I am not a hockey fan — I knew very little about it actually — but I am fascinated with the way they’ve handled their All-Star Game in recent years. They used to do that North America vs. the World thing. Now they pick a couple of captains who choose their squads, playground style. Very cool.
Today over at FanGraphs Jonah Keri — who knows from hockey, what with him being a Canuck and all — and Dave Cameron give baseball’s All-Star Game the NHL treatment. You can probably guess that Albert Pujols was selected first. After that there’s a lot of room for fun debate.
I like it, but I hate that they’ve imported the “everyone must play” rule that has come to dominate the real All-Star Game. If we’re going to change things, let’s change everything and mandate that this brave new hypothetical world of All-Star Games not require the pansy player usage patterns we’ve come to expect in the Midsummer Classic. As such — and because this is a one-game affair — a starting pitcher would have to be my first pick.
Give me Roy Halladay. I’ll pitch him seven or eight innings and the other side will be toast.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.