All-Star week is here...
- Your nominal first half of the season is in the books, and we can look at some leaders. The division leaders are the Yankees, White Sox, and Rangers in the AL (with the Yankees now - not the Rangers - holding baseball's best record), and the Nationals, Pirates(!), and Dodgers in the NL. If the season ended today, the Angels and the Orioles would claim the AL's Wild Card berths, and the Reds and Braves (by a half game, which obviously couldn't happen) would take them in the NL. Andrew McCutchen leads baseball with a .362 average, and is second in OPS, behind only Joey Votto (1.087). Jose Bautista and Josh Hamilton share the home run lead (27), and Hamilton has already driven in 75, to lead baseball. Adam Dunn's 134 strikeouts lead baseball by 24. Jared Weaver and Ryan Dempster are at the top in ERA (1.96 and 1.99, respectively), though neither has topped 100 innings, thanks to injuries. R.A. Dickey's and Gio Gonzalez's 12 wins lead baseball, but nobody cares about that because W/L record is stupid. The Orioles' Jim Johnson leads baseball in saves with 27, despite not being an overpowering type - he's struck out just 22 in his 37.1 innings of work.
- Speaking of leaders at the break, Tim Lincecum is on top ... of the wrong side of the ERA leader board. Of the 101 pitchers who qualify, Lincecum's 6.42 ERA is the worst in baseball. It's a pretty amazing feat for someone who had otherwise been so very, very good.
- Once again, injuries were everywhere this weekend, with Yoenis Cespedes (thumb), Andrelton Simmons (broken pinkie), Brian Roberts (hip tear), Carl Crawford (aggravation during rehab), and Giancarlo Stanton (knee surgery) all getting bit. But the worst injury? Well, worst in the sense that it's not the way you want to hurt yourself: Hanley Ramirez cut his finger during a game because he punched a fan. Not the kind in the stands, but the kind that redirects air in the dugout. Oops.
- Ever notice how, each year, folks get all riled up about the 34th man vote for the All-Star teams, but then a ton of the candidates end up making the team anyway, thanks to injuries? Already, vote losers Jake Peavy, Michael Bourn, Chipper Jones, and Bryce Harper have made the team.
- Mark Teixeira says Vicente Padilla is a head-hunter, and Padilla has defended himself by saying: "In this sport, as competitive ball players, we get pretty fired up," Padilla said, according to NESN.com. "So I think, maybe, [Teixeira] picked the wrong profession. I think he'd be better off playing a women's sport." Maturity abounds.
- Al looks at some of the worst All-Star selections in history. And there have been some head-scratchers.