Sunday, July 8, 2012
What You Need To Know For the All-Star Break
Well, after a great 6-0 win on Sunday Afternoon, the Angels take a ton of momentum heading into the All-Star Break. Four Angels will be making the trip to Kansas City this weekend: Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson (though Wilson be sitting out the game to heal from a blister, he will still be in KC for the festivities). So, what does any of this mean for an Angels fan? What do you have to watch? Well, lets take a look at where our Angels will figure in to the Mid-Summer Classic.
Mark Trumbo - Likely one of the favorites heading into the Monday's Home Run Derby, anyone who has gotten to a game a couple hours early knows what kind of show this slugger can put on in batting practice, and a glorified batting practice would be the perfect way to describe the Home Run Derby. He could be the first Angel's HRD Champion since Garret Anderson in 2003. It's unclear how A.L. manager Ron Washington will plug Trumbo into the game on Tuesday, but Trumbo can play any of the corners, infield and outfield. Considering his flair for the dramatic, he could even figure into the vote for All-Star Game MVP should the A.L. win (last Angel to do that: Also Garret Anderson in 2003).
Mike Trout - Likely to come in as a replacement around the same time as Trumbo, he could also factor into the MVP voting, and would likely come in as an Outfield replacement or a pinch runner. At 20 years old, many think the Rookie is lucky to just be in the game, but the youngster is starting to let the rest of the country know he is well on his way to becoming the best all-around player in the American League.
Jered Weaver - At 10-1, with a minuscule 1.96 ERA (He leads the AL in Win Percentage, ERA and WHIP), he SHOULD be starting his second consecutive All-Star Game for the American League, but Ron Washington opted to go with the more popular Justin Verlander instead. Also having a good year (though not as good as his 2011 Cy Young winning season), I think its fair that they trade off starting the All-Star game so long as they also trade off winning the Cy Young Award. No one has been as dominant (save for one bad outing against Texas) as Jered has been this season.
C.J. Wilson - If C.J. is your favorite Angel, you are going to need to tune into the game early, because once is name is announced, he will be taking up a nice warm seat on the dugout bench. As I pointed out earlier, Wilson is going to use the All-Star break to nurse a blister on his throwing hand. Jake Peavy will be taking his spot on the roster, but Wilson will still be in Kansas City for all the hoopla and festivities.
Non-Angels to Watch:
Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves - Probably the best story this week. Chipper Jones has announced he will be retiring at season's end after 20 hall-of-fame years in the league (all with Atlanta). Along with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, Jones is among the last of the 1990's Superstars that I grew up watching and adoring. Perhaps the best switch-hitter in history, Jones has a career .304 batting average and 8 All-Star Game appearances. He won't be in the starting nine for the National League, but coming off the bench, it would be a great All-Star sendoff to see Chipper win an All-Star Game MVP award.
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies - Angels fans may want to catch a glimpse of the Phillies All-Star, because he figures to be available in the next week or so as the trade deadline approaches. It's been rumored that the Angels are incredibly interested in added yet another arm to their enormous staff of good starting pitching (Though Dan Haren and Ervin Santana haven't looked great this year, they both have the potential to be Ace's on just about any staff in baseball), especially with recent injuries to Wilson, Haren and Jerome Williams.
Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays - Yeah, I've had my fair share of crappy things to say about the former Halo, but Rodney is having a fantastic season in Tampa Bay stepping in as the full-time closer. I'm actually kind of glad Thug Life found a new home and has thrived (similarly to how I'm happy for Jeff Mathis and his six home runs as a Blue Jay). If nothing else, as a closer, Rodney figures to be an important piece for the A.L. at the end of the game, especially if it's close.
Half of the Texas Rangers (Mike Napoli, Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Joe Nathan, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler) - This is just plain stupid. Ridiculous even. They only have the 2nd best record in baseball (behind New York by half a game), yet they still managed to dominate 8 of the 30 spots on the All-Star roster. Half of the problem: limited national exposure to every other American League team that doesn't play in Boston or New York. The other Half: Ron Washington. This is why I don't like the Manager getting so much say in who makes it and who doesn't. But, far be it from me to complain when the Angels got 4 All-Stars (even though you could make strong cases for Frieri and Downs). I hope the public lashes back at all this Texas support like they have lashed back at the aforementioned New York and Boston.
Official Angels Nation Predictions:
Home Run Derby Champion: Mark Trumbo (duh.)
All-Star Game: 6-5, American League
ASG MVP: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles