As we enter week two of the regular season, only one team, the Baltimore Orioles, is perfect. The Birds went 5-0 against the Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays at Camden Yards. Conversely, only two teams, the Twins (0-6) and Atlanta Braves (0-5), have yet to record a win.
The first week of the season's biggest winner, however, was the Cincinnati Reds, my No. 30 pick. Perhaps motivated by the lack of respect in my preseason mocks, the Reds came out to sweep the Philadelphia Phillies in Cincinnati and then took 2-of-3 from the highly ranked Pittsburgh Pirates at the Great American Ballpark.
The biggest on-the-field news during opening week was the season-ending injury to Cubs outfielder/catcher Kyle Schwarber, who tore his ACL and LCL when he collided with center fielder Dexter Fowler. There is no question the Cubs have the depth to make up for the lefty swinging big bat of Schwarber, but perhaps now Jorge Soler will have to play almost every day, instead of being the trade chip the Cubs might need at the midway point of the season.
Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story's fast start doesn't have the long-term implications that the injury to Schwarber will have, but, nonetheless, seven home runs during the first week of the season has never been done before. And you have to pause and wonder, if not for the domestic violence charges against shortstop Jose Reyes, which have now been dropped, would Story have even gotten to play in the bigs at this point?
One other ongoing story in MLB centers on a new rule that severely limits a base runner sliding into second on a potential double-play grounder. Two games ended on video review reversals that resulted in double plays -- Tampa Bay benefited from the rule against Toronto April 5, and Milwaukee topped the Astros April 8 as a result of a called double play. The teams winning the games were appreciative of the gifts, not critical. But the two teams that lost were livid.
Here are this week's power rankings.
1. Chicago Cubs (5-1 overall record, No. 1 ranking last week) -- Despite the loss of slugger Schwarber, this team will find a way. If you're a Cubs fans, are you happy you kept Fowler or are you mad at him for taking down Schwarber?
2. Washington Nationals (3-1, No. 3) -- There is such a difference when you have a confident manager who really excels at being a people person.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (4-2, No. 4) -- I am still amazed at how they consistently find and reclaim seemingly damaged pitchers, whether physical or psychological.
4. San Francisco Giants (5-2, No. 7) -- With the long-term extension of first baseman Brandon Belt, the Giants have three core players signed into the early 2020s -- Belt, right fielder Hunter Pence and shortstop Brandon Crawford. Catcher Buster Posey is also locked up, and second baseman Joe Panik and third baseman Matt Duffy can't leave until the early 2020s.
5. Houston Astros (2-4, No. 2) -- The Astros have lost their first two series of the season. Why? Look no further than the ERAs of pitchers not named Dallas Keuchel -- Doug Fister 5.40, Scott Feldman 9.00, Mike Fiers 9.00 and Collin McHugh 135.00. Designated hitter Evan Gattis is due back sometime this week from his early-February hernia surgery.
6. Kansas City Royals (4-1, No. 10) -- These cats sure are a cool, calm and collected bunch. I guess that is what winning does to the psyche of a talented team.
7. New York Yankees (3-2, No. 8) -- If left-hander CC Sabathia can execute his new arsenal, and righty Ivan Nova can do what Adam Warren did a year ago, this can be a dangerous team. Infielder Starlin Castro is off to a hot start.
8. New York Mets (2-3, No. 5) -- Right-handed pitcher Matt Harvey has not been himself yet, and now, righty Jacob deGrom will miss his next start with lat stiffness. However, in five games, the offensive starters have combined for just 13 RBIs. Word to the wise, these won't be the same stumbling, bumbling Mets of 2015.
9. Toronto Blue Jays (3-4, No. 6) -- It looks like right-hander Marco Estrada is ready to pick up where he left off last season and is on the verge of being a No. 1 starter. While starters Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez can be great, David Price was great. Their middle relief is still a huge question mark, as is the dependability of setup man Drew Storen.
10. Baltimore Orioles (5-0, No. 14) -- Pundits thought the Orioles' starting pitching would go backward. Through Baltimore's 5-0 start, its starters have allowed six earned runs in 23.2 innings, which comes out to a 2.28 ERA.
11. Boston Red Sox (3-2, No. 13)
12. Detroit Tigers (3-1, No. 16)
13. St. Louis Cardinals (3-3, No. 12)
14. Texas Rangers (3-4, No. 11)
15. Arizona Diamondbacks (2-5, No. 9)
16. Chicago White Sox (4-2, No. 17)
17. Los Angeles Dodgers (4-3, No. 21)
18. Cleveland Indians (2-2, No. 18)
19. Seattle Mariners (2-4, No. 15)
20. Oakland Athletics (4-3, No. 24)
21. Tampa Bay Rays (2-4, No. 20)
22. Cincinnati Reds (5-1, No. 30)
23. Colorado Rockies (3-3, No. 27)
24. Milwaukee Brewers (3-3, No. 28)
25. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2-4, No. 22)
26. Miami Marlins (1-3, No. 23)
27. Philadelphia Phillies (2-4, No. 25)
28. San Diego Padres (2-4, No. 26)
29. Minnesota Twins (0-6, No. 19)
30. Atlanta Braves (0-5, No. 29)