Results tagged ‘ Red Sox ’
In the wake of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon on Monday, MLB teams showed their support for the city of Boston by playing “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. The song is a staple at Fenway Park and is sung by Red Sox fans before the bottom of the 8th inning. The song was played at home games by the Braves, Marlins, Reds, Cubs, Twins, Dodgers, Indians (who were playing the Red Sox), and even their biggest rival, the Yankees. Here is the video of “Sweet Caroline” being played at the end of the 3rd inning at Yankee Stadium.
Here’s the Target Field version:
Down in Miami at Marlins Park:
All the way on the other coast at Dodger Stadium:
And at O.co Coliseum in Oakland:
Turner Field in Atlanta where the Braves went on to hit three homers in the bottom of the 8th:
The Brewers showed their support by playing another famous Boston song, the theme from “Cheers”. That can be heard at the 1:40 mark of this video.
You have to love the support that Boston is getting from across the country. It’s the little things like this that add up to big things. It really is “so good, so good, so good.”
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
A ton happened in the American League East this offseason, the Blue Jays traded for and signed everybody under the sun, the Yankees can’t stay healthy, the Red Sox have a new manager, the Rays said goodbye to James Shields and hello to Wil Myers, and well the Orioles, they didn’t do much. Who will win possibly the most unpredictable division in the Majors? Let’s take a look!
Projected Order of Finish: Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles
Why the Rays could win the A.L. East: Let’s start off with defending Cy Young winner David Price anchoring a young and talented starting rotation. James Shields may be gone, but there is still plenty of firepower with maturing Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Alex Cobb, and Jeff Niemann. Not to mention Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi waiting in the wings. The bullpen is the best in the division with Fernando Rodney coming off the lowest ERA in the history of the league, plus excellent setup men in Joel Peralta and Jake McGee. We’re still waiting on the superstar break out season from Evan Longoria. If it happens in 2013, the Rays are in great shape. I’ve also now gone this entire paragraph without mentioning Joe Maddon, who is the best manager in the game today.
Why the Rays wouldn’t win the the A.L. East: The young rotation guys aren’t quite ready. Evan Longoria spends more than half the season on the disabled list like in 2012. Fernando Rodney reverts back to the Fernando Rodney before 2012 and doesn’t carry over the “magic plantain” powers from the World Baseball Classic. Desmond Jennings still isn’t ready to take the next step. Yunel Escobar gets himself in trouble. The Blue Jays really are that good.
Why the Blue Jays could win the A.L. East: The talent the Jays assembled is the best that they’ve had since their 1993 World Series championship team. The starting rotation is talented and experienced with Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey, the spectacular, but oft-injured Josh Johnson, the bulldog Mark Buerhle, and “awesome when his stuff is on” Brandon Morrow. It’s not just the rotation that’s revamped though. Jose Reyes now sits atop an explosive lineup with two-time home run champion Jose Bautista and WBC teammate Edwin Encarnacion, who hit 42 home runs last season. The Jays also added Melky Cabrera, who was leading the National League in batting average, before he was suspended for fifty games.
Why the Blue Jays wouldn’t win the A.L. East: It’s not very often the team built to succeed immediately actually succeeds. Just ask the Angels and the Marlins last year. The bullpen still has a ton of question marks. Is Casey Janssen ready to be a big-time closer on a winning team? Is Sergio Santos completely healthy? Can Darren Oliver keep it up at 42 years-old? The Blue Jays better hope the answer is yes to two of three of those. Edwin Encarnacion could have had a fluke season instead of a breakout one. Plus, can Colby Rasmus and Adam Lind keep their heads on straight and hit the way they were supposed to as highly touted prospects?
Why the Red Sox could win the A.L. East: First off, maybe they really just disliked Bobby Valentine so much that they went into tanking mode to ensure he was gone. John Farrell will provide an upgrade in the dugout and in the clubhouse. Jon Lester looks ready to return to form after a terrible 2012. The lineup is solid enough, especially when David Ortiz is healthy. Shane Victorino provides enough of a clubhouse presence and more importantly, enough of a bat, to keep Boston in contention. Jackie Bradley is everything Red Sox fans think he really is.
Why the Red Sox wouldn’t win the A.L. East: The heels of David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury get the Sox off on the “wrong foot”. Jonny Gomes is primarily involved defensively. The starters after Jon Lester (and even Jon Lester if he’s in 2012 form) aren’t top-notch. Ryan Dempster needs to be the first half of 2012, not the second half. Clay Buchholz has fallen apart after showing so much promise in 2010. John Lackey is John Lackey. The bullpen is revamped with closer-quality pitchers in Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey, and Koji Uehara, but they all need to stay healthy.
Why the Yankees could win the A.L. East: They’re the Yankees and you can never count them out. They rally around Mariano Rivera, who’s retiring at the end of the season, to get him one more chance in the playoffs. The injuries that they’ve experienced in Spring Training aren’t as bad as originally thought for Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Phil Hughes, and Alex Rodriguez and they can provide enough, especially in the 2nd half. The pitching keeps it together (minus Hughes) with experience at the top (CC Sabathia, Huroki Kuroda, and Andy Pettitte) and youth at the bottom (Ivan Nova and David Phelps). The bullpen with a returning Rivera, David Robertson, and a fully-healthy Joba Chamberlain could be the best in the division. Robinson Cano plays completely out of his mind for a contract and is the clear-cut AL MVP.
Why the Yankees wouldn’t win the A.L. East: The injury bug is just too much. The names “Vernon Wells”, “Juan Rivera”, “Lyle Overbay” and “Travis Hafner” are predominantly involved in the lineup after the All-Star break. They stick to their payroll to stay under the luxury tax and it prevents them from going after what they need at the trade deadline.
Why the Orioles could win the A.L. East: Winning one-run games (MLB best 29-9 in 2012) was actually skill and not luck. The bullpen of Darren O’ Day, Pedro Strop, and Jim Johnson doesn’t wear down in a bullpen than threw the 4th most innings in MLB last season. Buck Showalter continues to work his magic in Charm City and wins A.L. Manager of the Year. Baltimore calls up Dylan Bundy and he immediately becomes a lights-out staff ace. Manny Machado excels in his first full year in the Majors, while Adam Jones continues his path to super-stardom evolving into a near 30-30 player.
Why the Orioles wouldn’t win the A.L. East: The statistics guys are right and the Orioles regress to the mean in one-run games. The starting pitching doesn’t hold up like it did last year. Seriously though, this is the worst rotation on paper in the division. With the lineups in the A.L. East it might be tough for them to keep afloat.
Evan Longoria and David Price-Rays
Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista-Blue Jays
Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia-Red Sox
David Price and Fernando Rodney-Rays
CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera-Yankees
Jon Lester-Red Sox
R.A. Dickey and Brandon Morrow-Blue Jays
Rookie of the Year
Wil Myers and Chris Archer-Rays
Jackie Bradley and Jose Iglesias-Red Sox
Who do you think takes the crown in the A.L. East? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Imagine my poor blood pressure this morning when I woke up to a headline like THIS today.
Something like what Derek Jeter is alluding to would be disastrous if it actually came to fruition. I’m no Yankee fan by any measure, but I truly respect Jeter and have looked up to him since I was a little kid. And I just can’t imagine him wearing anything besides the pinstripes.
None of that Joe Montana-to-the-Chiefs, desperate-to-keep-playing, end of the career crap from Jeter, please.
Sure, the unthinkable has been done before – Ken Griffey, Jr. moved to Cincinnati from Seattle even though he looked like a super hero in the silver and teal. Heck, we had one happen this past off-season when Albert Pujols jumped ship to Anaheim, despite looking so damn good in Cardinal red.
But the super fan in me would like to keep that kind of olé B.S. to a minimum. I don’t know what it is…the players themselves, the jersey/color combo of the teams they represent, or just the nostalgia of a childhood long-gone (okay, I’m not that old), but I identify Jeter and the rest of this list as players who I could never, ever see in a different jersey:
*Disclaimer: Mariano Rivera and Chipper Jones not included because they are guaranteed to stay a Yankee and Brave, respectively, for the remainder of their Hall of Fame careers*
1. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
Let’s start with the Captain himself. Jeter has played all 18 seasons as the shortstop of the Yankees, number two plastered on his back. Needless to say, Mr. November will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and the next great Yankee to have his number retired. There is no more iconic jersey in sports than those of the Yanks, and even imagining Jeter in an Angels, Cubs, Red Sox (god forbid) or any other jersey is painful.
I know he’s only been around a few years, but damn if Posey hasn’t made himself a celebrity in San Francisco at Usain Bolt-esque speed. There is no way the team will let this guy walk away as long as he’s physically able to play the game. It’s really hard to predict this early, but we could be seeing the next great “one-team” lifer in Posey, who should be representing that awful orange and black for another decade and a half.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – if Mariners GM Jack Zdurineck trades Felix, he should not only be fired, but tarred, feathered and forced to watch Jack and Jill on loop. Hernandez is the King of Seattle and it should stay that way forever. I dig the silver and teal uni’s up there in the Pacific Northwest, and Hernandez wears it best. Plus, he wants to stay a Seattle Mariner. I’m sure Brian Cashman has visions, but I just can’t see this guy in Yankee garb.
When I say Rockies, you say Helton! “ROCKIES!” “HELTON!” Thank you. But seriously, Helton is about as synonymous with Colorado baseball as macaroni is with cheese. He’s played all 16 years of his career manning first base at Coors Field, and will most definitely have his number retired there whenever he hangs up the spikes. Todd Helton in anything but purple would be straight criminal.
I know a few Cardinals fans who would actually sob uncontrollably if Yadi ever slips on another team’s jersey. And they should, because it would arguably be more devastating than the loss of Pujols to that devoted fan base. Whereas Pujols was the power and glam of the team, Molina is the heart, soul, lungs and kidney of the franchise. I know NL catchers have a short shelf life, but just trying to picture him as a Dodger or Phillie makes me want to elbow drop a baby penguin.
Last, but certainly not least, we have arguably the best all-around player in the National League. I don’t know what it is with him and that black and gold, but McCutchen just looks so right in a Pirates uniform. Maybe it’s the dreads, or the blindingly white smile, or the elegant physique over which the Pirates’ jersey falls. No matter, McCutchen can never go play for the Indians or Orioles or anyone else. He needs to be in Pittsburgh for life.
Honorable Mentions: Matt Kemp (Dodgers), Mike Trout (Angels), David Price (Rays)
Comment below if you think someone else should be considered for this list! And don’t forget to VOTE in the poll:
- Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
Last time I went to Fenway Park, I was almost late to the game because of crazy thunderstorms and ran right into the stadium and ended up getting a pulled pork sandwich inside the stadium, which we went over in a previous “Chowin’ Down”. I wasn’t going to miss a second chance at the steak tips just outside Fenway Park sold by the street vendors. I solicited help from steak tips connoisseur and ESPN “Baseball Tonight” host Steve Berthiaume on Twitter.
With that information I set off to the corner of Landsdowne St. passing by “Sausage Connection” and “All-American Sausage”. I needed to meet the “Sausage King”, but it wasn’t sausage I was looking for (though those looked amazing too) I wanted steak tips. $8.00 got me a sandwich topped with onions and peppers. The sandwich was cheaper than similar food inside Fenway. Steve, if you read this, the Sausage King says hi and can’t wait to see you again.
The steak tips were absolutely, mouth-wateringly, delicious. They are proof that the best ballpark food isn’t always IN the ballpark. I’m heading out to California next month to go to Oakland, Anaheim, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in that order. Any ballpark food recommendations?
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Myself and fellow 3U3D host Kurt Peter made the trek to Fenway Park for the “Battle of the Sox” between Chicago and Boston. It was Kurt’s first trip to “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark” and it certainly was memorable. 3UP player on our podcast from a few episodes ago, Jose Quintana, was masterful on the hill with 8 scoreless innings. Quintana was in line for the win up 1-0 heading to the final inning. Matt Thornton started the 9th and got himself into trouble. Manager Robin Ventura turned to closer Addison Reed with Cody Ross coming up with two on and one out. Our friend and Giants fan Ally Williams had told us to cheer hard for her former Giant World Series hero. Ross must have heard our cheers as he delivered this blast in the bottom of the 9th.
We celebrated with some steak tips on Landsdowne St. (more on that coming in a future “Chowin’ Down”) Just another great night in my favorite ballpark in the Majors.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
It’s time for another round of interleague play! These match-ups aren’t as exotic as the last “Weekend Watch” with interleague play involved, but it doesn’t mean that cross-divisional series aren’t as fun. Here’s what I’m looking forward to watching this weekend as I sneak the MLB At-Bat app on while tailgating at the Belmont Stakes.
6) Indians at Cardinals
Battle of the two 2nd place teams in the Central where both are trying to get back to the 1st place perch they had just recently. The injury bug continues to hit St. Louis as Jaime Garcia finds himself joining teammates Jon Jay, Skip Schumaker, and Lance Berkman on the disabled list. The Indians, on the other hand, seem to be the least talked about “good” team in the Majors. They keep plugging away without doing anything too special, they sit 8th in the AL in batting average and a dismal 2nd to last in ERA, but there they are at 30-26, just a game out of 1st place. Jason Kipnis has been great for Cleveland in his sophomore season leading the team in home runs (9) and stolen bases (14).
2D) Blue Jays and Braves
This is a series as a Braves fan that I wish I could go down to Turner Field and attend in person. Friday night, the Braves are retiring the great John Smoltz’s number (more on that in a blog tomorrow) and on Saturday is the greatest promotion the team has ever done, Sid Bream Slide Bobblehead Day! Seriously, this thing is awesome and are already being offered on eBay from $55-75. Both the Jays and Braves are playing in tightly contested races in their East divisions. As I type this the AL East is separated by just four games. The NL East is only a game and a half difference between 1st place and 4th place. Every team in those two divsions is .500 or better except for the Phillies, who saw that coming? No wonder why FOUR East interleague series make the “Weekend Watch” this week.
2C) Nationals at Red Sox
1st place vs. last place gets 3rd place here, that’s the average. Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez have been wunderkinds in the National League, but how will they do on the road against a quality offense in Boston. Gonzalez’s track record against the Sox while he was in Oakland was not very good as he has a 5.79 ERA over 28 innings in his career. Red Sox Kevin Youkilis also feasts on Gonzalez pitching going 6 for 11 in his career. I’m also intrigued to see Daisuke Matsuzaka’s return on Saturday to the Red Sox after recovering from Tommy John surgery. If he can give Boston anything after they had to send down Daniel Bard to AAA it’d be a great plus.
2B) Mets at Yankees
The Subway Series means something! The Yankees have been on fire winning 10 of their last 13 games going into Thursday night’s game with the Rays. The Mets are still reveling in the teams first no-hitter by Johan Santana last Friday night and he’ll start the opener against Huroki Kuroda. The no-hitter has been an extra spring in the step of Mets fans. I live in Connecticut, where you get a mixture of Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox fans. I’ve seen more Mets hats and jerseys in the past week than I had the entire season before Santana’s no-no. Wonder if some will actually try to infiltrate the Bronx this weekend. Derek Jeter thrives against his cross-town rivals hitting .385, the best batting average he has against any team he has 40 at-bats against.
2A) Rays at Marlins
The Battle for Florida means something! I don’t expect a lot of runs this weekend between these two as the pitching matchups are pretty solid and Marlins Park has played towards the pitcher so far. I really want to see if Matt Moore can continue his recent success as he has a 2.55 ERA over his last three starts compared to a 7.20 ERA his three starts before that. Maybe he can still salvage my AL Rookie of the Year pick. Mike Trout you say? Yeah, I’m doomed. James Shields vs. Anibal Sanchez on Sunday is an underrated pitchers special.
1) Rangers at Giants
Can’t be yelled at for East Coast bias if I put the Rangers and Giants in the top spot! Despite Tim Lincecum’s worst efforts the Giants are the hottest team in the National League winning 8 of their last 10 games. The Rangers have only won one game in each series against the Mariners, Angels, and Athletics coming into this series. Roy Oswalt can’t get up to the Majors fast enough it seems as Derek Holland now joins Neftali Feliz on the DL from the rotation. Alexi Ogando will come out of the bullpen to make the start in place of Holland. Even better is that this could be a potential World Series match-up down the road.
Mapes Fantasy Special
Another great week for the Mapes Fantasy Special. I’m now 10-2 since moving the Mapes Fantasy Special over to the Weekend Watch. I’ll slow clap for myself. Here are this weeks picks, remember these pitchers must be available in 50% or more of Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues.
6/8 Gavin Floyd (32% owned) vs. Astros, Floyd has been absolutely terrible lately, but if he can’t do it at home against the Astros I have no hope for him. I wish I could just quit you Gavin.
6/9 Scott Diamond (22% owned) vs. Cubs, Diamond has been a find in the rough for the Twins, sorry I couldn’t resist, he’s been stellar going 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. Even better are his 4 walks in 38.2 innings this season. Diamond faces the Cubs who have drawn the 4th least walks in the Majors this season, bodes well for him if they put in in play at Target Field.
6/10 Andy Pettitte (49% owned) vs. Mets, I have no explanation for what Pettitte is doing right now, so I’m just gonna enjoy the ride before he gets over 50% owned.
What are you looking forward to this weekend? Who do you like in fantasy? Tweet me using #MapesFantasySpecial
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Three Up, Three Down comes back this week to recap the big news in baseball. We hit the DL and also attack ‘Mapes Too Early Awards’. It also wouldn’t be a “Three Up, Three Down” without our 3U3D Fantasy segment, which continues to provide you with some very good picks. Sit down, grab your favorite beer, and take a listen to this week’s episode. Thanks for listening!!
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the podcast!
or use this link to download on iTunes
It’s been awhile since I posted a “Five Things I Think I Think” so let’s see what’s in this brain of mine.
1) Bryce Harper has gotten all the hype and it’s well-deserved, but I still want Mike Trout for this season. Trout has been better than Harper hitting .316 with 3 HR’s, 3 SB’s and a .931 OPS to Harper’s .233, 2 HR, 1 SB, and .742 OPS. I know it’s a small sample size, but it’s no coincidence. Harper gets the hype, but it’s Trout that is more ready.
2) Closer turnover has been more insane in 2012 than any season I can remember. Here’s the list of teams that have had some sort of closer turmoil this season Yankees (Mariano Rivera and David Robertson injuries), Rays (Kyle Farnsworth injury), Red Sox (Andrew Bailey injury, Mark Melancon terrible), Blue Jays (Sergio Santos injury, Coco Cordero terrible), White Sox (Hector Santiago terrible, Chris Sale uncertainty), Athletics (Grant Balfour terrible), Angels (Jordan Walden terrible), Nationals (Drew Storen and Brad Lidge injuries), Marlins (Heath Bell really terrible), Reds (Ryan Madson injury), Cubs (Carlos Marmol terrible), Dodgers (Javy Guerra terrible), Giants (Brian Wilson injury), and Padres (Huston Street injury). That’s FOURTEEN teams and if you factor in Frank Francisco on the Mets, our 3 DOWN fantasy player this week, that’s half the league that has had troubles in the closer role. Don’t peek, name the top five pitchers in saves in the American League on 5/15. Give up? Jim Johnson, Chris Perez, Fernando Rodney, Jonathan Broxton, and Brandon League. Those are the good closers? Oh my.
3) Carlos Ruiz deserves to make his 1st All-Star team. Chooch as he’s known to Phillies fans has put up his best statistical season so far and with Hunter Pence is seemingly the only thing keeping the Phillies offense afloat. He leads all MLB catchers in AVG, SLG, and OPS. It is going to be interesting which one or maybe even two NL catchers don’t make the trip to Kansas City out of Brian McCann, Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, and Ruiz. Good thing Tony LaRussa has all the time he wants to think about it.
4) By the time that Matt Kemp returns to the Dodgers lineup, their lead in the NL West will be cut by at least half. I can see the Giants going on a run and picking up at least three games on LA against Cardinals and Athletics at home and then the Brewers and Marlins on the road. While the Dodgers have the Padres and Diamondbacks on the road and Cardinals at home. That lineup without Kemp and Juan Rivera seems a lot easier to face.
5) Kevin Youkilis could be the new Wally Pipp. Pipp famously is known as taking a day off and being replaced by Lou Gehrig who went on to play 2,130 consecutive games. I don’t think it will go to that extent, but there is no way that the Red Sox can take Will Middlebrooks out of the lineup. Middlebrooks is hitting .300 with four home runs since getting called up to replace Youkilis when he went on DL. Now with Youkilis coming off the disabled list soon, what do they do? I think Youk is going to get a lot more off days than he was used to before.
What’s on your mind as we hit the 2nd half of May?
There undoubtedly other fun sporting events to watch this weekend like the NHL and NBA playoffs, plus the Kentucky Derby. However, here’s what I’m watching on the diamond this weekend.
5) Orioles at Red Sox
The battle between the team in 2nd place in the AL East and the team in the basement. Only it’s the reverse of what everyone thought it would be at the start of this season. Can the Orioles keep up the momentum? For Baltimore, is Jason Hammel for real? That trade with the Rockies for him is looking pretty shrewd right now as Hammel is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA and passed his first difficult test of the season against the Yankees. The Red Sox schedule is easing up, but after losing two straight against the Athletics, all hands need to be on deck in Beantown.
4) Blue Jays at Angels
I’ll really just be keeping an eye on this one to see if Albert Pujols is going to decide to hit a home run this season. The Jered Weaver no-hitter bump already seems to be gone as the Halos dropped the first game of this series on Thursday night.
3) Phillies at Nationals
I want to see if Bryce Harper can bring people to Nationals Park on the weekend. The Nats haven’t seen a bump in attendance in the first series with “The Chosen One” in the lineup. My leader in the NL Cy Young after April will be taking the hill on Friday night in Stephen Strasburg. If Washington can’t get 30,000 in the seats for that, I give up. Hamels vs. Zimmermann on Sunday Night Baseball will be a great duel.
2) Braves at Rockies
A little bit of a homer pick by me, but I always enjoy watching games in Colorado. I’m excited to watch Tim Hudson’s continued return, hopefully a 49 year-old Jamie Moyer vs. 40 year-old Chipper Jones matchup on Saturday, Carlos Gonzalez has been on fire lately.
1) Rangers at Indians
The only weekend matchup pitting two 1st place teams. There hasn’t been a lot the Rangers have done wrong so far this season with Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler mashing in the lineup and Yu Darvish and Colby Lewis cruising along in the rotation. The Indians have been a little bit of a surprise in the AL Central that was supposed to be controlled by the Tigers. The Indians started off hot last season before fading, did they learn from it in order to make a run in 2012? Winning this series against the two-time defending AL Champion Rangers would be a nice boost.
What are you looking forward this weekend in Major League Baseball?
We continue our series on All-Division teams with arguably the most stacked division. When you put together teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, and Orioles only good things can happen. Here’s how I see the AL East team shaking out.
The Starting Lineup:
1) Jacoby Ellsbury, Center Field, Red Sox
Curtis Granderson or Adam Jones probably could start in center field for most of the divisions in the league. In the AL East, they’re overshadowed by 2011 AL MVP runner-up. Ellsbury had his first 30-30 season and when coupled with his Gold Glove defense, he’s the easy choice.
Honorable Mention: Curtis Granderson, Yankees and Adam Jones, Orioles
2) Derek Jeter, Shortstop, Yankees
Jeter is getting up there in age, but no other shortstop in the AL East has come up to remotely his level. I’ve always thought that Jeter was more suited for the #2 hole than the lead-off spot he bats for New York. He can do all the little things like moving runners over and taking pitches to allow Ellsbury room to steal. Jeter still gets on base at a good rate to set up for an incredible middle of the order.
Honorable Mention: Yunel Escobar, Blue Jays
3) Adrian Gonzalez, First Base, Red Sox
Four straight All-star games, a silver slugger in 2011, and the only player that could get the AL 1st base Gold Glove away from Mark Teixeira. I still believe that Adrian Gonzalez is one of the more underrated players in the game. He led the AL in hits in his first season in Boston, while hitting an astounding .338. Gonzalez has said that his shoulder feels much better for this season and can now swing through the ball, potentially making him even more dangerous.
Honorable Mention: Mark Teixeira, Yankees
4) Jose Bautista, Right Field, Blue Jays
I threw around the idea of letting David Ortiz hit cleanup, but you just can’t go against the player that has led the Majors in home runs each of the last two seasons. Bautista has been quite the find for Toronto, seemingly coming out of nowhere to turn into the player that Blue Jay fans think is better than Santa Claus. With a slugging over .600 the past two years, Bautista is the right choice for the four hole.
Honorable Mention: Ben Zobrist, Rays and Nick Markakis, Orioles
5) Evan Longoria, Third Base, Rays
Longoria or A-Rod? A-Rod or Longoria? It was a tough decision, but I leaned towards the continued growth of Evan Longoria. The power is there as he hit 31 home runs in just 133 games in 2011, but the improved plate discipline has been helpful. Longoria also had a career-high 80 walks last season despite missing almost 30 games. That helped Longoria have a respectable OBP, despite hitting a career-worst .244.
Honorable Mention: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees and Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays
6) Robinson Cano, Second Base, Yankees
This was the toughest decision in the division. Having the top of the order set, I felt that Cano was better suited for the six hole than Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia probably has the better overall credentials with his MVP award and two Gold Gloves compared to Cano’s one. Cano has finished top six in MVP voting each of the last two years and is a .300 average with 25-30 home runs, 100 runs and 100 RBI’s in the bank.
Honorable Mention: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
7) David Ortiz, Designated Hitter, Red Sox
No offense to Edgar Martinez, but David Ortiz will go down as the best designated hitter in the history of the game. Even at age 36 he’s still cranking out .300 average seasons with almost 30 homers. There was no other choice for this spot, so let’s move on.
8) Matt Wieters, Catcher, Orioles
I did it! I got an Oriole in the All-AL East lineup! Wieters has finally developed into the offensive threat that Baltimore fans thought he would be when he was a highly touted prospect. Wieters had his first 20 home run season to go along with his first All-Star game nod and first Gold Glove in 2011.
Honorable Mention: J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays
9) Desmond Jennings, Left Field, Rays
A toss-up pick on which speedster to I want at the bottom of the lineup. I went Jennings over Brett Gardner for the greater power potential. Jennings hit 10 home runs in 247 at-bats last season, Gardner has 15 career home runs in 1390 AB’s. I think we’ve already seen Gardner reach his potential, while Jennings has some room to grow. I’ll believe in Carl Crawford again one day I’m sure.
Honorable Mention: Brett Gardner, Yankees and Carl Crawford, Red Sox
CC Sabathia, Yankees
Jon Lester, Red Sox
James Shields, Rays
David Price, Rays
Ricky Romero, Blue Jays
There’s not much to say about CC Sabathia. He’s an absolute workhorse with five straight seasons of at least 230 innings pitched. Jon Lester still doesn’t get as much love as he deserves after making two straight All-star appearances. Shields and Price are the best 1-2 combo in the division. Shields became “Big Game James” once again bouncing back from a terrible 2010 to lead the AL in complete games and shutouts. Ricky Romero gets the edge over Matt Moore for the #5 spot, for now.
Honorable Mention: Josh Beckett, Red Sox and Matt Moore, Rays
David Robertson, Yankees
Francisco Cordero, Blue Jays
Robertson was a revolution for the Yankees, becoming the 8th inning pitcher, the Yankees were looking for when they signed Rafael Soriano. Robertson was rewarded with his 1st All-star appearance. Cordero has been suited for the closer role during most of his career, but makes for a great setup option for the Jays.
Mariano Rivera, Yankees
What you thought I’d take someone different? I won’t go against the greatest closer of all-time even if he is 42 years old. Looking at the current closer situation in this division, no one touches the great Rivera.
Who would you have on your All-AL East team? Let us know in the comments!