Dan George
Friday April 22nd, 2005

MLB Power Rankings
RankLW Team
11 They're off to their best start since 1981, when they ended up winning the World Series. Even better, loose cannon Milton Bradley, with a team-high five homers, is going deep, not going off.
22 First Ozzie Guillen blasts Frank Thomas' attitude, then a day later falls all over himself apologizing. This is where a person with less character would make a lame joke about Big Hurt feelings.
315 Before his gem on Monday, Mark Mulder was 0-5 with an 8.28 ERA -- 0-2 with the Cardinals -- in nine starts, allowing 74 hits in 45 2/3 innings. Heck, maybe Barry Zito isn't returning his calls.
49 How about lefty reliever Steve Kline? He gets a two-year, $5.5 million deal with Baltimore, gives up homers in his first two games, then says he wishes he was back in St. Louis. He may have more in common with the O's than he thinks.
53 We're not saying their nice start won't last, but honesty compels us to report that two members of their pitching staff are named Bush (David) and League (Brandon).
612 They've thrown five complete games -- one more than the other 15 NL teams combined. "If they're within reason with their pitching count," says Jack McKeon, "I'm not going to go for this b.s. of bringing in a closer." They, of course, are also the only NL team without a save. No b.s.
717 The fan who took a swipe at Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield had his 2005 season tickets revoked. Plus, he has to stay after school and write "Alex Rodriguez is a swell guy" on the blackboard 1,000 times.
88 As an Angel, Troy Percival held them scoreless for 40 1-3 innings over 32 games. But they finally broke through last week, beating the Tigers' new closer 5-4. "Forty innings worth of no hits and no runs," said Ron Gardenhire, "and you start reading about it in the Guinness Book of World Records." Or here.
914 They unveiled their new mascot this past week, an eagle named Screech. Somewhere Dustin Diamond is contacting a lawyer.
1029 They've bounced back nicely from that 0-5 start, but is it already too late? Only two teams have started 0-5 since 1969 and won a division title, the Pirates in 1974 and Reds in 1995. Of course, if they keep hitting seven homers per game ...
1124 Aaron Harang not only lost to the Cardinals last week, but he spent the first couple of innings wearing a jersey that was missing the first "i" in "Cincinnati." Where's Vanna White when you need her?
1226 Holy water! During spring training, Dusty Baker sprinkled Mark Prior's inflamed right elbow with water blessed by Pope John Paul II. Really. "I just hope," said Baker, "that my sinning doesn't negate the effectiveness of the water."
135 They're retiring Jimmy Wynn's No. 24. The 5-foot-9 Wynn, who hit 223 homers with the Astros from 1963-73, was nicknamed the Toy Cannon. Which, we suppose, is a lot better than Stinky.
146 Javier Vazquez, who actually lowered his ERA to 11.77 after giving up five runs in six innings, is already feeling the heat in Phoenix. Of course, it's a dry heat.
1516 Through their first 13 games, their starting rotation boasted a 3.27 ERA with just 15 walks. The relievers, meanwhile, were 1-3 and 5.94. Is it just us, or should Charlie Manuel give Jack McKeon a call?

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