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.
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)