Beyond Golf — 09 September 2013 by Jim Street
GW MLB West power rankings (week 24)

1. Dodgers (1): All eyes the remainder of September will be on the medical report manager Don Mattingly receives from his medical staff. It’s no coincidence that the NL West leaders had fewer injury issues during their two-month hot streak than the current cool spell they are experiencing.

2. Athletics (3): Not sure how they’ve done it, but the defending AL West champions are zeroing in on another 90-plus win season, making skipper Bob Melvin a leading candidate for Manager of the Year – again.

3. Rangers (2): The third time is far from being a charm for pitcher Matt Harrison, whose third surgery of the season, this time on his right shoulder, brought his 2013 season to a grinding halt.

4. Diamondbacks (4): Comparing Wade Miley to Randy Johnson is a bit of a stretch, but the current D-Backs left-hander is on the verge of joining the future Hall of Fame Big Unit as the only lefties in franchise history to win at least 10-games in back-to-back seasons.

Wade Miley is no Randy Johnson

Wade Miley is no Randy Johnson

5. Angels (6): Rock-solid pitching has been the key to the team’s resurgence that comes far too late in the season to avoid anything but a third-place finish. A season-best 12-3 sprint late last month and early into this one has Angels’ fans asking: Where has this team been all season?

6. Rockies (5): Most managers would not recommend this, but Todd Helton says the reason for his late hot streak is because he stopped working out and spends all of his energy during the games. Never heard that one before.

7. Giants (7): A GW tip of the cap to right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, who came within a few inches of
pitching a perfect game against the Diamondbacks. He needed a play from his right fielder similar to the one that Matt Cain received in his perfecto last season.

8. Mariners (8): Long-time disgruntled fans could finally get excited again next season if young starting pitchers Taijuan Walker and James Paxton are the real deal. Both had impressive MLB debuts, bringing smiles to, among others, GM Jack Zduriencik.

9. Padres (9): Will Venable said he was surprised to learn that he had set a club record when he hit his 15th home run of the season at pitcher-friendly PETCO Park on Friday night. Hey, welcome to the club. For those who didn’t know, Adrian Gonzalez had the previous record of 14, set it 2008.

10. Astros (10): At their current pace, the AL West’s worst team should reach the 100-loss mark sometime late this week, which would make them the first team in MLB history to lose at least 100 games in the NL one year and 100 games in the AL the following year.

(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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