Tuesday, July 14, 2009
All-Star Game: July 14
1 a.m. ET
From ESPN Research's Mark Simon:
Notable late-game triples in All-Star Game history
2009 -- Curtis Granderson triples over Justin Upton's head, then scores winning run as AL edges NL.
2006 -- Michael Young hits go-ahead triple against Trevor Hoffman in ninth inning as AL rallies from 2-1 deficit to win.
2002 -- Omar Vizquel hits game-tying, eighth inning triple. Game ends in a tie.
1987 -- Tim Raines hits two-run triple in the 13th inning to give NL lead, snap scoreless tie.
1978 -- Steve Garvey leads off eighth inning with triple. NL scores four runs to snap 3-3 tie to win 7-3.
1959 -- Willie Mays hits go-ahead triple in eighth inning vs. Whitey Ford as NL beats AL 5-4.
10:54 p.m. ET
• Last Oriole to drive in a run in an All-Star Game before Adam Jones put the AL ahead: Miguel Tejada in 2005.
10:41 p.m. ET
• The NL now has gone 16 straight hitters without a hit. They started the game with five straight outs, then got four hits in succession, then made 16 outs in a row. Tough way to win an All-Star Game for the first time since the Clinton administration.
10:31 p.m. ET
• Last players before Yadier Molina with RBIs in their home park: Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones in 2000, in Atlanta.
9:57 p.m. ET
• Prince Fielder's last pinch-hit RBI in the regular season: April 19, 2006 -- a double off Mike Gallo in Houston.
9:44 p.m. ET
• Roy Halladay has appeared in four All-Star Games -- and been scored on in three of them. His career All-Star ERA: 9.00 (6 IP, 6 ER).
9:35 p.m. ET
• Big Island alert: Shane Victorino was the first Hawaiian in history to get a hit in an All-Star Game.
9:22 p.m. ET
• Last time the NL rallied for three runs or more to take a lead: a five-run fifth inning in 2003 -- against Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Eddie Guardado.
9:16 p.m. ET
• Roy Halladay whiffed in his audition for all those NL teams trying to trade for him. Just so you know, the last AL pitcher who actually made contact at the plate was Freddy Garcia in 2002. Last before that: David Wells in 1998. Last with a hit: Charles Nagy in 1992.
9:09 p.m. ET
• Tim Lincecum in the regular season: two first-inning runs in 18 starts.
Tim Lincecum in this All-Star Game: two first-inning runs in, well, one start.
9:04 p.m. ET
• Ichiro's hit to lead off the game made him 8-for-22 (.363) lifetime in his eight All-Star Games. According to Elias, he's one of three players in history (with at least 15 All-Star ABs) who have a .320 average or better in both the All-Star Game and the regular season. The others are Wade Boggs and Charlie Gehringer. In a half-inning, when Albert Pujols gets his 15th lifetime All-Star at-bat, you can add a fourth name to that list.
• Last time any team scored two or more in the top of the first: 2004 -- when the AL got six in the first against another Cy Young winner, a fellow named Roger Clemens.
8:28 p.m. ET
Ed. note: We couldn't help ourselves, so the live blog is, well, alive again.
Nothing like an All-Star Game to get the Useless Information Department alive and cranking. So here we go
• Roy Halladay was attempting to do something in this All-Star Game that he hadn't done for more than a month -- i.e., win a game.
Halladay's last regular-season win was June 7 -- which was 37 days ago. The Elias Sports Bureau reports he's the first pitcher to start an All-Star Game after going a month or longer without a win since Billy Pierce did it way, way, way back in 1955. Pierce had been winless for exactly one month.
• One more on Halladay: 210 decisions into his career, he has a .671 winning percentage (141-69). Elias reports that the last pitcher to start an All-Star Game with a better winning percentage than Halladay and that many decisions was (surprise) Juan Marichal in 1967 (142-86, .686).
• Not one of the top 10 active home run hitters can be found on either of these All-Star teams. And the Sultan of Swat Stats, SABR's David Vincent, reports that this is only the second time in All-Star Game history that's happened. The other was 1992.
The active top 10 back then: Dave Winfield, Eddie Murray, Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy, Carlton Fisk, Jack Clark, Gary Carter, Lance Parrish, George Brett and Darryl Strawberry.
• At 37 years and 42 days old, Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez is the second-oldest first-time All-Star starter in history. So who was first on that list? A fellow named Babe Ruth, according to Elias. Ruth was 38 years, 150 days old when he started the first All-Star Game ever, in 1933.
• Certain All-Star trends make no sense. Here's one of them: The National League headed into this Obama-fest undefeated in All-Star history (4-0) when a president or former president has thrown out the first pitch. OK, so obviously, it's been a while, but here are the four years in question: 1962 (John F. Kennedy), 1970 (Richard M. Nixon), 1976 (Gerald Ford) and 1978 (retired president Ford).
7:25 p.m. ET
Detroit third baseman Brandon Inge was the quintessential good sport after failing to go deep once in Monday's Home Run Derby.
"I'm going to ask them to stop that announcer who keeps saying how many outs you've made,'' Inge said. "I kept looking up at him and saying, 'Shut up! I've got it already!'''
Inge received a text message Tuesday from Kansas City reliever and former Detroit teammate Kyle Farnsworth, who told him, "Great Home Run Derby, buddy,'' while congratulating him on making the All-Star team.
"I was hoping to get razzed about it,'' Inge said. "I deserved it.''
7:04 p.m. ET
St. Louis closer Ryan Franklin is attracting a lot of attention for his numbers this season. He's 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA, and opponents are batting .169 against him. He's reinvented himself in the bullpen and found new life under pitching coach Dave Duncan.
Franklin also stands out for the enormous tuft of hair hanging from his chin. But he figures he's due for a trim very soon.
"It's starting to get in the way,'' Franklin said. "It's so long now, it keeps getting in my eyes when I'm trying to sleep.''
6:55 p.m. ET
Texas third baseman Michael Young, who has a track record for late All-Star Game heroics, was added to the starting lineup Tuesday when Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria had to be scratched with an infected finger.
Young was especially excited over the opportunity to meet President Barack Obama, who is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Busch Stadium. Young voted for Obama in the 2008 election and traveled to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration in January.
"It was wild,'' Young said. "It was so much fun. It's going to be a huge thrill. When I found out I was coming to St. Louis, this was one of the things I was really looking forward to.''
6:35 p.m. ET
• AL manager Joe Maddon said he planned to hold back his two most versatile position players -- Ben Zobrist and Chone Figgins -- because they play so many different positions and would give him more maneuverability late in the game.
• Maddon said that three pitchers -- Tim Wakefield, Josh Beckett and Justin Verlander -- probably wouldn't pitch unless the game went extra innings. In Wakefield's case, Maddon conceded it was a difficult decision to tell a 42-year-old first-time All-Star he might not pitch. "It's all about, this game does matter," Maddon said. "And he's the perfect guy, if this game would go extra innings, to carry us a long way."
• Maddon said that Mariano Rivera would be the closer if his team had a save situation because "that's the right thing to do."
• Maddon hasn't ruled out the possibility that Brandon Inge could wind up catching in this game if things get crazy enough. And Maddon said he actually called Inge last weekend to see if that was OK. "I called him Saturday and asked the question, if the opportunity should arise, in an emergency, could he do that? And he said that was fine."
6:28 p.m. ET
OK, so the All-Star Game counts? It's important, right? Home-field advantage and all? Serious, everybody serious? Well, there are still signs, big and small, that this is nothing more than an exhibition.
An unwritten rule, one of the most rigidly observed, is that the day's starting pitcher never speaks with the media before the game. Yet, there was Tim Lincecum, lounging by his locker about three hours before first pitch, holding court. The NL starter in tonight's 80th All-Star Game didn't mind chatting at all, discussing everything from his delivery, to pitch selection to, of course, his hair. He would never do that before a "real" start.
As for what in the world is going on with his hair, he offered this:
"I'm too lazy to cut it right now," he said. "And I have no clue what I would do with it if I did cut it."
5:37 p.m. ET
Derek Jeter famously offered advice to President George W. Bush before the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.
"I told him he had to throw from the mound, that he couldn't move up closer," Jeter recalled this week in St. Louis. "And I told him not to bounce it because he'd definitely get booed. He threw a strike."
Since Jeter is good at offering advice, what should President Barack Obama keep in mind as he heads to the hill tonight at Busch Stadium to toss the ceremonial first pitch before the 80th All-Star Game?
"To President Obama
I tell him, 'Don't hurt yourself,'" Jeter said. "Yeah, that it's -- 'Please just don't hurt yourself.'"
Obama has said he plans to loosen up before his pitch.
-- Nick Pietruszkiewicz
5:10 p.m. ET
David Wright, for one, is tired of the National League losing in the All-Star Game. The NL has not won since 1996, when it posted a 6-0 win over the AL at now-gone Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.
"I don't think the AL is that much more dominant than the NL," Wright said. "They just have a knack for making something at the right time more than we do. I don't even know what the streak is at, but I know it's double digits, and we'd like to end that."
The live blog will keep you updated until the first pitch at 8 p.m. ET, then we'll hand off to the All-Star Game chat.
-- Nick Pietruszkiewicz, baseball editor