Results tagged ‘ Adam Wainwright ’

2-for-2 for No. 2 in final All-Star Game

MINNEAPOLIS — It did not take Derek Jeter very long to get involved in the 2014 All-Star Game. On the very first play of the game, Jeter made a diving stop of a hard grounder toward the middle by Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, but the reigning National League Most Valuable Player beat the throw to first base for a single.

McCutchen never stopped running that inning. He moved up to second base on a wild pitch during the at-bat of Yasiel Puig, who struck out, and stole third base as Troy Tulowitzki struck out. Mac never made it home, however, as Paul Goldschmidt grounded out to third.

The Twins, who have done a magnificent job as host of the All-Star Game, came up with a nice touch by having a tape of the late Yankees public address voice Bob Sheppard announce Jeter as he stepped to the plate as the first American League hitter in the bottom of the first inning. The tape was apparently from the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium.

The Target Field crowd was generous with its applause and gave Jeter a standing ovation. Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright left his glove and the ball on the rubber and stepped back off the mound in joining his NL teammates in applauding Jeter, who removed his helmet, waved to the crowd and pointed to both dugouts. He motioned to Wainwright to start pitching, but the Cardinals ace remained behind the mound for probably a full minute before taking position.

As play resumed, fans treated the Captain to a “Der-ek Jee-ter” chant familiar to the roll call the bleacher creatures at the Stadium salute him with every night, another cool touch. Jeet got things started for the AL with one of his patented line drives to right field that went into the corner as Jeter legged out a double. The crowd loved it.

And how about that to those who thought Jeter should not have been the AL’s leadoff hitter? One swing, and he was in scoring position. Not bad, eh?

Angels outfielder Mike Trout got Jeter home with the AL’s second extra-base hit of the inning, a triple off the right field wall that the Dodgers’ Yasieal Puig played poorly. After Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano struck out, Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera got the AL’s third extra-base hit of the inning, a home run to left field. The score was 3-0, and the Americans had not had a single yet. Perhaps Wainwright should have stayed off the mound.

The National League, which was shut out at Citi Field last year, closed to 3-2 in the second on RBI doubles by Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy to end a 15-inning scoreless streak dating to 2012 at Kansas City.

Jeter was a leadoff hitter again in the third inning against Reds righthander Alfredo Simon and got the AL’s first single on another hit to right field. A wild pitch advanced Jeter into scoring position this time, but he was stranded.

Before the start of the fourth inning, AL manager John Farrell of the Red Sox sent White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez onto the field to replace Jeter, who was showered with another round of long applause while the PA system played Frank Sinatra’s version of “New York, New York” that is heard at the end of every Yankees home game.

Jeter again waved to the crowd, pointed to the NL dugout and then shook the hands of every one of his teammates in the AL dugout and urged on by the crowd came onto the field once more to acknowledge their cheers. He left All-Star competition with a .481 career average in 27 at-bats and seemed in place for maybe another game Most Valuable Player Award to match the one he received in 2000 at Atlanta’s Turner Field.

One stumbling block to that was the NL tying the score in the fourth on another RBI double by Lucroy, this time off White Sox lefthander Chris Sale. That opened the door for Trout, who with his second extra-base hit of the game, a double in the fifth, gave the AL the lead and put him in position to be the MVP.

But if the fans here had their choice, I’m sure they would vote for Jeter.

Jeter on top — where he belongs

MINNEAPOLIS — Credit Red Sox manager John Farrell with a sense of history and propriety. The man in charge of the American League All-Star squad did not think twice about who his leadoff hitter would be for Tuesday night’s game at Target Field.

Who else but Derek Jeter?

In his farewell season, Jeter was voted into the starting lineup by the fans, and the AL manager responded in kind by not dumping the Yankees’ captain at the bottom of the lineup where some think his .272 batting average belongs.

But while home field advantage in the World Series is at stake based on the outcome of the game, Farrell recognizes that the All-Star Game is about stars, and for the past 20 seasons none has shown as brightly as Jeter, who has earned the respect of opponents as much as teammates for the way he goes about his business.

Farrell acknowledged his decision was easy and designed “to celebrate a player who is not only a champion but a guy that sets the bar that I think all players should aspire to — the way he has handled himself with class, with performance, no doubt a Hall of Famer. This will be a day that many baseball fans that are either in the ballpark or watching will remember as Derek’s last All-Star Game.”

Mariano Rivera went through something similar last year at Citi Field in Flushing. In that case, however, AL manager Jim Leyland of the Tigers had to guarantee that baseball’s greatest closer would get into the game near the end. With the AL the visiting team, Leyland knew he could not hold Rivera until the bottom of the ninth, a closer’s usual inning, because there may not have been one. And that was the case with the National League ahead entering the eighth, so that was when Leyland summoned Rivera.

Farrell was presented with a different situation — to honor one of the players in the starting lineup. He was correct to see that fans did not want to wait for Jeter to bat until perhaps as late as the third inning. I am predicting an enormous standing ovation for DJ when he steps to the plate for that first pitch from NL starter Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.

“I have been in the big leagues for nine years and have never faced him,” Wainwright said. “I’m very excited about it, just to say I faced the best. And he is undoubtedly one of the best to ever play his position, one of the greatest Yankees of all time.”

The game will also reunite Jeter with his former keystone partner, Robinson Cano, who will start at second base and bat third.

Here are the lineups crafted by Farrell and NL manager Mike Matheny of the Cardinals:

National League

Andrew McCutcheon, Pirates, CF
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers, RF
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies, SS
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, 1B
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, DH
Aramis Ramirez, Brewers, 3B
Chase Utley, Phillies, 2B
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers, C
Carlos Gomez, Brewers, LF
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, P

American League

Derek Jeter, Yankees, SS
Mike Trout, Angels, LF
Robinson Cano, Mariners, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, 1B
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, RF
Nelson Cruz, Orioles, DH
Adam Jones, Orioles, CF
Josh Donaldson, Athletics, 3B
Salvador Perez, Royals, C
Felix Hernandez, Mariners, P

Robertson a candidate for top union honor

Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson is one of six finalists for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, which has been presented annually since 1997 by the Major League Players Association. The award, named after the first executive director of the union, goes to a player elected by his peers as the one who best combines on-field performance with community service.

Thousands of baseball fans participated in an Internet poll on between Sept. 9-12 to determine which six players, one from each division, inspire others to higher levels of achievement by on-field performances and contributions to their communities.

From the list of 30 players, Robertson was selected to represent the American League East. The other finalists are White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko (AL Central), Rangers designated hitter Michael Young (AL West), Mets third baseman David Wright (National League East), Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright (NL Central) and Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (NL West).

These six players will have their names placed on the 2011 Players Choice Awards ballot to determine the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award winner. The 2011 Players Choice Awards mark their 20th anniversary. The 1992 winners were Dennis Eckersley (AL) and Barry Bonds (NL). The Players Choice Awards also honor the outstanding player, rookie, pitcher and comeback player in each league, as well as the overall Player of the Year. 2011 Players Choice Award winners in all categories will designate charities to receive grants totaling $260,000 from the Major League Baseball Players Trust that has contributed more than $3 million to charities around the world.

No Yankees player has won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. Center fielder Curtis Granderson was honored in 2009, his last season with the Tigers. Another Detroit player, Brandon Inge, won last year. Ballots are being distributed to players Tuesday and Wednesday.

After watching tornadoes tear through Tuscaloosa, Ala., and spending an off-day touring the damage first-hand, Robertson was determined to help his hometown rebuild. In May, he and his wife established the David and Erin Robertson Foundation to raise relief funds and lend support to local charities helping those affected by the storms, with Robertson personally donating $100 for every batter he strikes out this season through his High Socks for Hope campaign.

Cy Young holiday for Halladay

No American League club was happier to see Roy Halladay cross over into the National League this year than the Yankees. The one bad thing for the Yanks about Halladay going from the Blue Jays to the Phillies was that it triggered Philadelphia trading Cliff Lee back to the AL with the Mariners.

But it was good riddance for Halladay, who regularly thumped the Yankees to the tune of 18-7 with a 2.98 ERA, seven complete games (including three shutouts) and 195 strikeouts in 38 appearances (36 starts) covering 253 1/3 innings. Halladay did not find the new Yankee Stadium to his liking. He was 1-1 with a 6.16 ERA there in 2009 after having gone 7-4 with a 2.97 ERA in the old Stadium.

Halladay had a remarkable first season in the NL this year and was rewarded Tuesday by winning the Cy Young Award. He became the fifth pitcher to win the award in both leagues, having won in the AL with Toronto in 2003, and the 16th multiple winner.

The righthander was in Mexico on vacation when he received word of his election. I had the opportunity to tell him how popular he is in press boxes throughout North America because it is an extremely pleasurable experience to watch him pitch. He is a pro’s pro with no wasted motion and a focus that is sadly lacking among starting pitchers of this period.

“That’s very satisfying to hear,” the man called “Doc” said. “I hope the fans feel the same way.”

Halladay was the 13th unanimous choice in NL voting as he received all 32 first-place votes from two writers in each league city to score a perfect 224 points, based on a tabulation system that rewards seven points for first place, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America expanded the Cy Young Award ballot from three to five pitchers this year.

Halladay, 33, posted a 21-10 record with a 2.44 ERA in 33 starts and led the league in victories, innings (250 2/3), complete games (9) and shutouts (4) and was second in strikeouts (219). He pitched a perfect game May 29 at Miami in a 1-0 victory over the Marlins. Balloting takes place prior to the start of post-season play, so his no-hitter over the Reds in Game 1 of the NL Division Series was not a factor in the voting.

Cardinals righthander Adam Wainwright (20-11, 2.42 ERA), who finished third in 2009, was the runner-up with 122 points based on 28 votes for second, three for third and one for fifth. Rockies righthander Ubaldo Jimenez (19-8, 2.88 ERA) was third with 90 points. Halladay, Wainwright and Jimenez were the only pitchers named on all the ballots. Righthanders Tim Hudson (17-9, 2.83 ERA) of the Braves and Josh Johnson (11-6, 2.30 ERA) of the Marlins rounded out the top five. In all, 11 pitchers received votes.

Halladay joined the company of Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Gaylord Perry as Cy Young Award winners in both leagues. Clemens won six in the AL (1986, ’87 and ’91 with the Red Sox; 1997 and ’98 with the Blue Jays; 2001 with the Yankees) and one in the NL (2004 with the Astros). Johnson won four in the NL (1999 through 2002 with the Diamondbacks) and one in the AL (1995 with the Mariners). Martinez won two in the AL (1999 and 2000 with the Red Sox) and one in the NL (1997 with the Expos). Perry won one in the AL (1972 with the Indians) and one in the NL (1978 with the Padres).

Unanimous winners in the NL were Sandy Koufax all three times he won and Greg Maddux twice among his four victories, along with Johnson, Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, Rick Sutcliffe, Dwight Gooden, Orel Hershiser and Jake Peavy. There has been a unanimous winner in the AL eight times: Clemens, Martinez and Johan Santana twice each, Denny McLain and Ron Guidry.

It marked the seventh time a Phillies pitcher won the award, including Carlton four times. The other winners from Philadelphia were John Denny and Steve Bedrosian. In addition to Koufax, Maddux, Carlton, Clemens, Martinez, Johnson, Perry, Gibson, McLain and Santana, other pitchers to have won the award more than once were Tom Seaver and Jim Palmer three times each, Bret Saberhagen, Tom Glavine and Tim Lincecum twice apiece.

Halladay is in pretty heady company and deserves to be.

CC vs. the stat geeks

This is probably not the best time to discuss CC Sabathia’s American League Cy Young Award candidacy. It will be a topic for the rest of the season as the question that will face voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America is: can a pitcher with a record barely above .500 win the Cy Young Award?

Sabathia’s main opponent for the award, which he won in 2007 with the Indians, is Mariners righthander Felix Hernandez, who has become the darling of the stat geeks. Hernandez is a terrific pitcher who is putting up some impressive numbers for a last-place team. Seattle is not only bringing up the rear in the AL West but also in just about every offensive category as a team.

The Mariners’ extraordinarily poor run support for Hernandez is the main explanation that despite leading the AL in innings pitched (219 1/3) and strikeouts (209) and running a close second in ERA (2.30) his record is merely 11-10.

That pales in comparison to Sabathia, who took to the mound Tuesday night in search of his 20th victory only to fall instead to 19-6. That’s how good the Orioles are going; not even CC could beat them as he has done routinely in his career against Baltimore, which has been rejuvenated since the arrival of manager Buck Showalter, whose record is 21-13.

The Orioles’ 6-2 victory over the Yankees was only the second loss in 15 career decisions for Sabathia against Baltimore and the first in five this season. It also ended CC’s 21-start string of non-losing starts at Yankee Stadium as he lost in the Bronx for the first time since July 2, 2009 in 17 decisions.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi came to his ace’s side in the competition.

“Felix Hernandez has had a great year,” Girardi said. “We have seen enough of him, I can tell you that. But I think our guy has had an amazing year as well. Right now, if I was to vote, it would be for CC.”

Ironically, the best part of Hernandez’s platform is his work against the Yankees. In three starts against them, King Felix was 3-0 with two complete games (including one shutout), 31 strikeouts in 26 innings and an ERA of 0.35.

Although Girardi tried to help CC’s cause, it didn’t help that the manager’s answer when asked what pitching stats he most favors by saying “ERA and innings pitched.”

Hernandez has the edge on both of those scores over Sabathia, who has a 3.14 ERA and 170 strikeouts. Girardi said that he also values innings, but again, Hernandez has it over CC, 219 1/3 to 209. Opponents are batting .219 against Hernandez and .242 against Sabathia. In every statistical category, Sabathia trails Hernandez except that of victories and winning percentage.

Last year, the victory column for pitchers didn’t factor very much in Cy Young voting. AL winner Zack Greinke of the Royals was 16-8. In the National League, the Giants’ Tim Lincecum was 15-7, compiling the fewest victories of any starting pitcher in a complete season that won the Cy Young Award. Think of it. The baseball writers honored two pitchers whose combined number of victories equaled the amount of games Denny McLain won all by himself in 1968.

Say this for Greinke and Lincecum: they at least had winning percentages well over .600. Hernandez is at .524, Sabathia .760. For all his brilliance, the basic tenant of the game has not been satisfied often enough when Hernandez pitches. Despite Tuesday night’s loss, Sabathia’s chances for a second Cy Young Award remain pretty strong. His stats may not be as glowing as Hernandez’s, but they are very good.

I also believe that if some pitcher had been a 20-game winner last year the Cy Young Award voting might have been different. Sabathia, Hernandez and the Tigers’ Justin Verlander all won 19 in the AL, the same total that topped the NL by the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright. A 20-game winner still has stature. If CC doesn’t get there (he has at least four more starts left), he would not deserve the award anyway.

Mixed bag for Yanks


There were mixed reviews for the Yankees in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Angel Stadium, a 3-1 National League victory.

Joe Girardi became the first American League manager to lose an All-Star Game since the Indians’ Mike Hargrove 14 years ago at Philadelphia. If you don’t think 1996 was a long time ago, consider that only six players on the rosters that year are still active – three from each league – Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez and Ivan Rodriguez from the AL and Chipper Jones, Mark Grudzielanek and Jason Kendall from the NL.

Girardi did a good job getting players into the game. All the position players except for A-Rod did time. Girardi left himself short in the ninth, however, and did not have anyone to pinch run for David Ortiz after he opened the inning with a single. A-Rod was available, but Girardi said he needed him either to pinch run for hamstring-aching Adrian Beltre if he reached base or to be the designated hitter had the game gone into extras.

Beltre did not reach base and struck out. Blue Jays catcher John Buck dumped a flare to right in front of the Cubs’ Marlon Byrd, but he fired a blazer to Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal covering second to force the plodding Ortiz and essentially kill the rally. So Alex Rodriguez never got to swing the bat.

Phil Hughes was hung with the losing decision, the first Yankees pitcher to lose an All-Star Game since Tommy John in 1980 at Dodger Stadium. Hughes came on in the seventh and got the first out before yielding singles to Reds third baseman Scott Rolen and Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday. Rolen’s reputation for savvy base running was evident as he challenged Angels center fielder Torii Hunter and got to third.

Girardi pulled Hughes at that point for White Sox lefthander Matt Thornton, who got righty-swinging Chris Young of the Diamondbacks on a foul pop. Byrd worked out a walk in an eight-pitch at-bat to fill the bases before lefty-swinging catcher Brian McCann cleared them with a double, which earned him the game’s Most Valuable Player Award.

A wild throw in the fifth inning by Dodgers pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo had given Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano the opportunity to drive in what proved to be the only AL run with a sacrifice fly. A base-running blunder by Twins catcher Joe Mauer, thrown out at third base trying to advance on a grounder to Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, spoiled the AL’s chance for another run that inning.

Derek Jeter reached base twice in his three at-bats with a walk and a single. Pettitte pitched the third and looked sharp striking out the Dodgers’ Andre Ethier and the Brewers’ Corey Hart before Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina reached the lefthander for a single. Pettitte ended the inning by retiring Ramirez on a fielder’s choice. Nick Swisher batted as a pinch hitter in the seventh and struck out on a nasty curveball by the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright. CC Sabathia was not eligible for duty because he pitched Sunday.