Beyond Golf — 01 September 2014 by Jim Street
Power Rankings: Angels own AL West

Now that the Angels have shown who the boss is in the AL West, whipping the stunned Athletics six times in the past 10 days to take a commanding 5-game lead into Labor Day, our attention turns to the NL West.

That’s where another fight to the finish looms for the rival Dodgers and Giants, who entered play on Monday separated by just two games in the loss column. The teams still have six games against each other, (Sept. 12-13-14 in SF and Sept. 22-23-24 in LA).

The GW crystal ball sees the division race being clinched during the final week of the regular season.

This week’s GW power rankings:

1. Angels (1): The AL West leaders received A’s in every department during their four-game sweep of Oakland this past weekend.

2. Dodgers (4): How cool would it be for the World Series to be played entirely in warm Southern California?

3. Athletics (2): How quickly the team bounces back from being swept by the Angels will determine their chances of successfully defending the division title.

5. Giants (5): All of a sudden the Giants’ starting pitching looks as good, if not better, than the Dodgers.

6. Mariners (3): All of Seattle wants to know why King Felix has a history of fading badly in September and have collective fingers crossed that it will change this season.

6. Padres: (6):  One Hall of Fame (Padres) down for former closer Trevor Hoffman and one to go – the big one in Cooperstown, NY.

7.  Astros (7): The next 11 games are against the top three teams in the AL West, which should be a great experience for such a young team.

8. Diamondbacks (8): It was good for the fans for the D-Backs to bring back some of the big names in franchise history for an Alumni Game.

9. Rangers (9): It’s either feast or famine for the offense – three runs or fewer in 15 of their last 20 games and at least 10 runs in four of the other five games.

10. Rockies (10): Three players – Michael Cuddyer, Wilinb Rosario and Troy Tulowitzki – that were in the lineup when play was suspended by rain in a game against the Giants on May 22 were not available on Monday when the game was resumed.

(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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