Dan George
Thursday May 19th, 2005

MLB Power Rankings
RankLW Team
11 Weird season so far for Paul Konerko, who's on pace to hit 38 home runs with 115 RBIs despite batting a meager .196. It may be warping his sense of humor, too. Konerko singled to snap a recent 0-for-26 streak and told reporters, "I'm ready to break into the Lou Gehrig speech right now."
26 Don't expect the absence of injured Scott Rolen to slow down their offense too much. The real question mark is the bullpen, whose 4.23 ERA entering the week ranked ninth in the NL. And to think it's only taken them 11 relievers to do that.
34 Steve Kline (already making his second Power Rankings appearance of the season) had a simple explanation for being called for a decisive balk in a 10-8 loss to the Royals last week. "Maybe I had a fat roll jiggle or something," he said. Hey, thanks for that mental image.
412 They're a sizzling 13-3 in May, which has my SI.com compatriot Drew Packham firmly in the driver's seat of the San Diego bandwagon. "Hardcore since 2004," he boasts. Actually 2005 but that, you know, doesn't really rhyme.
510 They're battling for the NL West lead, in large part because of Brandon Lyon's 13 saves and 1.96 ERA. They say they're not worried about recent tendinitis in his elbow, but this is a guy who missed all of last season after ulnar nerve surgery.
62 Johnny Estrada doesn't sound too happy with amphetamines being included in the crackdown on steroids. "I drink half a pot of coffee every day," he said. "What next? Are they they going to tell us we can't drink coffee, either?" Half a pot? Guess who won't have any trouble filling that test cup.
79 Why should the rest of the AL West be worried? The Angels' .225 team batting average for May is the worst in the majors and only the Cubs had scored fewer than Los Angeles' 49 runs through Monday. But they're still in first place -- just as they've been for every day this season. Nanny nanny boo boo!
85 Their bullpen entered the week atop the majors with a 2.27 ERA -- including 1.45 during the 10 days that Juan Rincon was off serving his steroid suspension. Why do we still think the White Sox may be renting space atop the AL Central and not buying?
97 The Brewers may have Miller Park, but with his return from the DL the Sox have Wade Miller. Not to mention Bill Mueller, who pronounces his name "Miller." Or, for that matter, Kevin Millar, who pronounces his name, uh, Millar. Did we mention that this column is a work in progress?
1014 After nearly two years in the majors, Chad Cordero has finally allowed an inherited runner to score. Until last week, the 23-year-old right-hander had stranded all 25 runners he'd inherited over 96 career relief appearances. Why, yes, that is the definition of trivia.
118 That shout you heard from the clubhouse during the Kentucky Derby was Paul Lo Duca, whose friend Mike Smith rode Giacomo to victory. Lo Duca will say only that he had a "decent wager" on the 50-to-1 long shot. We had Lucky Dan in the third at Riverside.
123 They've just about had it with Scott Erickson -- man, how many times has that been said over the past few years? -- who is 1-3 with a 6.57 ERA and seven strikeouts in 37 innings. And that's after holding the Braves to two runs in six innings in his last start.
1318 They've won 10 in a row, thanks in part to Tino Martinez's 10 home runs during a 13-day span. Teammates have taken to calling him "C.C." because of the curtain calls he's received. Nice, but we kind of like the sound of "BAM-Tino."
1413 David Dellucci, leading the majors in both walks (36) and on-base percentage (.477), credits offseason Lasik eye surgery and says he's no longer seeing a "glowing halo" coming at him. At least when they're not playing the Angels.
1511 Pedro Martinez was not originally scheduled to pitch against the Yankees this weekend, and he blames the New York media for changing Willie Randolph's stance on the issue. "You made up the fact that I asked to go and pitch against the Yankees," Martinez said. "You started bringing it up to Willie and forced him to do that." That's right, so you better stay in line, buster.

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