Projecting the 2010 AL All-Star team

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With rosters having been expanded back in April, both All-Star teams this year will have 21 position players and 13 pitchers. Let’s try and break it down, first with the AL and then tomorrow with the NL.
Catcher
Lock: Joe Mauer
Possibilities: Victor Martinez, Jorge Posada, John Buck, Kurt Suzuki
Posada is playing as well as ever, with a .275/.348/.600 line to date. However, he’s taken part in just 42 games and started at catcher in only 25 of those. Plus, manager Joe Girardi may figure it’s best for the Yankees if Posada gets three full days off rather than taking part in the All-Star festivities. That might make Martinez the favorite here.
First base
Locks: Justin Morneau, Miguel Cabrera
Possibilities: Kevin Youkilis, Paul Konerko, Mark Teixeira, Billy Butler
Morneau, Cabrera and Youkilis rank first, second and third, respectively, in the AL in OPS. I think that makes Youkilis close to a lock, particularly with the DH available. The AL could even go with a fourth first baseman, probably Konerko. He ranks sixth in OPS and third in homers.
Teixeira is listed simply because he might yet claim the fan balloting over Morneau. Still, that ship has likely sailed.
Second base
Lock: Robinson Cano
Possibilities: Dustin Pedroia, Ty Wigginton, Ben Zobrist, Orlando Hudson, Howie Kendrick
Pedroia’s recent rebound has given him the third-best numbers among AL second basemen, behind Cano and Wigginton. Wigginton is the obvious choice to represent the Orioles, though actually sticking him at second base in the All-Star Game would be a mistake. Really more of a corner infielder, he’s given back a lot of his offensive value while being asked to fill in for Brian Roberts at second.
Third base
Lock: Evan Longoria
Possibilities: Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Jose Bautista, Michael Young
Among AL third basemen, Longoria, Beltre and Bautista rank first, second and third, respectively, in both OPS and RBI. A-Rod seemed to be surging a few weeks ago, but he’s struggling since retuning from a hip injury and is down to .277/.349/.459 for the season. Still, he is A-Rod and he probably deserves to go.
Shortstop
Lock: Derek Jeter
Possibilities: Alex Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro, Elvis Andrus
Gonzalez’s 802 OPS is easily tops among AL shortstops, with Jeter (760) and Scutaro (742) next in line. Andrus, the best fielder in the group, is at 681, but his 360 OPS is the best in the league and he’s swiped 19 bases. He’d be a more worthy choice than Scutaro if the team carries three shortstops.
Outfield
Lock: Ichiro Suzuki
Possibilites: Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton, Torii Hunter, Magglio Ordonez, Alex Rios, Nelson Cruz, Vernon Wells, Nick Swisher, David DeJesus, Luke Scott, Delmon Young, Shin-Soo Choo, Brennan Boesch
Here’s where it gets messy. Crawford and Hamilton are currently second and third in the balloting and both deserve to go anyway, so they’re close to locks. Cruz has been the AL’s best outfielder when healthy, but he’s played in just 32 of 69 games. That would seem to rule him out, but he’s fourth in the balloting, and since Hamilton seems likely to be picked anyway, maybe the fans will make even more of a push to get him in.
Hunter and Rios would seem to be the best bets beyond Ichiro, Crawford and Hamilton. Hunter, who is fourth among AL outfielders in OPS, could conceivably be the only Angel on the team. Rios is second on the OPS list behind Hamilton. Ordonez is third, but he doesn’t have the sexy power numbers.
Choo isn’t having a stellar year, but he’s the obvious choice to represent the Indians. DeJesus, with his 892 OPS, actually is having an All-Star caliber year, and he could be the Royals’ rep, though Joakim Soria and Butler are also deserving.
DH
Lock: Vladimir Guerrero
Possibilities: David Ortiz, Jose Guillen
It’s possible Ortiz will go, maybe as the fan-balloting pick for the last roster spot. Still, he can’t be chosen over a third first baseman. Guillen would only be considered as the long Royal, and there are several better choices there.
Pitcher
SP possibilities: David Price, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Cliff Lee, Phil Hughes, Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Jered Weaver, Jeff Niemann, Francisco Liriano, Colby Lewis, Ricky Romero, John Danks, Shawn Marcum, Felix Hernandez, Carl Pavano, Zack Greinke
RP possibilities: Mariano Rivera, Jose Valverde, Jonathan Papelbon, Rafael Soriano, Joakim Soria, Neftali Feliz, Jon Rauch, Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bard, Joel Zumaya, Matt Guerrier, Matt Thornton, Scott Downs, Darren Oliver
Of course, so much of this will come down to who pitches the final Sunday before the game. Several starting pitchers could be taken out of the running then.
The relievers are easier to figure. Rivera is a lock, and Valverde seems on his way, too. I listed the three lefties last. It’d make sense for the team to carry at least one of them, particularly since there are few closers having extraordinary seasons.
OK, it’s guessing time…
The 2010 AL All-Stars
Lineup

RF Ichiro Suzuki
SS Derek Jeter
C Joe Mauer
1B Justin Morneau
DH Vladimir Guerrero
2B Robinson Cano
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Evan Longoria
LF Carl Crawford
Reserves
C Victor Martinez
1B Miguel Cabrera
1B Kevin Youkilis
2B Dustin Pedroia
2B Ty Wigginton
3B Alex Rodriguez
3B Jose Bautista
SS Alex Gonzalez
OF Torii Hunter
OF Alex Rios
OF David DeJesus
OF Shin-Soo Choo
Pitchers
David Price
Clay Buchholz
Jon Lester
Cliff Lee
Phil Hughes
CC Sabathia
Jered Weaver
Mariano Rivera
Jose Valverde
Jonathan Papelbon
Rafael Soriano
Andrew Bailey
Matt Thornton

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Saturday’s games featured Jake Lamb‘s record-setting home run, Ivan Nova‘s sterling outing against the Marlins, and an impressive walk-off at Dodger Stadium. Here are the rest of the day’s scores and highlights:

Yankees 12, Orioles 4: So much for the Yankees blowing past their quota of runs on Friday night. They returned in full force on Saturday, dominating the Orioles in regulation innings with a 12-run display. Home runs were, again, the name of the game, with Brett Gardner going deep twice for his first two homers of the season and Austin Romine and Aaron Judge tacking on an extra couple of blasts to pad the Yankees’ eight-run lead. (That’s home run No. 10 for Judge, by the way, a record-tying total by a rookie in his first month of big league games.)

Mets 5, Nationals 3: The Mets are still dealing with a slew of injuries, some of which have drastically thinned their outfield reserves over the last several weeks. With Brandon Nimmo and Yoenis Cespedes hampered by hamstring issues, left fielder Michael Conforto rose to the occasion, hitting two home runs in the Mets’ 5-3 win over the Nationals on Saturday. He boosted the club to their first lead in the fifth inning, plunking a two-run homer into the right field bleachers, then reemerged in the eighth with an insurance home run off of Enny Romero.

Blue Jays 4, Rays 1: The Blue Jays still have the worst record in the majors, but you wouldn’t know it from their dominant outing on Saturday. Francisco Liriano limited the Rays to one run over five innings, backed by a strong showing from the ‘pen to maintain the club’s three-run lead. Kendrys Morales put Toronto on the map in the first inning, scoring on a fielding error by Tampa Bay’s Tim Beckham, while Russell Martin and Justin Smoak decorated the Jays’ efforts with an RBI double and two-run home run to even the series.

Cubs 7, Red Sox 4: Hanley Ramirez may not own the longest home run of 2017, but he set a record that may take longer to beat: the longest home run hit at Fenway Park.* Ramirez belted a 469-footer off of Cubs’ right-hander John Lackey in the third inning, catapulting a 1-0 pitch over the Green Monster to break the season record set by Kris Bryant’s 449-foot homer on Friday. He even snuck in a few celebratory kisses after rounding the bases.

Ramirez’s home run beat his own previous mark, measured at 468 feet last May.

*In the Statcast era

White Sox 6, Tigers 4 (10 innings): We’re only through one month of the regular season, so it’s pointless to fret about slumps and slow starts right now. Still, the White Sox were able to breathe a sigh of relief when veteran slugger Melky Cabrera finally recorded his first home run of the year, a 10th-inning game-winner off of Detroit left-hander Justin Wilson. It’s the sixth consecutive win for the White Sox, which keeps them just half a game ahead of the Indians in the AL Central.

Pirates 4, Marlins 0: It’s hardly exaggerating to call this the best game of Ivan Nova’s career. The right-hander tossed a three-hitter at Marlins Park on Saturday, striking out seven and setting down nine scoreless frames. Not only did it mark Nova’s fifth complete game in a Pirates’ uniform, but it was the third complete game shutout of his eight-year career.

Indians 4, Mariners 3: It only took one inning to decide the Mariners’ fate on Saturday. They got on the board with consecutive home runs from Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager in the first, then promptly erased their three-run lead when the Indians lassoed four runs in the bottom of the inning. From the second inning through the end of the game, neither team advanced a runner past second base, preserving the Indians’ one-run lead and bringing them within half a game of the division lead.

Rangers 6, Angels 3: Sure, hitting for the cycle is a rare feat in and of itself, but how many major league players can do it with one shoe on?

Carlos Gomez completed his second career cycle on Saturday, beginning with a first inning double that cost him exactly one cleat:

He returned (with both cleats) for a triple, base hit and a two-run homer, becoming the first Rangers’ player to hit for the cycle since Adrian Beltre defeated the Astros with his third career cycle in 2015.

Braves 11, Brewers 3: The Braves have played with a short-handed bench lately, forcing manager Brian Snitker to engineer some creative alternatives (including, but not limited to, the use of starter Julio Teheran as a pinch-hitter and -runner). Thankfully, no such alternatives were needed on Saturday, especially after Matt Kemp helped vault the Braves to an eight-run lead with the first three-homer game of his career:

Athletics 2, Astros 1: Andrew Triggs is looking more and more like a bonafide starter these days. He anchored the A’s 2-1 win with seven shutout innings, allowing five hits and fanning nine before handing the game over to the bullpen. The A’s were similarly stymied by Houston right-hander Joe Musgrove through the better part of seven innings, but rallied with a pair of home runs from Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis to secure the lead — and their 11th win.

Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 6: Is it even worth bragging about hitting the longest home run of the year when the record gets shattered every other day? Perhaps not, but it’s difficult to imagine someone hitting a ball much further than Jake Lamb’s 481-foot two-run shot off of Colorado’s Tyler Anderson this weekend:

Lamb’s home run ranks eleventh in estimated home run distance during the Statcast era. Only nine hitters have recorded longer home runs, topping out at Giancarlo Stanton‘s 504-foot blast last August.

Dodgers 6, Phillies 5: No one would have blamed you for turning off the Dodgers’ game last night. Few would have faulted you for trying to beat L.A. traffic by skipping out of Dodger Stadium in the eighth inning, when the Phillies padded their three-run lead with Andrew Knapp‘s first home run of the season. If you had, however, you would have missed a true storybook ending.

Down 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Yasiel Puig worked an eight-pitch at-bat against Philadelphia right-hander Hector Neris, prevailing with a 416-foot home run that sank into the center field bleachers. Neris wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. His at-bat against Cody Bellinger only lasted one-eighth as long, ending on a long fly ball that ricocheted off of the right field foul pole for the rookie’s second major league home run. Justin Turner provided the game-tying knock, going back-to-back-to-back with Puig and Bellinger, while Adrian Gonzalez polished off the rally with a two-out, game-winning base hit.

 

Padres 12, Giants 4: The Padres leapfrogged their injury-riddled division rivals on Saturday with their first double-digit win of the year, breaking out in the sixth with an eight-run inning that saw 11 batters, an RBI double, two RBI singles, a bases-loaded walk, an RBI force out, Wil Myerssixth home run of the season, and the complete implosion of the Giants’ bullpen.

Video: Mets execute a bizarre double play against the Nationals

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Double plays come in an assortment of combinations, from the standard 6-4-3 combo to some more unusual patterns. During the Mets’ 5-3 win over the Nationals on Saturday, however, what made this double play strange was less the product of an unorthodox route and almost entirely due to an unexpected collision on the basepaths instead.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, with the Mets trailing 1-0, Zack Wheeler caught Jose Lobaton swinging for strike three. Mets’ backstop Travis d'Arnaud fired the ball to second base, where the ball slipped out of Asdrubal Cabrera‘s glove as Jayson Werth slid into the bag for a stolen base. Second baseman Neil Walker fielded the ball in shallow center field, then tossed it to third base, and Jose Reyes tagged Werth easily for the second out of the play.

The Mets complimented their defensive efforts with a strong showing at the plate, reclaiming the lead with three home runs from Michael Conforto and Jose Reyes to clinch their tenth win of the year.