Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Baseball In The Daytime: 7-3-07

It's a goofy docket today, as the Brewers and Pirates get one in at 2:05 Mountain for some reason. Your starters are Chris Capuano (5-5, 4.35 ERA) and Shane Youman, making his season debut. After this four-game set with the Bucs, Milwaukee takes on the Nats in a weekend series, while Chicago faces the same teams in reverse order. With six and a half separating the two (and only three games left head-to-head) the NL Central may come down to each contender's performance against these dregs. Catch this contest on XM 188 and DTV 734.

Since there's no other day-game action to speak of, let's discuss the All-Star rosters for just a moment. By and large it's a decent group, no better or worse than past years. Orlando Cabrera got hosed, and Brian Fuentes should not be on the NL team, but otherwise it's fine.

I'm pretty interested in the mini-ballots to put an extra player on each club. All five spots from either league are filled by pitchers, which could mean one of two things. One is that one more arm may be the difference in a tight game, and the other may be that pitching is pretty damn good overall this season. Just looking at a fantasy perspective, this season is the only one in recent memory in which the scramble has been for bats. Most guys in my league are set with their pitching staffs and dying for some offense, and normally it's the exact opposite.

Anyway, the NL ballot includes five solid starters: Big Z, Roy Oswalt, Chris Young, Brandon Webb and Tom Gorzellany. On the AL side, you get Jeremy Bonderman, Pat Neshek, Roy Halladay, Hideki Okajima and Kelvim Escobar. Now whoever gets picked is going to function as a reliever, so I think Neshek and Okajima have an edge as the only two true bullpen guys. Among those two I'd take Neshek--he's a true righty stopper with his funky sidearm motion. Okajima, the lefty, has been tremendously effective against both righties and lefties but I'm a bit concerned about his workload...I say give him a few days off.

As far as the National Leaguers, it's a toss-up. I guess I'd go with Webb, if only because he throws that nasty sinker that can induce a double play should the situation call for it. But any of them would be respectable choices.

And who's going to win the game? The AL in the lock of all locks. The following fellows from the Senior Circuit couldn't get into the AL clubhouse with a press pass, and I'm not even including the mandatory reps from shitty teams: Brian McCann, Orlando Hudson, J.J. Hardy, Aaron Rowand, Trevor Hoffman, Jose Valverde and Fuentes.

By the way, I secured a ticket to the Triple-A All-Star Game in Albuquerque yesterday, so expect a bevy of dumb posts about minor leaguers in the next week. And have a happy Fourth!