This is an article from the June 2, 2008 issue
Is it 2005 all over again? Nine wins in 11 games had sweet-pitchin' Chicago (3.39 ERA through Sunday) in first place in the AL Central. And they've got some kind of Q rating: Surprise stud Carlos Quentin had a league-best 14 homers, and thanks to folks like Gavin Floyd (above), no team's better at delivering a quality start.
A memorable Memorial Day weekend for the world's No. 2 golfer. His 140-yard, tree-defying wedge shot set up a one-stroke win in Fort Worth. That meant a $1.1 million payday. (He's nearing $50 million for his career.) How's the shot rate among his best? "Top five," said Lefty.
Plenty of gas at 44. Now 5--0 since late April, long lefty Randy Johnson has a 0.69 ERA in his last two starts, including a 10-K dazzler last Saturday. That put him nine shy of Roger Clemens for second all time. The secret? Manager Bob Melvin to azcentral.com: "He's throwing the ball where he wants."
Quad City. The Wildcats' women's lax team (SI, May 12) beat Penn for its fourth straight NCAA title. "We all work hard," explained attacker Hilary Bowen to Chicago's Sun-Times. Can they drive for five? Bowen (right, school-record 81 goals) is only a junior.
Is it 2007 all over again for the San Francisco Giants? Sunday's doubleheader loss to the Marlins dropped them to 20--31, and with slumpers like Rich Aurilia (above, 10 for his last 50) the team can't score. Cleveland outfielder Ben Francisco also couldn't keep bad fortune at bay: He booted a routine single in the 10th, costing a game.
Rule No. 1 in Chelsea: Do not lose to Man U. Three days after watching his rivals win on penalty kicks in the Champions League final—and then saying he was "proud of many things" Chelsea had done this year—Grant was dismissed as Chelsea coach; he'd had just eight months on the job.
Outta gas at 32? Former elite closer Eric Gagné had a 6.75 ERA after being dealt to Boston last July, and now a 6.98 ERA and five blown saves as a $10 million Brewer. Maybe this is actually good news for Milwaukee: A sore rotator cuff has landed the begoggled righty on the DL.
Double downer. A day after the top-ranked women's golfers wound up third at the NCAAs, the top-seeded men's lax team faced nemesis Johns Hopkins in the Final Four—and lost to the Blue Jays for the third straight postseason.
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
Are managers too strict on pitch count of their pitchers?
Among pitchers, starters were much more likely to vote yes (56%) than were relievers (46%).... Injured Padre Jake Peavy (pitching elbow) had averaged a big league high 107.8 pitches per start through Sunday; the Angels' Ervin Santana (above, left) led the AL at 107.5... The Red Sox' Jon Lester (above, right) threw 130 pitches, the most in the majors this year, in his no-hit win over Kansas City on May 19.... Royals starters average 99.1 pitches per outing, the most in MLB; the Yankees' average 86.4, the least.... Tim Wakefield's 172 pitches over 10 innings as a Pirate against the Braves in 1993 is the most in a game by an active pitcher.... In '62 Washington Senator Tom Cheney threw a record 228 pitches in a 16-inning complete game win over the Orioles.
[Based on a survey of 465 MLB players] • For more on the poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/players.