Urban: Power Rankings: Brewers crash the party


Urban: Power Rankings: Brewers crash the party

Aug. 15, 2011


Editor's note: Mychael Urban's MLB power rankings -- detailing who's hot, who's not, a little why, a little how, and what it all means.

Mychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com
1 (1)
Philadelphia Phillies (78-41) Someone found a way to slow them down Sunday: Mother Nature.2 (5)
Milwaukee Brewers (70-51)Hawkins, Axford and Saito a terrific trio at back end of bullpen.
3 (3)
New York Yankees (72-46)Trailing the Red Sox in AL East but playing better baseball.
4 (2)
Boston Red Sox (73-46)Big series at home this week vs. Rays while Yanks get KC.
5 (4)
Atlanta Braves (70-51) Not even looking at NL East standings. They rule Wild Card chase.
6 (7)
Texas Rangers (69-52) Do they secretly wear As t-shirts under their game jerseys?
7 (11)
Arizona Diamondbacks (68-53) Jason Marquis injury a major potential momentum killer.
8 (6)
San Francisco Giants (66-55) Can someone please find a spot for Brandon Belt every day now?
9 (9)
Detroit Tigers (64-56) Least imposing division leader of the lot if Verlander isnt pitching.
10 (13)
Chicago White Sox (60-60) Finally back to .500 after winning eight of past 10. Theres hope.
11 (10)
St. Louis Cardinals (65-56) And folks were actually worried about Pujols (29 HRs75 RBIs)?
12 (8)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (65-56) Hard to say mid-Aug. series is makebreak, but 4 vs. Texas is HUGE.
13 (14)
Tampa Bay Rays (64-55) They feel like a contender in every way until you look at the standings.
14 (17)
Cincinnati Reds (59-62) You knew the Dontelle Willis joy ride would end soon, right?
15 (18)
New York Mets (58-62) Top half of league rankings and more than 20 games out. Parity sucks.
16 (12)
Cleveland Indians (60-57) Probably deserve to be ranked higher, but something feels wrong there.
17 (15)
Toronto Blue Jays (64-55) Another team likely in favor of 8 playoff spots, division be damned.
18 (16)
Pittsburgh Pirates (56-63)Come on, guys. Get it back together. Lotta people pulling for you.500.
19 (21)
Washington Nationals (57-62) Nine games over at home this season says theyve got some pieces.
20 (19)
Florida Marlins (56-64) Between Jack McKeon and Logan Morrison, No. 1 in smack talk.
21 (24)
Los Angeles Dodgers (55-64) Matt Kemp continues to shrug off circus, post MVP numbers.
22 (22)
Colorado Rockies (56-66)Mark Ellis must be thinking hes part of the problem at this point.
23 (23)
Oakland Athletics (53-67) Not in million years did anyone think defense would be the Achilles heel.
24 (27)
Seattle Mariners (52-67) Just handed Boston first series lossnon-split since late June.
25 (20)
Minnesota Twins (52-67) Anonymity can be good, but not when it pocks a big-league roster.
26 (25)
San Diego Padres (54-68) Still not a club anyone should be fired up to play down the stretch.27 (28)
Chicago Cubs (53-68) If you sold out every game, what would motivate you to get better?28 (26)
Kansas City Royals (50-71) The fade has been hard, no doubt, but no longer a laughingstock.
29 (29)
Baltimore Orioles (44-67) A million games out and still drew 18,000-plus Sunday. Impressive.30 (30)
Houston Astros (38-83) Remember Matt Downs? Starting first baseman here. Seriously.

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Warriors spend day reviewing Rockets' horror show, focus on one area of concern


Warriors spend day reviewing Rockets' horror show, focus on one area of concern

OAKLAND -- Sidelined with a back strain, Andre Iguodala spent Tuesday night “yelling at the TV more than I normally do” as the Warriors labored through an uneven performance before blowing a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter.

So there was Iguodala, this time with his teammates, sitting before a monitor Wednesday as coach Steve Kerr review the horror show that was a 122-121 loss to the Houston Rockets.

“We only did about a half-hour on the floor, mostly skill work,” Kerr said after the light practice. “Watched a lot of video.

“That game was a weird game because we were shooting the ball well and scoring enough to win. But we never had control of it the way we normally have control of a game, with defense and toughness.”

Though the Warriors were hampered by injuries -- Iguodala being out, while Draymond Green and Omri Casspi were hurt during the game -- beyond their control, there was at least one thing they believe they can fix immediately.

They can avoid some of the fouls, particularly those that are mindless.

That’s the trap Stephen Curry fell into, picking up three fouls in the first four minutes. That he was limited to 30 minutes, and only 18 through the first three quarters, had an impact on the playing rotation and was a factor in the loss.

“The only thing I’m worried about with him is just those little fouls,” Iguodala said. “Because when he’s on the court, no matter if he’s scoring or not, he’s making life easier for everyone else.”

Kerr after the game cited conditioning as an issue and elaborated on the subject Wednesday.

“Conditioning is not just physical. It’s mental, too,” he said. “We were not ready, mentally, to play that game, even when we weren’t tired early in the game.

“There were other lapses, too. After made baskets, transition threes for them we neglected to pick up. That’s not physical conditioning. That’s mental conditioning. That’s where we need to get better. And we will.”

The Warriors will be wounded in more ways than one when they board their flight to New Orleans Thursday morning. They’ll have some achy players, for sure, but they’ll also have a 0-1 record.

“I feel like losses have this huge effect on us that usually benefits us,” Iguodala said.

Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs


Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs

ALAMEDA – NaVorro Bowman was a sponge this week, absorbing the Raiders defense as quickly as possible.

The veteran inside linebacker signed with the Raiders Monday afternoon and did enough to play Thursday night’s pivotal home game against Kansas City.

That’s a huge plus for a Raiders team looking to snap a four-game losing streak. Bowman should be able to help right away despite being new to the scheme.

“He’s a veteran. He understands ball,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Wednesday. “We haven’t tried to install the entire playbook, but specific game plans and things. He’s had a good week. Even though it’s a short week, we feel good and he’ll play.”

He’ll probably start at inside linebacker and play the base defense as least. While many have criticized his speed and coverage skills diminished from major injuries, Bowman remains a sure tackler who can provide solid on-field leadership.

Veteran savvy and natural ability should carry Bowman while he masters a new scheme, allowing him to make the immediate impact required with the Raiders reeling at 2-4.

“He is very instinctive,” Del Rio said. "He’s a veteran guy that’s been there before. He understands what it looks like to lineup against a good football team and help us win.”

Bowman’s fresh and healthy, a step above his others at his position. Inside linebackers Cory James (knee), Marquel Lee (ankle) and Nicholas Morrow (ankle) are all questionable heading into Thursday’s game.

He has also been a willing teacher to a group of inside linebackers featuring a second-year pro and three rookies.

“They’re just soaking it up,” Del Rio said. “They’ll ask, ‘When do you lift? How often do you lift? When do you meet? When do you cover this?’ It’s good stuff to have for a really young group.”

In other injury news, right tackle Marshall Newhouse is out, leaving Vadal Alexander to start in his spot. David Sharpe should be the swing tackle in reserve.