Beyond Golf — 18 August 2013 by Jim Street
GW’s MLB Power Rankings (week 21)

 

1. Dodgers (1): It seems like every time the NL West leaders win another game during their amazing post-June 22 streak, another long-standing MLB achievement is being matched or surpassed. For instance, you must go all the way back to the 1942 Cardinals to find a team that won 42 games over a 50-game period. That team won the World Series.

2. Rangers (2): The dog days of summer have been kind to the AL West leaders, who enter the final week of August with a 12-4 record in the next-to-last month of the regular season. Cy Young Award candidate Yu Darvish (a distant second to Max Scherzer), did his part with four stellar starts and a  3-0 record.

3. Athletics (3): Losing ace right-hander Bartolo Colon for at least three starts to injury could put a huge crimp in the team’s pursuit of a second straight division title. But being one of the two AL Wild Card teams would suffice.

4. Diamondbacks (4): Exactly one month ago on Monday, the D-Backs were the only NL West team with a winning record and had a 2 ½ game lead over the fast-rising Dodgers.

Mort Cooper won 22 games for Cards in '42

Mort Cooper won 22 games for Cards in ’42

5. Angels (5): In the too-little-too-late department, switch-hitter Josh Hamilton delivered a walk-off home run in extra innings on Saturday night, giving the 40,246 fans on hand a chance to ask in unison: where has that been all season?

6. Giants (9): In the too-little-too-late department, Part 2, right-hander Matt Cain made it five consecutive quality starts since the All-Star Game with a good outing against the Marlins in his last start and reached the .500 mark (8-8) in a disappointing season.

7. Rockies (7): Better days are ahead for rookie starter Chad Bettis, who has displayed rookie jitters in his first four starts, walking 12 batters in 18 1/3 innings while striking out 8 – a ratio that usually sends pitchers back to the minors.

8. Padres (6): Nick Hundley has been a Padre for his entire professional career, but he became a “Padre” for the first time last week, took two days off for the birth of his daughter, and returned to action with a two-run home run against the Mets. How sweet was that!

9. Mariners (8): One year and one day after being perfect against the Rays at Safeco Field, King Felix was much less than that during another rough outing at the hitter-friendly Ballpark at Arlington.

10. Astros (10): A tip of the GW backwards cap goes to the Astros, the first MLB team to reach 80 losses this season. Come to think of it, the AL West cellar occupants also were first to 40, 50, 60 and 70 losses.

(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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