This is an article from the July 7, 2008 issue
First the Fresno State alum saw his former teammates nab the College World Series title; then the Rays righty pitched like a bulldog himself, one-hitting the Marlins. The 24-year-old may be settling down: Since a June 8 dugout dustup with catcher Dioner Navarro, Garza's got a 2.05 ERA.
She beat Annika, she beat Lorena, she beat 'em all! Inbee Park, all of 19, cruised at the U.S. Open, for a $560,000 payday and the win of her young life. Said Park, "I really can't believe I did this."
Here they come. Feasting on the NL, the 2006 pennant winners finally got past their brutal start and over .500 with a 17--4 run. How? Batting by Curtis Granderson (right, hitting .444 since June 11), pitching by Justin Verlander (3--1, 2.42 ERA over his last four starts) and fact-stating by manager Jim Leyland, who pointed out, "We're better off than we were three weeks ago."
Forward Ryan Malone parlayed a career season (27 goals for Pittsburgh) into a seven-year, $31.5 million deal with the Lightning. That pleased papa Greg, a former Penguin who got other good news: Tampa hired him as their head pro scout.
His old Kentucky team got beat in its NCAA regional, but that's the least of the A's righthander's worries. A 10.29 ERA over three starts helped him become the AL's first 11-game loser. "Baseball is a game of inches," he informed the San Jose Mercury News. "The inches don't seem to be going my way."
So close—he led the Buick Open with two holes to play—but couldn't close. Back-to-back bogeys cost Woody Austin the trophy. He also blew a chance to win in N'Awlins in March. Why the chokes? "I'd better figure it out," he said, "or I'd better quit."
There they go. A pushover for the AL, the Tigers' Series foe (O.K., it was in 1984) dropped 12 of 13 to undo a charge into contention. All the lousy hitting (2.8 runs a game during the streak) and poor pitching (4.94 ERA) has left them shell-shocked. Starter Randy Wolf to San Diego's Union-Tribune after an eighth straight home loss: "This isn't something you can ever imagine."
It's over, finally. Floyd Landis's appeal to keep his 2006 Tour de France title was shot down, and he also has to pay $100,000 in legal fees. The court scolded the testy Landis for trying to discredit his positive result and upheld his two-year ban.
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
Who has the best RAW POWER in baseball?
Ryan Howard, Phillies 1B 31%
Wily Mo Pena, Nationals OF 12%
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees 3B 9%
Vladimir Guerrero, Angels OF 6%
Prince Fielder, Brewers 1B 6%
Howard, fifth in the NL with 20 homers through Sunday, had hit a homer every 11.9 at bats since his 2004 debut—the majors' best ratio.... The 6'3", 265-pound Pena, a part-timer, hit a homer every 18.6 at bats before this year, in which he had just two in 174 at bats through Sunday.... Of the 27 players who got multiple votes, Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez is the only middle infielder.
[Based on a survey of 495 MLB players] • For more on the poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/players.