Los Angeles’ baseball teams will be well represented in Major League Baseball’s upcoming All-Star Game as two Dodgers and four Angels will be attending the 83rd Mid-Summer Classic, which will be hosted by the Kansas City Royals this year and held at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO this coming Tuesday, July 10.
As it has been the case since 2002, the winner of this game will get home field advantage in the World Series for their league.
A look at the two Dodgers representing the National League and the four Angels representing the American League:
Matt Kemp, CF: .355 average, 12 home runs and 28 RBIs in only 36 games
It’s a telling sign of the Dodgers’ current woes at the plate and overall that Kemp, despite mising over half of the team’s games so far this season due to a bad hamstring, is still leading the Dodgers in home runs and batting average.
He was voted in by the fans as a starter for the National League, but will obviously have to miss the game; the Brewers’ Ryan Braun will likely take Kemp’s spot in the lineup. The good news – a consolation prize of sorts – is that he will lead the N.L. team in the Home Run Derbyon July 9.
And he is slated to return to the Dodgers’ lineup the first day after the All-Star break on July 13.
Clayton Kershaw, P: 6-4, 2.65 ERA, 112 strikeouts
The reigning Cy Young Award winner has been good-but-not-great this year to date, as he has been the victim of bad run support and an aching bottom of his foot that doesn’t affect his pitching (according to him) but limits his running ability.
All right, let’s check out the four members of L.A’s American League franchise who will be in Kansas City early next week:
Mike Trout, CF: .339 average, 9 home runs, 33 RBIs and 22 stolen bases
The rate that this 20-year old kid is going, if Trout keep his focus he will quickly become one of baseball’s elite players.
The only reason I don’t consider him among the MLB elite – yet – is because he hasn’t been in “The Show” nearly long enough. But this five-tool player will get there, barring any (God Forbid) unseen calamity.
Let me put this into perspective: when the voting started, this rookie wasn’t even on the ballot because he was in the minors at AAA Salt Lake when the season began. Since the Angels called Trout up on April 28, they have gone 37-21, which is the best record in baseball in that time span.
I think it’s safe to say that this kid, who can’t even drink alcohol legally until this October when he turns 21, will be the center fielder in Anaheim for the next ten years.
Mark Trumbo, OF: .308 average, 20 home runs and 55 RBIs
Along with Trout, this young guy has been pretty much carrying the Angels for the past several weeks, as the team abandoned their experiement with Trumbo at third base (which he was clearly NOT cut out for) and were rewarded with an offensive tear from him.
As a reward for leading the team in homers and ribbies, he will be part of the A.L. squad to go up against Matt Kemp and his N.L. counterparts in the Home Run Derby.
C.J. Wilson, P: 9-4, 2.33 ERA
This left hander from the Texas Rangers, who signed a big free agent deal this past December – which strangely enough didn’t gather as much attention as Alber Pujols’ signing – has performed as advertised so far this year with his ERA below 2 and a 1/2 and being tied for the team lead in wins with this guy…
Jered Weaver, P: 9-1, 2.13 ERA
Not even an injury suffered about a month ago, which caused him to miss a few starts, has stopped this ace who has been lights out more or less all year and has a no-hitter to his credit.
Weaver’s and Wilson’s exploits on the mound, combined with Trout and Trumbo, who definitely fit the Biblical quote, “And a young child shall lead them” (two young children in this case), will undoubtedly be a significant factor in the Angels’ dogfight with the Rangers in the American League West; just as I had predicted in April, that race will be a two-team brawl in the coming months.