King Felix's perfection tops rankings
There was a time when the perfect game was one of the rarest feats in baseball history. That's no longer the case, but even with multiple perfectos being thrown this year, it's still impressive when a pitcher puts one together. Impressive enough that Felix Hernandez was the unanimous choice among our panel for the top spot in this week's rankings.
Hernandez put together one of the most outstanding pitching performances ever, striking out 12 Rays en route to his 27-up, 27-down masterpiece. As early as the third inning, observers were saying he had "perfect-game stuff," and he came through. Hernandez's perfection beat out Cross-Sport Power Rankings regular Lionel Messi, who returned to the pitch with a ho-hum two-goal performance for Barcelona. It looks like Messi will have another record-breaking season.
That's how our panel ranked them, but do you agree? Let your voice be heard in the comments, and if you impress the panel, you could be chosen as a guest ranker for next week.
2012 Cross-Sport Power Rankings panel: Sara Walsh, John Buccigross, Robert Flores, Michael Smith, Bram Weinstein, Mike Hill, Jorge Andres, Charissa Thompson, DJ Gallo, Jim Basquil, Kevin Connors, Jeff MacGregor and Steve Weissman.
The Cross-Sport Power Rankings week runs from Tuesday to Monday, covering all sporting events that fall in that time span.
Cross-Sport Power Rankings: Aug. 14-20
|King Felix lived up to his nickname as he pitched the first perfect game in Mariners history on Wednesday. The star pitcher is known for his high-velocity fastball, but Hernandez earned his perfect game against the Rays through a variation of curveballs, changeups and sliders. King's Court was in full attendance as fans in yellow "King's Court" T-shirts cheered Hernandez on and forgot about the Mariners' unsatisfactory season -- even if it was just for the day.|
|Messi started this season where he left off last season by scoring two goals in Barcelona's 5-1 victory over Real Sociedad on Sunday. The Argentine ace scored both goals within five minutes of each other in Barcelona's season opener and nearly gained a hat trick when his shot came off the feet of opposing goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. Messi is coming off an outstanding 73-goal performance from last season.|
|Don't hand the American League MVP to Mike Trout just yet. Cabrera has been on fire in August, and last week was no exception. In five games, he put up a .529/.636/.941 slash line with an absurd 1.578 OPS. The Tigers are just two games out of the wild-card race -- 2½ games ahead of the Angels -- and that may be the difference-maker come voting time.|
|Federer bounced back from his disappointing silver-medal finish at the Olympics. He rolled through the field in Cincinnati, not dropping a set en route to his sixth title of the year. He dispatched rival Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final, beating the defending U.S. Open champ 6-0, 7-6. Not a bad way to prep for this year's Open.|
|Garcia hadn't won in more than four years and was coming off a missed cut at the PGA Championship, so it's safe to say no one was expecting the 32-year-old Spaniard to post four consecutive rounds of 67 or better to win the Wyndham Championship. It took a Monday finish after a weather delay, but Garcia notched his first Tour win since the 2008 Players Championship.|
|Price, the 2010 American League Cy Young runner-up, dominated in league-leading 16th win of the season, striking out eight Angels and giving up just three hits in seven innings on Thursday. Price leads the AL in wins and ERA, is sixth in strikeouts and has to be considered among the front-runners for this year's Cy Young Award.|
|Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good, and sometimes it's even better to be both. Biffle took over the NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead when previous leader Jimmie Johnson suffered an engine failure, allowing Biffle to cruise to victory in Michigan on Sunday. Biffle's second win of the season gives him a 20-point edge on Matt Kenseth with just three races remaining before the Chase.|
|Ronda Rousey is becoming well-known for her arm bar tactics, as she made another helpless opponent (this time Sarah Kaufman) submit on Saturday. The match lasted only 54 seconds before the arm bar bandit had Kaufman writhing in pain with a frantic tap-out. Rousey has won all six of her bouts with her signature arm bar move. The bantamweight title holder is already at the top of her weight class, and many believe she hasn't even scratched the surface of maximizing her talents.|
|Michael Orozco Fiscal
|Michael Orozco Fiscal scored the only goal in the U.S.' first victory in an away game over Mexico on Wednesday. Orozco Fiscal finished from close range after receiving a tricky back-heel assist from Terrence Boyd. The notoriety wasn't so much in how the goal was scored, but the fact that the 26-year-old defender from Orange, Calif., propelled the U.S. over a team that it hadn't beaten in an away game in 75 years of matches.|
|Bryant just barely made it onto the rankings with a 68-point performance in 15 minutes of a game. Now, before grabbing your pitchforks and storming our offices for not ranking him higher, it must be noted that this was a charity exhibition game in China against local entertainers. But we still think Kobe earned a spot because no matter who the opponent is, 4.53 points per minute for 15 minutes straight in a full-court game is an impressive feat by anyone's standards.|
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