Beyond Golf — 25 August 2014 by Jim Street
Power rankings: Angels maintain No. 1

The three-game series between the Athletics and Angels provided some good drama this past weekend, and guess what. The two AL West rivals get only three days “off” before going at it again – this time in Anaheim of Los Angeles.

A four-game series that begins Thursday night figures to have playoff implications although both teams surely will make it into the postseason. They do, after all, have the best records in the Major Leagues in the toughest division.

In fact, if the regular season ended today, three teams (including the Mariners) would be playoff-bound.

The appetizing Athletics-Angels rematch highlights the final weekend in August and gets us all pumped up for the stretch drive.

This week’s power rankings:

1. Angels (1): A resurgent Josh Hamilton could be just what the Angels need to dethrone the A’s in AL West.

2. Athletics (2): The loss of closer Sean Doolittle to a right intercostal strain does more than just a little to hurt the team’s pursuit of another division title.

3. Mariners (3): Raise your hand if you thought the surging M’s would sweep the Red Sox in Boston and none of the starting pitchers would get a win. No hand, eh?

4. Dodgers (4): There are times when the only way to control Yasiel Puig on the basepaths is to tackle him.

5. Giants (5): Third baseman Pablo Sandoval has displayed a Gold Glove caliber glove, but it was his arm that ended a 73-game errorless streak on Sunday.

6. Padres: (6):  A GW tip of the cap to skipper Bud Black for his 600th win as the Padres manager, putting him second to Bruce Bochy (951) on the franchise’s all-time list.

7.  Astros (7): Big question in Houston these days is whether RHP Scott Feldman will make it past the next trade deadline.

8. Diamondbacks (8): The game plan is to promote several minor leaguers on Sept. 1 and hope some of them emerge into future roster mainstays.

9. Rangers (9): With 20 of their remaining 32 games against AL West playoff contenders, the non-contending Rangers could have a lot to say about which division teams reach the playoffs.

10. Rockies (10): Sept. 28 can’t come soon enough for the injury-plagued NL West cellar-dwellars.

(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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