Posts Tagged ‘Victor Martinez’

Starting Nine: American League East

January 11, 2010

I was rummaging through some articles last week and I came across a piece by Morgan Campbell of the Toronto Star. He gave an early look at what the Toronto Blue Jays’ starting lineup might look like in 2010.

That piece got me thinking. With all the moves that happen during the free agency period it’s hard for a casual fan to keep up with their favorite team. Why not take an early look at each lineup in baseball as presently constructed?

So what I will do give each team’s starting lineup by division for the next six days. Obviously this will change as the offseason progresses, so I will do an update to these posts as the season approaches.

We will start in the American League and with the best division in baseball, the American League East.

New York Yankees

1. Derek Jeter, SS

2. Nick Johnson, DH

3. Mark Teixeira, 1B

4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B

5. Jorge Posada, C

6. Robinson Cano, 2B

7. Curtis Granderson, CF

8. Nick Swisher, RF

9. Brett Gardner, LF

Quick Take – Best and deepest lineup in baseball. Could made even better if Johnny Damon accepts a one-year deal to play left. Cano and Posada could flip-flop between fifth and sixth in the order.

Boston Red Sox

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, LF

2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B

3. Victor Martinez, C

4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B

5. David Ortiz, DH

6. Adrian Beltre, 3B

7. Mike Cameron, CF

8. J.D. Drew, RF

9. Marco Scutaro, SS

Quick Take – Not a classic Red Sox lineup. Not a lot of high OBP guys and nobody jumps out and scares you. Terry Francona is loyal to Ortiz, so he bats fifth ahead of Beltre in the lineup.

Tampa Bay Rays

1. B.J. Upton, CF

2. Carl Crawford, LF

3. Evan Longoria, 3B

4. Ben Zobrist, 2B

5. Carlos Pena, 1B

6. Pat Burrell, DH

7. Kelly Shoppach, C

8. Gabe Kapler, RF

9. Jason Bartlett, SS

Quick Take – This lineup will go from very good to great if Upton and Burrell come back strong in 2010. Kapler will find himself in a platoon situation with Matt Joyce to start the season.

Baltimore Orioles

1. Brian Roberts, 2B

2. Nick Markakis, RF

3. Adam Jones, CF

4. Luke Scott, DH

5. Nolan Reimold, LF

6. Matt Wieters, C

7. Ty Wigginton, 1B

8. Garrett Atkins, 3B

9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Quick Take – First four in this lineup is very good, but after that, this lineup gets very weak. Orioles are still looking for a first baseman, so don’t expect Wigginton to be a starter for too much longer.

Toronto Blue Jays

1. Jose Bautista, RF

2. Lyle Overbay, 1B

3. Aaron Hill, 2B

4. Adam Lind, DH

5. Vernon Wells, CF

6. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B

7. Travis Snider, LF

8. Alex Gonzalez, SS

9. John Buck, C

Quick Take – My lineup is a little different than Campbell’s as I have Overbay hitting in the two-hole. This lineup has the potential to be good, but Gonzalez and Buck represent too many automatic outs to be really dynamic.

Tomorrow, I will cover the American League Central.

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

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Boston’s Bullpen Implodes, Angels Sweep Red Sox

October 12, 2009

The Boston Red Sox had not one, not two, but three opportunities with two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the ninth with a two run lead to close out the game and couldn’t get the job done.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim stunned Red Sox Nation by scoring three runs with two outs off closer Jonathan Papelbon to win 7-6 and sweep their best-of-five ALDS 3-0.

For 162 games in the regular season, Red Sox manager Terry  “>Francona went to his bullpen and for 162 games, they delivered. In game 165 however, Francona’s reliable bullpen imploded.

The Red Sox went into the eighth inning with a 5-2 lead thanks to some clutch hitting from Dustin Pedroia (two-run double in the third) and JD Drew (two-run HR in the fourth and some solid relief work from Daniel Bard (two innings, no hits, no runs, and two K’s).

It was all set up perfectly for the Red Sox. They would go to Billy Wagner in the eighth and then to Papelbon in the ninth. Wagner and Papelbon would get the final six outs and the Red Sox would live to see another day.

There was no celebrating for Papelbon today

There was no celebrating for Papelbon today

Well, things didn’t work out that way.

Wagner and his 9.28 lifetime postseason ERA entered the game in the eighth. I remember taking my dad to Game One of the 2006 NLDS between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Billy Wagner came into that game to close out the Dodgers in ninth with a two-run lead. What I remember most about when Wagner came into the game was the uneasyness of the Shea Stadium crowd when he came out of the rightfield bullpen.

I felt the same uneasyness when Wagner came into the game today against the Angels. It’s never easy in the postseason with him. It always seems there are runners on base when he pitches.

Which is odd for a guy who used to throw 99 mph and now still throws 95.

Wagner allowed a double to Bobby Abreu and walked Vladimir Guerrero. To be fair to Wagner, the Abreu double was not really a double. Kevin Youkilis tried to make a do or die play along the first base line and the ball hit off his glove and went into the Sox dugout for ground-rule double.

Wagner left the game with two outs in the eighth with runners on second and third. Francona called on Papelbon to try to get four outs.  

Papelbon came in and on his first pitch gave up a two-run single to Juan Rivera to make the score 5-4. Reggie Willits came on to pinch-run for Rivera and got promptly picked off first.

I have no idea why Mike Scioscia has a man crush on Willits. Everytime I see this guy play he never does anything right. I’ll put him in the Brett Gardner and Carlos Gomez category until I see otherwise.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Red Sox even got an insurance run to make it 6-4 on a Mike Lowell single that scored pinch runner Joey Gathright. At that point, you definitely thought there would be a Game Four tomorrow night at Fenway.

In the ninth, Papelbon got the first two outs rather easily. He got Maicer Izturis to foul out to Victor Martinez and then got Gary Matthews Jr. flew out to Jacoby Ellsbury.

Then the nightmare began.

Papelbon had Erick Aybar 0-2 and with Martinez setting up for a high and inside waste pitch, Papelbon decided to throw a fastball right down the middle. Aybar promptly singled up the middle.

Papelbon had a 3-2 count on Chone Figgins and walked Figgins. That was the killer AB in this inning for the Red Sox. I am sorry, but there is no way on this earth you can walk Figgins in that spot.

He was o-for-600 in the series, can’t hit a HR, and he had looked clueless his last two AB’s. Papelbon can’t walk a guy like that.

Up came Abreu and you just knew Abreu was going to get a hit. I just want to say something about Abreu. He has proved me wrong.

I watched him for the last couple of years with the New York Yankees and what I saw was a guy who produced “empty stats.” He would always have great numbers, but I never thought he was a winning ball player.

However, with the Angels, he has become the leader of the team and their MVP. Just like with Izturis and Figgins, Papelbon had two strikes on Abreu. And just like with the two batters before, Papelbon couldn’t put away Abreu.

Abreu doubled off the monster and now the game was 6-5 Red Sox. Francona decided to intentionally walk Torii Hunter to get to Guerrero.

No complaints there. I would have done the same thing. Hunter is 3-for-5 with a HR lifetime off of Papelbon and Guerrero is a shell of his former self.

The move backfired. On the first pitch, Guerrero ripped a single to center and the Angels took a 7-6 lead.

I could have woken up in the morning with my upper lip stapled to my pillow and I would have been less shocked than I was when I watched what unfolded in the ninth.

Even when the Angels had the bases loaded, I still thought the Red Sox would get out of the inning. After all, if you have watched Papelbon all season, this was par for the course.

I can’t tell you how many times he loaded the bases during the regular season, only to see him get out of the jam. Today, it was not meant to be.

Listen, it was bound to happen with Papelbon. He can into this game with 26 consecutive scoreless innings in the postseason. He was bound to blow a save sooner or later.

Even Mariano Rivera has blown his fair share of saves in the postseason.

The Red Sox went quietly in the ninth and the Angels finally beat their arch nemesis in the playoffs. Going into this series, everyone talked about how the Red Sox had the advantage in the bullpen.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, today their bullpen became their weakness.

Angels Take Game Two Behind Weaver Gem

October 10, 2009

“It’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall time.”

That was the text my buddy Odie sent me when Erick Aybar tripled home two runs in the seventh inning off of Josh Beckett to make the score 4-1 the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

It’s gotten to that point for Boston Red Sox fans where they have no faith the Red Sox can overcome a three-run deficit. That is how bad the Red Sox offense has been through the first two games of the ALDS.

The Red Sox offense was shutdown again in a 4-1 loss to the Angels last night in Game Two of their American League Division Series. The Angels now have a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.

Weaver tossed a gem last night

Weaver tossed a gem last night

That’s two games and one run for the Red Sox offense.

The story of this game for the Angels was starter Jered Weaver. Weaver gave up just two hits, one run, and struckout seven in seven-and-one-third innings.

Weaver did a great job of mixing up his pitches all night. He kept the Red Sox hitters off balance and then making them swing at his pitches. Outside of  Jaboby Ellsbury’s triple and Victor Martinez’s single to drive him home, the Red Sox didn’t hit a ball hard off Weaver all night.

Darren Oliver, Kevin Jepsen, and Brian Fuentes pitched the final inning-and-two-thirds to close out the game.

As for the Red Sox, I think we are starting to see an alarming trend. The trend being that the Red Sox can’t hit good pitching. We saw it last year in the ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays and now we are seeing it this year against the Angels.

Theo Epstein has put together a very good lineup, but not a dynamic lineup. From 2003-July of 2008, the Red Sox had a dynamic lineup. Mainly because they had two guys in the middle who could hit good pitching–Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.

When you have two guys who can hit any type of pitching, it just makes your whole lineup better and makes your lineup very intimidating. Essentially they had what the New York Yankees have now with Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.

The Red Sox have two games to get their act together. If there is any team that can come back from a 2-0 series deficit in a best-of-five series, it’s the Red Sox. Remember, they did it in 1999 against the Cleveland Indians and again in 2003 against the Oakland A’s.

However, it’s going to be tough. The Angels are flying high right now and most importantly, they believe they can beat the Red Sox.

Game Three is Sunday at 12:07 ET.

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

American League Division Series Predictions

October 7, 2009

It took 163 games, but the American League Division Series matchups are finally set. Yesterday, I gave my NLDS predictions, so today I am going to give my ALDS predictions.

Something of note with the 2009 postseason. Three out of the four postseason matchups in 2009 are the same as they were in 2004. The only series that is different is the Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies series.

Will history repeat itself in the AL? Let’s take a look…

* means if necessary

Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees

Game 1: Wednesday, October 7 6:07 ET. Brian Duensing vs CC Sabathia

Game 2: Friday, October 9 6:07 ET. Nick Blackburn vs AJ Burnett

Game 3: Sunday, October 11 TBD. Andy Pettitte vs Carl Pavano

Game 4*: Monday, October 12 TBD. TBD vs Scott Baker

Game 5*: TBD

Prediction: Major League Baseball drew 73,418,528 fans this year. Let’s say overall, there are roughly 100 million baseball fans in this world.

Out of that 100 million, 94 million want the Twins to win and six million want the Yankees to win this series. People will always root for the David instead of the Goliath. Out of those six million Yankee fans, three million couldn’t name more than five players on the team, but are fans just to be “cool.”

Sabathia will lead the Yankees to the ALCS

Sabathia will lead the Yankees to the ALCS

Don’t tell me I am wrong about that. I have lived in New York my whole life and I have seen it first-hand. Unfortunately, those six million fans are going to have the last laugh in this series.

I love everything about the Twins. I love their passionate fans, the way they do business, and most importantly–the way they play the game. How could you not?

But I just don’t see it for them in this series. It has nothing to with the fact that the Twins played in a street fight last night against the Detroit Tigers.

And it has nothing to do with the fact that the Yankees were 7-0 versus the Twins in 2009. I put very little into a team’s success in the regular season versus another team.

I think in this series you will finally see them miss Justin Morneau. Morneau is a game changer and in the playoffs you need as many of them as possible.

If the Twins can somehow win this series, it will go down as one of the biggest upsets in postseason history. I would love to put the Twins in the next round, but it’s not going to happen.

Yankees in Four

Boston Red Sox vs. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Game 1: Thursday, October 8 9:37 ET. Jon Lester vs John Lackey

Game 2: Friday, October 9 9:37 ET. Josh Beckett vs Jered Weaver

Game 3: Sunday, October 11 TBD. Scott Kazmir vs Clay Buchholz

Game 4*: Monday, October 12 TBD. Joe Saunders vs TBD

Game 5*: TBD

Prediction: Every year me and my buddy Odie talk about the “feel” of the Red Sox season. 2003 and 2004 had good “feels” to them. As did 2007 and 2008.

2005 and 2006? Not so much. I knew the Red Sox faced impending doom in 2005 when they started Matt Clement in Game One of the ALDS against the best team in baseball–the Chicago White Sox.

So what about 2009? Around August 15th, the Red Sox had a feel of getting bounced in the first round. I didn’t like the way they were playing and something just seemed off about this year.

Bay will be meeting the Yankees in the ALCS

Bay will be meeting the Yankees in the ALCS

Now on October 7th, I feel very good about this team. Lester is pitching lights out and Victor Martinez has given the Red Sox a massive shot in the arm offensively. I’ll also bank on a healthy Beckett in the playoffs.

The Angels, are well, the Angels. They are a solid, fundamentally sound team that is going to try to use their speed game and to run all over the Red Sox. Seems like that is every year with the Angels though.

I have gone back and forth trying to predict a winner in this series. However, there is one scenario that keeps sticking in my mind.

Game Three, Fenway Park, Kazmir throws his usual 110 pitches in six innings, and the Angels are leading 3-2. A scenario that is very likely.

Does anyone on this planet think Jose Arredondo, Darren Oliver, Kevin Jepsen, and Brian Fuentes are going to get nine outs in Fenway without coughing up the lead? Not a chance.

For what ever reason, the Angels turn into pumpkins in October at Fenway.

Red Sox in Four

Five Trade Deadline Winners and Losers…

August 5, 2009

The July 31st baseball trading deadline came and went with a frenzy. Some star players were on the move (Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee, & Matt Holliday) and some of the star players we thought would be moved, stayed with their current team (Roy Halladay).

With every trading deadline, there are teams that won and unfortunately there were teams that lost. Of course, the beauty of all these trades is that in five years from now, a team that we all thought won at the trade deadline could turn out to be a loser in the long run. You just never know how these prospects are going to turn out.

For the short term, here are my five winners and losers from the July 31st trading deadline.

Winners

5. Pittsburgh Pirates. Many called what Pittsburgh did a “Fire Sale.” In my opinion, this was not the case. A “Fire Sale” is what the Marlins did in the 1997/1998 offseason.

Getting rid of mediocre talent and replacing them with potential is not a “Fire Sale.” That is called being smart. The Pirates weren’t winning with this group of current players, so replacing them with players who can potentially win.

Again, it’s my “Average Knows vs. Unknown Potential” theory.

4. Toronto Blue Jays.What? How could I put the Blue Jays as winners when they didn’t trade Roy Halladay? Here is my thinking on this one. It’s good for baseball that Halladay remains on the Blue Jays.

Will Halladay get traded in the offseason? Most likely. But in the short term, it’s good for baseball and the Blue Jays that Halladay stay in Toronto. There are certain players who I feel need to stay on their current team for the good of the game – Joe Mauer, Roy Halladay, Hanley Ramirez, and Albert Pujols.

The Blue Jays were also winners because they were able to unload Scott Rolen to the Cincinnati Reds (more on them later) for some good pitching prospects (Zach Stewart and Josh Roenicke) along with Edwin Encarnacion.

One scout’s take on this trade, via Buster Olney’s blog– “Roenicke is good, and Stewart probably has an even higher upside. The Jays didn’t really need Encarnacion — they’ll probably release him in the winter — but to get those two pitchers and shed the salary, that was a great trade.”

3. Boston Red Sox. You just knew the Red Sox were going to do something at the deadline. It was clear to everyone that the Red Sox needed a kick in the pants. The kick in the pants came in the form of C/1B Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians.

Martinez gives the Red Soxsome versatility as he can play both first base and catcher and he gives the Red Sox a switch-hitting force in the middle of the lineup.

2. Philadelphia Phillies. If this was a game of poker, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. played his hand perfectly. Amaro came out strong with a nine-ten of diamonds. The flop came out and it was eight of diamonds, jack of diamonds, and three of spades.

The other players (GM’s) let Amaro stay in the hand and Amaro kept checking. The turn came and a king of clubs came out. Amaro checked again. Amaro could have won the hand with a flush by getting an ace of diamonds (Roy Halladay) or he could have won with a seven or queen card to get the straight (Cliff Lee).

A seven came out and Amaro won the hand. Halladay would have been the big time flush, but Lee is still a winning card and still gave Amaro the win.

Not only did the Phillies land last year’s AL Cy Young award winner in Lee, but they also got the right-handed bat in Ben Francisco they have been searching for since spring training.

Well played Mr. Amaro Jr, well played.

1. St. Louis Cardinals. After acquiring Mark DeRosa earlier in the season and Matt Holliday near the trading deadline, the Cardinals better make the playoffs. They gave up a lot of those two players and anything less than a playoff bid would be a disappointment.

The Cardinals’ front office has done everything to appease Tony LaRussa who is in the last year of his contract and their star Albert Pujols. The Cardinals have no excuses, it’s playoffs or bust in 2009.

Losers

5. Tampa Bay Rays. I don’t understand how all the talk leading up to the deadline was how the Rays were looking to make a splash and then at the end of the day the Rays do nothing. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

I think for psychological purposes the Rays need to make a move. Bring in another reliever at least. Very surprised the Rays didn’t do anything.

4. Texas Rangers. The Rangers have been battling all year, playing very well, and when it came time for management to reward the team for playing so hard – they do nothing.

I am not interested in hearing how poor Tom Hicks is all of a sudden. This organization is rich with prospects and they could have done something to help this team out.

Just a terrible job by the Rangers. No wonder why this organization has never won a thing.

3. Milwaukee Brewers. I watched the Brewers pretty consistently for two weeks heading up to the deadline. It was pretty clear they needed starting pitching.

They didn’t have to go out and make a splash for Roy Halladay like they did last year with CC Sabathia. They just need to get anyone who can go five to six innings on a consistent basis.

Jon Garland, Doug Davis, or anyone would have been better than watching Manny Parra walk the ballpark home every outing.

2. Cincinnati Reds. Can someone please explain to me the logic behind the Reds trading two solid pitching prospects along with Edwin Encarnacion for a 34-year old Scott Rolen when they were 10 games out of first and 13 games out of a Wild Card spot on July 31st?

Their move made no sense. I understand Rolen is signed for 2010, but at $10 million – he is overpaid by today’s standards.

As my roommate from college Odie said “Scott Rolen is sooooo 2001.”

1. Cleveland Indians. On the morning of October 18th, 2007 the Cleveland Indians were one game away from the World Series. They had CC Sabathia on the mound and all was well for the Indians.

The Red Sox Josh Beckett dominated the Indians for eight innings, the Red Sox won the game that night, and the Indians have been in a tailspin ever since. Last year the Indians traded away the before mentioned Sabathia and Casey Blake and this year they traded away Mark DeRosa, Ryan Garko, Ben Francisco, and Cliff Lee.

It is looking like it might be another couple of years before the Indians get back on track.

Boston Red Sox Acquire Victor Martinez From Cleveland Indians

July 31, 2009

Going into today, I was pretty confident in saying that either Roy Halladay, Adrian Gonzalez, or Victor Martinez would be in a Boston Red Sox uniform on Saturday. After finding the asking price for both Halladay and Gonzalez too high, the Red Sox settled for plan A-.

Late this afternoon the Red Sox acquired All-Star C/1B Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for pitchers Nick Hagadone, Bryan Price, and Justin Masterson.

If anyone has watched the Red Sox over the last month, you would know this team needed a kick in the pants on offense. Martinez or “VMart” is that kick in the pants. I said A- earlier because VMart is a wonderful offensive player who was hitting .284 with 15 HRs and 67 RBI for the Indians this year. VMart is also a switch-hitter which makes him even more valuable. He is too good to be considered a Plan B.

VMart can catch and play first base, but my guess is he will see regular time at first base (Sox already unloaded Adam LaRoche to the Atlanta Braves) or DH against righties.

The Red Sox didn’t acquire a Martinez for lifetime supply of Mentos – they gave up some good arms in Hagadone and Masterson. Hagadone was the Red Sox first-round pick in the 2007 draft and all he has done in three years of minor-league ball is compile a 1.82 ERA in 23 starts. He was Boston’s third best prospect at the start of the season according to Baseball America.

As for Masterson, with his three-quarter delivery and lack of a third or fourth pitch, I think he is more a reliever than a starter in the majors. The Indians should have a nice one-two punch for the future in the back of their pen with Masterson and Chris Perez.

My take is that the Red Sox not got Martinez for this year, but for 2010 as well and didn’t have to give up Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, Lars Anderson, Jason Place, Casey Kelly, or Daniel Bard.

As usual, well played Theo, well played.

As July 31st Approaches, What Do The Contenders Need Update..

July 28, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post on what do the contending teams around baseball need at the July 31st trading deadline. With already a couple deals taking place and the trading deadline just a couple of days away, I thought I would update this post.

Here are the needs of the 21 contending teams and who they could potentially target.

Philadelphia Phillies

Needs – Starting Pitching. The Phillies are going for it again and are looking for a big time pitcher.

The Phillies signed Pedro Martinez.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Brad Penny, Cliff Lee, Jarrod Washburn

Florida Marlins

Needs – Bullpen. With Lindstrom out, the Marlins need help in the pen.

Potential Targets – Chad Qualls, Juan Cruz, Matt Capps, John Grabow, George Sherrill

Lee is very popular these days

Lee is very popular these days

Atlanta Braves

Needs – Leftfield. The Braves have already traded for Nate McLouth and Ryan Church, but their offense could use another bat.

Potential Targets – David Dejesus, Luke Scott, Aubrey Huff

New York Mets

Needs – Leftfield, First Base, Starting Pitching. The Mets should not be contenders, but in New York, there is no such thing as sellers.

Plus, after Omar Minaya’s press conference yesterday, it’s official – Omar Minaya is out of his mind.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Adam Dunn, Nick Johnson, Luke Scott, David Dejesus, Aubrey Huff

St Louis Cardinals

Needs – The Cardinals acquired Mark DeRosa and then acquired the best hitter on the market in Matt Holliday. The Cardinals also acquired Julio Lugo from the Boston Red Sox

I don’t think the Cardinals have any prospects to deal to make another trade.

Potential Targets – None

Milwaukee Brewers

Needs – Starting Pitching. The Brewers’ starting rotation has fallen apart recently. Offense is not the issue with this team.

The Brewers have already acquired Felipe Lopez from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Jarrod Washburn, Ian Snell

Chicago Cubs

Needs – Bullpen. The Cubs just need the players they already have to play better. They could use another arm in the pen.

The Cubs have signed BJ Ryan

Potential Targets – Joe Beimel, Danys Baez, Jamey Wright

Houston Astros

Needs – Third Base, First Base, Starting Pitching. The Astros are now in the thick of the NL Central and Wild Card race. With Lance Berkman going on the DL, the Astros could now use a solid bench player for insurance.

Problem Astros will have making trades is that their farm system is not that good.

I love Mark Teahen for the Astros. Can play 1st, 3rd, 2nd, and the outfield.

Potential Targets – Jon Garland, Brian Bannister, Doug Davis, Bobby Crosby, Mark Teahen

Cincinnati Reds

Needs – Offense. With Jay Bruce now out six-to-eight weeks with a fractured wrist, the Reds are desperate for offense. They should really be sellers, but they are still only 7.5 games out of first in the NL Central.

Potential Targets – Mark Teahan, David Dejesus, Marco Scutaro, Scott Rolen

Los Angeles Dodgers

Needs – Bullpen. With Roland Belasario out with an inflamed elbow (it was only a matter of time before Joe Torre blew someone’s arm out) and Jonathon Broxton suffering from a toe injury, the Dodgers could use some insurance in the pen.

The Dodgers have also been linked to ace’s Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

Potential Targets – Joe Beimel, Juan Cruz, John Grabow, George Sherrill, Danys Baez, Ron Mahay, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jarrod Washburn

San Francisco Giants

Needs – Offense. The Giants can use all the offense they can get.

The Giants acquired Ryan Garko from the Cleveland Indians last night.

Potential Targets – Jermaine Dye, Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, Nick Johnson, Alex Rios, Josh Willingham

VMart could be traded

VMart could be traded

Colorado Rockies

Needs – Bullpen, Starting Rotation. Everyone thought the Rockies would be sellers at this point, but they are the leaders of the Wild Card race. As usual, the Rockies could use some pitching help.

The Rockies acquired Rafael Betancourt from the Cleveland Indians.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Ian Snell, Matt Capps, John Grabow, Takashi Saito, Danys Baez, Miguel Batista

Boston Red Sox

Needs – Offense. I don’t want to hear the Red Sox are fourth in baseball in runs scored – they need offense.

The Red Sox acquired Adam LaRoche from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chris Duncan from the St Louis Cardinals last week.

Potential Targets – Victor Martinez, Mark Teahan, Jack Wilson, Orlando Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Roy Halladay

New York Yankees

Needs – Starting Pitching, Bullpen. The Yankees are having back of the rotation issues right now and they could use another arm in the pen. The Yankees have been linked to Halladay, Cliff Lee, Washburn and Bronson Arroyo.

The Yankees have already traded for Eric Hinske

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Joe Beimel, John Grabow, Cliff Lee, Bronson Arroyo, Jarrod Washburn, Ian Snell

Tampa Bay Rays

Needs – Starting Pitching, Catcher, Right Field. I still think the Rays could use another solid, depandable arm in the pen, but they seem to have targeted Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

They are also looking to upgrade the Gabe Gross/Gabe Kapler platoon in right and also at the catcher position. Dioner Navarro has been disappointing this year.

Potential Targets – Jamey Wright, Danys Baez, Mark Teahan, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez

Detroit Tigers

Needs – Bullpen, Offense. The Tigers have two top of the rotation starters in Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson. However, after watcing them versus the Yankees, I think they could use another bat

I also think they could use another arm in the pen to go along with Rodney. Joel Zumaya recently landed on the DL.

Potential Targets – Matt Capps, Ron Mahay, John Grabow, Mike Gonzalez, Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, Jarrod Washburn

Minnesota Twins

Needs – Middle Infield. Freddy Sanchez makes so much sense it’s scary.

Potential Targets – Freddy Sanchez, Adam Kennedy, Orlando Cabrera, Marco Scutaro

Where will Doc land?

Where will Doc land?

Chicago White Sox

Needs – Starting Pitching. Kenny Williams already tried for Jake Peavy, will he go after Roy Halladay?

The White Sox have already acquired reliever Tony Pena from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Needs – Bullpen, Starting Rotation. For the first time in a long time, the Angels offense is not the problem. The Angels need bullpen help in the worst way and of course, they might be in on Roy Halladay.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Scott Kazmir, John Grabow, Arthur Rhodes, Joe Beimel, George Sherrill

Texas Rangers

Needs – Starting Pitching. Isn’t it always about pitching with the Rangers? The Rangers have the farm system, but do they have the money? That is the question with the Rangers.

The Rangers bullpen might get a boost with Neftali Feliz. He has been pitching from the stretch recently and is preparing for a bullpen stint with the Rangers for this year.

Potential Targets – Doug Davis, Brad Penny, Brian Bannister, Ben Sheets (free agent), Takashi Saito, George Sherrill, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee.

Seattle Mariners

Needs – Third Base, Leftfield, Shortstop. The Mariners might hold the key to the trading deadline. The have potentially one of the most desirable pitchers on the market, if the Mariners should pack it in – Jarrod Washburn.

Erik Bedard picked the worst time to go on the DL for the M’s.

The Mariners are 51-47 and 7.5 games back of the Angels in the AL West. They have dropped 3.5 games in the standing since this original post. I still see them trying to add instead of giving up players.

They have already acquired 3B Jack Hannrahan from the A’s.

Potential Targets – Garrett Atkins, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jack Wilson, Marco Scutaro, Orlando Cabrera, David DeJesus

So there are the 21 teams and the players they might be interested in. Who do you want your favorite team to target? Let’s discuss.

As July 31st Approaches, What Do The Contenders Need?

July 15, 2009

One of the best days of the year is quickly approaching – the July 31st major league baseball trading deadline. July 31st and the days leading up to that day are the days where your favorite team can make a trade to put them over the top.

However, in the New York Mets case in 2004 when they traded Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano, it could be a day where your team morgages the future just for a chance to make the playoffs.

The big name on the block for this year’s deadline is Toronto Blue Jay ace, Roy Halladay. If Halladay doesn’t get traded (50-5o at this point), it might be a quiet trading deadline. The main reason for that – parity.

Out of the 30 teams in baseball, only 9 are considered sellers. Those 9 teams would be the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, and the Oakland A’s.

This year we might even see contenders trading with contenders, just to open things up a bit. It’s hard to make trades when there are so many teams who think they have a realistic chance of making the playoffs. However, that won’t prevent me from taking a look at what those 21 contending teams need come the trading deadline.

Here are the needs of the 21 contending teams and who they could potentially target.

Philadelphia Phillies

Needs – Starting Pitching. The Phillies are going for it again and are looking for a big time pitcher.

Hallday is a wanted man

Halladay is a wanted man

The Phillies signed Pedro Martinez today.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Brad Penny

Florida Marlins

Needs – Bullpen. With Lindstrom out, the Marlins need help in the pen.

Potential Targets – Chad Qualls, Juan Cruz, BJ Ryan (free agent), Cla Meredith, Matt Capps, John Grabow, George Sherrill

Atlanta Braves

Needs – Leftfield, Second base. The Braves have already traded for Nate McLouth and Ryan Church, but their offense could use another bat.

Potential Targets – Freddy Sanchez, David Dejesus, Adam Kennedy

New York Mets

Needs – Leftfield, First Base, Starting Pitching. The Mets should not be contenders, but in New York, there is no such thing as sellers.

Potential Targets – Matt Holliday, Roy Halladay, Adam Dunn, Nick Johnson, Luke Scott, David Dejesus, Aubrey Huff

St Louis Cardinals

Needs – Starting Pitching. The Cardinals have already acquired Mark DeRosa. They have been one of the most aggressive teams this year in terms of pusuing trades

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Brad Penny, Brian Bannister, Gil Meche

Milwaukee Brewers

Needs – Starting Pitching. The Brewers’ starting rotation has fallen apart recently. Offense is not the issue with this team.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Jon Garland, Doug Davis

Chicago Cubs

Needs – Bullpen. The Cubs just need the players they already have to play better. They could use another arm in the pen.

Potential Targets – BJ Ryan (free agent), Joe Beimel, Danys Baez, Jamey Wright

Houston Astros

Needs – Third Base, Starting Pitching. How this team is at .500 and only 3.5 games out is mind boggling. Problem Astros will have making trades is that their farm system is not that good.

Potential Targets – Jon Garland, Brian Bannister, Doug Davis

Cincinnati Reds

Needs – Offense. With Jay Bruce now out six-to-eight weeks with a fractured wrist, the Reds are desperate for offense. They should really be sellers, but they are still only five games out of first in the NL Central.

Potential Targets – Mark Teahan, David Dejesus, Marco Scutaro, Luke Scott, Jermaine Dye

Los Angeles Dodgers

Needs – Bullpen. With Roland Belasario out with an inflamed elbow (it was only a matter of time before Joe Torre blew someone’s arm out) and Jonathon Broxton suffering from a toe injury, the Dodgers could use some insurance in the pen.

Potential Targets – Joe Beimel, Juan Cruz, John Grabow, George Sherrill, Danys Baez, Ron Mahay

San Francisco Giants

Needs – Offense. The Giants can use all the offense they can get.

Potential Targets – Jermaine Dye, Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, Matt Holliday, Nick Johnson, Alex Rios, Adam LaRoche

Colorado Rockies

Needs – Bullpen, Starting Rotation. Everyone thought the Rockies would be sellers at this point, but they are right in the thick of the Wild Card race. As usual, the Rockies could use some pitching help.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Ian Snell, Matt Capps, John Grabow, Takashi Saito, Danys Baez

Boston Red Sox

Needs – Offense. I don’t want to hear the Red Sox are fourth in baseball in runs scored – they need offense. They also need insurance for Mike Lowell.

Potential Targets – Victor Martinez, Mark Teahan, Scott Rolen, Jack Wilson, Roy Halladay

New York Yankees

Needs – Starting Pitching, Bullpen. The Yankees are having back of the rotation issues right now and they could use another arm in the pen. The Yankees have already traded for Eric Hinske

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Joe Beimel, John Grabow

Tampa Bay Rays

Needs – Bullpen, Right Field. I still think the Rays could use another solid, depandable arm in the pen. They are also looking to upgrade the Gabe Gross/Gabe Kapler platoon in right.

Potential Targets – Jamey Wright, Danys Baez, Cla Meredith, Mark Teahan, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham

Detroit Tigers

Needs – Bullpen. The Tigers have the offense and they have two top of the rotation starters in Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson. I think they could use another arm in the pen to go along with Zumaya and Rodney.

Potential Targets – Cla Meredith, Matt Capps, Ron Mahay, John Grabow, Mike Gonzalez

Sanchez would be perfect for the Twins

Sanchez would be perfect for the Twins

Minnesota Twins

Needs – Second Base. Freddy Sanchez makes so much sense it’s scary.

Potential Targets – Freddy Sanchez, Adam Kennedy

Chicago White Sox

Needs – Starting Pitching. Kenny Williams already tried for Jake Peavy, will he go after Roy Halladay? The White Sox have already acquired reliever Tony Pena from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Needs – Bullpen, Starting Rotation. For the first time in a long time, the Angels offense is not the problem. The Angels need bullpen help in the worst way and of course, they might be in on Roy Halladay.

Potential Targets – Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, John Grabow, Arthur Rhodes, Joe Beimel, George Sherrill

Texas Rangers

Needs – Starting Pitching. Isn’t it always about pitching with the Rangers? The Rangers have the farm system, but do they have the money? That is the question with the Rangers.

The Rangers bullpen might get a boost with Neftali Feliz. He has been pitching from the stretch recently and is preparing for a bullpen stint with the Rangers for this year.

Potential Targets – Doug Davis, Brad Penny, Brian Bannister, Ben Sheets (free agent), Takashi Saito

Seattle Mariners

Needs – Third Base, Leftfield, Shortstop. The Mariners might hold the key to the trading deadline. The have potentially two of the most desirable pitchers on the market, if the Mariners should pack it in – Jarrod Washburn and Erik Bedard.

The Mariners are 46-42 and only four games back of the Angels in the AL West. I see them trying to add instead of giving up players.

They have already acquired 3B Jack Hannrahan from the A’s.

Potential Targets – Garrett Atkins, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jack Wilson, Orlando Cabrera, David DeJesus

So there are the 21 teams and the players they might be interested in. Who do you want your favorite team to target? Let’s discuss.

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?