Sunday, July 14, 2013

Colon, Iwamura, and Freeman out of the ASG, Balfour, Holland, and McCann Named Replacements.

Aussie Grant Balfour is one of three more players just recently added to the AL and NL All-Star Team rosters.

No sooner than I finish my last post to go to the Taste of Park Ridge (think Taste of Chicago Lite, but with Mrs. A's Cupcakes), and it is announced that three more replacements were named because of injury or because of that nasty "Sunday Starting Pitcher" rule that says that any pitcher who starts on Sunday is now off the active All-Star Roster, even though they will get all the honors, bonuses, benefits, and recognition that comes with it (and there's nothing wrong with that...they've earned it). So buckle up, grab your All-Star binder (do it...) and follow along. You can't get the cards without a card number, right?

Bartolo Colon pitched 6.1 innings, allowing two runs, in a game against the Red Sox that went into extras (the A's won 3-2 in 11). Because he started the game, he is not going to be able to pitch at the ASG. So in his place, AL manager Jim Leyland has tabbed teammate Grant Balfour to take his spot on the roster (depending on who you believe, Colon was added to the team as the lone A's representative because Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz was on the DL). So Balfour, who many believe was one of the biggest snubs for this year's ASG, is now going to New York. Balfour, orignally from Sydney, Australia, has converted 41 straight save opportunities, dating back to last year. He has 25 of them heading into the break, including one from today's game against Boston, along with a 1.63 ERA in 38.2 innings of work.

Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma started and earned the win against the Los Angeles Angels, pitching 7 innings of 3-run, 7-hit ball as the Mariners won 4-3 over their division rivals. Like everyone else, the Tokyo native will be flying to New York with teammate Felix Hernandez. But he won't be on the active team. Taking his spot is Royals closer Greg Holland. In his first season as the Royals' closer, Holland ends the first half of the 2013 campaign with 22 saves, a 1.80 ERA and a whopping 60 strikeouts in 35 innings of work. With fellow Royals Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon, this will be the first time since 2003 that KC sends more than one player to the ASG and the first time since 1988 that three Royals players are named All-Stars.

Freddie Freeman just won the election of a lifetime, beating out some phenom out of LA to earn the Final Man vote. But a thumb injury on Saturday dashed his chances on playing at Citi Field. Because he was a first-time All-Star, his manager, Fredi Gonzalez, told him to go to New York and have a good time anyway. He won't be alone. Because along with lights out closer Craig Kimbrell, catcher Brian McCann was named as Freeman's replacement on the team. It will be McCann's seventh ASG appearance, having hit .291 with 12 home runs, 32 RBIs and a .910 OPS since opening the season on the DL and not making his season debut until mid-May.

Now for more important information, the card numbers. Balfour is card #616 in the 2013 Topps set, and #OAK11 in the retail set. Greg Holland (not to be confused with Derek Holland of the Rangers) is not in the regular set, but should be making an appearance or two in the Update Series. However, Holland can be found in the retail set under card #KCR14. McCann is card #116 in the 2013 eponymous set, and #ATL6 in the retail set.

In the final game heading into the break, All-Stars Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals squared off against Travis Wood of the Cubs. While Wainwright asked his manager to shuffle the rotation so he pitches on Sunday, Wood was making his regularly scheduled start. Both guys are now off the active roster. And while I did hear who was taking over for Wainwright, I have yet to hear who takes over for Wood. Stay tuned.


JayBee Anama

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