Yasiel Puig

Some Braves players think the All-Star voting process is unfair

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Only one Braves player made the All-Star team and that was because the manager put him on there. As far as fan voting goes? They didn’t do so good.

Dave O’Brien of the AJC talked to a bunch of them yesterday and many voiced their displeasure at fan voting. Both in the main selection process and the “Final Vote” which is putting Freddie Freeman against Yasiel Puig. And they think the media — specifically ESPN — has an agenda to get more media-friendly players selected. Guys like Yasiel Puig.

Tim Hudson pretty much covers it all:

“I think it’s B.S. … I mean, it’s pretty obvious what players certain media outlets want to have plugged in. It’s pretty obvious. You have young, exciting players – and they are that. I’m not saying they don’t deserve to have the opportunity to be in there, but these guys that are competing with them to get these last couple of spots, they’re just as deserving. It’s not fair. The whole fan vote thing, I think is obnoxious. I mean, the starting players in the All-Star game are determined by fans who can plug any players they want in there, and it determines home-field advantage for the World Series. The World Series!

“It’s not fair. At all.”

Seriously, Tim. Tell me if you think it’s fair.

He has a point (which he goes on to explain in greater detail) about how, if the World Series hinges on the All-Star game, there shouldn’t be a fan vote. Problem is, I’m willing to bet $100 that if a Braves player was the media sensation du jour a la Puig — let’s say a pre-injury Evan Gattis — Hudson wouldn’t be complaining too much.

It’s a flawed process, yes, but most of the complaining you hear about it is just tribalism and homerism. Our guy deserves it, theirs doesn’t. If the fans vote for us it’s an honor, if they vote for the other guys it’s illegitimate. Here it’s the Braves doing it. I’ve seen other teams do it every year since I’ve been paying attention.

It stinks that the All-Star Game decides home field advantage. But really, it’s just for fun. I’d rather see some hyped kid like Puig in it over someone else, frankly, because Puig is interesting and the game doesn’t matter otherwise. And if I’m Hudson, I’d be quietly pleased that my teammates were getting three days off to relax and get healthy.

Wade Davis? Greg Holland? Who needs ’em?

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 21: Joakim Soria #48 of the Kansas City Royals throws in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium on August 21, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The story of the two-time defending AL champion and current defending World Series champ Kansas City Royals cannot be told without talking at length about their bullpen.

In 2014, Wade Davis, Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera formed a shutdown brigade that not only made it next to impossible for the opposition to mount late rallies, but managed something which seemed utterly impossible before 2014: they turned Ned Yost into a tactical genius. Indeed, the only time Yost got criticism at all that fall was when he messed with the autopilot formula that had that three-headed monster handling the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.

Much the same happened in 2015, of course, despite Holland’s sharp decline and eventual injury. Davis and Herrera continued their dominance. They were joined by Ryan Madson and a cast of other effective relievers who, along with timely hitting, great defense and good health, helped propel the Royals to the title.

This year had not been quite the same story. Holland has been out all year and Davis, while effective when he’s pitched, has missed time due to injury. As has longtime contributor and presumptive next-man-up Luke Hochevar. Herrera is basically still Herrera, but Ned Yost has been presented with a decidedly different set of choices. Lots of choices and Ned Yost don’t always go together well, but lately that hasn’t mattered.

Last night the Royals’ bullpen came in to a close game and tossed three scoreless innings. That set a franchise record with 32 straight scoreless frames, besting the previous record set back in the club’s inaugural season in 1969. The streak is a huge part of why the Royals have won nine games in a row.

Unlike the success of 2014-15, the streak is not a three-man show. As Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star notes, eight different relievers have appeared for Kansas City during the streak, with Joakim Soria and Matt Strahm leading the crew with five and a third innings pitched. Herrera has tossed five scoreless. Otherwise it’s been a group effort with even Peter Moylan offering a couple of scoreless frames. And here you thought Moylan was, I dunno, gearing up for the upcoming Brisbane Bandits season. Nope.

The Royals are still not, in my view anyway, a lock to make the postseason. It’s a a crowded field right now. They’re seven and a half back in the AL Central and four back in the Wild Card with a bunch of teams in front of them. But they’re certainly playing themselves back into the conversation. They’re interesting. And they’re doing it in much the same way they’ve done it the past two years. Only with different dudes doing the do.

Video: Mookie Betts made a ridiculous throw last night

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Mookie Betts was an infielder once upon a time and the knock on him both then and since his move to the outfield was that maybe his arm was not fantastic. As an infielder there was talk that he was better suited to the right side than the left. As an outfielder people were saying that, with work, his arm could be average and/or serviceable. Not bad, of course, but not anything to write home about.

Maybe we need to reassess that, because last night he uncorked one from right field that would make Dwight Evans says “dang, man.”

 

And the throw mattered, as Kiermaier represented the tying run in a game that, at the time, the Sox were leading 2-1.

Betts is a dangerous middle-of-the-order bat at age 23. And now he shows that he’ll nail a fast runner with a frozen rope if he has to. The guy is going to win an MVP award some day. And maybe not just one.