Sunday, July 3, 2011

Two Seattle Mariners picked for the all-star game; no Ichiro first time of career

By Kshell

The Seattle Mariners for the first time since 2003 will be sending two pitchers to the All-Star game. The Mariners for the first time since 1983(LHP Matt Young) will have no hitters in the all-star game. The Mariners will be sending 2010 Cy Young award winning pitcher Felix Hernandez and closer Brandon League to Phoenix, Arizona for the all-star game. For Mariners fans at the start of the year Hernandez making the all-star team comes to no surprise but for League this is a huge surprise. Then after League blew up one week and was in danger of losing his job it was a huge surprise. League since that blow up has converted 13 consecutive saves and has exceeded expectations so far. The Mariners could be adding some more all-stars due to injuries and pitchers pitching on sunday not being eligible. When those players are selected I'll talk about them. For now the Mariners will be sending two pitchers to the game which is fitting since the pitching has been carrying them all season long.

The Mariners will be sending two pitchers to the all-star game including staff ace Felix Hernandez. Hernandez isn't having a typical Hernandez season but he is still pitching pretty well. Hernandez despite winning the Cy Young last year was snubbed from the game so maybe this was a make up call. Hernandez on the year is 8-7 with a 3.35 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. He has 124 strikeouts in 129 innings so far. Hernandez is currently fourth in innings pitched and third in strikeouts. Hernandez has been a horse for the Mariners this season averaging over seven innings a start for the Mariners. Hernandez has had an up and down first half but is still one of the games best pitchers. I don't mind Hernandez being selected to the all-star game he's paid his dues and sadly in baseball that matters quite a bit. Hernandez made it over pitchers more deserving but same thing happened to him last year so this was a make up call.

The other all-star selection for the Mariners is closer Brandon League. For Jack Zduriencik he has to feel vindicated by League making the all-star team as he was criticized for trading former top five draft pick Brandon Morrow for League. League last year had an average year and many sports personalities loved to rag on him. Although League in the second half didn't pitch that bad. With League making the all-star game despite his one poor week shows how much confidence he has in himself to bounce back. On the year League has 22 saves in 25 opportunities(88.0%) with an ERA of 3.38 and a WHIP of 1.04. He has thrown 34.2 innings with 23 strikeouts on the season. League is anchoring a bullpen that is a big reason why the Mariners are contending for the playoffs. The Mariners play so many close games that the pitching of the bullpen has been critical to the teams success. League is a reason why you shouldn't judge a trade until a few years down the road.

In conclusion, today was a bittersweet day for me. I was happy to see Hernandez and League make the all-star team. I was sad to see Ichiro's 10 consecutive all-star game streak snapped. Ichiro doesn't deserve it but still sad to see such a great streak end. I was also disappointed to see Michael Pineda and David Pauley not make the team. In my opinion those two of Pineda and Pauley are more deserving than Hernandez and League. Hernandez pitches the Sunday before the all-star game so he won't be eligible to pitch in the all-star game so hopefully Pineda takes his spot. It was good to see the Mariners have two pitchers make it as they have carried the Mariners all season long. The all-star game in Arizona should be fun and hopefully the Mariners will be adding another arm to the team. At the end of the day though I'm glad the Mariners will be having two all-stars in uniform at the all-star game this year.

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