|Haren, Peavy get starting nods for All-Star game|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 09 July 2007 07:30|
The Athletics' ace was picked by AL manager Jim Leyland on Monday to oppose San Diego's Jake Peavy, who will start for Tony La Russa's National League squad in Tuesday night's game.
San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds will bat second for the NL squad instead of his usual place in the cleanup spot in the lineup. Bonds hasn't started a game in the No. 2 hole since 1987, when he did four times in his second year in the majors with Pittsburgh. La Russa told Bonds of the decision on Sunday when the Giants were in St. Louis.
``We like to get the pitchers attention right away so Barry Bonds is going to hit second,'' La Russa said.
With Barry Zito gone through free agency and Rich Harden unable to stay healthy, Haren has become the ace of Oakland's staff. He took a sub-2.00 ERA into July and is 10-3 with an AL-leading 2.30 ERA at the break.
After losing his first two starts - despite allowing one earned run in 13 innings - Haren reeled off 10 straight wins before losing to Seattle on Friday night. That loss wasn't enough to cost him his All-Star start as he beat out Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia, Detroit's Justin Verlander, Boston's Josh Beckett and the Angels' John Lackey for the honor.
``I'd be lying if I didn't say it was a nice extra touch since he pitches right across the bay in Oakland,'' Leyland said. ``If the game was in Cleveland it would probably be Sabathia. If it was in Detroit, probably Verlander.''
Many questioned the A's when they traded Mark Mulder to St. Louis for Haren about five months after Mulder started the 2004 All-Star game. Haren quickly silenced those doubters by winning 14 games in each of his first two seasons in Oakland. This year has been by far his best.
``I'll be in awe, that's for sure of the team playing behind me,'' Haren said.
Peavy earned the start for the NL, part of a remarkable turnaround from a rare off year. Peavy struggled to an 11-14 record with a 4.09 ERA last season in his worst year since becoming a full-time starter in 2003.
But he got off to a fast start this season, shutting the Giants out for six innings in an opening day win at the same ballpark that will host the All-Star game. Peavy is 9-3 with a 2.19 ERA that trails only teammate Chris Young in the NL.
``It's a great honor to be chosen,'' Peavy said. ``There are a lot of deserving guys.''
Peavy is the third Padres pitcher to start an All-Star game, joining LaMarr Hoyt in 1985 and Randy Jones in 1976.
La Russa's batting order for the game has New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes leading off, followed by Bonds, CF Carlos Beltran, Mets; RF Ken Griffey Jr., Reds; 3B David Wright, Mets; 1B Prince Fielder, Brewers; C Russell Martin, Dodgers; and 2B Chase Utley, Phillies.
This will mark the first time that Bonds and Griffey, two of baseball's greatest sluggers ever, are in the same lineup for any game. They were both selected as All-Stars in 2000 but missed the game in Atlanta with injuries. In 2004, Bonds played for the NL in Houston but Griffey missed the game with an injury.
Leyland selected Seattle center fielder Ichiro Suzuki as his leadoff hitter, followed by SS Derek Jeter, Yankees; 1B David Ortiz, Red Sox; 3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees; RF Vladimir Guerrero, Angels; LF Magglio Ordonez, Tigers; C Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers; 2B Placido Polanco, Tigers.
``I put all of the Tigers down in the order so no one would say I was favoring the Tigers,'' Leyland said.