Tag:Tim Lincecum
Posted on: October 25, 2010 10:33 pm
 

Giants: Lincecum Game 1, Cain and Sanchez flip

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who has made all the right moves so far this postseason, is flip-flopping Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez in the club's World Series rotation.

Moving away from Philadelphia's left-heavy lineup, Bochy is slotting the right-handed Cain in for the Game 2 start, with Sanchez starting Game 3 in Texas.

Tim Lincecum, as expected, will start Game 1 on Wednesday night against the Rangers' Cliff Lee.

The Giants lined up with Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez against Atlanta in the Division Series. But in the NL Championship Series, they went Lincecum, Sanchez, Cain and rookie Madison Bumgarner. Bochy wanted the lefty Sanchez to pitch Game 2, partly to break up his righties and lefties in the rotation and partly so that Cain, a fly ball pitcher, would not be exposed to the home-run trap that can be Citizens Bank Park.

Like Philadelphia's park, the Ballpark in Arlington is notoriously friendly to hitters who launch fly balls, and that probably factored in to the Giants' thinking. One reason Bochy voiced: Cain last started before Sanchez, back on Oct. 19, and he wants to get the big right-hander back on the mound.

Cain's reaction?

"We'll start it out with Timmy against Cliff, and then we'll go to the next game," the mellow righty said.

As for pushing Sanchez back, it's got nothing to do with the lefty's rough (two-innings-plus) start in Philadelphia in Game 6.

"The guy had a hiccup," Bochy said. "We're here because of what Jonathan Sanchez did down the stretch. He had an off night. It's going to happen."

"It doesn't matter," Sanchez said of when he pitches. "You're just going to pitch one game. I've just got to throw a bullpen when I have to."

The way things set up now, Sanchez could pitch Games 3 and 7, but he said he hasn't thought about that.

"We'll see what happens," Sanchez said.

As for Lincecum, as he made adjustments following his rough August, he mostly stopped throwing between-starts bullpen sessions. Of his three-batter relief outing in Game 6 of the NLCS, Lincecum said he did not -- and will not -- do any extra bullpen work.

So the relief appearance serves as his between-starts bullpen session?

"I suppose," he said.

Posted on: October 19, 2010 9:58 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:01 pm
 

Giants rotation keeps history, Posey busy

SAN FRANCISCO -- You've got Tim Lincecum, with his two NL Cy Young Awards, sizzling fastball (even with this year's reduced velocity), killer slider and mind-bending curve ball.

You've got lefty Jonathan Sanchez, who has a sneaky fastball, wicked slider and solid curveball.

And you've got Matt Cain, who spots his fastball that creeps up to 94.

All along, the Giants were the one team in the NL that could hang with the Phillies' killer front-three of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels if things broke right. And so far, especially after San Francisco's 3-0 Game 3 win, things are breaking right for them.

So, rookie catcher Buster Posey, which of those three is the easiest to catch?

"I'd have to say probably Cain," Posey says. "Johnny and Timmy's stuff is just so electric. Tim's fastball moves a ton. Jonathan's tremendously deceptive.

"Matt's command, he's pinpoint a lot of the time."

With the Phillies sticking with Joe Blanton for Game 4 -- despite some calls for Roy Halladay on short rest -- their hitters will get a crack at Giants rookie Madison Bumgarner, who went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA this season.

Bumgarner is riding a pretty good wave of momentum: The Giants' shutout in Game 3 -- Cain, Javier Lopez and Brian Wilson combined -- following Tim Lincecum's Game 1 shutout of Atlanta last round gives the Giants two shutouts at home in the same postseason for the first time since they blanked the White Sox in Games 3 and 4 of the 1917 World Series.

The Big Three," Wilson said. "Or you can call them the Fab Four, I don't know. Madison shouldn't be counted out.

"You never know. At 21, he might be our secret weapon."

Likes: Tuesday afternoon by the Bay was so gorgeous it makes you wonder why every October playoff game isn't in the afternoon. Oh, yeah, the television money. My bad. ... San Francisco really has become a great baseball city. Loud, loud crowds. ... Robinson Cano's home run in Yankee Stadium against Texas should have been reviewed via replay, but it was not comparable to the Derek Jeter/Jeffrey Maier disputed homer in 1996. Maier reached over the fence into the field of play. These fans Tuesday night did not. ... Mike Quade as the new Cubs manager. He did a fantastic job after Lou Piniella left. Here's a column I did on him in late September. ... Gorgeous shot of Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay on jumbo board in center field before seventh inning started Tuesday. ... The gnocchi at Umbria Italian Ristorante in San Francisco. Great find, that place. ... Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie singing the national anthem. Great voice.

Dislikes: Obese mice.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"To everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
"There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
"And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
"A time to be born, a time to die
"A time to plant, a time to reap
"A time to kill, a time to heal
"A time to laugh, a time to weep"

-- The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn

Posted on: October 17, 2010 4:40 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2010 5:31 pm
 

Manuel tweaks slumping Phils' lineup

PHILADELPHIA -- If Sunday night's Game 2 of the NL Championship Series is not a must-win for Philadelphia, it's the next-closest thing.

More worrisome for Phillies manager Charlie Manuel than losing Game 1 is the trend toward silence from the Philadelphia bats.

Which is why he's shaking up the top of the lineup for Game 2, flip-flopping Chase Utley and Placido Polanco in the Nos. 2 and 3 spots. Against Giants lefty starter Jonathan Sanchez, Utley will bat second (out of his usual third spot) and Polanco will hit third (down from No. 2 in Game 1).

"Same reason I always do it," Manuel said Sunday when quizzed about his reasoning. "I want have right-handed hitter in between [the two lefties, Utley and Ryan Howard]. Polanco's hitting third."

Clearly, Manuel also is reacting to the presence of Javier Lopez, the Giants' situational lefty, on the other side. Lopez got two huge outs in the eighth inning of Game 1 when he was summoned to face Utley and Howard. He dispatched Utley with a ground ball, struck out Howard, and his evening was finished.

So far in four games this postseason, the Phillies as a team are hitting just .212. They've scored a total of only 16 runs, and their on-base percentage is just .300.

They went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position against the Giants in Game 1 and, against Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco bullpen, did not advance a runner into scoring position after the third inning.

There was some speculation that Manuel might return shortstop Jimmy Rollins to the leadoff slot for Game 2, a thought fueled in part by Manuel saying late Saturday night that he would think about it.

After sleeping on the notion, though, Manuel discarded the idea and left Rollins in the sixth slot for Game 2, same spot in which he batted Saturday.

"Because when I looked, I like him right where he's at," Manuel said. "I look at how he's been doing and how we lined up against Sanchez. Victorino's got some hits against Sanchez [6-for-15 lifetime], and Jimmy is 1-for-16 against him. Utley's got a few hits [3-for-11].

"I looked at the way we lined up, and I like Jimmy where he's at right now."

It isn't only Sanchez against whom Rollins is scuffling. In four postseason games this fall, Rollins is hitting .067 [1-for-15].

Which makes it easy to understand Manuel's reluctance to move him back atop the lineup, because that's no small part of the reason the Phillies' offense has been sluggish.

So far in the playoffs, the top two slots in the Philadelphia order are hitting .161 [5-for-31].

Giants manager Bruce Bochy, meanwhile, elected to keep his lineup the same for Game 2 as it was in Game 1 -- including leaving Mike Fontenot at third base instead of Pablo Sandoval.

Posted on: October 3, 2010 10:26 pm
 

Gutsy Padres put on heck of a show

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the end, a $40 million payroll was good for 29th in the majors, 90 victories and one big heartbreak on the final Sunday of the season.

The Padres pushed the Giants to the brink of a one-game playoff back in San Diego on Monday, but couldn't push them over the edge. San Francisco's 3-0 win here Sunday earned the Giants the NL West title, and Atlanta's win over Philadelphia gave the Braves the NL wild-card berth.

The Padres head home for the winter after a summer of vastly exceeding expectations.

Even in losing, this was one special team.

"It shows that if you have a bunch of guys committed to the team concept, you can compete in this league," second baseman David Eckstein said, "We had a good mix of guys. That's the tough thing about it.

"Because no one is going to care because we didn't make it."

Sad truth is, Eckstein probably is right -- but he should be wrong.

What the Padres did should have been headline news. They were the game's best story throughout the season.

They were the perfect team for these roiling economic times. They stretched their budget. They made more with less. They were responsible and paid attention to small details.

"A lot of clubs out there, small-market clubs, I'd love for them to take a page out of what we did," Eckstein said. "It proves anything is possible."

The Padres held first place from June 18 through September 16.

They and the Yankees were the only clubs to not lose more than three consecutive games until the Padres were ambushed by a 10-game losing streak beginning on Aug. 26 that ultimately became a mortal wound.

"It's a team game made up of individual battles," manager Bud Black said. "This truly was a team in the sense that guys cared about each other. The unselfishness. Guys understood what I was doing and what the coaches were doing.

"It was fabulous how strong, as a group, the team concept was. It was awesome."

The whole was far greater than the sum of the parts. And as these Padres quietly prepared for their final charter flight home of 2010, though it was a somber clubhouse, there was pride in what they had accomplished.

"I'm never one to be disappointed at the end of the year," said slugger Adrian Gonzalez, who now, along with closer Heath Bell, probably will re-enter the trade rumors market this winter. "You give it your all. When you play your heart out every day, you have nothing to hang your head about.

"Whether we came up one game short or 10 games short, I gave it all I had.

Likes: The Giants are deserving champions. Totally revamped lineup, and together with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey, Pat Burrell and Co. will be tough in the playoffs. ... Every time I come to San Francisco, the beauty of AT & T Park hits me all over again. ... On to the playoffs. ... Michaelangelo's Café in North Beach. ... Congratulations to Coach Jack Giarmo, my old classmate, for notching his 100th win as Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central rolled over Grosse Ile 49-13 on the high school football fields Friday night. Coach Jack has the Falcons rolling again, I love it.

Dislikes: It's always a severe and harsh split when a baseball season ends. People you see practically every day of the summer, suddenly, you're done seeing some of them until next February, March or April. Reaching the end of a season is kind of like reaching the end of the school year. It's been a long grind and you're happy to be done, but you'll miss seeing a lot of friends. Looking forward to seeing some of those friends over these next several weeks in the playoffs.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Educated in a small town
"Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town
"Used to daydream in that small town
"Another born romantic that's me
"But I've seen it all in a small town
"Had myself a ball in a small town
"Married an L.A. doll and brought her to this small town
"Now she's small town just like me"

-- John Mellencamp, Small Town

Posted on: September 10, 2010 9:25 pm
 

Sandoval's home evacuated, all OK

SAN DIEGO -- Pablo Sandoval had no idea that the house he rents for himself and his mother near San Francisco nearly went up in flames during Thursday night's game here, nearly one more consequence of the horrific fireball gas line explosion that destroyed 38 homes and took four lives in San Bruno.

By Tuesday afternoon, the Giants' Kung Fu Panda, pretty sure his house is OK, was recounting the story of how the catastrophe caused his mother, Amelia, to be evacuated ... and then drive for the very first time in the United States.

"She was scared," Sandoval said. "So she got in the car and started driving."

With Pablo in San Diego with the Giants, Amelia -- who has driven before in the family's native Venezuela -- piled herself and Sandoval's 25-year-old cousin into Panda's Cadillac Escalade and set out for San Jose. Amelia's other son, Michael, plays in the Giants' farm system and was in San Jose preparing for a Class A California League playoff game.

"I don't care about the house, I care about my family," Sandoval said. "My mom had never driven in the States."

Sandoval had no idea of the explosion or evacuation until he returned to the clubhouse following San Francisco's 7-3 win Thursday night. There, he said he had around 35 text messages waiting on his cell phone asking things like "Is your house OK?" and "Is your family OK?"

"I called my mom and she was so scared she was crying," Sandoval said.

The area remained without electricity, water and cell phone service Friday, according to Sandoval.

Amelia Sandoval, who fortunately completed the drive without incident, remained in San Jose.

"She's not coming back until I come back," Sandoval said.

The Giants return home following Sunday's series finale here.

Meantime, the fire was said to be fully contained by noon on Friday. A total of 52 people were injured in the blast. San Bruno is located in an area overlooking the San Francisco Bay and the airport.

Likes: Set to face Padres ace Mat Latos in the marquee pitching matchup of the weekend on Sunday, Giants ace Tim Lincecum has pitched like he expects in his past two starts following his 0-5 August. "It was hell," he says. "I've never been through something like that, ever. It was an awakening." ... Reading Dan Epstein's Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s. The photo of Oscar Gamble with the globe-sized Afro on the cover is worth the price of the book alone. It's all there: The ugly uniforms, the artificial turf, Disco Demolition night, some great Charles O. Finley stories and, of course, the Fritz Peterson-Mike Kekich family swap. "Some nights I would go home with Fritz, and some nights I would go home with Mike," Susan Kekich is quoted in the book. So is then-Yankees manager Ralph Houk: "In all my years in baseball, that was the biggest surprise that ever happened to me." And, of course, then-Yankees general manager Lee MacPhail's classic line: "We may have to call off Family Day this year." ... Is Saturday perfect or what? Stretch-run baseball and some outstanding college football games going all day and night.

Dislikes: Detroit's Carlos Guillen, out for the season because of knee surgery. ... Subway toasting their sandwiches. It slows down the process. Do we have to try to be all things to all people?

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I wasn't born for diggin' deep holes
"I'm not made for pavin' long roads
"I ain't cut out to climb high line poles
"But I'm pretty good at drinkin' beer

"I'm not the type to work in a bank
"I'm no good at slappin' on paint
Don't have a knack for makin' motors crank, no
But I'm pretty good at drinkin' beer"

-- Billy Currington, Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer

 

Posted on: August 27, 2010 3:15 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 3:15 pm
 

3 to watch: The dwindling off days edition

Off days are precious in late August, and not just for players headed for the September fires of the stretch run.

The Giants moved into the lead in the NL wild-card chase this week before taking a break Thursday, which surely made the coaches as happy as the players at this point. Not long ago, a couple of their coaches calculated how many ground balls they hit to infielders in need of work each season.

I don't know the exact formula used, but the number they came up with was 44,000 ground balls a year.

"Then you go, 'How many years?'" third-base coach Tim Flannery says.

He's been coaching 15 years, so, multiply that by 44,000, and by this baseball math, Flannery figures he's slapped 660,000 or so fungoes during his career. He's had six or so cortisone injections in each elbow. Thanks to ulnar nerve issues, his right pinky and ring fingers currently are numb.

"Some might argue that my head is, too," Flannery jokes.

Giants bench coach Ron Wotus has hit so many fungoes he's had surgery to re-attach a tendon to his elbow.

"Thought it was tendinitis at first," Wotus says.

Flannery was wearing an elastic compression brace on each elbow after first smearing them with Tiger Balm.

"A lot of Advil, a lot of ice," he says.

Which pretty much is the prescription for everybody at this point in the season. There aren't many off days left. The Yankees have just three (Sept. 9, 16 and 30). Trying to catch the Twins, the White Sox have just three as well (Sept. 2, 13 and 23). The Twins have four -- one on Monday, then identical dates with the Sox.

First-place San Diego has the biggest grind, with only two remaining the rest of the season -- Sept. 2 and 20. The Giants have four (Sept. 2, 13, 20 and 27). In the NL Central, Cincinnati has three (Sept. 2, 13 and 27) and the Cardinals, having slipped to four games behind the Reds in the NL Central, have only two (Sept. 2 and 20).

On to 3 to watch:

1. In a place they never thought they'd be after having swept three in Cincinnati Aug. 9-11, the Cardinals enter the weekend looking to make up some serious ground before getting one last shot at the Reds head-to-head in St. Louis next weekend. Trailing the Reds by four games, right-hander Jaime Garcia takes the ball first in Cardinals at Nationals, Friday night (7:05 p.m. ET) in Nationals Park and, when he does, maybe it'll hearten Washington fans blue over Stephen Strasburg's impending elbow surgery. Garcia is a Poster Boy survivor of Tommy John ligament transfer surgery, to the point where he's a leading contender for the NL Rookie of the Year award. It's a weirdly busy weekend in D.C. -- not only will this series be played under the Strasburg pall, but Cards manager Tony La Russa and slugger Albert Pujols are scheduled to appear Saturday at  Glenn Beck's highly controversial rally in Washington.

2. Last time out, Tampa Bay's Matt Garza hooked up with Oakland's Dallas Braden in a battle of pitchers who have thrown no-hitters this summer (a perfect game, in Braden's case). Now, in Red Sox at Rays, Saturday night (7:10 ET) in Tropicana Field, Garza faces another pitcher with a no-hitter on his resume, Boston's Clay Buchholz, who did it in September, 2007. Being that Buchholz's 2.26 ERA leads the AL, the middle game of this series should sizzle as the Rays work toward holding Boston off in the playoff race. Tampa Bay enters the weekend tied with the Yankees for the AL East lead, and the Red Sox, clinging to playoff hopes despite missing Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis (among others), are 5 1/2 back. Boston has six games left against Tampa Bay heading into the weekend and three remaining against the Yankees.

3. The Giants offense bludgeoned its way back to life against the Reds this week (38 runs, 53 hits over three games), but if Bruce Bochy's club is going to hang on to the NL wild-card lead, Tim Lincecum is going to have to become The Man again. Loser of four consecutive starts for the first time in his big-league career, the two-time Cy Young winner pitches the opener of Diamondbacks at Giants, Friday night (10:15 ET) at AT&T Park. Lincecum hasn't won in a month, since July 30. Now is a good time to start.

Posted on: July 12, 2010 10:47 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 10:55 pm
 

Rhodes first-time All-Star scholar at 40

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- While we've spent so much time this season paying attention to such hot young phenom pitchers as Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez, Tampa Bay's David Price, Florida's Josh Johnson and even non-All-Star Stephen Strasburg, don't think we're going to let Arthur Rhodes' debut All-Star appearance pass without fanfare.

Rhodes, the Cincinnati set-up man?

You bet. At 40, Rhodes is the oldest All-Star "rookie" ever in the National League.

But don't expect the rest of the NL staff to assign him the task that usually goes to the rookie in the bullpen: Hauling the game's supply of candy, gum and sunflower seeds to the pen in a hot pink Barbie backpack (or something, maybe, in the Dora the Explorer line).

"I don't think that will happen," NL third baseman Scott Rolen, Rhodes' Reds teammate, says. "That could get ugly in a hurry."

"I don't think I want to make him do anything," says the Giants' two-time Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum, who is just 26. "He's a tremendous guy. I grew up watching him with the Mariners.

"Plus, I kind of look like more the rookie, so I can't do any rookie hazing."

In all seriousness, Rhodes, humbled by the late-career honor, says he became emotional when Reds manager Dusty Baker informed him of the All-Star honor. Of course it turned into a moment Rhodes always will remember.

"Dusty called me into his office and told me I was getting traded," Rhodes says, smiling.

Destination?

"He told me I got traded to the New York Mets," Rhodes says. "And Brandon Phillips came in and Dusty said he had been traded too, and then Scott Rolen came in and he said he had been traded, too.

"Then Dusty said, 'You're all three going to the All-Star Game.' I got quiet. I couldn't say a word. I said, 'Thank you very much.'

"I didn't know it would take this long. I know I could have made it in 2001 [when Rhodes went 8-0 with a 1.72 ERA in 71 appearances for the Mariners, no doubt with Seattle-native Lincecum watching each appearance].

"Now it's 2010, and I made it, and I'm so proud."

Rhodes earlier this year equaled a single-season record with 33 consecutive scoreless appearances, something accomplished before only by Mark Guthrie (2002 Mets) and Mike Myers (2000 Rockies). Over 41 appearances for Baker's Reds in 2010, Rhodes has compiled a 1.54 ERA and a 3-3 record.

He's taken a lot of ribbing about being the oldest player ever to make his first All-Star appearance, especially the day it became official, when the Reds were in Chicago.

"I got teased every day when we found out," he says. "Teammates, text messages ... I'm proud to be a rookie in the All-Star Game, I'll tell you right now. I'm happy I'm here. You can call me Old Man All-Star."

As for as the possibility of being the designated donkey to haul the candy, seeds and other goodies to the bullpen, Rhodes, 19 years and eight teams into his decorated career, smiles.

"I think I've got too many years to be carrying all that stuff," he says before, a few moments later, adding, "This is the best thing that's happened to me in my whole career."

Posted on: July 12, 2010 8:28 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 8:32 pm
 

Will young power arms finally shift tide to NL?

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- How long has it been since the National League has won a freakin' All-Star Game?

Let's just say this: Last time the NL won, 1996 in Philadelphia, Bob Dole was running for president.

It's weird, it's bizarre, it's ugly and it's a subject the National Leaguers get tired of answering. Current count: The AL's unbeaten streak has reached 13 years, including winning the past seven in a row (since the humiliating 2002 tie in Milwaukee).

Yet silly as this sounds, there is a very real sense that the tide might be beginning to shift away from Junior Circuit dominance in the Mid-Summer Classic.

Reasons?

Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez. Florida's Josh Johnson. San Francisco's Tim Lincecum. Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo. All All-Stars this year. And, Washington's Stephen Strasburg, and San Diego's Mat Latos, who very well could debut as All-Stars next summer when the game hits Phoenix.

You know about Strasburg. And Latos was the next pitcher NL manager Charlie Manuel would have chosen in the event of one more injury scratch.

"It needs to turn for us, the way it's been going," says San Diego manager Bud Black, a coach on Manuel's NL staff this week. "There are some fine young power arms in the National League.

"Hey, the American League's no slouch either, with David Price and CC Sabathia. And Felix Hernandez can probably throw it as hard as he wants to."

No question. But there is more sizzle in the NL's pitching this summer -- especially given all the incredibly talented young arms -- than there has been in quite some time.

"Just looking at our staff, I know I wouldn't want to be a hitter on the other side," says Mets third baseman David Wright, who has been in the NL clubhouse for the past four losses. "We have some power arms, really, top to bottom. Just seeing their age and the ability and the upside and what they've accomplished already is amazing.

"I know how I feel with a bat in my hands in the box against these guys. Then when you string together the depth that the NL has with their young power arms, it's pretty impressive."

Jimenez comes into the game with 15 wins, a no-hitter against Atlanta this year and a 33-inning scoreless streak compiled during one especially torrid stretch in May and June.

Johnson leads the majors with a 1.70 ERA and has allowed no more than one earned run in 10 of his past 11 starts.

Lincecum has won back-to-back Cy Young awards, Strasburg is showing signs of having Cy Young stuff ... the list goes on.

"I know you've got Strasburg, Jimenez, Josh Johnson ... those guys throw hard," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter says. "They're filthy. I've been watching them on television."

In the NL, Wright has been watching most of them from the batter's box.

"You know that it's going to be a rough day when you're battling to draw a walk," Wright says. "Or you're battling to plate one guy and you know you have to be perfect as far as situational hitting just to plate a run, that you're not going to have that big inning where you can put up some crooked numbers.

"Where you have to battle and grind and fight and almost hope that the other team makes a mistake. You know what an uncomfortable at-bat it is. You know what they're capable of doing."

Add Philadelphia's veteran ace Roy Halladay, who will pitch for the NL for the first time following six All-Star appearances for the AL, and Atlanta's cagey Tim Hudson, who is making his NL debut Tuesday following Tommy John ligament transfer surgery (and two All-Star selections when he was pitching in the AL), and it's not an easy staff to face.

As for Jimenez and Johnson, the NL's two most dominant pitchers in the first half and the ones many AL hitters will see for the first time on Tuesday night, well, Wright says his least favorite to face is. ...

"Neither. We've been fortunate in that we've missed Josh Johnson the last few times we've played the Marlins, but it's no fun having him in the division.

"When you go in for a series in Miami, you always know which day Josh is pitching. You know you'd better win the game before that or the game after that or the other games because you're likely not going to win that one."

Whether the same will hold true for the All-Star Game, well ... it's got to turn one of these years, doesn't it?

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com