La Russa Phone

Ron Washington and Tony La Russa name their All-Star Game coaching staffs


Because the All-Star Game counts, tough strategic planning is required and that in turn requires an all-star caliber coaching staff to make the tough calls.

Hahaha, just kidding. The only thing more rare than baseball strategy in the MLB All-Star Game is defense in the NBA All-Star Game and contact in the Pro Bowl.

But the teams need coaches all the same, if for no other reason to give the managers someone their own age to talk to. And today AL manager Ron Washington and NL manager Tony La Russa announced their staffs.

La Russa has named Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and Mets manager Terry Collins as his official N.L. coaches.  He has filled out the rest of his staff with, basically, the entire staff of the 2011 Cardinals: Dave Duncan will be the pitching coach, Derek Lilliquist will be the bullpen coach, Mark McGwire is the hitting coach, Dave McKay and Jose Oquendo will be base coaches and Joe Pettini will be the bench coach. Trainers will be Paul Lessard of the Cincinnati Reds and Jim Lovell of the Braves.

In the AL, Ron Washington will have Ned Yost and Bob Melvin has his official coaches, with Rangers coaches – Dave Anderson, Scott Coolbaugh, Andy Hawkins, Mike Maddux, Jackie Moore and Gary Pettis on staff. Trainers will be Nick Kenney of the Royals, and Lonnie Soloff of the Cleveland Indians.

I’m most looking forward to the first La Russa-Lilliquist call to the bullpen.

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.