By Dan George
April 14, 2005
MLB Power Rankings
Rank LW Team
16 -- Still upset over the firing of Larry Bowa, fans booed new skipper Charlie Manuel at the home opener, then average attendance for the next two games at one-year-old Citizens Bank Park dropped to 22,564. Gonna be a fun summer in Philly.
17 -- They keep taking shots at the Yanks, and not just off the field. In 30 games since the start of last season, Red Sox pitchers have hit New York batters 30 times, including five in their first four meetings of 2005.
18 -- Jason Giambi makes three errors in three games, Mariano Rivera gets the yips again against the Red Sox and Carl Pavano is knocked woozy by a line drive. Nice start in that bid to catch the Sox (how weird is it to write that?).
19 -- Did you see that they released injury-plagued Ryan Anderson last week? The one-time prospect was dubbed the "Little Unit" because he's a 6-foot-10 left-hander. Sadly, that's where his resemblance to Randy Johnson ended.
20 -- Dmitri Young said it was a "major league mistake" when they optioned outfielder Marcus Thames to the minors. And that was before Thames was recalled last week and hit a grand slam in their 11-1 rout of the Indians.
21 -- They lost 104 games last season -- then slashed their payroll 24 percent to $36 million. DH Mike Sweeney makes $11 million of that, although he may well be making it somewhere else before the end of the season.
22 -- The five-year, $15.5 million contract they gave catcher Victor Martinez brings back memories of the 10-year, $2.3 million deal Wayne Garland got in 1976, Of course, Garland's average annual salary was less than this year's major league minimum.
23 -- Alex Sanchez, the first player nabbed under baseball's new drug-testing policy, hit all of two home runs last year with the Tigers. Sanchez was released by the Tigers during spring training -- perhaps for taking illegal supplements and still hitting just two homers.
24 -- Closer Danny Graves was thrilled by their comeback win over the Mets on Opening Day. "I felt like I was at a rock concert, screaming for the next song," he said. As long as it wasn't I'm a Thug.
25 -- Tike Redman, who hit all of eight homers and 51 RBIs last season, is batting third at the suggestion of an outside stats consultant. We can only guess the impact this will have on their Pythagorean Record.
26 -- Dusty Baker on spring in Chicago: "I've never seen the speed of photosynthesis that can happen here. There can be no leaves on the trees, no ivy on the wall, and then we come back in two weeks and there's green everywhere." Pythagorean, photosynthesis ... where will it end?
27 -- April is the cruelest month, at least for Barry Zito. He entered the season with a career-worst 4.53 ERA in April, then gave up 12 earned runs in his first two starts. Plus, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder don't even return his calls.
28 -- Gary Matthews Jr. was their 11th Opening Day center fielder in 12 years, beating out preseason favorite Laynce Nix. Before Matthews gets too excited, though, he should know the list also includes such stalwarts as Doug Glanville, Bo Porter, Ruben Mateo and Tom Goodwin.
29 -- Their slow start pales next to that of scout Howie Freiling, who got a tongue-lashing from tempermental Devil Rays owner Vince Naimoli last week for using the private restroom in Naimoli's suite at Tropicana Field. That'll be the last time he leaves the seat up.
30 -- Combined cost of salaries they're still paying Charles Johnson, Larry Walker and Denny Neagle, even though they're no longer on the roster: $26.5 million. A 1-7 start: Priceless.

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