’ve won two of three against Atlanta.
  • Alec Bohm’s 1.056 OPS makes lineup a real temple of doom.
  • Gave up 30 runs in two games to Yankees.
  • Center fielder TJ Friedl should start a rehab assignment this week.
  • Cody Bellinger’s fractured ribs opens door for Pete Crow-Armstrong.

10. Texas Rangers (+1)

  • Wyatt Langford simply wanted to show off his speed by making his first career homer the inside-the-park variety.
  • George Kirby back on the beam with career-high 12 strikeout performance.
  • The bargain-basement off-season might be showing up on the field.
  • Triston Casas’ rib cage tear is a significant bummer.
  • Just a half-game up on Tigers, but run differential of +43 to +3.
  • Perhaps Kevin Ginkel can hold down the closer role this time around.
  • Jose Quintana should be nice trade bait if they fall out of contention.
  • Are we living in a world where Tarik Skubal (1.72 ERA) will start the All-Star Game?
  • Getting swept by White Sox might be lowest point in last six years.
  • Keaton Winn has a 1.96 ERA over his last four starts.

Manny Machado has returned to third base after offseason surgery.

  • A 9-2 start has given way to 5-13 slide.
  • Bats need to stay alive after wake-up call in Mexico City.

  • Jacob Young is 21-for-21 in stolen bases to start his career.
  • Reeled off seven straight wins when nobody was looking.
  • Another minor league reset for Jordan Walker.
  • Anthony Rendon couldn’t quite make it to May.
  • 4-6 road trip impressive after getting swept at Cleveland to start.
  • We’ve seen enough: This is a bad team.
  • They’re 3-0 in the Tommy Pham Era.

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