Four Tigers All-Stars, possibly another

Alex Avila’s campaign for All-Star votes, as led by teammate Justin Verlander, paid off in the end. In his first year as the Tigers’ everyday catcher, he’ll be starting behind the plate for the American League in the All-Star Game.

His starting nod highlights four All-Stars for the Tigers, the second time in three years they’ve had that total. Miguel Cabrera, Jose Valverde and Justin Verlander will join Avila in Phoenix for the Midsummer Classic July 12.

Victor Martinez will have the chance to join them if he can win the All-Star Game Final Vote. Balloting for that began today at MLB.com and runs through Thursday.

For all but one of them, it’s a return to the All-Star Game. For Avila, the first time might well be the sweetest. He becomes the first Tiger voted by fans into the All-Star lineup since 2007, when Ivan Rodriguez, Magglio Ordonez and Placido Polanco all made it. Miguel Cabrera started last year’s game at first base, but did so after Justin Morneau was scratched due to injury.

Avila led all American League catchers in almost every major offensive category, short of home runs. Still, Russell Martin’s hot opening month as a New York Yankee earned him a slew of early votes once fan balloting began in April and May.

The Tigers soon picked up Avila’s cause. Then came Verlander, whose work with Avila as his catcher has resulted in a no-hitter and several close calls already this year. Verlander took to Twitter and just about any other medium he could find to try to encourage fans to vote Avila.

Avila slowly began catching up Martin, but still trailed by more than 400,000 votes as of the last balloting update earlier this week. But Avila garnered the vast majority of the votes at catcher this week before online balloting closed Thursday night.

“Thanks to all the non-Tigers fans who chose the best player,” Verlander wrote Sunday afternoon on his Twitter account. “To all the Tigers fans, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Best city, best fans.”

Verlander likely won’t get the chance to catch him in the game itself. Though he was an obvious choice for players to vote onto the AL pitching staff, he won’t be eligible to pitch in the Midsummer Classic if he starts for the Tigers at Kansas City next Sunday to close out the season’s first half, as he’s scheduled to do.

With an 11-3 record, 2.32 ERA and just 88 hits over 135 2/3 innings, he would’ve been a strong candidate to start in the game. Still, he’ll be recognized with his third straight All-Star selection, and his fourth overall.

Cabrera makes the All-Star team for the sixth time, the second time as a Tiger. His .329 average entering Sunday ranked third in the AL to go with 17 homers and 56 RBIs. Valverde, 19-for-19 in save chances entering Sunday, is a three-time All-Star.

Verlander, Valverde and Cabrera were all All-Stars last season. It’s the first time three Tigers earned back-to-back All-Star selections since 1985 and ’86, when Lou Whitaker, Lance Parrish and Willie Hernandez made the teams.

24 Comments

Better get Coke warmed up. Ricky has lost his confidence again.

We need a rain out so Verlander can pitch in the game

Whoa–see how shalow Schierholtz is playing Inge? Smart.
I guess JL will play Inge and Raburn against RHP over Peralta and Kelly. Let me give you a word of advice Leyland. Peralt is hitting. Why sit him when he’s hot? You want to play Ramon–fine play him at 3rd or 2nd. Last I looked those guys aren’t hitting.
Inge will be playing when he is hitting below his weight.
Raburn will be played until he gets injured. My fingers are crossed.

The poor pitching, lack of hitting is contagious. All around poor play lately.

It’s actually at an embarassing level.

Jhonny Peralata SS
Brennan Boesch, lf
Miguel Cabrera, 1b
Victor Martinez, dh
Alex Avila, c
Magglio Ordonez, rf
Don Kelly 3b
Ramon Santiago 2b
Austin Jackson CF
Win assured

Ryan Raburn, 2b
Ramon Santiago, ss
Brandon Inge, 3b

Jhonny Peralata SS
Brennan Boesch, lf
Miguel Cabrera, 1b
Victor Martinez, dh
Alex Avila, c
Magglio Ordonez, rf
Don Kelly 3b
Ramon Santiago 2b
Austin Jackson CF
Win assured

Too bad we got a bad break on the ground ball to Ramon that got through. Difference in the game right now.
Time to see if our manager can manufacture a run.

Wasted QS

Sob glad that Santiago is in this game instead of Peralta, its important to have a guy in there that can hardly hit instead of a 300 hitter. Atleast why didn’t he get pinch hit for here in the 7th?

I would suspect even JL will PH with Austin at this time. Dirks has not looked good today.

cmon BB—he’s gonna hang you slider.

Maggs has been coming through in the clutch. Good AB against a pretty tough customer.

Surprised tht Coke wasn’t brought in for the 8th—I guess it makes sense to use Benoit though. I’d have Coke warmed up again though if was calling the shots.

OMG!!! Raburn makes a game-saving catch. Sure glad he bailed Benoit out who is not looking very dependable at all this year.
Way to Raburn, you are full of surprises.

We need a couple more with no-split Jose coming in.

Well, there you go. Our heros, Rugburn and Inge.

Someone must tell him, this is a saving situation

According to mlbtraderumors.com, Rick Knapp has been fired.

The Revenge of Ray-BInge! Baseball is one crazy game, ain’t it? Got the win, but I’m not having much confidence in Benoit.
Whatever your overall opinion of Ordonez, it’s pretty good to have him up there in those big situations.
I was kind of shocked that Alex actually won the vote. He deserves it, but I never thought this would happen.
I’m assuming that Jason will create an entry for the Knapp firing, so I’ll hold off on that one for now.

We got away with that one. How many were wondering what happened to defensive replacements with Raburn left in LF or was Kelly too tired from catching last night? I just shook my head with such a great catch that Raburn was bustinig everythiong to get to besides the glasses.
.
No question our young starters came into the interleague series with the wrong attitude and well and truly got burned. The seasoned pros in Justin and Penny kept the ship just afloat.
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A big assumption but if the SOC ever plays the lineup that is hitting, the Tigs match anyone for offense.

Tigers were down 3-1 and Rick was hitting batters. Had a chance to go away and took it. Come home and they had won the game. Hallelujah!!! I very rarely miss a game but maybe I should go away more often. LOL
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I just voted for V-Mart. I am sure I voted more like 50 times than 25 and it was still allowing me to vote more. This past week I got friends and family who are not strong baseball fans to use their e-mail addresses to vote for Avila and the other Tigers. Avila won!!!

Just like most previous moves, we’ll never know for sure the reason behind Knapp being removed as pitching coach. But if the pitching needs a new leader, what about the clutch hitting? What about the defense? What about the third base coach sending or not sending runners at the right time? How about the person who makes out the line-up cards. Raburn and Inge always in the line-up while everyone else gets a “rest day?” I hope you are right about this move being only the first of others to come. I have long wondered why men like Matlack and Sager and Durham are kept in the minors year after year.

DD does not make the line ups. If we had the same line up every day with our best hitters……..well. I do still want to go to a game this year. Detroit Tiger fans are the best!

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