Presenting the 2011 NL All-Star team of the moment, courtesy of Wins Above Replacement (in this case, the Baseball-Reference version of it):
C Buster Posey (Giants) – 1.4
1B Joey Votto (Reds) – 2.6
2B Brandon Phillips (Reds) – 1.3
3B Pablo Sandoval (Giants) – 1.5
SS Jose Reyes (Mets) – 1.5
LF Ryan Braun (Brewers) – 2.2
CF Matt Kemp (Dodgers) – 2.5
RF Carlos Beltran (Mets) – 1.9
DH Lance Berkman (Cardinals) – 2.0
C Ramon Hernandez (Reds) – 1.4
C Yadier Molina (Cardinals) – 1.3
1B Gaby Sanchez (Marlins) – 1.9
1B Prince Fielder (Brewers) – 1.4
2B Neil Walker (Pirates) – 1.3
3B Chipper Jones (Braves) – 1.2
SS Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies) – 1.3
INF Ryan Roberts (Diamondbacks) – 1.3
OF Drew Stubbs (Reds) – 1.9
OF Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) – 1.8
OF Matt Holliday (Cardinals) – 1.8
OF Kosuke Fukudome (Cubs) – 1.3
Roy Halladay (Phillies) – 2.7
Kyle Lohse (Cardinals) – 2.4
Josh Johnson (Marlins) – 2.4
Cole Hamels (Phillies) – 2.1
Jaime Garcia (Cardinals) – 2.0
Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) – 2.0
Hiroki Kuroda (Dodgers) – 1.7
Wandy Rodriguez (Astros) – 1.7
Francisco Rodriguez (Mets) – 1.7
Jonny Venters (Braves) – 1.4
Drew Storen (Nationals) – 1.4
Ryan Madson (Phillies) – 1.2
Mike Adams (Padres) – 1.0
– The Cubs and Padres were the only teams with iffy choices here. Actually, the Cubs’ Carlos Marmol ranked as the No. 5 reliever at 1.1, but I went for Adams instead there and choice Fukudome as a reserve outfielder.
– Sandoval rates as the NL’s top third baseman despite having played in just 24 games. Chipper and Placido Polanco both came in at 1.2 WAR.
– Some may be surprised to see Reyes on top of Tulo at shortstop, but Reyes actually has the better OPS of the two now, .840 to .837. Factor in the park effects and Reyes has been clearly better offensively.
– Tulo actually turned out to be the Rockies’ lone player on the squad, though both Jhoulys Chacin (1.6) and Matt Lindstrom (1.0) were close to making it.
In the end, the Mets’ march into the playoffs played out just how they imagined: three innings of a Bartolo Colon perfecto, four combined innings of one-run ball from five different relievers, a James Loney home run. Well, maybe it looked a little different when they drew it up.
Colon guided the Mets through five innings for his 15th win of the year, striking out six and giving up a two-run homer in the fifth. Behind him, the Mets combined for five runs off of RBI base hits from T.J. Rivera and Jose Reyes, finding an edge with Loney’s go-ahead homer in the sixth and a bonus RBI single from Asdrubal Cabrera in the ninth inning. Despite a pair of well-placed home runs by Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf, the Phillies found themselves in scoring position just twice and were unable to close the two-run gap to tie the game.
The Mets’ 5-3 win over the Phillies clinched their spot in the postseason, sans tiebreaker. They also secured home-field advantage for Wednesday’s wild card game, during which they’ll face either the Cardinals or the Giants. On Friday, the wild card winner will advance to the Division Series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
As MLB.com’s Jeff Passan and Joe Trezza simultaneously pointed out, it will be an unconventional playoff run for the Mets, who approach October without Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Neil Walker, David Wright, Zack Wheeler, or Ben Zobrist. Now, if ever, seems like an appropriate time for some champagne.
With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.
Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.
With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:
If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.