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Tag:Jon Lester
Posted on: July 13, 2010 8:39 pm
 

Setting the stage at the All-Star Game

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A few things as we get set for the 81st All-Star Game:

-- National League pitching plans: Florida's Josh Johnson and Philadelphia's Roy Halladay will follow starter Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound. After that, manager Charlie Manuel plans to review the game situation, see where the AL lineup is and go from there. With lefties Joe Mauer, Robinson Cano and Carl Crawford hitting 7-8-9, you could see one of a couple of lefty relievers, Hong-Chih Kuo or Arthur Rhodes if the situation dictates.

-- AL pitching plans were unclear as for who would follow Tampa Bay's David Price to the hill. But in Price, Texas' Cliff Lee, Boston's Jon Lester and the Yankees' Andy Pettitte, the AL is loaded with lefties. Which could mean right-handers Justin Verlander and Phil Hughes will be interspersed with them.

-- Boston's David Ortiz on the legacy of the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner: "Unbelievable. When you give a team that many dreams, that many possibilities to win, that's something you've got to respect no matter what."

-- This is how stacked the AL is: Mauer, last year's MVP, is hitting seventh. Last time he did that? "The minor leagues," Mauer said. His reaction to hitting seventh? "Where do you want to put everybody?" Mauer said. "Somebody's gotta bat down there."

-- The pressure is on Padres closer Heath Bell if he pitches late in a close game. San Diego has provided three of the past four losing pitchers: Bell last year, Chris Young in 2007 and Trevor Hoffman in 2006.

-- Atlanta's Omar Infante, the most unlikely of All-Stars, is having a ball. His favorite moments? Tuesday afternoon in NL clubhouse, and Monday watching the Home Run Derby on the field, holding his one-year-old son, taking as many photos as he could. As for the game? "It's very important," said Infante, whose Braves are in position to benefit if the NL can win home-field World Series advantage. "Everybody's psyched."

-- The turf is in good shape here in Angel Stadium. But it almost was in even better shape. The rock band U2 was scheduled to play Angel Stadium in early June, after which the contract called for new sod to be laid at Angel Stadium. Instead of a new playing surface, however ... well, Bono underwent emergency back surgery, U2 canceled its tour and the turf remains the same.

Posted on: July 2, 2010 9:11 pm
 

Jimenez, Price aligned for All-Star Game

If American League manager Joe Girardi chooses to start Tampa Bay's David Price in the July 13 All-Star Game -- a very real possibility given that Price led the AL in ERA (2.44) and wins (11) on Friday -- the coast is clear.

And if National League manager Charlie Manuel gives the nod to Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez -- which seems a slam dunk -- that should work, too.

In the first season in which baseball will deem ineligible any starting pitcher working on the Sunday before the All-Star break, the view from several days out looks pretty good.

Of the top AL starters, only the Angels' Jered Weaver (who leads the majors with 124 strikeouts), Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann and the Yankees' CC Sabathia currently are projected to start for their clubs on that Sunday.

Among the NL's top starters, only the Mets' Mike Pelfrey is slated to start on Sunday, July 11. But depending on what manager Jerry Manuel does with his pitching on the club's off-day on Thursday, July 8, that could change.

Price, a serious candidate to start for the AL, is scheduled to make his final pre-All Star start for Tampa Bay on Wednesday, which would leave him plenty rested for the Anaheim game. And if Girardi looks in a different direction, Seattle's Cliff Lee (last first-half start next Friday), Boston's Jon Lester (Friday) and Clay Buchholz (Tuesday), the Yankees' own Phil Hughes (Friday) and Texas' Colby Lewis (Wednesday) all should be eligible.

Jimenez makes his final pre-All Star start on Thursday and, assuming good health, should be a foregone conclusion to start for the NL in Anaheim.

As for the rest of the NL's top starters, things are setting up very nicely for Manuel: Florida's Josh Johnson (final first-half start slotted for Wednesday), St. Louis' Chris Carpenter (Friday), Adam Wainwright (Saturday) and Jaime Garcia (Thursday), Philadelphia's Roy Halladay (Saturday), Atlanta's Tim Hudson (Friday or Saturday), Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo (Friday), the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (Thursday), San Diego's Mat Latos (Wednesday) and San Francisco's Tim Lincecum (Wednesday) and Barry Zito (Thursday)  all should be fresh for the game.

Likes: Great move by Texas acquiring catcher Bengie Molina. Look out, this is the strongest team the Rangers have had in several years. ... The wheels came off the wagon horribly in Arizona, but make no mistake: Fired general manager Josh Byrnes and manager A.J. Hinch are good people. ... New Arizona manager Kirk Gibson's first game in the dugout, of course, is against the Dodgers. Who else? ... The All-Star break just around the corner and Texas, Atlanta, Cincinnati and San Diego in first place. ... The new concert DVD from Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band, Live in Hyde Park. Very, very good. Great song selections, tremendous playing and some breathtaking camera work of both the band's work and the crowd in Hyde Park. ... Quaker Oatmeal Squares for breakfast. ... Ben & Jerry's Milk and Cookies ice cream.

Dislikes: It's July, so here comes the July 31 trade deadline, a time that you would think would get a baseball writer's juices flowing. And it does mine, too -- it's fun to see the moves as they're made -- but it's also become one of my least favorite times of the year because there is so, so much wrong information that will be produced this month. And ferreting out the truth from the fiction is next to impossible. The sad, simple fact is the journalism bar at times is lowered today, and this is one of them.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Summer
"It turns me upside down"

-- The Cars, Magic

Posted on: May 20, 2008 4:20 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2008 4:39 pm
 

I thought he HAD retired

Mike Piazza formally announced his retirement Tuesday. No farewell tour, no rocking chairs and no standing ovations.

Another character from baseball's Steroids Era just sort of quietly disappearing into the good night.

He finishes with 427 home runs (39th on baseball's all-time list); 1,335 RBI (80th); a .922 OPS (47th) and 12 All-Star appearances. No catcher in major-league history hit more homers than Piazza -- he passed Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk in 2004.

All of this, and yet I'm going to need every bit of his required five-year waiting period to wrestle with the question of whether I'm going to check his name when it appears on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Because nearly as surprising as his ascent from being a 62nd-round draft pick was the fact that his name did not appear in last winter's Mitchell Report.

Bulked up as he was during the peak of his career, Piazza did not pass the eye test in the late 1990s and early 2000s while clubbing 30-plus homers a season. And he did not pass the eye test again toward the end of his career when he mysteriously seemed to wither away.

Is it fair?

If Piazza never juiced then, hell, no.

But if those offensive numbers are artificially inflated, well, then, is THAT fair to all of the other players who did things the right way?

It's terrible that this is the prism through which we must view things today. But by irresponsibly opposing drug testing for years, Don Fehr and the players' union have brought this on themselves.

Likes: What a great story, Jon Lester throwing a no-hitter. ... That the only other no-hitter ever pitched against Kansas City was by none other than Nolan Ryan. ... The Cubs' Geovany Soto cracking an inside-the-park homer. That's the only play more exciting than a triple. ... This Los Angeles Times story on singer Sly Stone's interest in making a comeback. It contains one of the best quotes I've read anywhere all year. Context: A "golden moment" for Sly and the Family Stone was at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, during which the band performed the song Higher and a crowd of 400,000 sang the words back. Now, from the story, here's Sly: "Everybody I saw was full of peace, it was a spirit there that was just peaceful and cool. The thing I really remember is I went to whatever was the main street there and I got a bologna sandwich. And it was so hot. And I never open a sandwich to look what's going on, but somehow I thought that time that I would do that. Because it was hot and I didn't think bologna sandwiches were hot. And I opened it and there were people running across the meat. And, I thought, 'Whoa.'" ...

Dislikes: Don't want to hear any more about the umpires blowing Carlos Delgado home run call against the Yankees the other night. It was an 11-2 game. The Mets won. Because it was in New York, though, we're going to hear about it for weeks, and the periodic debate about instant replay will be going strong. ... Madonna's new disc, Hard Candy. Not that I'm a big Madonna fan to begin with, but I do enjoy all sorts of music and I like some of Madonna's earlier stuff -- Material Girl, Angel, whatever. But I picked up Hard Candy for my wife for Mother's Day, and most of it gives meaning to the word "monotony." It stinks.

Lyric:
"Into this life we're born
"Baby, sometimes we don't know why
"And time seems to go by so fast
"In the twinkling of an eye
"Let's enjoy it while we can
"Won't you help me sing my song
"From the dark end of the street
"To the bright side of the road"

-- Van Morrison, Bright Side of the Road

Category: MLB
Posted on: May 20, 2008 4:11 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2008 4:16 pm
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