By Dan George
April 14, 2005
MLB Power Rankings
Rank LW Team
1 -- A year ago, they came from behind to win 53 times -- 26 times in the ninth inning. Fluke? Tell it to the Giants, who watched them score four in the ninth against Armando Benitez on Tuesday for a 9-8 victory.
2 -- After beating the Indians 2-1 the other day, Freddy "Lights Out" Garcia is 10-0 with a 2.29 ERA in day games since the beginning of last season.
3 -- They cut former closer Billy Koch in spring training, so he sat in the stands and cheered against them in their Opening Day win at Tampa. That'll show 'em.
4 -- In the It Doesn't Matter How You Start Department: The 13-time defending division champs have lost three straight Opening Day games by a combined scored of 26-4.
5 -- Coming back from elbow surgery, Andy Pettitte looked sharp last week against the Cards. His velocity still needs work, though. After an 84 mph fastball, the word "Change" flashed on the scoreboard. Ouch.
6 -- Closer Brandon Lyon got five outs for a save last week, then returned the next day to get two more outs despite a five-run lead. And this a guy who missed all last season while recovering from ulnar nerve surgery.
7 -- They're already 4-2 this season against the Rangers, a team many think will be their toughest foe in the AL West. And that's without perpetually injured Tim Salmon, who's hit .348 with 32 homers and 114 RBIs in 150 games against Texas.
8 -- When last we talked, some idiot was picking them to win the World Series. They didn't, of course, but Torii Hunter predicts they're better this year. "This could be the best team we've had," he said. Hmmm.
9 -- Because of a pending DUI case in Florida, Sidney Ponson may not be able to travel to Toronto for a series with the Blue Jays later this month. Between that and his offseason scuffles, Sir Sid has gone from royalty to just a royal pain.
10 -- More than a minute of Khalil Greene's introductory song, Trick Daddy's charming I'm a Thug, was played over the P.A. system before one of his at-bats. Here's guessing dads at the game had more than the infield fly rule to explain to their kids.
11 -- Jeff Cirillo, who homered and doubled on Opening Day, had to wheedle a spring training invitation from GM Doug Melvin. "It was a long shot that I took the phone call," said Melvin. "And it was a long shot that he made the team. He hit two long shots."
12 -- They're just 5-4 despite a 1.36 ERA, prompting colleague and Fish fan Jake Luft to comment, "At this rate, we'll fall 10 games below our Pythagorean Record." I say it's worth it just to hear Jack McKeon pronounce "Pythagorean."
13 -- They're poo-pooing Moises Alou's right calf injury, but right calf strains put Alou on the DL in April 2000, April 2001 and April 2002. Still, probably nothing a little urine therapy can't cure.
14 -- Terrmel Sledge is in the Hall of Fame. OK, it's just his bat. Cooperstown officials asked for it last week after Sledge became the first player to homer for Washington's new team. Sledge was thrilled ... just to see his name and Hall of Fame in the same sentence.
15 -- GM Walt Jocketty says they're serious about reinventing wild-armed former pitcher Rick Ankiel as an outfielder. Of course, hitting that cutoff man may turn into an adventure.

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