Since July 6th, 1933, except for the war-shortened season of 1945, Major League Baseball has held an All-Star Game in July. This year’s game will be held on Tuesday, July 13th, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The Home Run Derby will be held the night before.
The Tampa Bay Rays will be strongly represented in the All-Star Game by four players. The most recent of them, closer Rafael Soriano, was added late to the American League roster. The Yankees famous closer, Mariano Rivera opted out of the game. He has a sore side and a bad knee, and therefore chose to give his body a rest. It would have been Rivera’s eleventh All-Star Game.
The Rays acquired Soriano from the Atlanta Braves this past December. He has saved 23 of 24 chances, and boasts a 1.65 ERA. He has struck out 29 batters and issued 7 walks in 32 2/3 innings. He’s got the talent and deserves to be in the All-Star Game.
In addition to Soriano, the Rays will send another pitcher, David Price, to the game. Price throws smoke and has been having a great season. In Wednesday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox, he threw high heat to gain another 10 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings, with just one walk. He now has 12 wins this season to lead the American League. Price has 100 strikeouts in 115 1/3 innings with a 2.42 ERA. Look for Price to start the All-Star Game for the American League.
The fans also selected Rays left fielder Carl Crawford for the 2010 MLB All-Star Game. Crawford is showing much better patience at the plate this season but continues to steal bases. The veteran Rays outfielder has a .318 batting average, eight home runs, 29 stolen bases, 20 doubles, and 6 triples through Wednesday night.
The National League better get ready, because if Crawford obtains first base, he will likely steal second.
All-Star number four, third baseman Evan Longoria, will also represent The Rays in the All-Star Game. He was recently suffering a long ball dry spell, as he hadn’t hit one since June 15th. But last night, he crunched a 442-foot solo home run off Boston’s knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in the fourth inning to put the Rays on the board 1-0.
Coming into tonight’s game against Cleveland, Longoria is hitting .324 with 13 home runs and 61 RBIs on the season. He has 96 hits with 26 doubles, and 3 triples. In the 2008 All-Star Game, he got a double to drive in a run. It would be nice to see Longoria go long in this year’s game.
The Rays swept Boston in three games at Tropicana Field and have four more games against the Cleveland Indians before the All-Star break. The Rays are 51-33 for the season and in second place, two games behind the Yankees in the American League East.
Since the annual All-Star Game is on the West Coast this year, East Coast fans better warn the boss they will be in late to work next Wednesday. Have the grill fired up and the beer and wine chilled for a great game between the American and National League All-Stars.