Tagged: Albert Pujols

CC Is Your MVP!! Rays Represent at the All-Star Game! My ASG Recap…

Carlos Pena showed the country last night that we can hit the ball out of the park. 

Carl Crawford showed viewers that we can also bring the ball back in.

 

I was hoping.  I was hoping that CC’s 1-3 night and amazing game saving catch would be enough. 

It was.

Our own Carl Crawford took home the MVP trophy for tonight’s All-Star Game–the first Ray ever to do so.  It was an amazing feat that shows exactly how far this franchise has come the last few years. 

I was excited that tonight’s game was going to showcase 5 Rays and help get the nation more acquainted with our squad of hard workers.  Our guys helped to show the naysayers that this team has alot that will be said before this season is over, playing solid enough defense to lead the AL squad to a 4-3 victory over the NL.

It is no coincidence that fielding has been a hallmark of Joe Maddon’s teams the last few seasons, and to emphasize the point Crawford went blazonly at the fence after Rockie Brad Hawpe launched a long ball towards left center field.  CC did what CC does best–he took away a hit.

 

Only this time, the “hit” he stole was going to be a game-tying home run.

Hawpe hit it to the wrong side of the ballpark.

Crawford exhibited his typical humble personality in his postgame interview.  In fact, he seemed happier to have gotten an autographed baseball from our nation’s president than he did to be the winner of the MVP of the All-Star Game.  He told Chris Rose of FOX that it was his teammates, his Rays coaches, and manager Joe Maddon who helped him to be comfortable enough to go out there and play well. 

Lucky for the AL, he did play well.  In fact, the American League team that makes the World Series (ahem, the Rays) owes Carl a debt of gratitude for giving them home field advantage.

What a great night. 

Congrats to CC on being named the AL’s All-Star Game MVP. 

Congrats to the Rays on demonstrating the “Ray Way” of playing the game.

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ALL STAR RECAP

Overall I would say that the game was a success.  I enjoyed it MUCH more than the Home Run Derby the night before.  There was alot more drama and more excitement.

Plus, I would say the pitchers last night fared much better than the pitchers at the derby….

Here are some things I noticed about last night’s game:

 

PITCHING

Wow.  Somebody get out a stopwatch because those pitchers were trying for some kind of speed record out there.  They got the ball and threw, no hesitation.  Of course, it didn’t help that many of the hitters were swinging away at the first or second pitch. 

 

I felt especially bad for Raul Ibanez.  The guy gets his first All-Star Game nod and swings at the first pitch he ever seeing in an ASG and fouls out to third.  Ouch.  Not many good memories there.

 

FIELDING

Aside from CC’s amazing catch, I thought the fielding was adequate. 

The game was punctuated by great catches in the outfield, one for the AL (Crawford) and one for the NL (Jayson Werth’s snag in the 8th to stop an AL potential rally).

Albert Pujols booted one early in the game, but came back to make a few good plays after that. 

 

Jason Bartlett almost made an amazing play diving for a grounder up the middle. That would really have shown everybody how we play defense at the Trop.

(It was kind of cool in the 9th when Bartlett threw out an Upton–Justin Upton)

 

SUBSTITUTIONS

I know that does not sound exciting, but I felt like the managers were not making a big effort to get guys in during the game.  Especially the pitchers.  It seemed like Maddon and Manuel were managing to actually win the game.  That is great, but doesn’t that detract from the FUN aspect of the game?

 

People tune in to see their guys get in.  The Pirates are not going to have alot of success this season, but seeing Freddy Sanchez and Zach Duke get into the game is kind of neat.  Neither made it. 

I know that I was looking forward to seeing Ted Lilly throw an inning–or part of an inning.  Unfortunately, the only guy who got booed by the always hospitalbe fans of St. Louis did not make an appearance.

In all, the AL used 25 guys and the NL used 26.  That means 7-8 guys on each team made the trip to St. Louis, and that was all.  The fans who bought the All Star jerseys never got to see their favorite players wear them on the field. 

Of course, the job of a manager in a game such as this is tough.  But trying to add more significance to the game (home field advantage in the WS) might just be the thing that is taking away some of its sparkle.

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In all, I had a great time watching the game.  The Rays did well (they got the MVP of the game, duh) and the game moved quickly.  The competition was high and there was a level of fun involved. 

Now it will be time to get back to the business of real baseball.  Something that, I am sure, every player and fan has been itching for since Ben Zobrist caught the final All Star out.

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Home Run Derby Time! Who’s Gonna Win It? Your Thoughts…

 

Ok, so this is kind of a FLUFF post.  I’m going to be asking your opinion about tonight’s Home Run Derby.  I know, I know…

I am really looking forward to tonight’s Derby.  I think that most fans love this night because it ain’t just “chicks” who dig the long ball. 

And tonight will be full of plenty of ’em. 

While I don’t think we’ll see the spectacle that was Josh Hamilton knocking 28 home runs in the first round again, I think we will see some serious competition–taken with a grain of salt, of course.

I am quite jazzed about the whole thing because the guy who I thought could do a great job in the derby in the first place made it. 

Barely.

And he happens to be a Ray. 

Mr. Carlos Pena!

I’m hoping that Mr. Pena will provide the fans with something to cheer about and justify Maddon’s bringing him aboard.  He really should have a good chance.  His uppercut swing is tailor made for this kind of competition. 

The other guy I’ll be rooting hard for will be Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers.  I know that Jonestein over at Baseball, Apple Pie, and Lobster is just as thrilled about Cruz being involved in the Derby as I am.  His 22 home runs are not a fluke.

There are lots of big hitters participating tonight, so here is a quick rundown of their credentials so that you can get an idea of who you will be pulling for.

NL

Ryan Howard, Phillies      22 hrs

Albert Pujols, Cardinals    32 hrs

Adrian Gonzalez, Padres  24 hrs

Prince Fielder, Brewers    22 hrs

AL

Carlos Pena, Rays         24 hrs

Nelson Cruz, Rangers    22 hrs

Brandon Inge, Tigers     21 hrs

Joe Mauer, Twins          15 hrs

 

So there’s the lineup.

The Cowbell is pulling for a Pena/Cruz final with Carlos Pena representing the Rays well and winning the trophy.

Here’s the question:

Who do you think will be the final 2 in the Derby and who will win it all?

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Here is an updated list of your votes thus far. 

Ryan Howard, Phillies      1    

Albert Pujols, Cardinals    1   

Adrian Gonzalez, Padres  2  

Prince Fielder, Brewers    1

Carlos Pena, Rays             2

Nelson Cruz, Rangers        0

Brandon Inge, Tigers        0

Joe Mauer, Twins