Beyond Golf — 14 July 2014 by Jim Street
GW Power Rankings: Looking ahead

The “mythical” first-half of the MLB season (all teams have played at least 93 games) is behind us and it’s time to look ahead to the “mythical” second half in the West.

Just a month after it appeared there could be another Bay Bridge World Series in Oakland and San Francisco, the Giants went south and lost all of their 9 ½ game NL West lead to the Dodgers, who have the pitching, defense and just enough offense to hold off all division challengers.

Not so fast in the AL.

The Athletics have been the best team in all of baseball for most of the season, but there’s something about the Angels that should strike fear in manager Bob Melvin’s A’s. Good thing for Oakland, though, is the two powerhouse teams face each other just five more times – two at the end of August in Anaheim and three in Oakland in late September.

On the other hand, the Giants and Dodgers still have nine head-to-head clashes with six of the games in SF and the final three in LA in the next-to-last series of the regular season for both teams.

Not only that, but several of the MLB West teams will be fighting it out for Wild Card playoff berths.

Indeed, it could be a rip-roaring second half in the West.

Here is this week’s Power Rankings:

1. Athletics (1): The team behind them in the AL West is closer than it appears in a mirror

2. Angels (2): The Major League’s hottest team probably wishes the All-Star Game was much later

3. Dodgers (3): Too bad a Kershaw vs. Felix matchup in the All-Star Game won’t happen

4. Mariners (4):  Taking two of three from the division-leading A’s a good way to end the first half

5. Giants (5):  While he’s at the All-Star Game, perhaps Madison Bumgarner could compete in Home Run Derby

6. Astros: (6):  Raise your right hand if you knew Jose Altuve is a two-time All-Star. No hands, huh?

7.  Padres (8): It took a week, but the NL finally came to its senses by adding closer Huston Street to the All-Star team

8. Rockies (9): Injury-riddled starting rotation could be almost whole again by the end of the month

9. Diamondbacks (10): It will get hotter in the desert, but the West’s worst team unlikely to follow suit

10. Rangers (7): One of the worst stretches in club history has knocked the Rangers into GW Power Rankings basement for the first time

(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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