Results tagged ‘ Cristian Guzman ’

Victorino Makes His Case

victorino 0708.jpgShane Victorino has been knocking on doors (literally) and kissing babies (not literally) since he became one of five Final Vote candidates for the final roster spot on the National League all-star team.

Fans can vote at MLB.com until 4 p.m. Thursday.

Here is my bold prediction: Cristian Guzman will not win.

The race is between Victorino and Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval. They apparently have exchanged leads a couple times the past few days.

UPDATE (11:30 a.m.): Victorino leads Sandoval with a little more than four hours to go.

But Victorino made a strong case for himself with a game winning hit in the ninth inning tonight against the Reds.

“Is this meant to happen?” Victorino said.

We’ll find out Thursday. But even if he loses to Sandoval, he has a good chance at making the team.

Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran will not play in the All-Star Game because of an injury. If Beltran had earned a roster spot via the player vote, Manuel would have had to take the next highest finisher on the player ballot to replace him. But because fans elected Beltran as a starter, a MLB spokesman said Wednesday that Manuel does not have to pick from the player ballots to find a replacement. That would improve Victorino’s chances.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Victorino Is In Second Place In Final Vote


victorino 060307.jpgThis is a surprise.

Shane Victorino is trailing San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the National League’s Final Vote for the final NL All-Star roster spot. Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds and Washington’s Cristian Guzman trail Sandoval and Victorino.

I said last night that I thought it would be a two-horse race between Victorino and Kemp because Reynolds and Guzman won’t have the fan support and because Sandoval might not have enough name recognition outside the NL West.

So, naturally, Sandoval leads.

Fans can vote until 4 p.m. ET Thursday at MLB.com. Updates are expected daily.

*

Raul Ibanez went 0-for-2 with a walk and run scored in a rehab appearance for Double-A Reading. He made only one play in left field, but came out of the day OK. Reading hits the road tomorrow, which means Ibanez could continue his rehab assignment tomorrow with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

*

The Phillies have optioned left-hander Jack Taschner to Lehigh Valley.

The Phillies designated him for assignment Friday. They explored opportunities for him to pitch elsewhere in the Majors, but once they could not find one they optioned him instead. The Phillies could have outrighted him to the Minors, but because he has more than three years of service time that would have meant taking him off the 40-man roster. If they had done that, Taschner could have declared for free agency.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Your Phillies All-Stars Are …



howard 0609.jpgChase Utley
and Raul Ibanez officially have been named starters for the National League All-Star team.

This is Utley’s fourth consecutive All-Star appearance.

This is Ibanez’s first.

Still waiting on the reserves.

Update: Ryan Howard has been named a reserve. Charlie Manuel is bringing four first basemen to St. Louis: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez and Howard.

Shane Victorino has been named to the Final Vote ballot, which means he can make the NL All-Star team.

His challengers are Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman, Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds, Giants first baseman Pablo Sandoval and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.

In my opinion, it’s a two-man race between Victorino and Kemp. I just don’t see the fan support there for Guzman, Reynolds or Sandoval.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

It's A Big Series, But It's June

mets slide.jpgIt’s June.

No matter what happens this week between the Phillies and Mets at Citi Field, just remember it’s only June.

The Phillies could sweep the Mets to take a six-game lead in the National League East, but it does not guarantee anything.

If the Phillies can overcome a seven-game deficit with 17 games to play in 2007, the Mets certainly can overcome a six-game deficit with more than 100 games to play. And if the Mets sweep the Phillies, it doesn’t mean the Phillies are in big trouble. The sky is not falling. It just means the Phillies played a bad series against a division rival in June.

You get the idea.

That is not to say the Phillies won’t be looking pretty good or feeling pretty good if they take 2 of 3 from the Mets this week. They will. And they should. It always feels good to win a series against a division rival, especially when that division rival is the Mets. But knowing the players in the clubhouse, they won’t be getting too high or too low this week. A lot can happen in 100 games.

Or just 17.

*

Being a manager is more than just making out lineups and making pitching changes. It’s managing 25 different personalities in the clubhouse.

Charlie Manuel has had a knack for handling those personalities over the years. Why do I say this? Because you very rarely hear a player gripe about Manuel in the clubhouse. I heard that frequently during Larry Bowa‘s final two seasons. I hear it coming from other clubhouses, too. But Manuel seems to have the right touch. When to sit a player. When to stick with a player. That stuff plays up big in a clubhouse, where manager, coaches and teammates are together seven-plus weeks in Spring Training and over the course of a six-month season.

*

It is easy to make a case for Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley to be National League All-Star starters.

Ibanez leads NL outfielders in home runs (19), RBIs (54), runs (46), hits (72) and slugging percentage (.676). He ranks fourth in hitting (.329), fifth in doubles (15) and seventh in on-base percentage (.386). Utley leads NL second basemen in runs (39), home runs (12), walks (37), on-base percentage (.438) and slugging percentage (.548). He is third in RBis (38), fourth in hitting (.296), and fifth in hits (55) and doubles (11).

But Jimmy Rollins, the NL’s leading vote getter at shortstop, is another matter. He ranks 12th out of 12 qualifying players in hitting (.222) and on-base percentage (.261) and 10th in slugging percentage (.322). He ranks second from the top in runs (34), third in doubles (13), sixth in hits (53), eighth in home runs (3) and ninth in RBIs (18).

What is interesting is that Rollins is getting some of his best fan support during one of his worst first-halves. He hasn’t been to the All-Star Game since 2005. Edgar Renteria, David Eckstein and Jose Reyes went in 2006. Reyes and J.J. Hardy went in 2007. Hanley Ramirez, Cristian Guzman and Miguel Tejada went in 2008. Rollins could have gone in 2006 and 2007 (he had no shot last season after suffering an ankle injury in April), but never went. Now in a season he is struggling, he might get to start. Go figure.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 277 other followers