Beyond Golf — 24 June 2013 by Jim Street
GW MLB West Power Rankings (Week 13)

GW’s MLB West Power Rankings (Week 13)

1. Rangers (6): The way skipper Ron Washington sees it, and he has 20-20 baseball vision, second baseman Ian Kinsler is to the Rangers what Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson was to the Yankees in the 1970s (according to Reggie): The straw that stirs the drink.

2. Athletics (1): Except for the steady work from closer Grant Balfour, the A’s bullpen has some issues that skipper Bob Melvin knows need to be fixed ASAP. One Doolittle is OK, but three do-littles are too many.

3. Diamondbacks (2): It is getting to be a familiar ring: closer Heath Bell getting his bell rung by another home run allowed. He had one dinger allowed in five consecutive games this past week.

4. Giants (3):  As July approaches, the reigning World Series champs have two items at the top of their initial wish-list: 1) successfully defend their NL West title and 2) avoid playing the nemesis Marlins in the playoffs. Losing 9 straight home games to that bunch is amazing.

5. Padres (5): The Pads are one MLB team that wishes June would last forever, posting a glossy 9-3 record since June 9 and climbing into contending status in the parity-driven NL West — where playing .500 is regarded as a playoff  pace.

6. Rockies (4): Kudos to the organization for staging a Heroes Softball game in Colorado Springs to raise money for local firefighters who, for the second straight year, are battling devastating forest fires. The Rockies’ recent five-game skid pales in comparison.

7. Angels (8): Super sophomore Mike Trout is a shoo-in to become the Angels’ first position player to start an All-Star Game since Vladimir Guerrero in 2007. But the big news is that Trout most likely will be the lowest-paid star in the Mid-summer Classic.

8. Dodgers (9): Big news out of LA: on Saturday night, right-hander Zack Greinke pitched eight innings against the Padres and (yippee!) did not hit anyone with any of his 111 pitches – not even Carlos Quentin. That might have precipitated another bench-clearing melee.

9. Mariners (7): Veteran outfielder Raul Ibanez was expected to be little more than a role player this season, but the 41-year-old has been handling the “leading role” duties during the team’s lackluster first half. And you got to like second baseman Nick Franklin, a breath of much-needed energy on the field.

10. Astros (10): The perennial cellar-dwellers in the GW Power Rankings are showing signs of improvement, although the win-loss-win-loss-win-loss-win-loss week the team just went through is not the kind of dance skipper Bo Porter prefers.

(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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