Now how about that? The Twins are in the playoffs. I bet no one believed they could do it. I bet everyone thought the Tigers were a lock for the division but look who’s in the playoffs now. Regardless of who it is, the Yankees are going to sweep them. They are just too good.
The Twins pulled off a miracle win last night and it really was a great game to watch. The fans at that game must have been going crazy the entire game. After the game went into extras, I knew the Twins had it in their hands. I just had a feeling.
There were so many great plays and happenings in the extra innings that made it such a great game. Brandon Inge’s diving stop at third, Ryan Raburn’s throw from left to get Casilla out at home. It was all great stuff. The twins were able to come out victorious and I am not taking anything away from the Tigers. They played a great game. It’s just that the Twins were able to come up with one more extra run that ended up winning it.
Well, now that the Twins have finally reached the postseason, they have the amazing prize of playing the Yankees in the ALDS. Just oodles of fun.
Prediction 1: Yankees vs Twins
If you look at the season series numbers between these two teams, it seems as though the Yankees have easily taken the series by storm and have the obvious advantage in about every statistical category. Well, although Joe Girardi says it has been a closer series than it looks on paper, the Yankees will easily sweep the Twins in the ALDS and will move on to the ALCS. Three simple aspects of the Yankees’ game can explain why I am so confident with my pick for them to win the series:
Tremendous Offense, Dominating Pitching, Phenominal Defense
And then again, they have Derek Jeter
Prediction 2: Red Sox vs Angels
Red Sox win in 5
This matchup is going to be a lot clsoer than the Yankees’ against the Twins. For one, the Red Sox have not proven to me over the past half month that they can win consistently against teams that are actually good. They haven’t really been consistent at all and that is why I think this series will go five games.
The Red Sox have a really good pitching staff that they are bringing into the playoffs. As long as their pitching is good, I think the offense, which has struggled a little of late, can keep up. The Angels on the other hand, have also had some pitching problems. They still have some really reliable guys on their rotation but the offense has been phenominal this year. They have a good squad but I have to pick the Red Sox in this matchup.
As you can see in this picture of Prince Fielder, he uses every inch of his body to produce power to send a ball into the stands. Last night, he used his body to the fullest 23 times as Prince Fielder won the 2009 Home Run Derby in St. Louis.
To start off the Derby, Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers stepped up to the plate and put on a show, sending multiple bombs to deep, deep left field. And I mean deep. This guy really had some serious power. He ended the first round with a promising 11 homers that would hopefully be enough to get him into the second round.
Prince Fielder followed with another 11 home run performance in which he sent his own fair share of blasts into the outfield bleachers. Both guys put on a show and were in hope of having a second round spot available with there 11 home run totals.
The show was set on Albert Pujols, one of the best all time hitting in front of his own home crowd. He came up last in the lineup for the first round as the suspense built as the St. Louis crowd waited for his arrival. Unfortunately, Pujols dissapointed and didn’t get into the second round with astonishing numbers that many thought he would produce. Instead, his five home runs were good enough for a “bat off” as Chris Berman and the rest of the commentating crew called it. So Pujols competed in a competition of five swings against Carlos Pena and Joe Mauer who also had five homers in the first round. Carlos Pena came up first and hit one out. Mauer failed to get any over the fence, and when Albert came up, he hit two to satisfy the crowd and assure him a spot in the second round.
Now, the other hometown boy, Ryan Howard, got some love from the crowd as he advanced to the second round to continue his quest for a second Home Run Derby victory. Howard sent a handful of blasts into right, right center, and center field to get the crowd behind him. The majority of his shots were liners and not too many bombs. It was still pretty fun watching him do well back in his home town though.
The first round proved fatal for my pick to win it, Adrian Gonzalez, as he only hit two over the fence. He came close on multiple shots that hit the wall or the warning track but was unable to get the ball over the fence enough to advance to the second round. So there went my pick right off the bat, but I still had other reasons to be proud at my picks.
Brandon Inge EPIC FAILED! He was shutout not even coming close on any of his hits. The closest he came was when he hit a line shot down the left field line that was clearly foul. That was his final out. So, I was right about Inge, who shouldn’t even have been there, doing a terrible job. He sucked!
So after the first round here are the guys that were still in it:
In the second round, Albert Pujols came back up to the plate after batting last in the first round and batting last in the bat off. Now he had to get a pretty good amount of home runs just to get to Cruz and Fielder’s totals of 11 from the first round. By the end of the second round bid from Pujols, he had a total of 11, probably to be beaten by both Cruz and Fielder.
Ryan Howard came up following Pujols and put on a late show with only a few outs left to go. He finished the second round with a promising 15. There was a possibility of him being in the final round. But after Fielder and Cruz batted, that dream was shattered.
Cruz went on to bat after Howard and put on another powerful performance sending many balls to the upper decks down the line in left and to the deepest parts of the park. He secured a final round bid with a total of 17 homers through the first two rounds. Now all that was to see was if Mr. Fielder could pass Howard’s mark of 15 and he did that to move on to the final round. A matchup of Cruz and Fielder. Two very powerful guys that would surely put on a show.
In the final round, Cruz batted first and put up five blasts to give Fielder a battle for the title. Fielder came up second and without even getting six outs, Fielder surpassed Cruz’s mark of 5 homers to win the 2009 Home Run Derby. His first Derby victory ended with a blast to right center field into the stands full of cheering fans.
Fielder’s victory was solid, sending the three longest shots into the night, including a 503 foot homer. The longest he has ever hit, he said after the contest, and it was definitely a blast. It was the longest of the Derby and Fielder put on the show that everyone expects at least one person to do. Last year it was Josh Hamilton, although Fielder’s show wasn’t as great as Hamiltons, but this year Fielder put on the show that made the whole thing worth watching for me.
Last year, Hamilton’s run of home runs was probably the best moment of recent baseball history. His story leading up to that point just made it all the better. Many pictures of the moment were captured but I think this one is the best.
Fielder and his Brewers teammate Ryan Braun celebrated after his final home run as they would at a regular game in which one of he hit a home run. Their little routine that they do finished off a great night for Fielder. As Hamilton had his great moment captured many times, as did Fielder.
Congrats to the 2009 Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder!
Man, the Yankees can’t seem to pull out a win against either the Red Sox or the Angels. It’s bad enough that we were just swept by the Halos but now we’re three games out of first behind the Red Sox who are the second team we have been unable to figure out for the first half of the season. Yesterday, we sent CC to the mound in hope of stopping the sweep, but I guess that didn’t go over very well with the Angels because they still beat us. The final score was 5-4 and the Yankees unfortunately ended the first half of the season on a sour note. A sweep, not my idea of a good end to the first half.
As far as the Yankees go, they didn’t play all that bad. CC pitched all right going 6.2 innings giving up nine hits and three walks. He gave up all five runs that the Angels would get in the game. When he was relieved in the seventh, Phil Hughes came out from the ‘pen and continued his dominance from the ‘pen. He went the remainder of the game giving up two walks and striking out one. A STELLAR performance from Mr. Hughes.
The offense played pretty well too. Here are my top performers for the day:
Derek Jeter- 2-5, 1 RBI
Melky Cabrera- 2-3, 2 Runs, 1 RBI
Jorge Posada- 1-1, 2 RBI
Hideki Matsui- 0-1, 1 Run, 3 Walks
Phil Hughes- 1.1 IP, 1 K, 0 Runs Allowed
So, the All Star break is here and the Yankees are second in the AL East, three behind the Boston Red Sox. We’ve got some guys representing the Bombers in St. Louis for the game and I feel that the second half of the season is going to be a good one.
Now onto other thoughts running through my brain right now…
The Home Run Derby is tonight and I have a feeling it is going to be a good one. In the NL, there are a quartet of first base sluggers that are definitely give us a good show.
In the AL, there are a few guys that I don’t feel will last very long, not mentioning any names… Brandon Inge… cough cough.
Here are the rest of the AL contestants.
Albert Pujols will dominate the general competition sending balls into the stands left and right. Adrian Gonzalez will be the Josh Hamilton of 2009. He is the one guy that I don’t think is getting a lot of credit for being here. He is going to have a great derby. Fielder and Howard will do well in general but I don’t know if they will make it to the second round. Brandon Inge is out after the first round. Nelson Cruz will make a run as will Carlos Pena. I think Joe Mauer will have a good derby despite not being considered as much of a power hitter as the rest of the competitors (not including Brandon Inge). Mauer will make it to the second round but probably not much further.
After first round, guys still in it:
Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Howard, Joe Mauer
Gonzalez will use his high home run count from the first round to stay ahead of the pack and get into the finals. Pujols will continue to hit a ton of bombs. Mauer and Howard will fall despite having another round of good numbers. They won’t catch up to Gonzalez and Pujols.
After second round, guys still in it:
Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez
It could go either way and I think either guy will have a great chance at putting on a show and getting the victory. Personally, I would like to see Adrian Gonzalez win it because I think it would be nice to see him get credit for being the big power hitter that he is. He can go the other way better than any of the other competitors and that is why he is my favorite to win the event.
Overall, the Home Run Derby is an event for the fans and it is usually greatly enjoyed. I am looking foward to seeing this one. It’ll be a great time.
As all of you who read my post “Final Thoughts on Final Vote” know, my picks for the final vote were Shane Victorino and Ian Kinsler. You would also know that I thought Ian Kinsler should have already been in the All Star Game starting at second base instead of the reigning MVP Dustin Pedroia. Nothin against Pedroia who is having a good year, but Kinsler is having a better one. You would all know that Shane Victorino and Pablo Sandoval were both good choices in my eyes but that I would go with “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” simply because I felt he was having a better season. Now that the final vote is over, I have some more thoughts on the two guys that finished off the AL and NL All Star rosters. Shane Victorino and Brandon Inge.
Now, Shane Victorino did all that he could over the course of the time limit for the final vote, including a walk off, some very good stats, and a continued season of full out effort. He worked for it, deserved it, and is going to St. Louis to join some of his teammates in the NL’s attempt to win the All Star game for the first time in… I don’t know how long but the AL wins it almost every year. So this pick satisfies me and I have no further comment on the NL final man. Now the AL final vote pick has me thinking.
Brandon Inge, the third baseman from the Detroit Tigers. He’s having a good season, don’t get me wrong. But out of the guys that were available in the final vote, I don’t see how so many people picked Inge. He isn’t one of those hugely popular guys who can just count on his popularity to get picked. He isn’t that kind of guy. Kinsler on the other hand, has a following, is having a better season than Dustin Pedroia. He should have at least been a backup for the second base position. Now that he is going to be absent for this midsummer classic, it will feel like there is something important missing. Almost like missing an arm or a leg. Also, another guy that I feel got snubbed was Alexei Ramirez, the White Sox shortstop. He started off the season slow, but come May, he turned it on and has been having a STELLAR season. Now, there is some tough competition at the shortstop position this year (Jeter, Bartlett) and I can see how he didn’t get in. But I thought he could have maybe gotten in anyway. He’s having a good enough season so if he got in, there would be no question from me about him deserving the spot.
Well, that’s all I can say about this. I’m kind of all thought out. ‘Til next time…
The All Star teams were announced Sunday and I was pumped to see a bunch of my favorite players make the teams. Jay-Bay, Big Tex, Tim “the Kid” Lincecum, Curtis “How Grand He is” Granderson. They all made the team and I am pumped for the game and the entire All Star weekend. It’s going to rock.
So now, with most of the spots filled, there are the final votes to think about to see who will make the final spot on the AL and NL rosters. In the AL, Ian Kinsler, Chone Figgins, Brandon Inge, Carlos Pena, and Adam Lind make up the final vote list. In the NL, Pablo Sandoval, Shane Victorino, Cristian Guzman, Matt Kemp, and Mark Reynolds line up in hope of having their All Star dreams come true. All deserving, all willing, and all worthy choices of these two spots. But only one can be picked and everyone has their own opinions on who should be in St. Louis for the game. I believe my picks are solid and I can back them up. Some may not agree with them but some will. It all depends on your point of perspective. Here’s mine.
The first thing voters have to think of when they make their votes for the entire rosters in general is how they think the game should be played. Should it be played to win or should it be played with just the top players in each league. If you think the game is to be won, you might alter your picks to make sure there is more versatility on each roster. In the AL, instead of picking Ian Kinsler, who is having a STELLAR season, you may pick Chone Figgins who can play a few different positions. He can be moved around for a switch when you need to pinch hit for a pitcher. Since the game is being played in the National League, this is a very important aspect of the game, assuming you are playing to win the game. Now, if you take the “the best players should play” route, then Ian Kinsler and Carlos Pena would most likely be at the top of most peoples’ list. They have the best stats of the five players in the AL and they are the most worthy of the spot. But again, it all depends on how you look at the game.
On the NL side, you might pick an outfielder for the final vote, Shane Victorino or Matt Kemp for instance. The outfield is the most versatile position for the All Star game and outfielders can generally move around from each of the three positions. On the other hand, if you look at who deserves it the most, Victorino and Kemp would be up there, and Pablo Sandoval would be up there. Among the five, those three have the best stats. The same for the AL goes for the NL. It all depends on how you look at the game.
Personally, the way I look at it is this… the best players should make it, regardless of their versatility. I mean, yeah some guys that deserve it more than others aren’t going to make it because there is no spot for their position on the roster left. They might not be the best at their position and they won’t make the team. Say an outfielder makes the team because there are more outfield spots on the roster than second baseman. But say the second baseman is having a better season than the outfielder. Tough break. He’s not going to make the team. That is going to happen sometimes. But the best players at the positions available should make the team. That is the whole concept of the All Star Game. All Stars are the best in the game. They are meant to be honored at the All Star game as the best of the best. Not the guys who will help the team win. That rule was only recently appointed anyway. Back in the day when the All Star game was first started, the rosters were made up of those who were the best in the league. Now that the game counts, people take on a different perspective that I think ruins the voting process. All Stars are All Stars… that’s so simple.
The two guys I would pick would be Kinsler and Victorino. Now, Kinsler doesn’t give you much versatility. Big deal. He is having a better season than the starting second baseman, Dustin Pedroia, but might not even get in because of his lack of versatility. Victorino on the other hand is an outfielder and is more valuable as a versatile tool than maybe the other guys. Sandoval is also very versatile, able to play at the catcher, third base, and first base positions. It doesn’t get much more versatile than that. And Kemp is an oufielder too. But out of the three, I think Victorino is the best and is having the best season. In this case, it all comes down to who you think is having a better season. If the player is having a good season and is also versatile, than you have a great player and an easy pick. It’s pretty simple.
Now, those are my thoughts on how the All Star voting process should go. I’m sure there are many of you out there who disagree with my whole point of view, but I really don’t care. My final thought… All Stars are All Stars.
As most of you who read Jeff Lung’s and Allen Krause’s “RedStateBlueState” blog would know, Jeff’s favorite team is the Tigers and Allen’s favorite team is the Cards. Well, the two teams faced off in the rubber match of their interleague series and the Tigers avoided a sweep with a 6-3 victory. With the 2-1 series win for the Redbirds, Allen gets bragging rights in this years Tigers-Cardinals matchup. Fortunately for Jeff, and his sanity, the Tigers were not swept and Jeff won’t go totally insane.
So, it was a pitching matchup of Joel Piniero and Rick Porcello. Both good arms that have had their share of good games and bad games this season. Porcello went 5.2 innings giving up 3 runs (1 Earned) on eight hits and two walks. He also had three K’s. Piniero went deeper into the game but ultimately got the loss. He went 7, giving up 4 runs (1 Earned) on 5 hits. He didn’t walk anyone and had 4 K’s. Other than Jason Motte, who gave up two runs on three hits (2 homers), the relievers were pretty good. Fernando Rodney did walk three guys in his save attempt but still got the save after shutting down the rest of the batters he faced.
Curtis Granderson (my guy), Placido Polanco, and Brandon Inge all had two hits on the day. Polanco had a homer off Motte in the eighth. Other than these three guys, the rest of the offense was quiet. Marcus Thames also had a homer, his only hit of the day, to drive in one. Gerald Laird also drove in one on one hit. So overall, the Tigers offense didn’t do too bad, but they did better than the Cards’ offense which is all that needs to be done to win a game.
So, Allen, don’t get on Jeff’s back too much. And Jeff, good luck.