Columnist: R.A. Dickey deserves All-Star nod over Strasburg


Baseball is my life, but working on 4th of July weekend can be a bit of a drag. It’s true. I’d much rather be eating a hot dog while jumping through the sprinkler in the front yard or something. Thankfully, columnists like Rob Parker of are always around to cheer me up.

Seriously, this is the funniest thing I’ve read all week. Enjoy.

We hate to interrupt this automatic trip to Cooperstown less than a
month into Strasburg’s career, but, hello, he’s just a .500 pitcher for a
bad team. Strasburg is 2-2 with a 2.27 ERA. If it were anybody else —
especially a young pitcher without a proven track record — there
wouldn’t even be a debate about an All-Star selection.

Even as impressive as 14 strikeouts in his debut are, it wasn’t even a
record. J.R. Richard punched out 15 in his debut in 1971.

More than Strasburg’s numbers alone, there’s simply a more deserving
pitcher in the NL. Enter New York Mets starter R.A. Dickey.

Yeah, I get what he’s doing here. He’s setting up Saturday’s pitching matchup between Dickey and Strasburg. Weird choice for a column, but we’ll forgive that. It’s nice to see anybody in New York not talking about LeBron James. Anyway, he continues.

But the All-Star Game — last we checked — isn’t about what you’ve done
for your entire career. It’s about what you have accomplished during
the first half of the season.

There are two significant pieces of ignorance here. One, that Strasburg’s win-loss record means anything whatsoever, especially when the Nationals have scratched across one measly run over his last three starts combined. And two, that the All-Star Game is actually about what a player has accomplished during the first half of the season. It’s a complete fallacy that continues to live on for reasons I can’t understand.

Two weeks ago, I made a brief case for Strasburg to pitch in the game and it really had nothing to do with superficial statistics like his win-loss record. Yes, he may walk away from this afternoon’s start 2-3, but if he strikes out 10 over seven innings of one-run ball, I’m still okay with him representing the Nationals in the All-Star Game. Why? Because he’s good and he could help the National League win home-field advantage for the World Series. That’s why.

In case you didn’t already know, I’m a Mets fan. I love what R.A. Dickey has been doing. He has been a lot of fun to watch. But we’re talking about eight starts from a pitcher who has a career 5.17 ERA. I’m not saying he’s Aaron Small or anything, but if the All-Star Game is truly about winning, the best players in baseball should be there. Dickey just isn’t one of them.

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.