Good to see Freddy pitch well when he’s not spotted a touchdown in the first inning. The Braves offense has been a machine the past week, making his performance all the more impressive. Hopefully we won’t see Truly Terrible Freddy again for quite a while.
I’m not a big fan of using Hasegawa for one batter in the 8th. With Sasaki on the DL, we’re essentially down to three pitchers you want to use in a close game, and Melvin essentially burned one of them for no real reason. Had Nelson given up the tying run in the 9th, we’d have been trying to win the game with Mateo, White, and Carrara. If you’re going to get Shiggy warmed up and bring him in, use him for more than a batter, even if that means Chipper gets to bat left-handed.
Mike Cameron looked horrible against Trey Hodges. That might be one of the worst at-bats I’ve ever seen him have. At some point, its not just the dimensions in Safeco Field, but the approach he takes while at home. Its hard to tell where the park effect ends and the confidence effect begins.
Tremendous reactions by Jeff Cirillo on that diving stop. Its difficult to explain just how hard that play really is. As Derek pointed out today and I’ve posted a few times here on the blog, Cirillo’s been a pretty solid player for the past two months. I’d argue that he’s the best defensive player on the team, relative to the rest of the league, and he’s pretty easily the best gloveman at third base in baseball.
I’m a big Mike Cameron fan. For one, he has a great last name, and allowed me to finally get an authentic M’s jersey with my name on the back without looking like a total loser. He’s also a drastically underrated player, and few people realize just how good he is. That said, I have some bad news for Mike and his fans; he has no prayer of making the all-star team.
Its not because he doesn’t deserve it. He’s having a fantastic year and has easily been the best center fielder in the American League this season. When you factor in his defense, I think I can make a compelling case that Cameron is having the most impact of any outfielder in baseball this year. Unfortunately, he’s just not going to Chicago in July.
The starters, barring a minor miracle, will be Ichiro, Manny Ramirez, and Torii Hunter, as voted in by the fans. Ramirez definitely deserves it. You can make a case for Ichiro, and he definitely has the star factor working in his favor. Hunter’s going on reputation alone. But, thats who the fans are voting for, and I don’t see it changing.
The first reserve slot has Melvin Mora’s name all over it. Not only is he hitting .370 and is second in the league to only Carlos Delgado in OPS, but he’s a Baltimore Oriole, and they have to send someone, so he’s the obvious choice. At 31, his performance this season is likely the biggest fluke since Brady Anderson hit 50 HR’s back in 1996. That said, you don’t leave a guy with a 1.069 OPS off the all-star team.
The second reserve slot will go to either Aubrey Huff or Rocco Baldelli, in order to get a Tampa Bay representative into the game. Huff’s the better hitter, but Baldelli’s the better story, and I’d expect the rookie to get the nod. There’s an outside shot that both could go, but I doubt it.
Unless Mike Scioscia decides to take Nate Cornejo as a pitcher, Dmitri Young will need to represent the Tigers. Remember when he was hitting .150 and the Tigers couldn’t score? He’s got his OPS up to .843 now. He had a pretty good May.
The Indians obvious representative is Milton Bradley, but he could lose out if C.C. Sabathia gets selected as a pitcher. If they’re going with the Tribe’s best player, though, Bradley’s a lock. He deserves to be there anyways.
That basically leaves one spot for Scioscia to fill, and he’s got to choose between his guys Tim Salmon or Garrett Anderson to make his own club happy.
So, Carl Everett, Mike Cameron, and Eric Brynes, you’re having great years, but I’d start planning a fishing trip. You won’t be participating in the midsummer classic this year.