Beyond Golf — 27 May 2014 by Jim Street
GW Power Rankings: Giants in first

The Houston Astros have a long way to go before they return to any playoff contender conversation, but they have a couple of great story lines early in the season.

Starting pitcher Dallas (shouldn’t he be pitching for the Rangers) Keuchel won his fourth consecutive start in Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the offensive-challenged Mariners, while Jose Altuve continues his torrid hitting.

Altuve had two more hits, pushing his league-leading total to 70. He has recorded multiple hits in 12 of his last 15 games and has 22 multi-hit games for the season.

Hey, maybe it isn’t much, but it’s a start for the woebegone team now in its second American League season.

And here are the latest and greatest power rankings of the 10 West Division clubs:

1. Giants (2):  First NL team to reach 30 wins this season; cross-bay Oakland was first in the AL

2. Athletics (1): The first four-game skid in more than a year has the A’s looking over their shoulders

3. Angels (3): A terrific week has the Angels breathing down the Athletics’ necks in AL West race

4. Dodgers (5): A tip of the GW cap goes to right-hander Josh Beckett for his no-no on Sunday

5. Rockies (4):  A tip for Nolan Arenado: Rule No. 1 in trying to steal a base – don’t slide headfirst

6. Rangers (6): It has to hurt losing Prince Fielder to injury, but they still have plenty of offense

7. Padres (7): No surprise that Nick Hundley took the news of his trade to the Orioles with class

8. Mariners (8): Raise your hand if you think the Mariners (wake up Jack) should sign Morales

9. Diamondbacks (9): Skipper Kirk Gibson appears to be skipping more close calls than other skippers

10. Astros (10): Raise your hand if you thought Jose Altuve would be first big-leaguer to reach 70 hits

(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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