But not really.
Justin Morneau had a pretty good all-star game. He was two-for-four, with a double and two runs scored. He also played nearly flawless first base (the one hiccup was when Joakim Soria should have fielded a bunt and Morneau hesitated for a full second-and-a-half before going in to back it up, which was enough for the hitter to outrun the throw). He was the table-setter. Morneau is a great guy, and he made some major contributions to the All-Star game, but, unfortunately, he didn’t really do anything that could have won the game on its own. A Most Valuable Player both helps his teammates look like stars and helped take care of it mano a mano. Side Note: Justin, replace your glove. Earlier this season, you were charged with an error when a thrown ball went right through the webbing. Well, the same thing almost happened in the top of the 15th yesterday. Thank the Baseball Gods that the game ended.
But he wasn’t the MVP. So, who was the MVP?
Scott Kazmir got the win, and I think a pretty decent case could be made for him, given that he was coming off the second-longest start of his year on Sunday and has been dealing with a still-sore shoulder/elbow. However, he didn’t do that much. He had a K, a BB, and then a fly out and a ground out. He was, however, quite wild. Last Year’s almost-Cy Young almost made an appearance, but he wasn’t quite the MVP.
JD Drew wasn’t the MVP. Here we see the perils of fan voting rearing their ugly heads. The polls opened after the sixth inning. Know what inning Drew had his big home run in? The 7th. It was big for him to tie it, but it wasn’t the determining factor of the game. But, because most people aren’t me, they didn’t wait to vote until the top of the fifteenth inning (I’ll admit, I was close to giving up myself). Also, he had the Red Sox Nation. Don’t get me started.
Michael Young certainly wasn’t the MVP. Sure, he drove in the winning run, but it was on a sacrifice fly, and sacrifice flies are bogus ways to drive in a run.* In addition, it was against the fatigued Brad Lidge, who had thrown an estimated 120 pitches in the bullpen prior to coming into the game. That’s more than any Twins pitcher has thrown this year (maybe Livan did it once), and he’s a closer.
Jeez. Who else was there?
One guy, who really came through and gave the AL the chance to win the game. You’ve likely never/rarely heard of him, because he doesn’t play for either a Central Division foe or a big-market team.
George Sherrill of the Orioles.
He came in with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the twelfth. He struck out Adrian Gonzales on three pitches. Then he put down the side in the top of the 13th. And again in the 14th. He threw 25 pitches, which is more than he has thrown in any of his last 10 outings. He’s a closer, just like Joe Nathan, who threw 8. But he struck out two in 2.1 innings, giving up one hit and no walks. It was his longest outing of the year in terms of outs delivered. Sherrill saved Scott Kazmir. Sherrill kept the NL quiet after they had batting practice against Joakim Soria. Side Note: I would have had Aaron Cook for MVP had the NL won. He pitched three not-particularly good innings, but he got out of all three jams without giving up a run, while saving both Brad Lidge and Brandon Webb.
The Fan Vote for MVP blew a call more spectacularly than on the shoulda-been stole base in the 11th. Sherrill should have gotten the new truck. I hope some enterprising dealer in the Baltimore area gives him one as part of a promotion.
*Note: I don’t like the sacrifice fly as a category that players get credit for. To me, it is an RBI groundout hit in the air. Sure, I’ll give you the RBI. The runner did score on your out. But it should count as an at-bat. The sacrifice fly makes people like Mike Lamb look better than they actually played by eliminating at-bats where they made an out. Think about this dialogue:
“What did you do to help the team win?”
“Oh, I got up there and hit a fly ball.”
“A home run?! Good Job!”
“No, not a home run.”
“Oh. A double to the gap? Off the wall?”
“… So what did you do?”
“I got out. But the run scored.”
“Oh, really. So you screwed up deep enough that the fielder couldn’t throw the runner out in time. Good work. If only we had a category for that. Oh, yeah, we do. It’s called an out. With an RBI.”