Results tagged ‘ Prince Fielder ’
After hearing the news yesterday that Prince Fielder signed a monumental deal with the Detroit Tigers, I was conflicted as to my response.
On one hand, I have always been a huge fan of Fielder, who I rank as probably my favorite non-Twins baseball player.
I have always enjoyed his violent and powerful (yet just somehow controlled) swing that produces such massive power…
As well as his youthful exuberance for playing the game…
At the same time, though, I dread the thought of him facing Twins pitching more than six games per year (now MUCH more). He’ll have no trouble jacking them out of Target Field on multiple occasions, I’m afraid.
In the new “Era of the Pitcher”, how fitting was it that this contest was dominated by one big bomb (from Prince Fielder) and suffocating hurling from the NL mound studs. The AL fared okay, but without their big horses to match up, the NL just had too much firepower coming from that mound.
On the Twins front, Michael Cuddyer saw one pitch…and flied out to shallow right field. He also played two innings at first base. Not all that spectacular, but I’m sure a thrill for him nonetheless.
I always look forward to the Midsummer Classic each year, and this one (despite a lackluster AL performance) didn’t disappoint.
On to the second half!
For this year’s Home Run Derby in Arizona, my head tells me not to bet against Jose Bautista…
AL Squad: Jose Bautista, David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, Robinson Cano
NL Squad: Matt Holliday, Prince Fielder, Matt Kemp, Rickie Weeks
For tonight’s Home Run Derby, I’ll make my “official prediction” that another Brewer (following last year’s champ Prince Fielder) will take home the trophy: this time being Corey Hart.
Of course, it is impossible to predict these things, so we are just as likely to see Hanley Ramirez run away with the thing! Although, it would be fun to see Big Papi get in a groove…!
(I was out of town for the A.S. Game, thus am just commenting on things now…)
For whatever reason (probably because of the rich history of the event), I am an MLB All-Star game junkie. I started watching the Midsummer Classic in 1997, the same year the American League began their current winning streak, and have been hooked ever since. I mean, how can a baseball fan NOT be excited about the biggest gather of current stars in the same place, as well as the fact that the actual game means more than any other professional sports’ All-Star games (almost put together). I am also in the minority (at least I think) of people who LOVE the fact that the game determines which league gets home field advantage in the World Series…I would never want to go back to those by-and-large boring contests of the 1990s, where the Home Run Derby and pregame ceremonies far eclipsed the game itself. Thus, this year was no less exciting for me.
First, there were the always-touching pregame ceremonies…
Old-time St. Louis Cardinals such as Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Red Schoendist, Bob Gibson, and Stan Musial (picture above) were honored before the ceremonial first pitch. As a self-proclaimed “baseball historian”, I always find it exciting to see those stars of yesteryear and remember their past greatness on the diamond. It was also quite interesting to see how the metaphorical St. Louis baseball torch is being passed from Stan The Man to Albert Pujols. Stan owned St. Louis since his retirement, and only Pujols has been able to carry that mantra since.
The network then made a big deal about the ceremonial first pitch, as it was thrown out by some guy you probably have heard of…
Let’s just say that maybe he should stick to hoops (although at least he didn’t bounce it too badly!).
The game then began with the two horses (Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum) taking their respective mounds for either league…
Right out of the gate, the National League looked like a circuit that has had its hind end handed to it for a while now, as some fielding jitters allowed the AL to take an early 2-0 lead.
In the second inning, though, the NL came storming back…
Yadier Molina singled to score David Wright and Shane Victorino, and was quickly driven home himself when Prince Fielder hit a ground-rule double, giving the Senior Circuit a 3-2 lead.
For the next few innings, the contest was dominated by pitching. Only a Joe Mauer double in the fifth, preceded by a Derek Jeter fielder’s choice, finally tied the contest at 3-3…
Arguably the biggest play of the night, though, came in the seventh inning, when pinch hitter Brad Hawpe sent a towering fly to left-center off the first pitch he saw from Jonathon Papelbon. Carl Crawford drew a bead on the missile, though, and timed a perfect leap to rob Hawpe of four bases…
Then, right away in the next half-inning, Curtis Granderson tripled off of NL reliever Heath Bell, and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Adam Jones, giving the AL a lead it would not relinquish (not with Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera next out of the pen). Granderson took home MVP honors for his triple and run-scored…
So once again, the 2009 version of the MLB All-Star game was another exciting experience. The game was well-contested and full of tension, while (selfishly) the AL extended its winning streak and will now have home turf come late October. Plus, Joe Mauer (1-3, double), Joe Nathan (1 scoreless inning), and Justin Morneau (two hard-hit outs) had good showings in the game.
-Relief pitcher Kevin Mulvey is up, third-string catcher Jose Morales is down, as the Twins want a 12-man pitching staff going forward.
-Late breaking news: Alexi Casilla may still be a bonehead; letting a ball skip right past him on one occasion last night and then failing to cover the base on another. Let’s just chock it up to “I want to impress Gardy” nerves and keep our fingers tightly crossed.
Preview (46-44, 3rd, 0.5 GB CWS): Scott Baker (7-7, 5.42) vs. Scott Feldman (8-2, 3.83). One big key for the Twins in the second half is to have Baker and Liriano pitch better than they did in the first 81. That starts tonight.
Though a bit lacking in the “big single round” performance that we have seen in recent years (Josh Hamilton last year being the best example), this iteration of the annual appetizer to the Midsummer Classic, the Home Run Derby, was still fun to watch. Of course, I was pulling for Joe Mauer, and (though not making it out of the first round), he gave a decent showing. Had he just been able to crank a few more out in that “bat-off” he could have really put the pressure on Albert Pujols. Oh well…Joe will continue his quest for the AL batting crown, while Pujols will go back to the NL and chase the Triple Crown.
My pick to win the thing, Carlos Pena, didn’t make it out of the first round. Yep, that turned out well.
All in all, though, Prince Fielder did put on the best show of the night, as he bombed countless baseballs into the St. Louis night, at least two of which I remember seeing traveled 500+ feet. He is the absolute antithesis of Joe Mauer. While Joe has that sweet swing that hitting coaches dream of, Fielder gets in the box and swings with all his might all the time. What makes it work, though, is that he has enough bat control (the guy must have wrists made of iron) to get away with that approach. Of course, having this guy as your dad can’t hurt…
(I doubt Big Cecil was a vegetarian!)
Preview (All-Star Game): Roy Halladay (10-3, 2.85) will take the hill for the AL to open the game, followed by Tim Lincecum (10-2, 2.33) in the Senior Circuit. I would expect to see Dan Haren and Johan Santana to follow Lincecum, while the AL has more options (Josh Beckett, Zack Grienke, Mark Buerhle, Felix Hernandez) after Doc.
Although I will be root root rooting for the AL to win the game, I just have a feeling that the NL is finally going to break through this year. I never like to underestimate Ichiro in an All-Star game, but I would be suprised if Albert Pujols DOESN’T do something spectacular at the plate or be involved in some form of late-inning heroics.
The Twins killed the White Sox today. Denard Span, Brendan Harris, and Carlos Gomez all homered, and Mark Buehrle was finally brought to justice. A good win to close out the unofficial “first half” of the 2009 regular season. Yet, while watching Sportscenter tonight, it was brought to my attention that this is the sixth straight season that the Twins have finished above the .500 mark at the All-Star Break. Though none of those clubs ever made it out of the first round of the playoffs, that is still quite an achievement nonetheless, and one that should be appreciated. I remember watching Twins baseball back in the late 1990s and wondering if the team would ever get back to this sort of excitement:
Of course, once the Twins DID become competitive again, yet never reached a World Series, we are now all spoiled because they don’t do it every single season:
Sure, the Twins may not win the division this year, but we will (barring a complete collapse) be one of only a handfull of teams with real playoff aspirations come September. Just think about being a fan of the Royals, who are all but mathimatically eliminated each All-Star break, or the number of other teams mired in the bottoms of their respective divisions. At least our Twins have something exciting to play for.
Preview: Tomorrow night is the annual Home Run Derby, including these participants…
American League: Joe Mauer, Nelson Cruz, Brandon Inge, Carlos Pena
National League: Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder
Though the NL seems to have the stacked field in this competition, I’m going to go with Pena to win the whole thing. Mauer is my guy, and Pujols is the home-town boy, but that swing of Pena is just made to blast home runs.
Try as he might, the Big Vegetarian was not able to power the Brewers past the Twins today…though he certainly tried, by launching an absolute bomb off Scott Baker in the sixth inning. Have the Twins played a series against Milwaukee since Prince joined the team where he HASN’T hit at least one home run?!
It was a decent win for the Twins this afternoon, but one that could have been improved upon mightily. On the offensive side, there are still way too many runners being left on base. The Twins got four across the plate in the first six innings today, but that total could have been much higher. It was nice to see Denard Span back in the leadoff spot, as I think he may have the best batting eye on the entire team (Joe Mauer included).
Pitching-wise, Baker was brilliant for five innings, then (as so often happens with him) gave up a few big bombs in the sixth. Really, Baker’s inability to pitch deep into games is the biggest factor in his never moving into that “next level” as an ace-type pitcher. Either he throws too many pitches and wears himself out, or he cruises along and then absolutely hits a wall in the middle innings.
All things considered, though, it was nice to take two of three from the Brew Crew on the road. Losing the sweep (especially in the fashion it happened) was heartbreaking, but for a team that just tries to avoid getting swept when batting first, it’s okay.
-I don’t care what people say, Miller Park’s Sausage Races are one of the funnier pre-game activities in all of baseball. Nothing the Twins do even comes close to that. Maybe next year I’ll have to get back to one of these “rivalry” games, as I have an Aunt who lives right down in the area. I suppose next year, though, the buzz will be for Brewers fans to cross the border and see Target Field. However, going the other way at least one will be guaranteed a baseball game, something you won’t be able to say here in Minny.
Preview (37-37, 2nd, 5.0 GB DET): Glen Perkins (2-4, 5.10) vs. Adam Wainwright (8-4, 3.58)