Beyond Golf — 20 July 2014 by Jim Street
Power Rankings: Angels climb to No.1

Less than two weeks remain until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline and the Angels beat their AL West rivals to the punch by trading for Padres closer Huston Street. The way GW sees it, the deal will seal a division championship for the Angels, who already have the most potent offense in the division.

Manager Mike Scioscia, who reportedly was on the proverbial hot seat most of last season, seems to have found that old magic again and not a word about job security has surfaced in 2014. Amazing what good pitching, solid defense, a healthy Albert Pujols and superstar Mike Trout in the lineup makes for so much managerial improvement from one year to the next.

This annual chess game now turns its attention on the division-leading Athletics and playoff-contending Mariners (haven’t written those words in a long time). What will they do as the trade deadline approaches. Seattle needs a run-producer in the worst way.

Here are this week’s Power Rankings

1. Angels (2): Acquiring Huston Street for the stretch run will turn the Angels into AL West champions

2. Athletics (1): Being good in the toughest division in MLB might not good enough for a three-peat

3. Dodgers (3): Too many quality outfielders is doing more harm than good, so one of them must go

4. Mariners (4):  Matt Kemp would look awfully good in the Seattle outfield, and especially in the lineup

5. Giants (5):  Brandon Belt’s concussion is just the latest headache encountered by the up-and-down club

6. Astros: (6):  It’s bye-bye first overall draft pick as high school pitcher Brady Aiken just said no to deal

7.  Padres (7): Fans are wondering how many of the team’s few stars will follow Street out the door

8. Diamondbacks (9): It’s too bad the Cubs aren’t on the Arizona schedule every weekend

9. Rockies (8): Bet you can’t name a Rockies starting position player other than Troy Tulowitzki

10. Rangers (10): Remember when a Rangers-Athletics series was special? Not so much this season

(Last week’s ranking in parenthesis)

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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