Posts Tagged ‘Mark Buehrle’

Starting Rotation: American League Central

January 19, 2010

Yesterday, I looked at the starting rotations of each American League East team. Today, I will look at the starting rotations for each American League Central team.

The American League Central is home to some of the best young pitchers in the game. As a matter of fact, five out of the last six AL Cy Young award winners have come from the Central.

Here are the starting rotations of each American League Central team as presently constructed.

Minnesota Twins

1. Scott Baker, RHP

2. Nick Blackburn, RHP

3. Kevin Slowey, RHP

4. Carl Pavano, RHP

5. Francisco Liriano, LHP

Quick Take – This rotation is littered with No.2 and No.3-type starters. However, Liriano can be a No.1 if he can regain his form prior to Tommy John surgery. Despite their lack of a true No.1 starter, this rotation has plenty of depth.

Chicago White Sox

1. Jake Peavy, RHP

2. Mark Buehrle, LHP

3. Gavin Floyd, RHP

4. John Danks, LHP

5. Freddy Garcia, RHP

Quick Take – The White Sox have the best pitching staff that nobody ever talks about. Danks is a very good No.4 starter. I will be interested to see how Peavy adjusts to the AL over the course of an entire season. Garcia will battle Dan Hudson for the No.5 starter spot in spring training.

Detroit Tigers

1. Justin Verlander, RHP

2. Rick Porcello, RHP

3. Max Scherzer, RHP

4. Jeremy Bonderman, RHP

5. Armando Galarraga, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation has more questions than answers going into 2010. Verlander threw more pitches than any other pitcher in baseball last season (3,937). How is that going to affect him in 2010. Will Porcello experience a sophomore slump? Can Bonderman and Galarraga bounce back in 2010?

Kansas City Royals

1. Zack Greinke, RHP

2. Gil Meche, RHP

3. Luke Hochevar, RHP

4. Kyle Davies, RHP

5. Brian Bannister, RHP

Quick Take – This staff is led by the great Greinke, who was last year’s AL Cy Young award winner. Nobody expects him to repeat last year’s performance in 2010, but he shouldn’t be that far off. The Royals need Hochevar to step up. This is a big year for him.

Cleveland Indians

1. Jake Westbrook, RHP

2. Fausto Carmona, RHP

3. Justin Masterson, RHP

4. David Huff, LHP

5. Aaron Laffey, LHP

Quick Take – For the most part, this is a young rotation, but it’s not very good right now. Carmona has been one of baseball biggest mysteries over the last couple of years. Having watched Masterson over the last couple of years with the Red Sox, I feel be is better suited to be in the bullpen.

Tomorrow, I will look at the American League West. The West is home to one of the top young pitchers in the game Felix Hernandez. Not only will teams in the West have to worry about Hernandez in 2010, but will have to contend with him for years to come.

More on that story later.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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American League Hands Out Some Gold Gloves

November 10, 2009

Not only ’tis the season for surgeries, trades, and free agency, but ’tis the season for handing out some hardware.

Baseball handed out its first set of postseason awards today. The American Gold Glove winners were announced today.

gold glove award

The Gold Glove award

Let’s take a look at who won an American League Gold Glove in 2009…

C. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins – .996 fielding percentage, 26 percent caught stealing percentage

1B. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees – .997 fielding percentage, -1.4 UZR

2B. Placido Polanco, Detroit Tigers – .997 fielding percentage, 11.4 UZR

SS. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees – .986 fielding percentage, 4.8 UZR

3B. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays – .970 fielding percentage, 18.5 UZR

OF. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners – .988 fielding percentage, 10.5 UZR

OF. Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles – .996 fielding percentage, -4.7 UZR

OF. Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – .997 fielding percentage, -1.4 UZR

P. Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox – .982 fielding percentage

I think baseball did a good job with these selections. Believe it or not, the one selection you could really argue is Ichiro. Nelson Cruz (.990 fielding percentage, 11.6 UZR) or JD Drew (.992 fielding percentage, 10.5 UZR) would have been better selections as a right fielder.

Here is the one problem I do have with the Gold Glove awards. Why does baseball treat all the outfielders as one position? It doesn’t matter what position you play in the outfield, you are considered an “outfielder.”

Every year, either two center fielders win a Gold Glove, or two right fielders win, etc…

Why doesn’t baseball pick one left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder? Does that make too much sense?

The National League Gold Glove winners will be announced tomorrow.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

10 Things We Learned About Baseball In July…

August 6, 2009

Outside of April, the month of July might be the best month of the baseball season. You have got the All-Star Game, the trading deadline, and the pennant races really start to heat up.

This July lived up to expectations as the we had a great All-Star Game, the last hour of the trading deadline was crazy, and the division races (the NL West not included) really heated up.

Here are the 10 things we learned about baseball in the month of July…

10. Omar Minaya has a meltdown. Only the New York Mets could hold a press conference to fire a VP for Player Development and have it turn into a clown show.

In the middle of the press conference, in which the Mets announced Tony Bernazard was being relieved of his duties, Mets’ GM Omar Minaya went off on a tangent about how Mets’ beat writer Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News was lobbying for Bernazard’s job. Say what???

To say it was bizarre was the understatement of the century. Minaya has since issued an apology, but his job is definitely on shaky ground.

Staying in the Big Apple…

Jeter had plenty of reasons to smile in July

Jeter had plenty of reasons to smile in July

9. The New York Yankees were surging. The Yankees started the month 2.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. They even were three games out at the All Star break.

Then the Yankees won 10 out of 11 and opened a 3.5 game lead on the rival Red Sox. The Yankees were paced by captain Derek Jeter and his .357 avg in the month of July as well as Phil Hughes (0.61 ERA and 16 K’s in 14.1 IP) who has become a force in the eighth inning.

While the Yankees were surging…

8. The Boston Red Sox were scuffling. The Red Sox went into the All Star break three games up on the Yankees and in about two weeks they were 3.5 games back.

A lack of offense was the main culprit for the Red Sox. They hit .248 as a team and Jason Bay decided to take the month off. Bay hit just .194 with one HR in the month of July.

If the Red Sox make the World Series, Game One will be at Fenway Park because…

7. The American League wins the All-Star Game. Thanks to an amazing catch by Carl Crawford that robbed the Rockies’ Brad Hawpe of a home run – the American League won the All-Star Game 4-3.

This was the 13th consecutive win for the AL and the winner of the AL Pennant will have home-field advantage in the World Series.

It was a great night in St. Louis. I think we’ll stay in St. Louis…

6. The Cardinals land Matt Holliday. The Cardinals weren’t just happy acquiring Mark DeRosa, so they went out and got the best bat on the trade market in Matt Holliday.

The Cardinals gave up top prospect Brett Wallace in order to get Holliday, but the Cardinals feel Holliday can put them over the top. The Red Birds have put themselves in great position to not only win the NL Wild Card, but the NL Central as well.

Speaking of the Wild Card…

5. The NL Wild Card race is intense. On July 31st, seven teams were separated by a grand total of seven games for the NL Wild Card.

The St Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins, Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, and Milwaukee Brewers all have a realistic chance at the Wild Card.

If you want me to predict a winner? I am going to say the Giants are the last team standing. I just like their pitching as a whole and I think they will find enough offense in the end.

If the Giants win the Wild Card, they might have to play the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS because…

4. The Phillies get their ace. The Phillies wanted Roy Halladay, but when the asking price was too high they settled for a pretty darn good pitcher in Cliff Lee.

To get Lee from the Cleveland Indians without giving up top prospects Kyle Drabek or Dominic Brown was one heck of a move by Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. With the addition of Lee, the Phillies might be the favorite to once again win the NL Pennant.

Cliff Lee and Matt Holliday weren’t the only players traded in July…

3. The July 31st trading deadline ended with a frenzy. Roy Halladay was the biggest name on the trade market, but he didn’t go anywhere – he is staying in Toronto. However, there were a lot of other players who are calling new cities home.

Freddy Sanchez, Jake Peavy, Victor Martinez, George Sherrill, Jack Wilson, Scott Rolen, and Jarrod Washburn all were moved close to or at the trading deadline.

One player who won’t be traded anytime soon…

Beckham had a monster July

Beckham had a monster July

2. Gordon Beckham is really good. The Chicago White Sox have found a stud in Gordon Beckham. After a really slow start, Beckham has really turned it on as of late.

Beckham won the AL Rookie of the Month award for July when he hit .330 with three HR, 18 RBI, 12 runs scored, and a .526 slugging percentage in 27 games.

Staying on the south side of Chicago and the number one thing we learned from baseball in July was…

1. For one day in his life Mark Buehrle was perfect. Buehrle already threw a no-hitter in his career, but on July 23rd, Buehrle decided to one better. Against the Tampa Bay Rays Mark Buehrle tossed the 18th perfect game in major league baseball history.

Buehrle was spectacular that day retiring all 27 batters he faced while throwing just 116 pitches in the winning effort.

Buehrle didn’t stop there however. In his next start against the Minnesota Twins, Buehrle was perfect again for 5.2 innings. He also set a major-league record that game by retiring 45 straight batters.

Just an amazing two start stretch for one of the more underrated pitchers in the game.

That’s a wrap for July. What will August bring us? Stay tuned to find out!!!

White Sox Mark Buehrle Breaks Record (Update)…

July 29, 2009

Update:

Things sure do happen quickly in the game of baseball. After retiring the first two batters of the sixth inning, Buehrle walked Alexei Casilla on a 3-2 pitch – ending Buehrle’s streak of retiring 45 consecutive batters.

Despite the walk, Buehrle still had a no-hitter going, but gave up a single to the next batter Denard Span.

Retiring 45 consecutive batters as a starter is just an incredible accomplishment for Buehrle. This might be a record that will stand for awhile.

Original Post:

Apparently the Chicago White Sox Mark Buehrle was not happy with just throwing one perfect game. That is because through five innings tonight against the Minnesota Twins, Buehrle has another perfect game going.

Buehrle has now retired 43 straight batters which is a major league record. The previous record was 41 batters in a row set by two pitchers. Jim Barr retired 41 straight batters in 1972 and Buehrle’s teammate Bobby Jenks accomplished the feat in 2007.

More on this game as it progresses. Right now it is 1-0 White Sox heading into the sixth.

White Sox Mark Buehrle Breaks Record…

July 29, 2009

Apparently the Chicago White Sox Mark Buehrle was not happy with just throwing one perfect game. That is because through five innings tonight against the Minnesota Twins, Buehrle has another perfect game going.

Buehrle has now retired 43 straight batters which is a major league record. The previous record was 41 batters in a row set by two pitchers. Jim Barr retired 41 straight batters in 1972 and Buehrle’s teammate Bobby Jenks accomplished the feat in 2007.

More on this game as it progresses. Right now it is 1-0 White Sox heading into the sixth.

Fantasy Week In Review, July 20-26…

July 27, 2009

It’s Monday, so that means it’s time for a fantasy week in review. Was it me or did it seem like more player went on the DL than normal last week? Every day it seemed like two players were going to miss 15 days.

That being said, here at the fantasy studs, the many players who show reasons for concern, and the potential pickups from the fantasy week of July 20-26.

Fantasy Studs

Justin Morneau – .333/5/11/.455. Leading candidate for the 2010 Paul Molitor Hall of Fame for players who if they played in New York, Boston, or Los Angeles would be superstars induction ceremony.

Jeff Francouer – “Frenchy” is digging his new team. It’s only a matter of time before Francouer hits his toe on his bedpost by accident, the New York Met’s team doctors diagnose him with a stubbed toe, and two weeks later his toe for some reason needs to be amputated.

Carlos Lee – .333/2/10. Anyone else know that Lee has averaged 30 HR’s for his 11 seasons in the majors? I guess that is why he is making $18.5 million this year.

Matt Holliday – .556/2/10 with seven doubles. Whether he is hitting in Oakland or St. Louis, Holliday is red hot right now.

Mark Buehrle – 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, zero hits, zero walks in 9 IP. The man through a perfect game – enough said.

John Lannon – 1-0 with a 0.53 ERA and give up one run in 17 IP. When you give up just one run in 17 innings, you should have two wins. Such is life playing for the Washington Nationals.

Cliff Lee – 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and eight K’s in 16 IP. Lee is pitching again like the Cy Young winner he was last season. It’s still possible those were the last two games Lee has pitched in an Indians’ uniform.

Mariano Rivera – Three saves, zero hits, a 0.00 ERA in 2.2 IP. Sometimes you just have to sit back in amazement in regards to how easy Rivera makes pitching look.

Reasons for Concern

John Smoltz – 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA, 18 hits, and 11 K’s in 10.2 IP. While at 42, Smoltz is a great story – it’s just not working in Boston right now.

Smoltz is consistently missing his target and paying for it. The Boston Red will have a serious decision to make once Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka return from the DL.

Ted Lilly – Lilly got smacked around by the Philadelphia Phillies and then went to the DL. Not only does Lilly have a sore left shoulder, but he is also going to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Talk about a double whammy.

Lilly is expected to miss four-to-six weeks.

Lance Berkman – Berkman was placed on the 15-day DL with is strained right calf. Berkman has killed fantasy owners this year.

Berkman hasn’t had a typical Berkman year to date, and then when he gets going – he lands on the DL. The injury doesn’t appear to be too serious as Houston Astros GM said “If we were in late September then our approach might be different.”

Jose Guillen – Not only does Guillen suck, but now he sucks and is on the DL. Sucking and being on the DL is no way to go through life son.

Guillen was placed on the 15-day DL with a partial tear of his lateral collateral ligament in his right knee.

Guillen was only hitting .245 with nine HR’s and 40 RBI, so this should be no big loss.

Colby Rasmus/Rick Ankiel – With the acquisition of OF Matt Holliday and with Ryan Ludwick finding his stroke, there is only one spot left in the Cardinals’ OF for two players.

Ankiel started all three games against the Phillies, but knowing the way Tony LaRussa operates, Rasmus will start all four games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It will be hard to count on either of them for solid fantasy production for the remainder of the season.

What the heck happened to Ankiel as a hitter? His career as a hitter parallels that of the “Real Sex” series on HBO. Remember when that show first came out? It was great. Hot girls everywhere and it was definitely worth watching without sound so your parents wouldn’t catch you watching it.

Now? That show is awful. All they show is old couples in their 60’s going to some swingers retreat in Arizona. Completely unwatchable.

That is Rick Ankiel. He got off to a great start by hitting .285 with 11 HR’s in 47 games in 2007 and he hit .270 with 20 HR’s in the first-half of the 2008 season.

He has gotten gradually worse since. Now he is hitting .236 with a .290 OBP and is killing any chance of a big contract in the offseason. Just terrible.

Potential Pickups

Michael Saunders – Saunders was the Number two prospects in the Seattle Mariners’ organization according to Baseball America. Prior to his callup, Saunders was hitting .310 with 13 HR’s and 32 RBI in 64. games for Triple-A Tacoma.

If you are in a Keeper League, it might be worth it to consider Saunders. I don’t think the Mariners called him up just to ride the pine.

For One Day In His Life Mark Buehrle Is Perfect…

July 23, 2009

Chicago White Sox ace Mark Buerhle accomplished, in my opinion, the hardest thing to do in sports today – he threw a perfect game. Buerhle retired all 27 batters be faced in the White Sox 5-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Buehrle tossed a perfect game

Buehrle tossed a perfect game

Buehrle threw 116 pitches and threw a ridiculous 76 of them for strikes. Even more importantly, Buehrle threw first-pitch strikes to 19 out of the 17 batters he faced.

Why can’t all pitchers work like Buerhle? Work quickly and throw strikes. If you pound the strike zone you will get hitters out at any level. That is a fact.

Buehrle’s perfect game marks just the 18th time a pitcher has retired every batter he has faced in a game in major league history.

With the win, Buehrle improved to 11-3 on the season. Along with Zack Greinke and Roy Halladay, Mark Buehrle is now a serious Cy Young candidate.

Interesting note from the RaysIndex.com’s Twitter page. Only two out of the 17 previous teams that have had a perfect game thrown against them have made the playoffs that year. The 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers (Tom Browning threw a perfect game against them) and the 2004 Atlanta Braves (Randy Johnson tossed a perfect against the Braves).

Live Blog: MLB All-Star Game…

July 15, 2009

It’s been awhile since I have done a live blog, so what better time to do one than the 80th All-Star game in St. Louis. I have always been a big fan of the All-Star game, so this should be fun. I am just praying this game does not go deep into extra innings like last year’s game.

Game – American League vs. National League

Date – 7/14/09

Starting Lineups

American League

1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF

2. Derek Jeter, SS

3. Joe Mauer, C

4. Mark Teixeira, 1B

5. Jason Bay, LF

6. Josh Hamilton, CF

7. Michael Young, 3B

8. Aaron Hill, 2B

9. Roy Halladay, P

National League

1. Hanley Ramirez, SS

2. Chase Utley, 2B

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Ryan Braun, RF

5. Raul Ibanez, LF

6. David Wright, 3B

7. Shane Victorino, CF

8. Yadier Molina, C

9. Tim Lincecum, P

Top 1st

Tim Lincecum deals the first pitch of the 80th All-Star game at 8:50 est time and it is ripped by Ichiro down the rightfield line, but foul.

Starting this game at 8:50 est. pretty much eliminates anyone under the age of 15 who lives on the east coast from seeing the end of this game – good job Bud Selig

Ichiro rips a single to right. He is such a good hitter. Being down 0-2 in the count didn’t phase Ichiro one bit.

OUCH!!! With two strikes, Derek Jeter gets hit in the hand with a changeup. Every Yankee fan just took a deep breath. Jeter appears okay.

Lincecumis really all over the place in this inning. He quickly falls behind Mauer 3-1.

Wow, what a quick play by Molina. Mauer hits a ball a foot infront of home plate, Molina pounced on it, and got Ichiro at third. Wright made a terrible throw to first, which pulled Pujols off the bag. Mauer would have been out with a good throw.

Teixeira hits a slow groundball that hits off of Pujols’ glove and goes into short rightfield. Jeter scores to make 1-0 American League.

That was a potential double play ball that Pujols mishandled. Some bad defense by the NL in the first inning. They should be out of this inning.

First and second with one out for Jason Bay.

Bay singles to center. Bases loaded.

Boy, the NL is really asleep on defense. Hamilton gets a hard groundball to first, Pujols gets Bay at second, but Lincecum is late covering first, and the run scores.

2-0 American League. We can eliminate Tim Lincecum from winning the MVP award tonight.

Michael Young grounds to Wright for the third out.

Not a very good start for the NL.

Bottom 1st

Hanley Ramirez leading off for the NL, hits a rope, but right to Aaron Hill. One out.

How many recruiting talks do you think Roy Halladay has gotten in the past two days? 40? 50?

Halladay gets Chase Utley to ground out to Teixeira. Two quick outs here in the bottom of the first.

Now here comes Pujols. Maybe he will make up for that terrible error he made in the top of the first.

Pujols hitting, Mauer catching, and Halladay pitching – it doesn’t get any better than that.

Michael Young is the man. Pujols hits a frozen rope to third. I mean a real screamer. Young snags it and casually throws to first to get Pujols. Now that is how you play defense.

After one it’s 2-0 American League

Top 2nd

Hill grounds to Ramirez for the first out.

Roy Halladay is hitting. I don’t think he planned on this happening. With the luck the Blue Jays have been having with injuries, Halladay will get clocked in the hand here.

He doesn’t and Halladay K’s for the second out.

A much better start to the second inning for Lincecum.

Ichiro hits a linedrive, but right at Braun in rightfield for the third out.

Bottom 2nd

Braun flies out to center for the first out.

President Obama is in the booth with McCarver and Buck. Obama is neck and neck with Bill Clinton as the president you would most want to hang out with.

Ibanez grounds to Hill for the second out. Halladay is making this look easy.

Even when Halladay gives up hits, he splinters bats. Wright bloops one to rightcenter for a hit. His bat shattered in a 100 pieces.

Victorino singles to right. First and second with two outs for Molina.

How about this. Molina singles to center, Wright scores, and Hamilton trying to throw out Victorino at third – hits him in the back and the ball rolls into foul territory.

Victorino scores andwe are tied at two. Molina goes to second on the throw.

Last night’s HR Derby champion Prince Fielder will hit for Lincecum.

Amazing how quickly things change in an inning. Halladay was crusing and a broken bat got a rally started.

Fielder smokes one down the leftfield line for a ground rule double. Molina scores and it is now 3-2 NL.

Ramirez grounds to Hill for the third out.

What an inning for the NL. Three runs with two outs.

After two complete in St. Louis, it’s 3-2 National League

Top 3rd

This is odd, Cardinals’ closer Ryan Franklin is in the game for the NL. I don’t think I have ever seen a closer come into an All-Star game this early before.

Jeter grounds to Utley for the first out.

Mauer lines to Pujolsfor the second out.

Teixeira grounds weakly to Pujols for the third out.

Well that was easy for Franklin. A very impressive inning.

Bottom 4th

Chicago White Sox lefty, Mark Buehrle into the game for the AL. With Buehrle pitching, this inning might last five minutes.

Utley hits a can of corn to center. One down.

Man, does Buerhle work quickly.

Pujols grounds to Teixeira for the second out. Teixeira showed his range on that groundball, as he played that way off the bag at first.

Braun grounds to Jeter at short and in less than five minutes the inning is over.

I wish more pitchers worked like Buerhle.

It’s still 3-2 NL after three.

Top 4th

We start the fourth and McCarver and Buck have been very tolerable tonight. It must be a full moon.

Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks is now in the game for the NL.

One pitch, one out. Bay flies out to Braun in right.

Hamilton flies out to semi-deep center.

Young singles to left. Michael Young loves playing in All-Star games.

Aaron Hill up. Every kid outside of Toronto just asked their dad “who is that?”

Hill grounds hard to Hanley Ramirez, but Ramirez gobbles it up, and gets Hill to end the inning.

Bottom 4th

Just saw a commercial for the new GI Joe movie. It looks terrible. I was a HUGE GI Joe fan growing up, so I hope the movie is better than it looks. I am not optimistic.

The Kansas City Royals’ Zack Greinke is in for the AL.

One pitch, one out. Ibanez pops up to Young at third.

I hope Greinke goes two innings tonight. It will let the world see who he is.

And this is why – Greinke throws a wicked slider to Wright to strike him out. That was nasty.

Greinke just toyed with Victorino. Got him to swing at a pitch in the dirt and two feet out of the strike zone.

One-two-three for Greinke

This game is moving rather quickly. Still 3-2

Top 5th

The next pitcher for the NL is the Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley.

Carl Crawford hitting for Greinke.

Crawford hits a single to center. With Crawford at first and Molina behind the plate, this should be interesting.

What a great play by Chase Utley. Ichiro hits a ball between first and second, Utley gets the ball, pivots, andgets the lead runner in Crawford at second.

What a great play. Ichiro now at first with one out and Jeter up.

My roommate from college Odie just sent me a text “Ichiro is a dope, let crawford steal.” I agree. The fastest man in baseball is on first and Ichiro is up there hacking.

The NL is flashing some leather. Jeter hits on his classic inside-out balls to the right side, but Pujols dives andgets the lead runner at second.

The first inning must have been a wake up call for the NL.

This brings up Mauer with Jeter on first and now two outs.

Is Joe Mauer the best hitter in the game right now or what? Billingsley throws a curve on the outer half and instead of trying to pull the ball, Mauer goes with the pitch and laces it down the leftfield line.

Jeter running all the way, scores from first. We are now tied at three.

Pujols really wants to make up for that first inning error. He makes another diving stop off of a Teixeira groundball and flips to Billingsley for the third out.

Pujols saves a run, but the AL ties the game heading into the bottom of the 5th.

Bottom 5th

Edwin Jackson the new pitcher for the AL

What is the story with hitters swinging at the first pitch when there is a new pitcher in the game?

Molina on the first pitch grounds to short for out No. one.

Ryan Zimmerman up at the plate. Zimmerman replaced Wright in the top half of the inning and is batting in the pitchers spot.

Zimmerman just missed one. He flies out to deep centerfield.

Ramirez on the first pitch grounds out to Young at third.

Wow what an inning for Jackson. Four pitches and three outs. Not a bad day’s work.

3-3 still as we head to the bottom of the sixth

Bottom 6th

The all-time saves leader, Trevor Hoffman into the game

The first batter he will face is the Orioles’ Adam Jones. Right now every Mariners’ fan is saying “I can’t believe we got rid of this guy.” Jones is hitting in Jason Bay’s spot in the lineup.

Jones hits a rocket to right, but Hawpe tracks it down at the warning track. One out.

Hoffman is not fooling anyone. Hamilton jumps all over the first pitch and singles to right.

Young hits a hard groundball, but right at Utley. After a brief bobble, Utley and Tejada are able to turn the four-six-three double play.

I was a little surprised Hoffman was used so early. I would have thought because he is the all-time saves leader, he would have been used to close out the game.

Bottom 6th

The Seattle Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez has been called upon to pitch for the AL.

Orlando Hudson will hit for Utley andmost likely come into the game to play second.

Okay, once again we are first pitch swinging. This game counts right Bud?

Hudson hits one deep to right but Adam Jones is there for the first out.

Pujolsgrounds to short for the second out.

Not too many people on the east coast get to see “King Felix” pitch, but he is a dandy. He really can become a legit ace. He has no-hit stuff every time he goes to the mound.

Justin Upton is now hitting for Ryan Braun. A great matchup here of two of the best young players in the game.

Another groundball to short. The sure-handed Jason Bartlett gets Upton to end the inning.

We are getting down to the nitty gritty as Gorilla Monsoon used to say.

Top 7th

Classy move by Charlie Manuel as he lets Pujols go out to take warmups andthen replaces him with Gonzalez so he can get a standing ovation from the Cardinal fans.

Francisco Cordero is the new pitcher in the game for the NL. He is the Cincinnati Reds’ lone representative for tonight.

Aaron Hill up for the third time and he flies out to Upton in in left.

Crawford up for the second time. On the first pitch he grounds to Tejada at short. Two outs.

Justin Morneau up for the AL. He replaced Teixeira at first and is hitting Ichiro’s spot.

That was a quick inning for Cordero. He gets Morneau to line weakly to Zimmerman at third.

Bottom 8th

My buddy Tom just sent me a text “Close game and these idiot managers are using pitchers for one inning each.” Kind of agree. With a lot of the pitchers having pitched on Sunday and after last year’s marathon, I am surprised pitchers aren’t going more than one inning.

A new inning, a new pitcher for the AL. Jonathan Papelbon is in the game for the AL.

OH WOW!!! Carl Crawford makes the play of the game so far. Brad Hawpe on Papelbon’s first pitch (of course) hit a fly ball deep to left and Crawford leaped over the wall to make the catch and rob Hawpe of a HR. Great catch.

Two pitches and two bombs off of Papelbon. Miguel Tejada flies out to deep right but Adam Jones is there to make the catch.

Papelbon is pitching to Victor Martinez. A sign of the future?

Papelbon is throwing his fastball at 89 mph. Someone should tell him this game counts.

Papelbon strikes out Jayson Werth to end the inning. That fastball was 94 mph, so Papelbon got into the groove towards the end of the AB.

It’s still 3-3 heading into the eigth and this game has extra innings written all over it. Lovely

Top 8th

Heath Bell is into the game for the National League.

The first pitch he throws is over the head of Jason Bartlett. Nice pitch.

Bell does better on his second pitch as he gets Bartlett to ground to short.

Curtis Granderson up for the AL. He crushes one to left and the ball  hits off the base of the wall. Granderson digs for third and he makes it.

Grandersonat third with one out and the infield comes in.

Victor Martinez is up and he is getting intentionally walked. That stinks for Martinez. Manuel is walking Martinez to get to Adam Jones.

HeathBell looks like his heart is racing a million beats per second.

Well, Manuel’s strategy backfires as Jones hits one to the warning track in right. Granderson scores to make it 4-3.

Kevin Youkilis is up for the first time and he promptly singles to center.

First and second with two outs for the Rays’ Ben Zobrist.

Bell gets Zobrist swinging, but the damage was done. One run on two hits and two runners left on base.

At the end of seven and a half, it’s the American League four and the National League three

Bottom 8th

New York native Joe Nathan in the game for the American League. The AL is going to go with Nathan for the eighth andthen Mariano Rivera for the ninth. The NL is in trouble.

The Braves and Ron Kittle impersonator, Brian McCann up at the plate to face Nathan.

McCannon a 2-1 pitch pops up to Martinez behindthe plate. One down here in the bottom of the eighth.

Zimmerman swinging at the first pitch, flies to right for the second out.

Here is the best player that nobody knows about – Adrian Gonzalez

FOX just showed Bud Selig with George Will. And there is your reason for a baseball team in Washington.

Good AB by Gonzalez. Down in the count 1-2 and he works a walk.

Another two out rally by the NL. Hudson singles up the middle and now we have first andthird with two outs.

Ryan Howard is coming up to pinch hit. Manuel was picking his spot for Howard and this is it. Very similar to the 2003 All-Star game in Chicago where Mike Scioscia was picking his spot for Hank Blalock in the late innings.

Blalock hit a pinch hit two-run HR off of Eric Gagne to give the AL the win.

They just showed Brian Fuentes warming up. Well, if he is not in the game to face Howard why on earth is he warming up?

Howard is swinging for the downs. Two fastballs, two Ruthian cuts, and now it is 0-2.

Hudson steals second. That’s kind of a good and bad move. Good in that it eliminates the double play and now a single scores two runs. Bad in that this might take the bat out of Howard’s hands.

No 2003 moment here as Howard swings at a pitch in the dirt for strike three.

We head to the ninth with the AL still clinging to a 4-3 lead

Top 9th

The next pitcher up for the National League is the New York Mets’ Francisco Rodriguez.

His first batter will be the Tigers’ Brandon Inge. Of course Inge swings at the first pitch and grounds to short.

Carl Crawford up. He is 1-2. With his catch and with nobody else really standing out tonight, he might win the MVP.

Striking out won’t help his cause. That was a great changeup by Krod.

Morneau rips one into the left-centerfield gap, Werth tracks it down, and makes the catch. What a catch by a guy who is normally not a centerfielder.

This is it. We head to the bottom of the ninth with the AL leading 4-3

Bottom 9th

If the NL is going to come back, they are going to have to do it against the best in the business in Mariano Rivera

Justin Upton will try to get things started for the National League.

Barlettis silky smooth at short. He made a tough, back-handed play look very easy. He gets Upton for the first out

Brad Hawpe, who was robbed of a HR by Carl Crawford will try to hit one a little further against Rivera.

Joe Buck just said Brad Hawpe is a very good defensive rightfielder. I am guessing Buck hasn’t seen Hawpe’s UZR lately.

Hawpe goes down looking on a perfect pitch on the outside corner.

Now it’s up to Miguel Tejada to keep it alive. He doesn’t.

Tejada pops up to Zobrist at second to end the game.

That’s a wrap. The American League wins again 4-3. The American League will have homefield advantage in the World Series.

Like I suspected, Carl Crawford wins the MVP award. This might be the first time in All-Star game history that a guy won the award for a catch.

It was a good game, well played, and it only took 2:31 to play. A little disappointed that Tim Wakefield didn’t get to pitch, but what can you do.

Over 3,000 words later, I am calling it a night. Good night everyone!!!

Picking My 2009 American League All Star Team…

June 17, 2009

Yesterday, I picked my 2009 National League All Star team. So today, I will pick my 2009 American League All Star team.

Like yesterday, I will follow the same rules that American League manager, Joe Maddon has to follow. I will pick 33 players and each team in the American League has to have a representative.

Starters

C. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

1B. Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins

2B. Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers

SS. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

3B. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays

OF. Jason Bay, Boston Red Sox

OF. Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

OF. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners

SP. Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals

Much like the National League, there were six positions set and three up for debate. At first base you can debate that Kevin Youkilis or Mark Teixeira could start for the AL. But if you look at the stats, Morneau is having a better all around year than both Youkilis and Teixeira.

Greinke gets the start for the AL

Greinke gets the start for the AL

At second base, I choose Ian Kinsler of Aaron Hill based on Kinlser having more HR’s, RBI and SB’s than Hill. Hill wasn’t too far behind in the HR and RBI category and is batting almost 40 points higher than Kinsler.

You could make the case for Zack Greinke, Roy Halladay or Justin Verlander to be the starting pitcher for the American League. I choose Greinke because of his almost record breaking April and he still leads the AL in ERA.

Reserves – Pitchers

Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays

Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

Edwin Jackson, Detroit Tigers

Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Kevin Millwood, Texas Rangers

Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox

Jonathon Papelbon, Boston Red Sox

Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins

Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees

Scott Downs, Toronto Blue Jays

Andrew Bailey, Oakland A’s

Picking the reserve pitchers in the AL was not an easy task. The most glaring omissions were Cliff Lee (2.88 ERA), Erik Bedard (2.47 ERA), and Brian Fuentes (leads AL in saves with 17).

The A’s needed a representative, which knocked Lee out of the game.

I also would have loved to put Frank Francisco and his 0.47 ERA on the team, but he has not pitched in about a month and is currently on the DL.

Reserves – Position Players

C. Victor Martinez, Cleveland Indians

C. AJ Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox

1B. Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox

1B. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees

2B. Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays

SS. Jason Bartlett, Tampa Bay Rays

3B. Brandon Inge, Detroit Tigers

3B. Michael Young, Texas Rangers

UTIL. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays

OF. Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers

OF. Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles

OF. Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Rays

Zobrist will be stretching in St Louis

Zobrist will be stretching in St Louis

If picking the reserve pitchers was not an easy task, then picking the reserve position players was an impossible task. I really don’t envy Joe Maddon.

I had to leave off stars like Miguel Cabrera, Adam Lind, Dustin Pedroia, Nick Markakis, Johnny Damon, Russell Branyan and Chone Figgins. All of those players have a legitimate case to be on this team.

Here is the player breakdown by team:

4. Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers

3. Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers

2. Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Seattle Mariners

1. Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Oakland A’s

What do you think of this team? Anyone I left off you feel should be on this team?