The New York Yankees and Mets only have one week left before wrapping up the first half of the 2012 MLB season and both helped themselves in their respective playoff races.
By going 5-2, including a sweep of the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees continued to lead the AL East and now face a huge final seven games against the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox. The Mets, meanwhile, started the week off on the lowest of low notes with two embarrassing losses to the Chicago Cubs. They were able to bounce back with a trouncing of the Cubs and then by taking three of four from the Los Angeles Dodgers, leading the Mets to the top of the Wild Card standings.
With both teams playing well this week, there was a fight for each spot in the latest edition of the SB Nation NY Power Rankings, with a few unusual names getting in the mix.
1. R.A. Dickey, Mets -The legend continued to grow thanks to eight more innings of shutout ball, this time against the Dodgers. For a while he was a misplayed pop fly by Andres Torres away from a no-hitter, but had to settle for three hits and one walk to go along with 10 strikeouts on his way to becoming the first pitcher to 12 wins.
2. DeWayne Wise, Yankees - Wise was all over the map -- and the Sports Center highlights -- for the Yankees. The journeyman outfielder made the catch that was not a catch when he tumbled into the left field seats against the Cleveland Indians. He got to pitch in a 14-7 Yankees loss to the Chicago White Sox on Friday, recording two outs without allowing any baserunners. Oh, and he had a pretty good week with the bat, too. Wise hit .500 with a home run and two RBI. -- Ed Valentine
3. Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees - With the Yankees losing starting pitchers CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte to injuries, Kuroda stepped up, winning twice. In 14 innings he allowed only one earned run, striking out 18 hitters. Kuroda posted a a 0.64 ERA for the week. -- EV
4. Johan Santana, Mets - If it weren't for Dickey being the best pitcher in baseball, we'd be talking much more about the veteran lefty. Sure he tossed himself into the record books with a no-hitter, but he's also consistently taken the ball every fifth day and was as sharp as ever this week, tossing 14 innings, giving up just two runs on eight hits. Not bad for a guy most had written off after his shoulder surgery.
5.Phil Hughes, Yankees - Hughes also stepped up with a pair of huge performances. He won two games during the week, pitching eight innings each time. He allowed just two earned runs and 12 hits, striking out 12. He posted a 1.13 ERA for the week. Hughes is now 9-6 with 4.29 ERA for the season. -- EV
6. Robinson Cano, Yankees - The second baseman has been on a tear recently. During the past week he hit .414 (12-for-29) with four home runs and 10 RBI. -- EV
7. Jonathon Niese, Mets - After New York dropped two ugly games to the Cubs, it was Niese that stepped up and played the role of stopper. He shut Chicago down for seven innings, surrendering just one run while striking out six. Much like Santana, his solid season (6-3, 3.55 ERA) has flown under the radar thanks to Dickey.
8. David Wright, Mets - Somehow he was beat out for a starting spot on the NL All Star team, but Wright once again turned in a quality week at the plate for the Mets. He went 7-for-24 with a home run and nine RBI and just three strikeouts.
9. Rafael Soriano, Yankees - Now firmly entrenched in the closer’s role, Soriano went 3-for-3 in save opportunities and the Yankees blew the one game last week during which he was not available. -- EV
10. Bobby Parnell, Mets - Even though he only tossed two innings this week, Parnell provided a huge lift for not only the struggling Mets bullpen, but the team as a whole. Stepping on the mound Saturday night for his first save situation with just a one-run lead, Parnell put the Dodgers down in order in impressive fashion, touching 101 on the radar gun. Knowing he didn't wilt under the pressure the first time out was admittedly huge for manager Terry Collins and will give some stability to the 'pen until Frank Francisco returns from the DL.