Bumblin' The Astros have baseball's worst record, with 105 losses heading into the final week. Their entire roster makes less than Alex Rodriguez does. In May they lost a game on a dropped pop-up, and last month they botched a rundown when two infielders ran into each other. But it wasn't until Sept. 17 that Houston had its signature moment: Jonathan Villar sliding cheek-to-cheek into the no-look tag of Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips. The rest of the sports world chuckled—except for Mark Sanchez, who no doubt wondered what's so funny about plays like this.
TWO PHOTOSPHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN K. ALLER GETTY IMAGES
Tumblin' The Pirates, long the occupants of the NL Central cellar, have turned the division on its head this year. How? With efforts like this one by catcher Tony Sanchez, who went somersaulting into the visitors' dugout at PNC Park last Thursday in pursuit of a foul ball. Sanchez made the catch and was all smiles after getting back on his feet during a 10--1 win over the Padres. Pittsburgh fans have been walking around with the same expression: The Bucs are closing in on their first postseason since 1992.
PHOTOPHOTOGRAPH BY JED JACOBSOHN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Stumblin' It's every punter's worst nightmare: a loose ball bouncing around behind you. Arizona State's Matt Haack (26) took off in pursuit of the pigskin after he had a kick blocked by Stanford's Luke Kaumatule (99) last Saturday. The play ended with a safety for the fifth-ranked Cardinal, which sent the visiting Wildcats home with a 42--28 loss.