Dan George
Wednesday May 25th, 2005

MLB Power Rankings
RankLW Team
1618 Still recovering from that bad knee, Barry Bonds told fans on his Web site he watched the first two Star Wars prequels to get in the mood for Revenge of the Sith. He likes the action, starfighters flying through the air. It calms him down.
1717 Wes Obermueller had a perfect game going into the seventh inning. Damian Millier called for a fastball in, but Obermuller threw it over the plate and Jamey Carroll of the Nats singled. "I won't ever second-guess my catcher again," Obermuller said, "I'll tell you that." We have to admit ... we're still thinking about those greyhounds.
1815 When they beat the Reds the other night, Kaz Ishii allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings, Kaz Matsui hit a two-run homer and Korean reliever Dae-Sung Koo got one out in the ninth. It all happened on "Asian Night" at Shea Stadium. We're not kidding.
1922 Drawing Take Me Out to the Ballgame duties, race car driver Jeff Gordon told the crowd how happy he was to be at Wrigley Stadium. Incredibly, they booed him. Except for those who wished him good luck at Indy this weekend.
2020 Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is 4-for-4 lifetime against lefty Wilfredo Ledezma -- that's four home runs in four at-bats. "I think it's pretty obvious that he's comfortable against him," said Detroit manager Alan Trammell. "Comfortable" is one word for it.
2123 Meet Jake Westbrook, the Tribe's Esteban Loaiza. A year ago, he was on his way to the All-Star Game and a 14-9 record, in part because the Indians scored 6.5 runs when he started. This year, it's 2.2 runs and Westbrook is 1-7. Of course, that 5.50 ERA isn't helping.
2221 Fans at Citizens Bank Park are all over Charlie Manuel (curious strategy) and Mike Lieberthal and David Bell (big contracts, little batting averages). It's gotten so bad that media-challenged Kenny Lofton is urging the Philly faithful to be positive. Ah, yes ... Kenny Lofton, voice of reason.
2319 Lloyd McClendon got his 300th victory as a manager Saturday, an 8-3 win over the Rockies. "To get 300 wins is a nice accomplishment," he said, "but I'm looking more forward to my next 300 wins." Nice to see Lloyd's glass is half full ... and with the good stuff, too.
2424 Jamie Moyer has had more comebacks than Burt Reynolds, so his 4-0 record and 2.53 ERA to start the season was only mildly surprising. But Digger Phelps' son-in-law is 0-1 with three no-decisions and a 14.49 ERA in his past four starts and opposing batters are hitting .332 against him. And did we mention he's 42?
2527 How about closer Danny Graves being let go Monday, one day after he made an obscene hand gesture? The Reds say the decision was stricly performance-driven (Graves' 10 saves came with a 7.76 ERA). In any event, after he gave a fan the finger, they gave him the thumb.
2626 Closer Octavio Dotel is on the DL. The A's say he won't need surgery but his elbow has bothered him all season. When the Red Sox hit walkoff homers off Dotel in back-to-back games recently, it didn't make the A's feel all that good, either.
2728 What's wrong with this picture? Their ninth-place hitters are batting .340 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs. But their cleanup hitters have just one homer to go along with 15 RBIs and a .254 average. That sound you hear is Lou Piniella's teeth gnashing.
2829 They used four managers during their weekend series in Pittsburgh: Clint Hurdle on Friday before he returned home to tend to his sick daughter, bench coach Jamie Quirk on Saturday before he left to attend his son's graduation, and hitting coach Duane Espy and pitching coach Bob Apodaca on Sunday. They won Sunday.
2925 They're a mindboggling 2-21 on the road, which projects to 9-72 for the season. That easily would break the record of 65 road losses by the 1935 Boston Braves, whose 25-50 home record wasn't that hot, either.
3030 With an average Kauffman Stadium crowd of 18,500 -- down 2,500 from last year -- they're looking at their 14th straight season of attendance below 2 million. We blame 11 losing seasons during that span. And the cheesy black-trimmed unis.

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