Projecting the 2010 NL All-Star team


With voting close at several positions, there aren’t as many sure bets for the NL All-Star team as the AL squad. That’ll make things a bit more challenging today. Still, I’m going to give projecting the 21 hitters and 13 pitchers a try.
Locks: none
Possibilities: Yadier Molina, Brian McCann, Miguel Olivo, Rod Barajas, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlos Ruiz
Molina currently leads McCann in the fan balloting by about 120,000 votes. The best bet is that both go as the NL’s two catchers, but they are having down seasons. The NL’s top three catchers by OPS are Olivo, Geovany Soto and Nick Hundley. Barajas, with 11 homers and 30 RBI, has been the No. 1 run producer. Pudge is tops with a .316 average. I’m listing Ruiz because NL manager Charlie Manuel might go that route if he’s given a choice. There just aren’t any standouts here.
First base
Lock: Albert Pujols
Possibilities: Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, Troy Glaus, Adam Dunn, Aubrey Huff, Ryan Howard
The NL has five first basemen with OPSs over 900: Pujols (974), Votto (969), Gonzalez (961), Huff (949), and Dunn (929). Still, it remains to be seen how many of those guys will get the call when Glaus and Howard will have plenty of support themselves. Glaus leads the NL with 55 RBI, and Howard isn’t far behind at 51. Fortunately, with the DH spot available, at least four first basemen figure to make the team.
Second base
Lock: Chase Utley
Possibilities: Martin Prado, Kelly Johnson, Dan Uggla, Brandon Phillips
All five second basemen listed here have OPSs between 837 and 874. I think Prado is a pretty sure thing to go as Utley’s backup, given his .339 average. Johnson also has a shot, particularly since no other Diamondback stands out.
Third base
Locks: none
Possibilities: Placido Polanco, David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, Scott Rolen, Mark Reynolds, Casey McGehee
Polanco currently has a 130,000-vote lead over Wright in the fan balloting. Zimmerman and Rolen have been the NL’s best third basemen this season, but it’s possible neither will get to go if Polanco’s lead holds up.
Lock: Hanley Ramirez
Possibilities: Troy Tulowitzki*, Juan Uribe, Jose Reyes, Stephen Drew
It seemed like a given that Hanley and Tulo would be the NL’s shortstops, but Tulo’s broken wrist changed that in a hurry. Perhaps he’ll still be named to the squad and replaced. Uribe is the obvious candidate to fill in, even though he’s hardly a legitimate defensive shortstop these days. Behind Tulo at 877, Hanley at 862 and Uribe at 834, the next highest OPS for an NL shortstop belongs to Drew at 766.
Locks: Ryan Braun, Jason Heyward, Andre Ethier
Possibilites: Andrew McCutchen, Corey Hart, Jayson Werth, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Shane Victorino, Josh Willingham, Matt Holliday, Colby Rasmus, Jonny Gomes, Chris Young, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Ludwick, Hunter Pence
Fourth-place outfielder Werth is 380,000 votes back of Ethier in the fan balloting, so it’s safe to assume the starting outfield is set.
I think McCutchen is nearly a lock as well. At .315/.392/.479 with 18 steals, he’s the obvious choice to represent the Pirates.
Hart, as the NL home run leader, looks like a strong bet to claim a spot. If Manuel has his way, it’s safe to assume that at least one from the Werth-Victorino duo will go. Werth is more deserving, but a true second center fielder would be nice. I’d like to see Rasmus get the nod for that spot. Young, as the potential lone Diamondback, is another option.
SP possibilities: Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Adam Wainwright, Roy Halladay, Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Mike Pelfrey, Tim Lincecum, Jaime Garcia, Yovani Gallardo, Livan Hernandez, Chris Carpenter, Mike Leake, Carlos Silva, Clayton Kershaw, Roy Oswalt, Tommy Hanson, Stephen Strasburg
RP possibilities: Jonathan Broxton, Billy Wagner, Matt Capps, Carlos Marmol, Brian Wilson, Heath Bell, Francisco Rodriguez, Matt Lindstrom, Ryan Franklin, Leo Nunez, Luke Gregerson, Arthur Rhodes, Tyler Clippard
It’s impossible to project the pitching staff without knowing who is starting the Sunday before the game, but Jimenez, Johnson, Wainwright and Halladay seem like sure things, even if one or two end up being replaced on the roster.
Personally, I’m against the idea of Strasburg going and taking a spot away from someone who has earned it over the course of the season. And while they’ll never say it publically, I can’t imagine the Nationals are thrilled by the idea either.
In the bullpen, Broxton and Wagner seem like sure things and Marmol might go as the lone Cub. The choices for the lone Astro come down to Oswalt, Lindstrom and Pence. It figures that one of the pitchers will go.
The 2010 NL All-Stars

SS Hanley Ramirez
2B Chase Utley
1B Albert Pujols
RF Andre Ethier
LF Ryan Braun
DH Adrian Gonzalez
3B David Wright
CF Jason Heyward
C Yadier Molina
C Brian McCann
1B Joey Votto
1B Troy Glaus
1B Ryan Howard
2B Martin Prado
3B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Scott Rolen
SS Troy Tulowitzki*
SS Juan Uribe
OF Corey Hart
OF Andrew McCutchen
OF Jayson Werth
OF Chris Young
Ubaldo Jimenez
Josh Johnson
Adam Wainwright
Roy Halladay
Matt Cain
Roy Oswalt
Tim Lincecum
Mike Pelfrey
Jonathan Broxton
Billy Wagner
Carlos Marmol
Brian Wilson
Heath Bell

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.