Tagged: Twins

Dodgers, Angels, Yankees Sweep LDS Opponents

Talk about a dominant performance.  The Yankees, Angels, and Dodgers all swept their LDS opponents and have moved on the their respective league’s championship game.  Wow!

Now, the Yankees simply flexed their muscles in their first round matchup against the Twins.  They won both games at home to open the series, despite having to come from behind in a crazy game.  When Mark Teixeira hit the walk off homer to left to end the game, the Yankees stormed onto the field and celebrated, leaving a stunned Twins team in the opposite dugout.  In the third game of the series, the first in Minnesota, the Twins kept it close again, but when they had the chance to score some runs and put some pressure on the Yankees, they made some key baserunning mistakes that really cost them.  It was surely a disappointing series for Twins fans but you can’t say that you didn’t see this coming.

My pick for the ALDS matchup of the Angels and Red Sox had the Red Sox coming out victorious after a five game series.  Obviously I was wrong as the Angels really poured it onto the Red Sox and swept them.  History wasn’t in line to repeat itself in this series and the Angels soared their way to the ALCS.  It was kind of against my prediction but while I was watching the game three between these two teams, which was at Fenway, I told my dad in the eighth inning that the Angels would come back to score three runs against Papelbon and win the game.  He didn’t want to believe it but when the game was over I left the room with him staring at the t.v.  I felt pretty good about myself about that one.

The ALCS is going to be a very intriguing matchup between two quality powerhouses with good pitching.  The Yankees obviously have a pitching advantage but the offense’s of these two teams are pretty evenly matched.  The Halos have a very good and underrated offense that will really matchup well against the Yankees.  But the key to this seris will be pitching.  If the Yankees pitching can overcome the good Angels offense than the Yankees will roll onto the World Series.  My Prediction: Yankees win it in six.

Now onto the Dodgers, the team that everyone thought would be leaving the playoffs early due to their end of the season slump.  Well, the Dodgers didn’t feel like taking any of that and they went out and swept a very powerful Cardinals team, that a lot of people thought would not be a factor in the Central this season.  With the one-two punch of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, how can you go wrong.  Well, the Dodgers’ offense poured it on to the top two pitchers in the Cy Young race this year while in LA and when they went to St. Louis, Vincente Padilla put in a great perfornance and kept the Cards at bay while the Dodgers continued to have success against Cardinals pitching as they pushed Pineiro out of the game early.  It was a great series for the Dodgers and they will want to use this head of steam going into the NLCS against whoever it is they end up playing.

-Dillon

A-Rod and Teixeira Carry Yanks

A-Rod drove in two in the ninth with a home run, which was an absolute bomb by the way, to tie the game and sent it into extras.  In the eleventh, Mark Teixeira hit a “wall scraper” to win the game down the left field line.  Wow! What an exciting game but there is plenty more about this game that made it spectacular.

AJ Burnett and Nick Blackburn both threw outstanding games; Burnett went 6 innings and Blackburn went 5.2 each giving up a run.  Burnett gave up five walks which could’ve led to some pretty bad happenings for the Yanks but he got out of it like both teams did over the course of the game.  Blackburn gave up three hits and walked two while striking out three.  Overall, the starters threw a pitchers duel that was exciting to watch.  They always are, waiting to see who makes the first mistake that will cost them the game.

When Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke combined to throw a perfect seventh inning I thought the Yanks were gonna cruise to another win with the way the bullpen was pitching.  Yeah right! Phil Hughes came in to pitch the eighth and that is where everything went wrong.  He was chased after only getting two outs after he gave up two hits and a walk which led to two runs.  It was a tough performance from Hughes and the Twins took the lead going into the final inning.

This is where I picked up the game on the radio on my way home from the movies with some friends.  I figured out that the Yanks were down 3-1.  It was killing me how the Yankees might end up losing to the Twins.  It was terrible.  But then it all happened.  Mariano Rivera finished the eighth and got out of the ninth with no more damage.  This was the time for the Yankees to hit there stride.  And they did.  Teixeira got on base and Alex Rodriguez brought him home with a bomb to the bullpen.  The game was tied and we almost won it in the ninth too.  Swish almost hit one but it was a few steps short of the wall.

In extras, it was pretty close with each team making their fair share of mistakes, pitching and fielding.  In general, the pitching only made a few mistakes to let guys get hits but the biggest one was when the Twins’ Joe Nathan threw the ball to second to try and pick off Brett Gardner and he threw it into the outfield.  Gardner shimmied over to third and was immediatley the number one priority for the Twins’ defense.  But Gardner made a mistake too.  On a line drive to the middle of the infield, Gardner took off towards home.  But he didn’t realize it was hit right at Orlando Cabrera and Gardner was doubled off at third.  That killed me.

The Yanks were unable to capitalize in the tenth but when Mark Teixeira came up in the eleventh, he came threw and hit a bullet down the the left field line that hit the top of the wall and bounced into the stands for the homer.  The game was finally over and the Yankees won again.  Just like I predicted they would.  It was a great game that was not only going have every one on the edge of their seats, but it was key to the outcome of this series.  Now the Yankees don’t necessarily have to win on the road they can have the comfort of playing another game at home if they are unable to win in Minnesota, which won’t be an easy task.

-Dillon

CC, Yankees Roll

The Yankees just keep on rolling and to be completely honest, I think it will take a lot more than the effort the Twins gave last night to stop the Bombers.

CC was absolutely phenominal.  I can’t say enough about it.  He pitched 6 2/3 solid innings and he was just about as good as he has been all year.  This win shows that despite being denied 20 wins on the season that he is still about as good as they get.  With 8 K’s and only one earned run, I officially summarize this game for the Yanks as domination.

CC wasn’t the only successful Yankee last night.  Far from it in fact.  Let’s start with the Captain.  Mr. November just picked up where he left off in the regular season and completely dominated Twins pitching.  He was 2-2 with a homer, three runs scored, and two RBI’s.  An outstanding performance from the captain was just the beginning of the successt the Yankees had last night.

Hideki Matsui surely showed that he still deserved the nickname “Godzilla” and belted a homer in the fifth.  He finished the game having gone 1-3 with that homer and he also drew a walk.

A-Rod went 2-4 wtih two RBI’s and a run scored and he played a solid third base as well.  Nick Swisher also drove in a run to add to the Yankees’ success.  Another thing I’d like to add about Swisher is how important his clubhouse presence has been all season.  Every team should have at least one guy like this.  Someone to keep everyone going and to keep spirits up.  The jokester on the team, the prankster.  Swisher definitely filled that roll this year with the Yankees and I am really grateful of that.

When the game finally rolled into the ninth inning, it looked as if the game was done with.  The Twins had no chance.  They weren’t even gonna come close to scoring at all…

-Now with the way I just said all that it seems like I’m going to say that they came back and won the game.  Yeah right.  Not on Mo’s watch.

Mariano Rivera pitched as spectacularly as he has all year.  Another great performance that left the Twins scratching their heads.  He let up one hit and one walk but other than that he was fantastic striking out two.

The great thing about Mo is that he does all of this with only one pitch.  His cutter, which wasn’t originally a cutter, has gotten the job done over his career unlike any other pitcher’s pitch in history has.  That story was in Sports Illustrated recently and it was one of the best articles I have read in a while.  Mo is one of a kind.

With the opening game win in the books, the Yanks have one day off before they send AJ Burnett out to face off against Nick Blackburn.

-By the way doesn’t Blackburn and Joe Mauer look really similar or is it just me?

  Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins

Well, I’m pretty sure that Burnett has the advantage in this one but Blackburn is still a quality pitcher. The Twins may have some chance… possibly… maybe a little… Yeah right, I’m just joking.  The Yankees are going to win this one as they did the first one.

Go Yankees!

-Dillon

Playoff Prediction (AL)

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

Yankees Sweep

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.

-Dillon

Tigers Need To Go Undefeated

In undefeated, I mean these next two games.  Since they have decided to make it a lot more interesting in the AL Central than it needs to be, the Tigers will need to win both of their remaining games to clinch the division.  If they do not, they could let the Twins slip into that division lead.  And therefore give the Twins a playoff birth.  The Twins have been playing well of late and they could easily beat the Royals a couple more times.  Last night they won 10-7.  Today won’t be as easy a task as the Royals send Zack Greinke to the mound.  He is beatable but I wouldn’t count on it.  It will most certainly be a challenge.  As far as the Tigers go, they better get their pitching scenario figured out.

Last night, Edwin Jackson, who has been all but and All Star quality pitcher since the All Star break, went five innings and gave up eight runs.  It was another terrible performance from Jackson who the Tigers desperately need to get back up to speed if they want to go anywhere in the playoffs, assuming they make it.  Right now, the only consistency in that Tigers rotation is Verlander and Porcello.  Jackson hasn’t been there, the recently added Jarod Wahsburn hasn’t pitched all that well since being aquired and Jeremy Bonderman has just had a run in with the Twins series.  It’s gonna be a tight race no matter what but the pitching is key for the Tigers right now.

Regardless off who was pitching last night, the Tigers offense has been good enough to rely on recently but last night, Jake Peavy shut them out.  Peavy has really shown what he can do against a quality offense.  The White Sox are really looking forward to having the Jake Peavy of last night next year.  He will be a big part of that team.  Here’s a quick prediction for next year… watch out for the White Sox.

The Tigers have had a long and grinding year.  They have been in the talk of the city’s troublesome economy and how they have brought hope to the city.  If they make the playoffs this year, that will be the icing on the cake for that city which is really in need of something special.  Now, if they make the playoffs, they will have the uneasy task of playing the Yankees in the first round.  It won’t be easy and it probably won’t end well for the Tigers but the fact that they made it to the playoffs will be a great thing for the Detroit citizens.

Honestly, I am rooting for the Tigers to get in.  But it really comes down to winning.  They can’t rely on the Twins losing since they are playing a weak Royals team.  They NEED to win and need to win now.  A one game lead is nothing to stand by at this point.

Today, the Tigers have rookie Alfredo Figaro going.  It will be the biggest game of his life, at leas at this point, and he will be asked to go out and give a phenominal outing.  They really need the pitching.  I can’t stress that enough.

-Dillon

It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

Well, as much as I thought I would be busy this upcoming year, I have realized that I have a lot more time on my hands than I thought I would.  I had planned on not being able to write on this blog for a while, since I would be doing track this year.  Since I have the extra time, I figured I’d get back to blogging on the MLBlogosphere.  And I mean c’mon.  Can you blame me.  I couldn’t stay away from this too long.  And what a perfect time to come back, right as the playoff races are coming to a conclusionn.  There is still no winner in the AL Central and NL West, the Yankees are dominating and the Red Sox got lucky to even get into the playoffs as the wild card, considering they haven’t been able to win consistently recently.  Well, I’m back and… HERE WE GO!

To start off, the Tigers’- Twins series last week was phenominal.  Every morning before school I would make sure I got to the t.v. and see the score of the game.  It was a great series.  Orlando Cabrera came up big in one game.  Another, the Tigers’ pitchihng was dominating.  The Twins had no answer.  It was a great series.

The Yankees have been 100% untouchable over the past few weeks.  Now, by untouchable, I don’t mean they haven’t been able to lose, because they have, but when they did, it hasn’t really struck anybody as a tough blow, the Yankees haven’t lost that much recently but when they did, it didn’t hurt.  They have been on that kind of roll.

The Red Sox… well, I guess I can say they deserve to be in the playoffs over the Rangers who have all but fallen off the edge of the earth this past month.  The Red Sox haven’t done all that much better.  They clinched on a night when both them and the Rangers lost.  They have been about as inconsistent of late than any other losing team.  They won’t make it very far into the playoffs.  If history runs its course, they will beat the Angels, but they won’t get past the Yankees in the ALCS if they even get that far.

The playoff race in the NL West has gotten a little slow lately but that is comparing it to the way it was when the Rockies were unbeatable. They have lost a few key games over the past few weeks but the race is still close.  Neither the Dodgers or the Rox have clinched and it will most certainly go down to the wire.  One thing that is definite… the Giants made a run but their pitching couldn’t carry them all the way.  They need to hit too.  All I have to say to the Rockies is this… if you’re gonna go out there and lose, you better watch out for the Braves who could easily sweep out of no where and take the wild card.

That’s all for now and I feel great.  Until next time…

Go Yanks!

Go Braves!

-Dillon

Will Strasburg Sign?; The Art of the Catch at the  Wall

The San Diego State phenom that has taken the baseball world by storm has until tonight to sign a contract with the team that drafted him.  The Washington Nationals, the worst team in the MLB for the past two years were lucky enough to have the chance to pick Strasburg in the draft but if they can’t sign him, they can just say good bye to their hopes and dreams of having any chance next year.

The situation with Strasburg is a big one.  Pretty much a do or die for the Nats.  Sort of…  If the Nats can’t sign him, they will not have the star pitcher they were hoping to have next year, since it is thought that Strasburg would glide through the minors and join the team next season.  Strasburg could be the start of a new and reformed Washington Nationals club.

The Nats do have a few guys that are pretty talented on offense.  The pitching isn’t that great but they get through the season.  Strasburg could take that pitching staff to a whole new level and put them back among the “not the worst” staffs in the league.  But the thing is, he has to sign to be able to play with them.

My dad and I were having a conversation about this topic yesterday and we both agreed (this rarely happens when talking about sports) that Strasburg should just sign with the team that drafted him if he really wants to play baseball.  He got drafted by the worst team in the league because he was the best player in the draft.  The worst team has the first pick and that’s just how it works.  Some players don’t sign with the teams that draft them just because they are not one of the better teams in the league.  But the thing is, if you want to play, you have to sign.  You may never get picked by the team you want to play for but that’s not your decision.

A bad team is bad for a while because they do not have the talentto keep up with the rest of the teams and their minor league teams aren’t producing the good young talent that will make them good in the future.  After a while, the farm systems start shaping up with some of the better players since they get a lot of high draft picks.  Strasburg is one of them that the Nationals, a bad team, has drafted.  He should just sign if he gets a good enough deal to compensate for his draft place.  JUST SIGN THE FRIGGEN DEAL!

Tony Gwynn, Strasburg’s manager at San Diego State, keeps saying that Strasburg just wants to play and that he is a baseball player.  If he wants to play so badly, then just give him a deal that he is worthy of and he will most likely sign it.

I hate how draftees take so long to sign contracts.  Especially the high draft picks.  They think just because they are the highest of the draft picks that they deserve a contract that some veterans aren’t getting.  They aren’t even rookies in the league yet.  When you get drafted, you sign with the team that took you in the draft, play in the minors for a while, then get your chance in the Majors.  Some get a chance quicker than others but most guys eventually get their chance.  When you get to the Majors, you play for the team that picked you for so many years until your contract runs out.  Strasburg should play with the Nats until his contract runs out (assuming he signs one).  Then when it runs out, you should consider signing a new one or maybe signing one with a different team.  That’s how the MLB works.  It’s always changing.  Some teams are good for a while, then they go bad because they lose their talent and the talent in the farm systems.

I know that if I was in the baseball draft and I got picked anywhere, I would be ecstatic and would sign right away.  I mean seriously.  The money a lot of baseball players get is more than an average person gets doing some non-athletic job.

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Now to another topic.  The art of catching a ball at the wall.  Now, it happens a lot in baseball.  But only so many guys can pull it off.  It requires concentration, talent, and ability to actually catch the ball while hitting the wall.  My favorite player, Curtis Granderson, happens to be an expert at it.

Now, this catch is probably the craziest catch I’ve ever seen.  He’s practically falling over the wall.  It was an amazing catch and I think some of you may be able to see why I like him so much.

Granderson made another great catch yesterday as he snagged a ball while hitting the wall in the Tigers’ game against the Kansas City Royals.  He robbed a Royals’ batter who ripped a ball to straight away center.  He hit the wall hard after making the catch but was able to hold on and was able to run off the field.  Thank goodness I would hate to see him get hurt.

Aaron Rowand is another of the great “at the wall defenders.”  That’s what I call them at least.  He has made many great and spectacular catches at the wall, including robbing a few home runs in his time.  This year, Rowand made a game saving rob at the wall to save a no hitter for the Giants’ Jonathon Sanchez.  It was a key catch and he made it.  He has been considered one of the best center fielders in the MLB for the past many years.  I forget what year it was but when he was with the Phillies he made a nasty catch while running into the wall and banged up his nose and all that.  It must have hurt a ton but he did make the catch.  That just shows you his will to make the play.

Torii Hunter is another one of those great center fielders that has made a few amazing catches in his time.  Currently with the Angels, he has already made many amazing catches since coming from the Minnesota Twins where he made even more spectacular, top ten worthy catchs.  One of his most famous was in an All Star Game in which he robbed Barry Bonds of a home run.  That was great.

There are so many great “at the wall defenders” that I can’t name them all, but these three are tops on my list and I wouldn’t change it at all for another few years before some new faces come into my perspective.  But this is my favorite baseball moment.  When an outfielder makes a rob at the wall.  Whether it is a home run rob or just an extra base hit rob.  It’s all great in my mind.

-Dillon

Melk-Man Hits For Cycle

I go to camp for a week…

I barely get any sleep…

I come back Friday after a whole day of driving in traffic…

I realize the Yankees’ lead over the Red Sox has been diminished to a half game…

I see the Yankees are having trouble with the White Sox…

The trade deadline produced many bigtime player trades…

Roy Halladay is still in Toronto…

And I am back blogging on MLBlogs.

Now, while I was at camp all week, I was bummed that I was unable to keep up with all the things happening around the MLB, especially since the trade deadline was Friday.  I still had a great time, but the feeling of not knowing what was going on was killing me.  Now, I survived, as I always do, but it was still hard not having that part of my life around.

I got back and immediatly checked MLB.com to see all the trades that had happened.  Here’s what I figured out:

  • The BoSox pulled off a deal for Victor Martinez
  • Cliff Lee is in Philly (where I happened to be for camp this past week)
  • Jake Peavy is with the in the South Side of Chicago
  • Adam LaRoche has been with three teams in about a week and a half
  • Orlando Cabrera finds a home in Minnesota

Well, it’s all very exciting and all and I’m glad to be back.  Now, I was unable to post something until today because I have been so busy since I got back.  But yesterday, something great happened in Chicago.  That’s right, it’s got to do with the Yankees.  Melky Cabrera hit for the cycle against the Chicago White Sox and the most recent man to enter himself into the history books, Mark Beuhrle.  In fact, Beuhrle looked nothing like he has all season.  Especially after throwing the perfect game.  He went 4.1 innings, giving up 7 runs on 12 hits and a walk.  He gave up the one homer to Cabrera and that was it for the long ball.  For Melky Cabrera, this achievment puts him in with the likes of many famous Yankees from teams past.  The 15th cycle in team history was a great show to see.  Now, even though this happened, I would still go with Brett Gardner in center field.  No offense to Melky for this great performance but Gardner is still my pick.  It was still a great show though.

Melky’s cycle is the second to happen this year.  As many remember, the year was basically kicked off with a performance of a lifetime from the O-Dog, Orlando Hudson of the LA Dodgers.  Hudson took only six innings to get the four hits required for the achievement.  But he did it.  One of the greatest offensive performances this year kicked things off in April.  Melky’s performance was great and it will go down in the books as many others have for accomplishing this feat.

-Dillon

Wow, Did That Just Happened?

I’m sure that’s exactly what Zack Greinke, the Royals’ young star pitcher, is thinking right now after he just got smoked for five runs on nine hits (two homers) and a walk.  He also had two unearned runs allowed in his five inning outing.  Greinke must have been shocked, after so many STELLAR performances to start the season.  He is among the top two pitchers in the AL and is in the running for a start in this season’s all star game.  He is no doubt an all star but his only other competition for the start is the Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay who is also having a STELLAR season.  Some competition, huh?

Greinke is currently 8-2 on the season with a league best 1.55 ERA.  He also has 91 strikeouts which is also one of the best totals in the league.  He is having an overall great season and this one loss won’t hurt him.  This loss is definitely shocking… I’m shocked.  But it really isn’t that big a deal.  He still has one of the best records, has the best ERA, despite it being over 1, and has a great number of K’s.  He is great.  A youngster who is having a Cy Young season is something that the Royals need.  Someone who can lead the team and get them somewhere.  He’s going to be fine. 

Now, the competition for the starting all star job is between Halladay and Greinke.  That’s no doubt.  They are the top two pitchers in the league and there is no one even close to having as good a season as these two are having.  So who should it be? 

My pick: Halladay. 

Why: He has a better record.  His performances this season have equally matched that of Greinke’s, and his team is winning.  Halladay has been great throughout his career.  He still is.  Greinke is still young and I have no doubt that he will be a starter in the all star game sometime in his career.  But right now, the spotlight is on Halladay who has proven himself over and over again that he is one of the best in the business. 

So nothing against Greinke, because I happen to like him very much, but I think this season, it should be Halladay.  But next year… who knows?  Maybe next year will be Greinke’s turn. 

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Another “Wow, did that just happen” moment from this week was Randy Johnson’s entry into the 300 win club.  Way to go man.  You’ve earned it.  Johnson’s career so far has been STELLAR and he is still going.  That’s amazing.  This milestone is one of the most respected of all milestones reached in baseball.. I think it is the one you have to work the hardest for.  It’s great for everyone who has reached it and Randy Johnson is now among some of the greatest pitchers of all time.  Throughout his career, he has pitched for the Expos, Mariners, Astros, Diamondbacks (two stints), Yankees, and Giants.  Here’s a little summary of his career. 

Johnson has been the type of pitcher who would be set to pitch and the other team wouldn’t want to face him.  He was a tall, powerful pitcher.  He had a good fastball and good secondary pitches.  He was just a great overall pitcher that new the game.  Opponents didn’t want to face him.  He has pitched a perfect game.  He has demolished a bird in mid-air (not something you want him to do to you) and has come up big for all of the teams he has played for in his great career. 

So now that you’ve heard some of that, I hope you would come to appreciate how hard it is to get to this milestone.  Way to go man.

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Now here’s the last of my stories from this week.  This also happened last night.  It happened in the Mariners- Twins game.  Ichiro, riding a 2 game hitting streak, went hitless against Twins pitchign ending his streak at 27.  It was a disappointing game for the Mariners and Ichiro as his streak was snapped and the Mariners lost 2-1.  Ichiro’s streak wasn’t the first long one of the season.  Everyone remembers Ryan Zimmerman’s earlier this season which ended at 30 games.  There have been others but none have gone as high as these two which have gained much attention all over the MLB community. 

Ichiro has had a great season overall this year and is bound to get an all star bid for the mid summer classic in St. Louis.  I have Ichiro among my votes for one of the outfield starting spots.  Along with Jason Bay and Curtis Granderson. 

-Dillon