This is an article from the July 24, 2006 issue
In up-for-grabs ALWest, they're doing some grabbing: Six straight wins left the Halos a game anda half back through Sunday. With starters like John Lackey (26 2/3-inningscoreless streak) they're primed for second half (page 44). Manager MikeScioscia on the sizzling Lackey (left): "It has been his frame ofmind."
Humble and bubblysophomore, 21, sped to his first Nextel Cup win of the season, vaulting him tofourth place in the Chase. Afterward, the kid downplayed the victory.
Timberwolvesrookie--and SI PLAYERS cover boy on March 20, 2006--averaged 24.8 points todraw comparisons with Dwyane Wade and win MVP at the Vegas Summer League.
Three days afteropening a steak house, Mo's, the Yankees' Mariano Rivera (left) locked up his400th save with a two-inning, two-DP shutdown of the White Sox. (Manager JoeTorre: "He's a special guy.") Across town, the Mets bullpen was leadingthe NL with a 3.41 ERA.
Inanyone-can-snag-it AL West, M's are sagging, not snagging: Eight losses in 10games dropped Seattle to cellar. Ichiro Suzuki ruminating on team's woes:"The problem usually isn't just on the cover. You need to look muchdeeper.... If we're talking about a tree ... you need to look at the root. Butyou cannot see the root."
Colorful Cup champ(right) continues to slip, this time to 11th place and out of the Chase after awreck with Ryan Newman. And yes, he ripped Newman afterward.
Unrecognizable.Orioles second baseman (.346 last year) was hitting .184 in his last 10 gamesand had his bobblehead day postponed after the dollmaker apparently got hisrace wrong.
Bay Area firstbasemen
The same week thatthe Giants sent down Lance Niekro (left) and his .249 average ("Right now,[Niekro] is not equipped," G.M. Brian Sabean told the San FranciscoChronicle) the A's demoted young Dan Johnson (.237) to work on his swing atTriple A Sacramento.
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
What is your alltime favorite baseball movie?
Field of Dreams
FAST FACTS For Love of the Game (1999), which like BullDurham and Field of Dreams stars Kevin Costner, was fifth (4%).... The Rookie(2002) and The Sandlot (1993) were the only others to get more than 2% of thevote.... More than 33% of respondents younger than 24 chose Major League.
[ Based on a survey of 470 MLB players ] • For anexpanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/Players.