Previewing tonight’s Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League

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Already missing real-live baseball? Of course you are. Well, fear not, as some of the game’s best prospects will be on display in the Arizona Fall League’s annual Rising Stars Game, which will be broadcast live on MLB Network and at 9 p.m. ET tonight.

According to Jonathan Mayo of, 28 of last year’s 50 Rising Stars played in the major leagues during the 2010 season, including Buster Posey, Ike Davis, Mike Leake and Starlin Castro, just to name a few. In other words, here’s your chance to catch some of next year’s sensations right now.

Manny Banuelos, a prospect in the Yankees’ organization, will start for the East while Mike Montgomery, a prospect in the Royals’ organization, will pitch for the West.

Banuelos, who turns 20 in March, posted a 2.51 ERA and 85/25 K/BB ratio over 15 starts between three different levels in the minor leagues this past season, reaching as high as Double-A Trenton. The left-hander was named as the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect by Baseball America this week. Montgomery, a 21-year-old southpaw, compiled a 2.61 ERA and 88/31 K/BB ratio over 20 starts between three different levels this season, including 13 starts with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. The former 2008 supplemental first-round pick was ranked as the team’s No. 1 prospect by Baseball America coming into the season.

Rising Stars East lineup: CF, Trayvon Robinson (Dodgers), 2B Charlie Culberson (Giants), 1B Brandon Belt (Giants), LF Brandon Laird (Yankees), C Austin Romine (Yankees), RF Marc Krauss (Diamondbacks), DH A.J. Pollock (Diamondbacks), 3B Ryan Adams (Orioles), Tyler Pastornicky (Braves)

Rising Stars West lineup: CF Ben Revere (Twins), LF Caleb Gindl (Brewers), 2B Dustin Ackley (Mariners), 1B Eric Hosmer (Royals), C Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox), RF Leslie Anderson (Rays), DH Eric Thames (Blue Jays), 3B Zack Cox (Cardinals), Jose Iglesias (Red Sox)

I know, I know. Where’s Bryce Harper? Unfortunately, he is ineligible for tonight’s game because he is a member of the “taxi squad.” Bummer. Still plenty of reasons to tune in, though. I’m mostly looking forward to watching Brandon Belt and Dustin Ackley play, as I have only seen a handful of at-bats from either until this point.

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
AP Photo
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.