Results tagged ‘ Albert Pujols ’

Home Run Derby prediction and other ASG Monday odds and ends

If home-field advantage for this year’s World Series was determined by the winner of tonight’s Home Run Derby, then I’d have to say the National League should be feeling good.

Because I’d like for you to read more than two sentences of this entry, I’m not ready to pick my individual winner for tonight’s event.  But if you were simply looking at it from an NL vs. AL perspective, this would be a mismatch.

In fact, I’d probably take Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder against most any other Major League foursome.  Thrown up against Carlos Pena, Brandon Inge, Joe Mauer and Nelson Cruz and it’s apparent why the NL should plan to at least carry bragging rights into tomorrow night’s game.

My prediction is that Pujols, Fielder, Howard and Pena will advance to the semifinals.  Pujols will edge a fatigued Fielder in the finals.

If you haven’t caught today’s story about Brian McCann, check out some of the praise the Braves catcher got from other NL All-Stars.

Here are some interesting quotes from today’s media session:

Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino on last week’s  Jeff Francoeur-for-Ryan Church swap between the Braves and Mets:

“It kind of caught me by surprise. I’m not saying that I hadn’t heard that the Braves might be trying to move Francoeur.  But to do it between the Braves and the Mets just caught me off guard. But you know what, I think they’re both good players and sometimes a change of scenery can help a guy.  It happened last year with us, with (Brad) Lidge.  A change of scenery and one year later he’s perfect.  So I think sometimes things like that happen for a reason.”

Mets third baseman on how Francoeur might fare in New York:

He came up and played so well that the expectations were placed so
high.  He’ll help us immediately defensively with as much ground as he
can cover and with his throwing arm.  With that spacious outfield,
that’s going to help us immediately. If he can back to that form from a
few years ago, you’re talking about an All-Star-caliber player year in
and year out.

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira about how the New York scene might affect Francoeur:

I don’t know exactly what’s inside his head, but hopefully this is kind
of a new beginning for him and he can just let his talent play through.

If you’re losing and you’re playing bad, it doesn’t matter where you
are. Whether you’re in the American League, National League, New York
or wherever, you’re not going to be happy.  But if you’re playing well
and your team is winning, there’s no better place in the world to play
than New York.

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, when asked if his skipper was pretty excited about having the chance to direct the NL team tommorow:

He’s played it pretty low-key so far.  He hasn’t danced yet.  He hasn’t stripped naked yet.  I’m hoping he doesn’t do that.

Owings is no Pujols

Before today’s game an unnamed Braves player was asked to provide a scouting report on Red starter Micah Owings.  In response, he simply replied, “he can hit.” 

Well the big right-hander from Gainesville, Ga. has done more than just hit when he’s faced the Braves.  In his two previous starts against them entering this afternoon,  he had gone 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA.  

Owings’ finest effort against his hometown team occurred on Aug. 18, 2007, when he allowed three runs in seven innings and tallied six RBIs during a four-hit performance that was highlighted with two home runs.  <p>

In the 79 at-bats he’s compiled since putting on that one-man show at Turner Field,  he has hit .342 with two homers and a .544 slugging percentage.  But in the 30 subsequent starts that he’s made, he’s gone 8-13 with a 5.22 ERA.  

Proving that Jo-Jo Reyes isn’t alone, Owings has gone 0-9 with an 8.54 ERA in the 14 appearances  (10 starts) that  he’s made since last winning on May 25, 2008. 

If the Braves can prolong Owings miseries and miraculously notch their fifth win during this once-forgettable nine-game road trip, they’ll head back to Atlanta with optimism and the hope that Albert Pujols opts not to accompany the Cardinals for this week’s three-game series at Turner Field. 

In 49 career games against the Braves, Pujols has hit .372 with a 1.211 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage).  More impressive is the fact that in his past 30 games against them, he’s hit .419 with 13 homers and a 1.458 OPS. 

“He’s more dangerous than Bonds was,” Chipper Jones said. “Pujols hits the ball all over the field.  He hits strikes. He hits balls. It doesn’t matter.  He’ll go out of the strike zone to hurt you.”      

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