All Star Game
After 15 innings and about 6 hours, the AL All Stars came out on top of the NL team last night in New York. Should the Cubs advance to the World Series, they will play no more than 3 at Wrigley.
I would again like to take a moment to comment on the ridiculousness of the value of the All Star Game. It's supposed to be fun. It doesn't have to have meaning. It's hard to say if it actually is a good representation of a match-up of the best against the best, if only because 1. The're all good and b) the object is more to get all your players into the game, rather than to keep your very best players around in order to ensure victory.
Therefore, I actually think that there should be an explicit No Extra Innings rule in the All Star Game. If a contest is tied after 9, the players should all trot off the field to their respected dugouts and the coaches should be given about 10 minutes to pick the 4 best homerun hitters who will then take alternate turns hacking away at 10 pitches in an impromptu homerun derby.
Fans love the homerun derbies. Imagine if one actually counted for something. Imagine a box score that reads NL 3 (14) AL 3 (11). That would be cool.
And a clarification:
To expand on one thing - while I'm saying that they could do something apart from having 15 inning All Star Games, I'm not saying that MLB should use the All Star Game to weigh home field advantage in the World Series. That needs to stop. It's ridiculous.
Instead, home field advantage needs to either alternate each year or go to the team with the best record.
The NL and AL teams play for homefield advantage in the World Series tonight, which remains a ridiculous rule. Side story - and you know your article is in trouble when you digress to a side story in the second sentence - when this whole All Star controversy started during the infamous tie game, I knew immediately then as I know now what Selig should have done.
If an All Star Game is tied and the pitching has been exhausted, the NL and AL teams should pick their four best hitters and they should settle it in an impromptu homerun derby. You know that would be cool.
But I digress. The Cubs will play a big part in determining who gets homefield advantage tonight as a full third of their squad will be at the game, although only a full quarter of their squad will actually be playing. Tonight's All Stars include Geovany Soto, Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Marmol, and the injured Alfonso Soriano and Kerry Wood. Pretty cool.
But how do the other Cubs hold up in a comparison? Not that I'm complaining, but shouldn't Derrek Lee have been more strongly considered? Or Mark DeRosa? What about Ryan Theriot? Jim Ed-nah, just kidding. Here are a few stats to keep you happy as you wonder if the Cubs have the guns to win it all in the second half:
Derrek Lee - leads the NL in hits by first basemen, 2nd in doubles with 26 (behind Lance Berkman), tied for 3rd with 3 triples, 9th with 15 homers, 5th with 56 RBI, 3rd with 5 steals, 3rd with a .306 AVG (behind Pujols and Berkman), 6th with a .372 OBP, 3rd with a .880 OPS.
Mark DeRosa - 4th with 87 hits, tied for 10th with 15 doubles, 4th with 11 homers, 4th with 50 RBI, 1st in walks with 43, 5th with a .283 AVG, 2nd with a .377 OBP, 3rd with a .830 OPS.
Ryan Theriot - 4th with 111 hits, 11th with 12 doubles, 10th with 25 RBI, 4th with 15 steals, 1st with a .320 AVG, 1st with a .394 OBP, 6th with a .763 OPS.
A few other figures that interest me:
The Cubs have 3 pitchers who are in the top 10 in the NL in wins in Zambrano, Dempster, and Lilly. Not counting Harden, in the category of ERA, 2 out of the 11 best NL pitchers are Cubs - Zambrano and Dempster. Harden would make it 3 out of 12.
As a team, the Cubs lead the NL with 507 runs scored, 26 more than the second place Phillies. They're 2nd in the NL in doubles with 191, they're 5th in the NL with 107 homers, they lead the NL with a .281 AVG, they lead with a .360 OBP, they have a team OPS of .802 - making them 3rd in the majors behind only Texas and Boston - and they lead all of baseball with 384 walks.
Memo to Dusty Baker - walks=wins.
We'll have more content for you later, but it's very, very hard to not love this team.
As the All Star Game nears, Alfonso Soriano is becoming a topic of controversy and conversation. Naturally, he wants to play - even if it might make him appear a little selfish, at the end of the day it's very human of him to want to be there. However, he appears unlikely to return to the Cubs until the series after the break - assuming he doesn't do a rehab stint first - and the Cubs may be interested in protecting him from the unnecessary risk of injury, thereby denying him a place in the All Star Game.
While I think it's pretty cool that the Cubs have so many players at the game, it isn't entirely necessary that they all play. I for one would much rather see Soriano wait and come back healthy.
Besides, the objective of the All Star Game is to win homefield advantage for the World Series. Considering that his timing will be off even if he's healthy enough to play, I'd rather Alfonso not take a bat out of the hands of the NL All Stars.
Regardless, the man heals fast, doesn't he?