06.14.06

Ratto Rubs Crystal Balls, Predicts AL All-Stars

Posted in Baseball at 2:10 pm by

Sneering at Will Carroll’s claim that Rich Harden might undergo Tommy John surgery, while paying homage to Oakland’s 9-2 record in June, the SF Chronicle’s Ray Ratto concludes…that Barry Zito and Huston Street aren’t making the AL All-Star team.

The problem in this case is that the AL, whether you go on reputation or current production, has more worthy pitching candidates than either Zito (above) or Street, even with the bloated roster size. I mean, you’d think with 30 players on each side, it would be easy to get nearly anyone, whether it be Rafael Betancourt or Yuniesky Betancourt, onto the team.

But you’d be wrong, and proof follows.

Boston has Curt Schilling and Jonathan Papelbon as locks. The Yankees, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera. Tampa Bay has Scott Kazmir (quick, name another deserving Devil Ray), and Toronto has Roy Halladay and B.J. Ryan. Chicago will get Jose Contreras, Bobby Jenks and one other (manager’s prerogative, you know), Detroit gets Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers and maybe even Joel Zumaya (just for the pure gut-locking heat), and Minnesota gets Johan Santana and Joe Nathan. The Angels sneak Scot Shields on, and that makes 15, even before you allow for the Irving Thalberg selections like Randy Johnson or the surprises like Texas’ Akinori Otsuka and Baltimore’s Chris Ray.

By contrast, Street was hurt for part of the year, and Zito’s numbers are OK but not eye-watering. Doesn’t make them bad people or anything, but even with these Costco-sized rosters, some folks just get odd-man-outed.

Now the All-Star Game is not really an accurate measure of a team’s strength or shortcoming, or even a particularly useful one. The fan vote gives you notions like Varitek instead of Mauer, the managers tend to take care of their own, and every team still gets a representative, even the Kansas City Royals.

In fact, because you have time to kill before the ferry arrives, try to find a Royal who should go to the All-Star Game. Elmer Dessens? Mark Grudzielanek? Reggie Sanders? Manager Buddy Bell? The stylized specter of Lou Piniella?

But we digress, and you don’t get a digression quite as digressive as Elmer Dessens at the All-Star Game. The point is, the A’s are getting back into position the hard way, which I suppose one day we all will come to understand is their real M.O., rather than that Moneyball thing.

And if they’re really lucky, maybe a meteor will land on Joe Blanton and they can start printing those playoff tickets.

7 innings pitched, no runs allowed for the Angels’ Jered Weaver in last night’s 4-1 win over Kansas City, as Weavie Stonder II’s record improved to 4-0. There’s talk of sending the rookie sensation back to Salt Lake when Bartolo Colon (above) comes off the DL later week ; El Barto allowed 6 runs over 7 turgid innings pitching to Fresno on Monday.

George Foster tells the Dayton Daily News’ Ron Jackson that Junior should move to first base to save wear and tear on his knees, and is reluctant to do so because “he’s out to prove something; that he can win another Gold Glove in center.”

I look forward to WLW’s Tracy Jones dismissing Foster’s comments as the rantings of someone who has never played the game.

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