West is not best

The Giants pulled off a triple play Friday night, which means absolutely nothing since they lost to the Padres, 7-3, in 13 innings. The Giants, Padres and Rockies had a combined record of 65-102 entering yesterday's games and had the three worst marks in the National League.

One year removed from having four teams above .500, the NL West has fallen as fast as Todd Helton's production. Here are the Rockies first baseman's home-run numbers for each season since he hit a career-high 49 in 2001: 30, 33, 32, 20, 15 and 17. The fact that Colorado has stored its Coors Field baseballs in a humidor has had some impact on the dip in Helton's long-ball numbers. But in the name of Brady Anderson, how can a supposed power hitter's numbers decrease from 49 to 15 in the five prime years of his career?

Back to the Giants: The San Jose Mercury News reported that the club is shopping relievers Tyler Walker (5.87 ERA in 25 appearances), Jack Taschner (3.38 ERA in 28 appearances), and Vinnie Chulk (3.13 ERA in 20 appearances). Oh, and former Giant Barry Bonds is available, too.

Clash of the frightens?

The Cubs and Phillies are ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in ESPN.com's latest rankings of the best teams in the majors. Is it possible that the National League championship will feature the poster children for franchise ineptitude? Check back in four months.

Sweet Lou

According to the Associated Press and the Elias Sports Bureau, Cubs manager Lou Piniella has managed three teams that have won a game after trailing by eight or more runs - the Cubs, Mariners and Yankees. The Cubs erased an eight-run deficit Friday to beat the Rockies, 10-9. Also of note, Piniella has kicked his hat arguing with an umpire while managing five teams - the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Devil Rays and Cubs.

Time for Uecker to take cover

If you don't subscribe to Sports Illustrated, there's one reason to search for a copy of the May 19 issue: Bob Uecker. In what may be the creepiest, yet oddly coolest, picture ever taken, the Brewers broadcaster is photographed shirtless (!) watching two Brewers players play Ping-Pong. The 73-year-old Uecker is standing poolside against a hut, legs crossed. And dare we say, the baseball funny man is looking robust. The only problem? Uecker has donned Magnum P.I.-size bathing trunks that are

juuuust a bit outside

the limits of decorum.


Padres lefthander Shawn Estes broke the thumb on his throwing hand when he fell on the tunnel stairs between the team's clubhouse and dugout Friday night, the team said. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday after X-rays revealed the broken bone. . . . Pedro Martinez rejoined the Mets on Friday and is scheduled to pitch Tuesday.