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Fallen From Grace: Has Everyone Forgotten About Nick Adenhart?

The excitement of tonight’s All-Star Game in Anaheim has been somewhat silenced with the passings of Yankees announcer Bob Sheppard and today’s announcement of the death of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

Even with the Mid-Summer Classic happening across the country, the baseball world sympathizes with the New York Yankees.

However, the city of Los Angeles, mainly the Angels organization, still has a heavy heart and a fresh wound from the loss of pitcher Nick Adenhart last season.

Adenhart died in a tragic car crash on April 9th of last year, just hours after pitching in a game for the Angels. Adenhart was only 22 years old.

This is not to say that Sheppard and Steinbrenner’s deaths should go unnoticed or unhonored, but Adenhart was an actual player that died tragically. While some have compared Steinbrenner’s death to Thurman Munson’s death in 1979, it is Adenhart’s death that parallels that tragedy more.

Not to be cruel, but Sheppard and Steinbrenner were 99 and 80, respectively. Their losses were certainly more expected than a 22-year old pitcher.

All I can hope is that Adenhart gets his moment during the festivities at tonight’s All-Star Game. Adenhart was a young pitcher with the potential of pitching in this game one day. It would only be fitting to honor him at his home park, much like the Angels have constantly done.

“The Voice of God” will still announce Derek Jeter coming to the plate and I’m sure plans are still being put together for “The Boss”, but, please, Major League Baseball, don’t forget about the “Fallen Angel”, Nick Adenhart.

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Stephen Strasburg To Be Surprise Inductee Into 2010 Hall of Fame Class

Washington Nationals phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg can add another title to his young and blossoming career, Hall of Famer. Despite his career just getting started, Strasburg has been announced as a surprise additional inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

On the final weekend of July, the rookie pitcher will join outfielder Andre Dawson, umpire Doug Harvey, and manager Whitey Herzog as the newest class of the Hall of Fame.

Strasburg was informed of the decision as he got ready for his start Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals, his fourth career start for the Washington Nationals.

“Well, I’ll be in Milwaukee for the weekend,” said Strasburg, referencing the Nationals’ weekend series against the Brewers that weekend. “If I’m not pitching, then I’ll see what I can do.”

Strasburg’s fellow members of the class of 2010 were all voted to be elected back in January, roughly five months prior to Strasburg’s major league debut.

“Someone had mentioned his name when we were voting and many of the voters wanted to vote for him,” said Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, a non-voting member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, which votes players into the Hall of Fame. “We said that they couldn’t because he hadn’t even played yet. So, they waited for his debut and said, ‘let’s do it now while he is still pitching this well.'”

In a written statement from the BWAA, Strasburg will be the first active player to be allowed into the Hall of Fame because of his “amazing fastball-slider combination.” Additionally, Strasburg was able to be waived past the required 75 percent voting process because “he just keeps striking guys out.”

Strasburg’s induction will be the first for a Washington Nationals player and first for the franchise since Gary Carter, who was inducted as a Montreal Expo. When reached for comment on Carter, Strasburg had confused the former catcher with recording artist Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter.

Strasburg has 32 strikeouts in 19 and 1/3 innings pitched in the Major Leagues, one of the fewest amount of strikeouts of any Hall of Fame candidate.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig said he was thrilled about the announcement, citing during a conference call that he’s “glad that he picked him up in his fantasy baseball league.”

Strasburg added how the honor will be a “sweet birthday present” for the pitcher, who turns 22 on July 20.

The Nationals organization also hopes to honor their ace pitcher with a statue in front of Nationals Park. The unveiling of the statue, however, has been said to be delayed, citing a lack of pictures of Strasburg pitching in a Nationals uniform to go off of for the statue design.

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Johan’s Jinx: Why Can’t the New York Mets Score for Santana?

Johan Santana is the most notable pitcher on the New York Mets and one of the most dangerous in all of baseball. However, his stats alone don’t echo that sentiment.

With the surge in Mike Pelfrey’s performance this season, Santana isn’t seeming much like the ace of the staff anymore. More importantly, the team’s offense is not supporting Johan like the ace that he is.

In 13 starts this season, Santana has only factored in the decision seven times and has only four wins, tied with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for third on the team in wins. In nine of Santana’s starts, he has given up two runs or less. The Mets however, are just 5-4 in those starts.

His 2.96 ERA does not seem very Johan-like, but factor in his lone bad start. On May 2 against the Phillies, Santana gave up 10 earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings. Wiping that start off the board, his adjusted ERA stands at an impressive 1.99. That number would be good enough for fifth in the National League right now.

It isn’t Johan’s pitching falling off, though. It has been the Mets’ lethargic offense that has hurt Johan Santana this season

The Mets’ offense hasn’t scored runs for Santana, averaging just over three runs per game on days that their ace is pitching. The team scored seven runs for Santana on Opening Day against the Florida Marlins. The Mets have not scored that many runs for Johan since, and have only scored more than five runs in support of Santana once more this season.

In five of his starts of this season, Santana has not given up any earned runs. The Mets have won just two of those games, both of them in the month of April. In fact, after going 4-1 in games started by Santana in April, the Mets have gone just 2-6 since when Johan takes the mound.

Tonight, Santana starts as the Mets take on the Cleveland Indians, one of the worst teams in baseball. However, the Mets offense collides against Justin Masterson, who has been masterful in his last two starts. Expect yet another pitcher’s duel as Santana has frequently faced the best and/or hottest pitchers that his opponent can offer.

Santana is set to make $21 million this season and is under contract until 2013, with a club option in 2014. Current projections give Santana just 10 wins for this season, the lowest amount since 2002, when Johan was still in Minnesota and not used as a full-time starter.

This season especially, critics have wondered if Johan Santana is having second thoughts about joining the Mets and if pitching for New York has been the most beneficial for him. Santana is only 33-19 as a Met in his third season in New York.

With no playoff appearances in the first two seasons, could Johan’s patience be wearing thin? This time next season, will Johan Santana be the next high-profile pitcher looking for a new address?

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Put Me In, Coach: Nine Major Leaguers Deserving of an All-Star Start

In less than one month, on July 4, Major League Baseball will announce the starters for the annual All-Star Game in Anaheim. Voting from the fans has taken place, which leads to many fan favorites starting the game. However, the starters of the All-Star game should be the absolute best that the league has to offer.

Here is a list of nine players who should get an additional look, as well as some more votes, before the rosters get finalized.

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Seattle Steadily Sinking: What Has Happened to the Mariners?

The Seattle Mariners were the busiest team in baseball during the offseason. Many felt that they had stolen Cliff Lee away from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay deal. The signing of free agent, Chone Figgins, brought excitement to Seattle. Minor signings of players like Casey Kotchman and Mike Sweeney looked like value picks. Then, they got Junior back.

It looked like the stars had aligned. At least on paper, the M’s were ready for a run in the American League West. Once the season began, the pieces that looked to fall into place, instead, fell apart.

Cliff Lee, poised to make Felix Hernandez’s life a lot simpler, took the scenic route to making his Mariners debut. Lee hit Chris Synder with a pitch during a Spring Training game, leading to a five-game suspension to begin the season. After appeals, the suspension was lifted, but only because of Lee beginning his season on the disabled list with an abdomen injury.

Lee has not been the dominant ace that he was expected to be. With a 3-2 record and an ERA just under three, Lee has been very average in only seven starts this season.

Figgins has been a disappointment for Seattle, hitting just .211 and striking out 49 times in 54 games played. Figgins and Lee account for two of the top four salaries on the squad.

Up to this point, the $11 million gamble on Milton Bradley has yielded a .216 average, three home runs, and 20 runs batted in. Closer David Aardsma has rebounded from his breakout season last year with an 0-3 record and an ERA of almost four. In 71.1 innings last season, Aardsma had allowed 23 runs; in 2010, Aardsma has surrendered eight runs in just 18.1 innings.

With so much promise, the Mariners are last in the AL West (22-33) and are the third-worst team in the American League, in front of just the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles.

The lone mentions in national headlines this season have included the iconic Ken Griffey Jr. Last month, it was reported that Griffey could not pinch hit during a game because he was sleeping in the clubhouse. This week, Griffey walked away from the Mariners and baseball, retiring from the game at the age of 40.

The Mariners now have an identity crisis and are realizing that the pieces that they purchased in the offseason aren’t fitting. Manager Don Wakamatsu cannot be pleased with his team’s performance this season. Considering the improvements that Wakamatsu made with Seattle last season, it is expected that the manager’s job is safe for this season.

For Wakamatsu and Mariners fans, it is sure to be a long summer in Seattle.

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