Dan George
Wednesday May 25th, 2005

MLB Power Rankings
RankLW Team
11 They keep cruising, and Ozzie Guillen keeps grousing. The recent series with the Cubs only reminded him of a past slight at Wrigley Field. "Last year I had to park in McDonald's," he said, "and I'm the manager of the team." In other news, police are still investigating the mysterious keying of Dusty Baker's car.
22 Mark Grudzielanek became the third Cardinal this season to get his 1,500th career hit, following Jim Edmonds and Reggie Sanders. Funny thing is, Grudzielanek didn't ask for the ball -- he thought he still had two hits to go. Honesty compels us to say we thought it was more than that.
311 Dontrelle Willis' pregame ritual involves watching the movie Troy on his personal DVD player. You heard us. "I like the action, spears flying through the air," he says. "It calms me down." Still no excuse, Dontrelle.
45 On the way to a 5-3 record and 3.49 ERA, Javier Vazquez has pitched 39 consecutive innings without a walk and allowed no more than two runs in each of his past seven starts. Randy Johnson, whom they dealt for Vazquez over the winter, is 4-3 with a 3.94 ERA. Vazquez is 28 and Johnson is 41. You make the call.
54 They stopped whining about Petco Park and just started winning. After going 42-39 at home in Petco's inaugural 2004 season -- and complaining all the way about its hitter-phobic nature -- they're 16-4 at home this year, tops in the majors. Now, about that 11-14 road record ...
67 Two starts, and Ervin Santana is already having an interesting career. The first four batters the rookie right-hander faced greeted him with a collective cycle -- triple, double, single and home run. But Santana bounced back Monday to hand the White Sox their first shutout loss of the year. Oye cómo va!
73 Bad mouth Sammy Sosa all you want (and we have), but the Orioles did miss him. Just two of Miguel Tejada's 11 homers have come since Sosa went down May 4 with an infected foot, and Tejada's his average has plunged from .360 to .319 and the team is 9-8. Yes, those are the Red Sox and Yankees in the rearview mirror.
89 How about Matt Clement? After a losing record over seven seasons in the NL, the right-hander is the first pitcher to start 5-0 in Boston since John Burkett went 7-0 in 2002. Nice ... but can he pick up that seven-10 split?
98 Speaking of Santanas, Twins ace Johan's newborn daughter watched him pitch in person for the first time last week -- and he promptly gave up seven earned runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. "It's a good thing she won't be able to remember it," he said.
106 Danny Kolb got the save Monday -- barely -- but the bullpen situation is still a mess. Of course, that's kind of a Braves tradition, or whatever you want to call it when you average a new closer every two years for 15 seasons. Where's Joe Boever when you need him, anyway?
1113 We mentioned Randy Johnson earlier. He's 41 and still solid, but his fastball is in the low 90s, he failed to strike out a batter in a recent win and the Mets got 12 hits off him last Saturday. Sixteen million a year just doesn't get you what it used to.
1214 Three Rangers pitchers -- Ryan Bukvich, Carlos Almanzar and Frankie Francisco -- underwent Tommy John surgery in a two-week period. What, now Buck Showalter is getting pitching tips from Dusty Baker?
1316 Twins manager Ron Gardenhire can't understand why players dive headfirst, as Blue Jays third baseman Corey Koskie did recently while fracturing his thumb. "You don't see greyhounds diving across the finish line," he said. No ... but wouldn't that be cool?
1410 Esteban Loaiza is 1-3 despite a solid 3.53 ERA, largely because the Nats have averaged 1.33 runs in his three losses. Frank Robinson likes how Loaiza hasn't complained. Uh, Frank, this is the same guy who won 10 games for the Yanks and White Sox last season with a 5.71 ERA.
1512 Third base is supposed to be a power position, right? Tell it to Jim Tracy. Dodger third-sackers are batting .223 with two homers and 20 RBIs -- and half of those latter two totals came from Jose Valentin before he (and his .194 average) hit the DL on May 4.

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