Francona, AL get away with one in All-Star Game

Yes, the AL got lucky last night. 

No, I don’t mean with their 4-3 win… That was well-deserved.  However as Buck and McCarver talked about incessantly up until the end of the game, Francona breathed a sigh of relief when Michael Young drove Justin Morneau home on a sac fly in the bottom of the 15th.  As it was, he had already brought in Scott Kazmir, who was on his “Do Not Pitch List”, for one inning.  He didn’t relish the idea of bringing him for much longer. 

Maybe we haven’t learned anything from the 2002 All-Star game.  That was the year Bud Selig declared the game a tie after both teams ran out of players and relievers.  After Francona’s starter, Cliff Lee went two frames, none of the American League pitchers pitched more than one inning until George Sherrill who came in the 12th.  To be fair, no one thought this game would go 15 innings.  That said, perhaps we should start playing the All-Star game as a game to be won (I don’t buy into the whole idea that now that we’re playing for home field advantage, the game counts… it’s a game and it’s played to be won).

I don’t let NL Manager Clint Hurdle off easy either.  Why did he take out Brandon Webb, who pitched the 14th inning, after just one inning?  As visitor team and with a tie game, surely he knew that even in the best scenario, Lidge would have to pitch at least two innings for an National League win.  I would have left Webb in for just one more inning.

One more thought on the whole matter, if a manager is going to pick a pitcher for a game, even an All-Star Game, make sure he’s a pitcher who he is comfortable putting in the game.  Webb and Kazmir are most deserving of a All-Star nod but if they are taking up a spot on roster, the managers should be able to put them in with a minimum of mini-dramas described to us in full details by Buck/McCarver.  Less is better, guys.

Other comments on the Game:

Despite the long game, I thought it was exciting.  Kudos to the AL for their victory and the NL gave them an excellent fight. 

Fine job by the Cub pitchers.  Zambrano, Dempster and Marmol in four combined innings allowed just one hit and no runs with six strikeouts.

I appreciated the good defensive efforts on the NL’s part in the (I believe) 10th and 11th innings in dire base situations.  Three outs in five plate appearances were made at home plate.  Nice job, Russ Martin! 

I gotta feel for Dan Uggla.  Here’s a guy who’s had an awesome first half and he gets to his first All-Star Game and pretty much stinks up the place.  Oh for 4, 3 K’s and 3 errors (two in one inning).  Then Buckarver is telling me a heartbreaking story about his Dad too.

See you in St Louis, AL!

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