Sunday, July 01, 2007

Another Soccer Score

The lumber is slumbering for sure. The Sox lost another 2-1 game to the immortal Kameron Loe and the Rangers today, but as has been the trend lately, the Blue Jays and Yankees also lost so no pain inflicted. Amazing how weak the AL East really is, which makes some of the concerns we have about the Sox a little more amplified - but that's a story for another day.

It's been a weekend so far of lost opportunities and very little scoring. Both teams have left tons of men on base, Kenny Lofton looks like he's running pretty well, and Michael Young - one of the most potent hitters in MLB when he's on - is starting to get his stroke back after a slow start. But as usual - the Rangers will go absolutely nowhere because they don't understand how to build a winning pitching staff. Never have, never will. The Sox will try to split the 4-game series in tomorrow night's finale.

In other important news across MLB, the AL and NL All-Star teams have been chosen. Here are your 2007 members:

AMERICAN LEAGUE - STARTERS
C: Pudge Rodriguez
1B: David Ortiz
2B: Placido Polanco
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Alex Rodriguez
OF: Ichiro Suzuki
OF: Magglio Ordonez
OF: Vladimir Guerrero

AMERICAN LEAGUE - RESERVES
Pitchers: Josh Beckett, Justin Verlander, C.C. Sabathia, John Lackey, Dan Haren, Johan Santana, Gil Meche, Jonathan Papelbon, J.J. Putz, Francisco Rodriguez
Position players: Justin Morneau, Carlos Guillen, Mike Lowell, Manny Ramirez, Michael Young, Carl Crawford, Alex Rios, Victor Martinez, Jorge Posada, Brian Roberts, Torii Hunter, Grady Sizemore
Fan vote (one will be chosen): Jeremy Bonderman, Hideki Okajima, Kelvim Escobar, Roy Halladay, Pat Neshek

NATIONAL LEAGUE - STARTERS
C: Russell Martin
1B: Prince Fielder
2B: Chase Utley
SS: Jose Reyes
3B: David Wright
OF: Barry Bonds
OF: Carlos Beltran
OF: Ken Griffey, Jr.

NATIONAL LEAGUE - RESERVES
Pitchers: Brad Penny, Ben Sheets, John Smoltz, Cole Hamels, Jake Peavy, Billy Wagner, Francisco Cordero, Jose Valverde, Takashi Saito, Trevor Hoffman, Brian Fuentes
Position players: J.J. Hardy, Alfonso Soriano, Orlando Hudson, Aaron Rowand, Brian McCann, Albert Pujols, Dmitri Young, Derrek Lee, Freddy Sanchez, Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Lee, Matt Holliday
Fan vote (one will be chosen): Chris Young (SD), Brandon Webb, Roy Oswalt, Carlos Zambrano, Tom Gorzellany

Some quick observations:

- The big news, of course, is that Barry Bonds pulled out a starting position on the NL team thanks to late fan balloting. Should be one big love-in at Pac Bell Park. Can't wait.

- New York City has the market cornered on left sides of the infield, huh? Wright and Reyes in Queens, A-Rod and Jeter in the Bronx.

- Interesting that the NL chose to go with six closers while the AL will carry three. Does that mean the best pitchers in the National League are in the bullpen?

- On the fan voting for the final spots, I went with Okajima and Chris Young. Okajima has been incredible this year.

- America loves nicknames. Pudge Rodriguez shouldn't be starting over either Posada or Victor Martinez. And think about this - Joe Mauer stays home.

- Guys that shoulda, woulda, coulda made it -- Orlando Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez, Edgar Renteria (oh how it hurts to type those three names in a row), Kevin Youkilis, Curtis Granderson, Daisuke Matsuzaka

- Will Barry participate in the HR Derby?

- Placido Polanco at second base? Not a very deep position, obviously.

- The one rep from each team rule is stupid

- And last but not least, the excellent broadcaster Dave O'Brien - who's doing Sox games this year - mentioned this little tidbit: that Tony La Russa has made overtures to Mark McGwire to see if Big Mac would consider coming back - ala Sammy Sosa - to do a little image re-buffing.

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