All those innings pitched last year (201, up from 147 in 2007) don't seem to betaking a toll on the 24-year-old Dodger. He was 3--0, had a 2.84 ERA and wasdeflecting praise. Pitching for this year's club (10--3 through Sunday) iseasier, he says, "knowing the guys are going to put up runs."
Living the good life in Monaco. Nadal's victory in the Monte Carlo Masters washis fifth straight at the event and ran his winning streak on clay to 21 sets.Even he seems stunned by his ongoing dominance. "Who would have thought Icould achieve this?" he mused.
A good start for the Nationals' third baseman (10 RBIs through Sunday) gotbetter when he signed a five-year, $45 million deal. Zim might have gotten moreas a free agent in 2011, but, as he said to The Washington Post, "How muchdo you really need?"
The Pro Bowl player's trade from Buffalo to Philadelphia made him richer (by$53 million), more visible (the Eagles regularly make the playoffs; the Billsdon't) and appreciated. Philly coach Andy Reid called him "the best lefttackle in football."
All that time missed last year (out the last 15 weeks with a torn tendon in hisfoot) may be affecting the 29-year-old Yankee. After three starts he waswinless; had an ERA of, gulp, 34.50; and no one was sure why his sinker wasn'tsinking. Said manager Joe Girardi: "It stinks, what he's goingthrough."
Upset in the Key Biscayne final three weeks ago, ousted in the first round inMarbella two weeks ago, forced out of last week's Family Circle Cup with athigh injury. Then the official bummer: Dinara Safina bumped Serena from thetop spot in the WTA rankings.
He's 24 with great promise, but now he may be a National for five more years.If Washington's 203--282 record over the past three seasons isn't enough of abad sign, how about this: A wardrobe gaffe had Zim playing in a uniform thatread NATINALS last Friday.
The Arena Football League is already on a one-year hiatus, and now, reports theLos Angeles Times, the AFL's nine-year-old Avengers are closing up shopaltogether. This again leaves L.A. without a pro football team—except for USCof course.
SI PLAYERS NHL POLL
WHICH TEAM WILL WIN THE STANLEY CUP?
Detroit Red Wings 37%
San Jose Sharks 32%
New Jersey Devils 16%
Boston Bruins 7%
Washington Capitals 2%
Poll was completed just before the start of the playoffs.... Players could notvote for their own team.... The Pittsburgh Penguins, Cup finalists last season,were one of three teams that tied for sixth at 1.3%.... The Sharks, the NHL'sbest regular-season team with 117 points, fell behind No. 8 seed anddivision-rival Anaheim two games to none after dropping two games in SanJose.
Based on a survey of 324 NHL players • For more on thepoll and to comment on it, go to SI.com/bonus.
AL TIELEMANS (BILLINGSLEY)
CLAUDE PARIS/AP (NADAL)
CHARLES DHARAPAK/AP (ZIMMERMAN)
DAVID DUPREY/AP (PETERS)