Who's Hot Who's Not

August 09, 2009

Who's Hot

HUSTON

As in Street, the Rockies' closer, who may not be among baseball's most feared (poll below) but who has been among its most effective, with 20 saves in his last 20 chances for the NL wild-card leaders. Street is not superfast and he is not supermenacing but, explains pitching coach Bob Apodaca, "He is very sneaky."

RACHEL ALEXANDRA

A woman among boys. The filly dominated the Haskell Invitational, kicking mud in the faces of such colts as Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird and winning a big kiss on the schnozz from trainer Steve Asmussen. Next up? Perhaps the Aug. 29 Travers at Saratoga.

TIGER WOODS

Now, there's a memorable goodbye. In what was most likely the last Buick Open, Woods not only won the event by three strokes—that's four wins this season, twice what anyone else has—but also played to the raucous crowd, tossing a ball into the gallery on 17.

DERRICK MASON

The Ravens' receiver is happy to be back with the team after his 20-day retirement in July. He's cool with his contract ($3 million this year), his shoulder feels good (after surgery in March), and the fans greeted him at camp with whoops and applause.

Who's Not

HOUSTON

As in the Astros, losers of seven of nine through Sunday. They dropped to 4½ back in the NL Central, and the pain isn't going away: Slugger Lance Berkman (strained left calf) hasn't improved while on the DL, and ace Roy Oswalt says that because of his recent back trouble, "my hip and leg tend to go to sleep."

FREDDY ADU

A boy among men? The former soccer wunderkind says his coach at Benfica told him he's "no longer needed at the club"—no surprise given Adu's spotty playing time. Still only 20, he is scoping out a new home, saying he'd be happy to play for a small club in Holland.

TIGERS' INGE

Has the home run derby jinx struck again? Since going 0 for 10 at the All-Star contest, Detroit's Brandon Inge was hitting .180 through Sunday and hadn't added to his season's total of 21 homers. He's also battling chronic knee pain, which he recently called "excruciating."

BRANDON MARSHALL

The Broncos' receiver wants a better contract (he's due to get by on $2.2 million this year), wants a trade and is headed to trial on a misdemeanor battery charge next week. Camp offered no respite: Marshall pulled up lame on Sunday after running a long route.

SI PLAYERS MLB POLL

WHICH CLOSER WOULD YOU LEAST LIKE TO FACE WITH THE TYING RUN ON THIRD AND FEWER THAN TWO OUTS?

Mariano Rivera, Yankees 36%

Francisco Rodriguez, Mets 12%

Joe Nathan, Twins 11%

Brad Lidge, Phillies 10%

Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox 9%

FAST FACTS
Through Sunday, Rivera had made 19 straight appearances without allowing a run; this season the 39-year-old Rivera is 30 for 31 in save chances, with 50 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings.... Rodriguez is on pace for 36 saves; he had a big league record 62 with the Angels last season.... Nathan, who drew 16% of the AL vote, had not permitted any of the nine runners he had inherited this season to score.

Based on a survey of 380 MLB players

PHOTOBRAD MANGIN (STREET) PHOTOJEFF KAVANAUGH (RACHEL ALEXANDRA) PHOTOLEON HALIP/US PRESSWIRE (INGE) PHOTOAMY DAVIS/THE BALTIMORE SUN/AP (MASON) PHOTOJOHN IACONO (RIVERA) PHOTOCHUCK SOLOMON (RODRIGUEZ)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)