Archive for All Star Game

Robinson Cano overtook Ian Kinsler in the fan voting for the starting second base spot in next month’s All-Star Game, MLB announced. Cano leads by roughly 97,000 votes and is second in the AL with 3.5 fWAR. He trails only Mike Trout. Yeah, the kid’s been good. Curtis Granderson is second to Josh Hamilton among outfielders and remains in position to start the game along with Robbie and Derek Jeter. Mike Napoli, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, Jose Bautista, and David Ortiz are scheduled to start at the other positions.

You can vote for the starters up to 25 times per email address through midnight ET this Thursday; here’s the ballot. I’m not sure if the Yankees will have any All-Stars beyond Derek, Cano, and Granderson. CC Sabathia could get the call again and I suppose there’s a chance Rafael Soriano could make it as well.

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The Yankees hit the one-third point of their season last night, which means we’re not far off from the halfway point. The All-Star Game is actually like, the 52.4% mark of the season, but who’s counting. Here’s some Yankees-related news on the Midsummer Classic, the glorified exhibition that determines home field advantage in the World Series. Boo that.

Jeter, Granderson among early vote leaders

Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson are currently among the top vote-getters at their respective positions for next month’s All-Star Game in Kansas City. Jeter leads all shortstops with 1,698,777 votes, more than 600,000 more than second place Elvis Andrus. Granderson (1,406,128 votes) is second among AL outfielders behind leading vote-getter Josh Hamilton (2,587,991). Nelson Cruz (992,992) is also in line to start in the outfield. Jose Bautista is a close fourth, Adam Jones a close fifth.

Robinson Cano (1,164,448) ranks second among AL second baseman behind Ian Kinsler (1,447,171) while Mark Teixeira (697,602) is second to Prince Fielder (1,027,070) among first baseman. I’m surprise Albert Pujols isn’t leading at first despite his early-season slump. Alex Rodriguez lags at third base behind Adrian Beltre (1,179,864) and Miguel Cabrera (886,365). Here’s the ballot, you can vote up to 25 times per email address until Thursday, June 28th. The leading vote-getters at each position start the game, as you know.

Cano to captain AL Homerun Derby squad

Thanks to his winning performance last year, Cano will serve as captain for this year’s AL Homerun Derby team. Matt Kemp will do the honors for the so-called Senior Circuit. Cano said he will again take his father Jose to pitch to him, and that he also plans to ask Granderson to participate. In addition to selecting the participants, Robbie and Kemp will also choose the charities they’ll be backing.

David Ortiz was the AL captain last year and I suspect Cano will invite him as a way to return the favor, so to speak. Assuming those two headline the squad, I’m hoping Yoenis Cespedes and Adam Dunn join them. It’s time to start bringing homerun hitters to the Homerun Derby, we want moonshots. Kemp said he’ll consider extending an invitation to Giancarlo Stanton, which is a no-brainer in my opinion. The Derby has gotten a little stale over the years, but it would be interesting to see guys like Cespedes and Stanton taking their hacks.

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This is a guest post from RAB Shop extraordinaire Tyler Wilkinson. So read it, then go buy something.

Baseball’s mid-summer classic, once an avenue for die-hard fans to catch a glimpse of cross-country superstars, has descended into a watered down exhibition featuring all of the players we watch every night on MLB.tv and every morning on Sportscenter. With the appeal fading, several years ago Commissioner Bud Selig took the radical step of turning this meaningless event into the deciding factor for home-field advantage in the World Series. Yes, crazy. Believe it or not, the possibility of Aaron Crow influencing home-field advantage hasn’t yielded the results Selig was looking for. With that in mind, I have an unrealistic crackpot idea to drive up interest.

A battle for of the ages.

Problem 1, the rosters are too damn big. Peace out Aaron Crow. Royals, you want an All-Star, trade Hosmer and Moose Tacos to the Yankees for A-Rod. Picking on Aaron Crow is fun. Kidding aside, trying to include a member of every squad is diluting the talent pool and lessening the experience. Solution: 25 man rosters. Done.

Problem 2, Joe Buck & Tim McCarver. Do the right thing, Fox.

Problem 3, people aren’t tuning in to watch AL vs. NL anymore. We need a twist. How about a battle of old vs. new? Jeter vs. Cano? Lester vs. Gonzalez? Good vs. Good? Evil vs. Evil? Taking this year’s injury-riddled lineups and splitting them into the 25 youngest players I find interesting and the 25 oldest players I find interesting, let’s see how the rosters fill out.

Young Punks

C:  McCann
1B: Fielder
2B: Cano
3B: Sandoval
SS: Reyes (we’ll roll with the fan vote)
OF: Braun
OF: Kemp
OF: Upton
DH: Votto

SP: Lincecum
SP: Hernandez (F-Her, don’t forget to spread the nickname)
SP: Lester
SP: Price
SP: Hamels
RP: Weaver
RP: Cain
RP: Kershaw
RP: Pineda
RP: Jurrjens
CL: Robertson (shut up, it’s my list!)

BN: Avila
BN: McCutchen
BN: Tulowitzki
BN: Martin (3 catchers to swap out in the ASG seems reasonable)
BN: Bruce

Thoughts: Relievers not named Mo probably don’t belong in the ASG, apologies to Aaron Crow. That is a ridiculous pitching staff. I hope Lester hits Youkilis in his ugly ribs.

Old Geezers

C: Molina (I double checked. It’s not Gustavo)
1B: Gonzalez, Ad.
2B: Phillips
3B: Rodriguez
SS: Jeter
OF: Bautista
OF: Granderson
OF: Hamilton
DH: Holliday

SP: Halladay
SP: Sabathia
SP: Lee
SP: Verlander (the youngest of the old geezers & the exact middle point)
SP: Beckett
RP: Shields
RP: Wilson, Brian (have to break the no relievers rule)
RP: Valverde (and again, gross)
RP: Bell  (and again)
RP: Wilson, CJ
CL:  Rivera (forever and ever)

BN: Montero, Mig.
BN: Beltran
BN: Berkman
BN: Kendrick (someone’s gotta backup the middle infield)
BN: Youkilis (gross)

Thoughts: While the youngsters have a ridiculous pitching staff, the old folks have some big guns of their own up front with a familiar face closing it down. There’s a lot of pop in the old guys’ lineup.

While not perfect (Valverde survived the cut), I still believe the new format would increase interest. Baseball would have an avenue to market their phenomenal young stars to a national audience and the fat of the current system would be trimmed right off.  Plus, the novelty of seeing a Reyes/Cano double play combo is probably more appealing than the standard AL/NL lineups that people have grown accustomed to.  The one thing I think we can all agree on is that home-field advantage being decided in an exhibition game three months before the World Series is ridiculous and unnecessary.  While a radical alteration like the one I proposed is unrealistic, correcting home-field advantage is a simple step that needs to be fixed yesterday. That and Joe Buck.

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Last night it was the big leaguers, now it’s the guys one notch below them. The Triple-A All-Star Game is being played in Salt Lake City tonight, and former Yankees farmhand Zach McAllister is making the start for the International League. Z-Mac made his big league debut last week in case you missed it, allowing three runs in four innings against the Blue Jays. He’s the eighth player from the Yankees’ 2006 draft class to reach the show, joining Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Colin Curtis, Mark Melancon, Dan McCutchen, David Robertson, and Kevin Russo. Dellin Betances and George Kontos have a chance to make it ten, which would be pretty amazing.

Anyway, here are the lineups for the International League and the Pacific Coast League. Yes, we have a Cody Ransom sighting. The only Yankee there is Adam Warren, and I imagine he’ll get an inning in at some point. Jesus Montero, Jorge Vazquez, and Kevin Whelan all withdrew due to injury. The game starts at 9pm ET and can be seen on the MLB Network, so use this thread to talk about that or whatever else your heart desires. You all know what to do by now, so go nuts.

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(via Twitter user @waverider15)

The final score was 5-1 and I blame the AL West. The AL jumped out to a one-zip lead thanks to an Adrian Gonzalez solo homer, but the NL answered right back when eventual MVP Prince Fielder hit a three-run oppo bomb off C.J. Wilson. They tacked on another run at the expense of Jordan Walden, and another off Brandon League. When you look through the box score, it’s pretty obvious the AL just didn’t have the pitching to keep pace. I still blame the AL West though. Stupid useless division, thanks for nothing.

Four Yankees were at the game but only three played. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano started the game but didn’t hit the ball out of the infield in two at-bats each. David Robertson pitched the second inning after Josh Beckett shut himself down with soreness in his knee during warm ups, striking out one (Matt Holliday) and allowing a single up the middle (Lance Berkman). He and Chris Perez were the only non-AL West pitchers to appear in the game for the good guys. Russell Martin did not play at all, which I’m pretty cool with, actually. Let him rest.

The best part of the game: Tyler Clippard getting the win. He’s been phenomenal since the Yankees traded him away, but anyone that watches him regularly will tell you about his penchant for vulturing wins. He does it so often that it’s officially referred to as “clipping” a win. This game was a perfect example. Clippard entered the game with men on first and second with two outs in the fourth, then gave up a single to Adrian Beltre. The only reason he got out of the inning was because the third base coach inexplicably sent Jose Bautista home*, where he was thrown out by a mile by Hunter Pence. One batter, one hit, win. Clipped.

Bruce Bochy used Philadelphia and Atlanta pitchers for six of the nine innings and one of his own pitchers for just two outs. That was Brian Wilson, who didn’t come into the game until the AL threatened in the bottom of the ninth. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Ryan Vogelsong didn’t even leave the dugout. The Phillies and Braves will be right there with the Giants come the playoffs, and Bochy used his managerial perk to use their pitchers and spare his own. Anyway, it’s the NL’s second straight win and they now have home field advantage in the World Series. After a day off on Wednesday, the Yankees will be back at it against the Blue Jays on Thursday.

* Seriously, what the hell was that about? Pence had the ball before Bautista even got to third.

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Jul
12

2011 All-Star Game Thread

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Now it counts! Seriously, how dumb is it that this glorified exhibition will decide home field advantage in the World Series? I can’t wait for that fifth inning matchup between Aaron Crow and Hunter Pence to decide whether or not the Yankees get to play three or four games in the Bronx come late October, assuming they make it that far of course. Don’t want to jinx it.

That said, the All-Star Game isn’t boring, at least I don’t think so. I just hate that it impacts the World Series. It’s fun to see all the different players and a new pitcher every inning, usually I’m fumbling around MLB.tv to see these guys play, and for this one night they’re all playing in one stadium. That’s pretty cool. Here are your starting lineups…

American League
Curtis Granderson, CF
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Jose Bautista, RF
Josh Hamilton, LF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Robinson Cano, 2B
Alex Avila, C

Jered Weaver, RHP

National League
Rickie Weeks, 2B
Carlos Beltran, DH
Matt Kemp, CF
Prince Fielder, 1B
Brian McCann, C
Lance Berkman, RF
Matt Holliday, LF
Troy Tulowitzki, SS
Scott Rolen, 3B

Roy Halladay, RHP

The full rosters can be seen here. David Robertson and Russell Martin are the only other Yankees actually at the game and eligible to play after Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, and CC Sabathia backed out. If needed, the two managers have confirmed that Jose Valverde and Brian Wilson will serve as closers, and Valverde apparently rehearsed a new jig should he close out the game. Seriously. Anyway, first pitch is scheduled for 8pm ET and can be seen on FOX. Talk about the game or anything else your heart desires here. Enjoy.

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Jul
12

Too Many Homers!

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(Jeff Gross/Getty)

Thirty-two homers total, thirty over 400 feet. Final round record 12 homers. The laziest power display in baseball history. Robinson Cano, 2011 Home Run Derby Champion. Smile.

Also, mad props to Jose Cano. What a moment that must have been for him.

(AP)

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They don’t call them the Bronx Bombers for nothing, s0 I was somewhat surprised to see that just three Yankees have participated in the Home Run Derby a total of four times since the event started in 1985. Robinson Cano will make it four players and five appearances later tonight, when he takes his hacks at Chase Field in Arizona with seven others. It could have been Mark Teixeira, but he decided to spend the All-Star break at home with his family after not making the AL team. Oh well. Let’s go back in time and relive the four Derbies the Yankees graced with their presence…

(Photo Credit: www.oocities.org)

Tino Martinez, 1997

I was pretty young and naive in 1997, so I thought Tino’s monster 44 homer campaign was a sign of great things of come. Of course that was his career season, and on only two other occasions did he top even 30 homers (1995 and 2001). Tino’s first half in 1997 was beastly, a .302/.370/.619 batting line with 28 homers (!!!) in 85 games. The Derby was a little different back then, it had ten players (not eight) taking their swings at the brand spanking new Jacobs Field in Cleveland.

Tino hit five homers in the first round, tied with Mark McGwire for the second most behind Larry Walker (nine). Martinez went deep eight times in the second round, again the second most behind Walker’s nine. Although the Colorado outfielder and eventual NL MVP out-homered the Yankees’ first baseman 19-16 over the course of the event, Tino’s timing was better. He hit three homers in the finals to Walker’s one, and that was that. The first Yankee to compete in the Derby had won it. Tino production dropped a bit in the second half, but he still hit a crazy good .289/.372/.525 with 16 homers in 73 games down the stretch.

Jason Giambi, 2002

(Photo Credit: The Lawrence Journal-World)

The Giambino’s first year in pinstripes was insanely good; he hit .318/.430/.602 with 22 homers in 86 games heading into the break. The first round of the Derby in Miller Park wasn’t much of a problem, Giambi hit 11 homers. Only Sammy Sosa (12) had more. Back in those days, the four players that advanced to the second round faced off head-to-head, one seed vs. four, two vs. three. Giambi drew Paul Konerko as the two seed, then out-homered him seven to six in the second round. Sosa (five) beat Richie Sexson (four), so he and Giambi met in the finals even though Konerko had the second most homers in the round.

Sosa was no match in the finals. Giambi out-homered him 7-1 to win the event, and his 24 total homers were the second most all-time behind the 26 Sosa hit in 2000. Two Yankees in the Derby, two wins. Giambi’s production didn’t slip at all in the second half, he hit .309/.442/.593 with 19 homers in his final 69 games.

Jason Giambi, 2003

MLB invited Giambi to the Homerun Derby for the third straight year and why not? He was one of the game’s premier sluggers at the time. He had hit .267/.419/.547 with 26 homers in 91 first half games, so not that far off from his 2002 first half in the OBP and ISO departments. U.S. Cellular Field loves left-handed batters and Giambi took advantage, leading the way with a dozen first round homers. Garrett Anderson hit seven, and no one else topped four. Giambi drew Albert Pujols in the second round, though his eleven homers were not enough. Pujols hit 14 and advanced to the finals, losing to Anderson 9-8. Despite being bounced in the second round, Giambi’s 23 total homers were the second most in the event, three behind Pujols. His production dropped in the second half, down to .226/.401/.498 with 15 homers in 65 second half games.

(Photo Credit: The Connecticut Post)

Nick Swisher, 2010

Swisher wasn’t even supposed to participate in the event in the first place. He was a replacement for Cano, who had to withdraw due to a sore back. Swish didn’t make it out of the first round, hitting just four balls out of Angels Stadium. He was spared the embarrassment of hitting the fewest homers in the event by Chris Young (one) and Vernon Wells (two). David Ortiz eventually beat Hanley Ramirez in the finals. After hitting .298/.377/.524 with 15 homers in 84 games in the first half, Swisher dropped to .275/.336/.494 after the break, but he did hit 14 homers in 67 games.

* * *

Aside from the superhuman Giambi in 2002, everyone’s production declined in the second half, but they were hardly useless. I think it has more to do with those guys having outrageously good first halves and just coming back to Earth down the stretch. Cano is at .296/.342*/.521 with 15 homers through the team’s first 88 games, and it’s worth noting that he’s traditionally been a better hitter in the second half. That was not true last year, however. Either way, I’d love to see Cano win the thing, but I’ll take the field on this one.

* I was surprised to see his OBP that high, but then I realized that it’s inflated by a career-high nine hit-by-pitches. He got plunked eight times last year and eight times 2007. If we remove those HBP’s from his time-on-base and plate appearance totals, his OBP is just .326. I don’t want to think about what it would be if we removed the four intentional walks.

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Michael Kay just announced during this afternoon’s broadcast that David Robertson has been named to the All-Star Game as a replacement for David Price, who apparently withdrew. Awesome, congrats David.

Update: CC Sabathia was also named to the All-Star Team as a replacement for Jamie Shields, though he can’t pitch in the game because he’s starting today. Alexi Ogando has taken Sabathia’s spot. Good job of watering down the value of being an All-Star, MLB.

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Jul
07

A-Rod may skip All-Star Game

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Via George King, there’s a chance Alex Rodriguez will skip the All-Star Game next week to give his ailing right knee some rest. It’s been bothering him for at least two weeks now, though Alex did tell King that it’s “getting better.” A-Rod was voted as the starting third baseman for the All-Star Game and deservedly so; he leads all big league third baseman with 4.1 fWAR and 3.3 bWAR. As great as it would be to see a bunch of Yankees in the All-Star Game, I’d rather them stay home and get healthy.

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