It’s a veritable passing of the torch.
The game’s all-time closer, Mariano Rivera, makes way for new blood, rookie Jordan Walden, as the AL named the Angels reliever to the All-Star Game on Thursday.
Walden was the choice even though he’s tied with Matt Capps for the major league lead in blown saves by a closer with six.
The league was set on replacing Rivera with a reliever, but there were plenty of better choices based on 2011 performance. Rivera’s Yankee teammate David Robertson was one of them. Walden’s own teammate, Scott Downs, has been much more effective as a setup man than Walden has as a closer. Boston’s Daniel Bard, Balitmore’s Koji Uehara and Seattle’s David Pauley also would have been valid choices.
But none of them have 19 saves. So, Walden it is.
Clayton Kershaw will pitch Game 1, Zack Greinke will pitch Game 2, and Brett Anderson will pitch Game 3 in the Dodgers’ upcoming best-of-five National League Division Series against the Mets, the Dodgers announced Tuesday.
There aren’t any surprises there.
Alex Wood is lined up as the team’s Game 4 starter, but there’s a good chance Kershaw will go on short rest if the Dodgers are on the brink of elimination.
Kershaw and Greinke are both going to finish in the top three of a historical 2015 Cy Young Award vote.
Anderson, an oft-injured 27-year-old left-hander, topped 180 inning this season for the first time in his career.
It’s already been established that the Blue Jays would throw deadline acquisition David Price in Game 1 of their ALDS matchup against the Rangers and fast-rising right-hander Marcus Stroman in Game 2.
Now we know how they’ll fill out the rest of their rotation for the best-of-five round …
John Lott of the National Post notes that R.A. Dickey threw a simulated game on Tuesday afternoon at Rogers Centre, which lines him up for a potential ALDS Game 4 next Monday in Texas. Marco Estrada will take Game 3 on Sunday night in Arlington.
Mark Buehrle retired after his final regular-season start, so he’s obviously out of the mix.
Toronto is the World Series favorite to many as the postseason gets underway.