Hey, Cleveland! Everyone ready for the All-Star Game? The San Diego Padres are hosting the 87th mid-summer classic in Petco Park. It might not be the must-see game of the year, but wait a minute before you dismiss the game entirely. As with the NFL and the NBA, MLB’s mid-summer classic is more about fun than cut-throat competition. It is also a great time for players to rest and rehabilitate a little. If nothing else, scout the competition a little more while watching the festivities.
The Home Run Derby provides some excitement as eight of the league’s heavy hitters square-off for charity. This year, T-Mobile will donate $1000 for every regular home run hit and $2000 for every home run hit in the bonus round. Personally, I hope to see huge numbers of homers, as the proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club.
Three of our Indians planned for the trip to San Diego. Unfortunately, pitcher Danny Salazar will not be wowing fans and smoking hitters with his finesse-filled performance on the mound. He is out due to elbow pain; it is a shame too because this would have been the 26-year-old’s first All-Star Game. Joining Salazar will be Francisco Lindor and Corey Kluber will be a part of the game.
Lindor, the American League Rookie of the Year Runner-up last season, is showing his usual acrobatic skill at the shortstop position. The 22-year-old will be joining the American League All-Stars for the first time in his career; it is certainly not to be Lindor’s last appearance.
In addition to his stellar fielding, Francisco Lindor is having a fine season at the plate. The switch-hitter comes away from the first half of the season with a .306 batting average including 10 home runs and 45 RBI’s. He will be playing behind Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox.
The 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber, will make his first career All-Star Game appearance. Many argued that Kluber should have had a spot on the roster prior to being named a replacement for the injured Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada. The 30-year-old has had a few rough starts for the Tribe in the first half of the season. He brings a 3.61 ERA to the game and so far the right-hander has 122 innings under his belt with 122 strikeouts.
I have no doubt that when Kansas City’s Ned Yost, the manager for the American League, gives Lindor and Kluber a chance to show their skills, they will make all of Cleveland proud.
Follow Shelley Harcar on Twitter @Shelley0514
image credit padrespublic.com