This is an article from the July 6, 2009 issue
Winning 12 of 15 (and five straight) put them atop the AL West. They can hit (league-best .278 batting average) and they can run (outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., right, stole home on Sunday). More good news for the Halos: Injured righty Ervin Santana, sharp in a rehab start, is ready to rejoin the team.
Going home is sweet, and sweeter still when it means you'll get to play alongside Dwight Howard. Carter's trade to NBA finalist Orlando—he lives in that city, at Isleworth, in the off-season—also liberated him from the 34-win Nets. Said Carter, "I'm still pinching myself."
The Braves rookie has been rolling since his June 7 debut: 4--0 with a 2.48 ERA through Sunday. His stuff isn't all that's sick. The 22-year-old complained of flu symptoms before he shut down the Red Sox on Sunday to run his scoreless-innings streak to 20.
Is it really this easy? After pulling away to a seven-stroke win at Locust Hill—the biggest margin in the Pittsford, N.Y., event in 17 years—the 21-year-old had her fifth LPGA victory in 11 months and a tour-best $1 million in winnings for '09. "My goal is rookie of the year," she said.
Losing 11 of 15 (and five straight) dropped them into the AL West cellar. They've got little offense (league-worst .238 batting average) and pitching's an issue. Young lefty Josh Outman had been living up to his name with a 4--1 record and a 3.48 ERA, but he's out, man, for at least 60 days and may need elbow surgery.
After the rebuilding Jaguars drafted three receivers and signed free agent Torry Holt, veteran wideout Northcutt figured he'd soon be gone. He just didn't think he'd go in a trade to the winless-in-2008 Lions, who used five QBs last season and spent this year's No. 1 pick on another.
The Indians rookie has had an uneven ride since his May 17 debut: 3--3 with a 6.26 ERA. Things were especially bumpy on Sunday, when he let in six runs in five innings to the Reds. Huff fell behind hitters, and, said catcher Kelly Shoppach, "that's when bad things happen."
Not up to the hype. The rising star of Golden Boy Promotions (and an upcoming MTV reality show) was knocked off course in a welterweight bout against Marcos Maidana. Ortiz had the crowd behind him at L.A.'s Staples Center, but Maidana got the sixth-round TKO.
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
WHICH MANAGER DO YOU LEAST WANT TO PLAY FOR?
Lou Piniella, Cubs 26%
Ozzie Guillen, White Sox 21%
Tony La Russa, Cardinals 10%
Joe Torre, Dodgers 4%
Eric Wedge, Indians 4%
Players couldn't vote for the manager of their own team.... Torre finished second in last week's poll asking players which manager they most wanted to play for.... Last week Piniella and outfielder Milton Bradley had words after Bradley threw a dugout tantrum; Piniella insulted Bradley but later apologized and the two reconciled.... Guillen, the AL Manager of the Year in 2005, has publicly disparaged several former players.
Based on a survey of 380 MLB players