Rookie pitcher Jeriome Robertson leads the first-place Astros in
tattoos, piercings and, most significant, victories (12 at week's
end). The 26-year-old lefthander, who also leads the majors in
wins by a rookie, has been an unlikely stopper in a rotation
that's been hampered by injuries. "He's been more consistent than
anyone would have thought," says third baseman Morgan Ensberg.
"He's just a [great] athlete."
Robertson struggled in his first six starts, going 1-3 with an
8.36 ERA, and in early May was sent to Triple A New Orleans,
where he worked on refining his sinker. After Robertson returned
to the rotation on May 16, the Astros won 15 of his next 19
starts. With ace Roy Oswalt battling to come back from his third
groin strain of the year, Robertson will play a critical role
down the stretch for Houston, which was tied with St. Louis atop
the National League Central.
COLOR PHOTO: RICK STEWART/GETTY IMAGES (ROBERTSON) Robertson