Monday, July 14, 2008

Trio of Pitchers Represent Halos in All-Star Game

By Adam Dodge - Senior Writer

The All-Star break is once again upon us and if 2008 is anything like recent years we can expect one thing – another American League victory.

Like in 2007, the Angels will be represented by three players. Joining Francisco Rodriguez, who earned the save in last year’s mid-summer classic, are two new faces to Major League Baseball’s All-Star festivities.

Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders began the season as perhaps two Angels least likely to make it to New York. In fact, they were slated to battle it out for the fifth and final rotation spot when pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training in February, with the loser likely to begin the season in AAA in Salt Lake City. An injury to Kelvim Escobar put them both in the rotation to begin the season. 95 games later and the duo have combined to post a record of 23-8 with an ERA in the low 3.00s.

Both hurlers can expect to see action on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. Santana tossed seven scoreless innings on Saturday en route to his 11th victory, and should be able to take the mound for a few hitters on two days rest. Saunders, who was slated to start yesterday was left back in Anaheim to spend time with his wife and newborn daughter.

Saunders may be the most rested pitcher on the American League roster and might be counted upon to go multiple innings.

Don’t expect K-Rod to earn back to back All-Star game saves. Rodriguez is on a torrid pace with 38 saves already and barring injury should challenge, if not destroy the single season saves record. However, with the All-Star game taking place at Yankee Stadium, which closes its doors after the 2008 season, for the final time we can expect Mariano Rivera to take the hill in the top of the ninth of the American League has the lead.

However it turns out, the Angels will be well represented by three guys who are well deserving of the recognition they’ve received.
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