They're getting healthy (slugger Garret Anderson just came off the DL), they'refeeling happy (especially when they were mobbing Vladimir Guerrero, above,after his walk-off tater on Sunday) and they're winning: Eight wins in 10 gamesput them 5 1/2 games up in the AL West. Manager Mike Scioscia: "When we getinto our game, we're very confident."
The former NBA sharpshooter's postplaying career is going just fine: After fouryears as a well-regarded TNT analyst, he's taking over as general manager ofthe Suns—nice nucleus, Steve!—a team of which he is a part owner.
Davis on theHill
Diamondbacks southpaw Doug Davis has a 1.62 ERA and two wins, in his last threestarts after taming the Mets on Sunday. He's got a nasty curve and a nastycutter, and, says manager Bob Melvin, "it's difficult to gauge him whenhe's throwing strikes with both."
The Phillies promo began with kids receiving grass-skirted figurines ofMaui-born outfielder Shane Victorino, then included Hawaiian music betweeninnings and hula dancers in the seventh-inning stretch. How did it end? WithVictorino blasting a homer to beat the Giants.
They're banged up (catcher Henry Blanco and outfielder Daryle Ward went on theDL), they're angry (pitcher Carlos Zambrano and catcher Michael Barrett foughtin the dugout; skipper Lou Piniella, above, got suspended after kicking dirt onan ump) and they're losing: Eight losses in 10 games put Chicago near thebottom of the NL Central.
The ex-NFL receiver's postplaying career is in trouble. Eighteen months afterhis last catch, he tried his hands in mixed martial arts: He got flattened (butnot seriously hurt) in 38 seconds, then refused to take the postfight drugtest.
Davis at theBat
Diamondbacks southpaw Doug Davis hasn't gotten much run support this year—andhe's part of the problem. He's 0 for 51 since his last hit almost a year ago."I'm embarrassed," he told The Arizona Republic, then explained,"I'm a better hitter than what I've been doing."
Rockies outfielder Matt was dazed and contused after accidentally banging hishead on a concrete overhang in the Colorado dugout. And the next day he wasstill sore—mainly over false reports that he'd smacked himself on the head withhis batting helmet in frustration after popping out. Said Holliday,"Ridiculous."
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
Which player gets the most out of the least talent?
David Eckstein, Cardinals SS 77%
Jamie Moyer, Phillies P 3%
Craig Counsell, Brewers 3B 3%
Ryan Freel, Reds CF 1%
Jamey Carroll, Rockies 2B 1%
Players were not allowed to vote for a teammate.... The 5'7", 175 poundEckstein, in his seventh season, is a career .283 hitter; he won the WorldSeries in 2002 with the Angels and was named MVP of last year's World Series,in which he batted .364.... Eckstein was dissed on his '04 baseball card: Itpictured then Angels teammate Adam Kennedy instead.... The Padres' Greg Madduxand the Tigers' Kenny Rogers were the only pitchers besides Moyer to drawmultiple votes.
[Based on a survey of 413 MLB players] • For anexpanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/players.
GARY A. VASQUEZ/US PRESSWIRE (GUERRERO)
NAM Y. HUH/AP (PINIELLA)
UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE/EVERETT COLLECTION (CHARLIE BROWN)
JACK DEMPSEY/AP (DAVIS)
JOHN BIEVER (ECKSTEIN, DAVIS ACTION)
SCOTT ROVAK/US PRESSWIRE (ECKSTEIN ACTION)
THE PHILLIES 2007 (HULA)