Beyond Golf — 16 June 2014 by Jim Street
GW Power Rankings: A’s back on top

It isn’t often that a team can play .500 baseball over a 10-game period and still  climb into the top spot in the world-acclaimed GW Power Rankings.

But that’s exactly what has happened in the wacky West, where the Athletics replaced the cross-bay rival Giants as the No. 1 team among West Coast teams. It’s the second time the reigning AL West champions held the top spot this season.

Even more impressive, though, is the Astros’ climb out of last place in the rankings. Indeed, the Astros, on the strength of their 6-4 past-10-day record going into Monday’s well-deserved day off, are an astounding (for them) seven games UNDER .500 (32-39) as June moves into its second
half.

The woebegone Astros won their 32nd game last season on July 6.

And here are this week’s rankings:

1. Athletics (2):  Left fielder Yoenism Cespedes might have the best throwing arm since Roberto Clemente

2. Giants (1):  Getting swept by the Rockies at AT&T Park gave catcher Butch Posey a really bad headache

3. Angels (3): Is there a better one-two punch than Mike Trout and AlbertPujols right now in MLB?

4.  Dodgers (5): RIP Bob Welch, a formerCy Young Award winner who started his career with Dodgers

5. Mariners: (4): Home-field advantage (15-20) isn’t nearly as prevalent as other big-league teams

6. Rangers (6): Who knew the team would have such a difficult time finding aproductive leadoff hitter?

7. Rockies (7):  Three consecutive come-from-behind wins against the Giants has the Rockies sky-high

8. Padres (8): A tough week for all of baseball as Welch and then Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn pass away

9. Astros (10): Pitchers not only pitch for the Astros, they also play the outfield on occasion

10. Diamondbacks (9): The loud thud you heard was the D-Backs falling to the bottom of the Power Rankings

(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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