The Giants might own the best record in baseball, but their slow start out of the second-half gate caused them to slip from No. 1 to No. 3 in two of the three polls sampled here (ESPN, Bleacher Report, SI.com).
A three-game sweep at the hands of the Padres in San Diego last weekend largely contributed to San Francisco’s falling two spots in both the Bleacher Report and SI.com polls. Bleacher Report has the Cleveland Indians in the top spot, while SI.com has the Washington Nationals No. 1.
The Giants remained No. 1 in the ESPN poll, which had the Nationals at No. 2 and Chicago Cubs at No. 3.
There wasn’t much movement among California’s other four big league teams, as the Dodgers check in with a an average ranking of 8.5, Padres 22.5, Angels 23.5 and A’s 24.
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Sorting the data:
Average rank: 1.5
Average change: -1.5
From Bleacher Report (No. 3): “The vaunted trio of Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija went 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA and 1.625 WHIP in the series (against San Diego). All three of them won't often struggle consecutively like that, but it was a tough way to come out of the break nonetheless. Expect the Giants to make a run at some much-needed bullpen help before the trade deadline passes, while the eventual returns of Hunter Pence, Joe Panik and Matt Duffy from injury figure to bolster the offense.”
Average rank: 8.5
Average change: +1
From Bleacher Report (No. 9): “... key bats like Justin Turner, Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick and Yasmani Grandal are all showing signs of life after disappointing first-half performances. L.A. is averaging 4.85 runs per game in July.”
Average rank: 23.5
Average change: +.5
From Bleacher Report (No. 23): “Only two teams came out of the All-Star break with a series sweep, and the Los Angeles Angels were one of them. They hosted the Chicago White Sox and outscored them 16-1 across the three-game series. Matt Shoemaker threw the first complete-game shutout of his career Saturday, striking out a career-high 13 batters in the 1-0 win.”
Average rank: 22.5
Average change: +.5
From ESPN (No. 25): “Teenage pitching phenoms carry a ton of risk, but the recently acquired Anderson Espinoza is one to dream on. Because of Espinoza's small stature (6-foot, 160 pounds), big stuff and solid command, he draws some comparisons to Pedro Martinez.”
Average rank: 24
Average change: +2
From Bleacher report (No. 25): “Getting max value out of (Rich) Hill on the trade market is getting increasingly difficult. A groin injury sidelined him for over a month, but he returned strong before the blister issue surfaced. Time is now a factor with the Aug. 1 deadline rapidly approaching.”
Compiled by Bee staff