Beyond Golf — 15 July 2013 by Jim Street
GW’s MLB power rankings (week 16)

GW’s MLB West Power Rankings (Week 16)

1. Athletics (2): With 13 walks in 39 innings pitched this season, there are times when Grant Balfour perhaps should have two “l” s in his last name. But otherwise, the Aussie is perfect and definitely deserves to be on the AL All-Star team.

2. Rangers (1): Skipper Ron Washington continues to work on the few things that ail the perennial AL West title contenders, the latest brainstorm coming on Saturday when he introduced a new No. 2 hitter, Leonys Martin. Presto! The Rangers became the first team in either league to beat Max Scherzer, the likely AL starter in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.

3. Diamondbacks (3): Excuse the pun, but from May 12 on, where there’s a Will, there’s been a way to bullpen excellence for the NL West leaders. Ah, twice-released-this-season Will Harris’ has been as hot as the Arizona weather, compiling a nifty 0.96 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 18-plus innings.

4. Dodgers (5): You read it here first: Strong second halves by ace starters Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke will catapult da Bums past the D-Backs and into the NL playoffs as the division champions.

5. Giants (8):  A tip of the GW cap to Tim Lincecum for his career-first no-hitter against the Padres. But 148 pitches? You have to wonder if he could scratch his ankle with his right hand on Sunday morning without bending over.

6. Angels (4): After personally watching the anticipated AL West championship contenders put up nine zeroes against the Mariners on Saturday night at Safeco Field, despite a series of middle-of-the-lineup bashers, one has to wonder who will take the fall at the end of the season. Luckily for most of the Southland media, the press box is located so far from the action that it’s hard to see the mess that owner Arte Moreno has created.

7. Rockies (6): The best news for the struggling team coming out of the All-Star break is the return of All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. To say the Rockies go as Tulo goes is something of an understatement.

8. Mariners (9): When it comes to unusual promotions, the “Dustin Ackley Gnome” surely ranks right up there with some of the most unusual. The first 20,000 fans attending Saturday night’s game against the Angels didn’t go “Gnome” without one.

The Dustin Ackley Gnome

The Dustin Ackley Gnome

9. Padres (7): A season that has turned upside down and little clue that it will turn around anytime soon reached another low point when the Pads were no-hit by Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum. One has to wonder if there will be a managerial change before the season resumes after the Mid-Summer Classic.

10. Astros (10): Changing leagues hasn’t exactly changed the woebegone franchise’s win output. The ‘Stros went into their final NL season last year with 33 wins at the All-Star break. In this, their first season in the AL, the team has 33 wins.

(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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