Caught Looking recaps the most memorable moments and accomplishments from the 2010 season. Here are moments six through ten.

10. Cliff Lee‘s blanking the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS
With the American League Championship Series tied at one game apiece, the Yankees were looking to get a leg up on the Rangers with the series shifting to Yankee Stadium. Cliff Lee had other ideas. Lee was on his own stratosphere when he took the mound for Texas in Game 3 as he fired 8.0 shutout innings with just two hits, one walk while striking out 13 Yankees on the night. The Yankees missed out on acquiring Lee mid-season, and they realized the consequences quickly in that Game 3. The Rangers won by the score of 8-0 to take a 2-games-1 lead, and the Yankees never recovered in the series and were promptly sent home in six games.

9. The National League finally wins an All-Star game.
It only took 14 years and a 12-game winning streak by the American League before the NL finally broke through with a victory in the All-Star game. The NL defeated the AL 3-1 on July 13 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim to break the amazing AL streak. Braves catcher Brian McCann ripped a three-run double in the seventh inning to give the NL all the runs needed in this one and was named the game’s MVP. The game would feature the AL’s only run as unearned along with some questionable managing by Joe Girardi in the ninth inning.

8. Ken Griffey Jr. announces his retirement
Following two months of the 2010 season, Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement in early June. The man who was destined to break Hank Aaron‘s home run record never reached that accomplishment due to various injuries that derailed Griffey’s career from the premier power hitter he was in the mid-90’s. If you grew up watching baseball in that decade, that’s the guy you wanted to be when you played baseball in the backyard. Despite the injuries, Griffey still played 22 seasons with a total of 630 home runs. He was a 13-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner and will soon be a Hall of Famer.

7. Trevor Hoffman opens the 600 save club
Thanks to some poor pitching to start the season and some poor decision-making by the Brewers coaching staff, it took Trevor Hoffman almost a full season to record nine saves in 2010 to total 600 saves for his career. But he eventually got there. On September 7 against the Cardinals, Hoffman finally had the opportunity to close the door again and tossed a scoreless ninth inning to become the first closer with 600 career saves. It’s a terrific accomplishment that was sort of overshadowed by the Brewers decision to not allow Hoffman to sniff a save chance for the majority of the season after some blown saves earlier in 2010 despite the Brewers being out of contention long before September. At any rate, Hoffman will be remembered for his stellar career and being the first to the 600-save club.

6. A-Rod hits home run No. 600, Ichiro’s and Pujols milestone
Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez went into a little home run drought (12 games) between number 599 and 600, but he eventually joined the 600-home run club with a blast off of Blue Jays pitcher Shaun Marcum on August 4 in Yankee Stadium.

The hit machine Ichiro Suzuki continued to pile up his list of accomplishments as he became the first player to record 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons in 2010. Like A-Rod, Ichiro’s milestone also came against Toronto with a single on September 23.

A-Rod hit home run number 600, but one day he will be joined in that club by Albert Pujols. Pujols hit his 30th home run of the season on August 15 against the Cubs to become the first player to record 10 straight seasons of 30 or more home runs to start a career. Yep, that’s more than Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Ralph Kiner, Barry Bonds…OK, you get the picture—Pujols stands alone in this category. He later hit his 400th career home run in the season.

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Finally, the attention and live at-bats come to an end. Alex Rodriguez blasted his 600th career home run off the arm of Shaun Marcum in Yankee Stadium Wednesday. The baseball world and media can now move on to something else.

Frankly, I was becoming sick of hearing about A-Rod and when it’s going to happen, mostly because the topic of steroids always came up. I haven’t talked about steroids too much on CL, because the league finally has installed a decent steroid testing policy. Second, we just don’t know, and never will, all the facts related to steroids, HGH, performance-enhancing drugs, etc.

A-Rod’s name and stellar career will forever be linked to steroids after he admitted in 2009 that he took some form of steroids early in the decade. So now when accomplishments like his 600th home run comes up, pundits will say he’s a cheater and argue until they are blue in the face that he should not be in the record book, or with an asterisk, etc.

Are they wrong? A-Rod did knowingly take steroids along with our superstars to get an edge. So they are not necessarily wrong on that point. The problem I have with what to do with the record books and how these players are viewed is we still do not know a lot of things about steroids. Here’s what I know about steroids:

– We know some players have taken steroids in baseball. We do not know who exactly.

– While steroids are known to give players an edge, it has not been proven how much steroids factor in to a player’s ability to hit doubles, home runs and recover from injury. How much of a player’s overall numbers are from raw talent and hard work as compared to steroids? Does steroids help your bat speed? No one has the answer to that.

– Even the players that tested positive in the past couple of seasons of testing, we do not know how long they were on them and what impact they caused.

– Hitters are not the only ones to have taken steroids. Pitchers have taken them before too. What is the effect on pitchers who are using? Once again, we do not know.

With all that said, A-Rod’s accomplishment should be celebrated as the great feat that it is. Only seven players in the history of baseball are in the 600 home run club. You don’t just get there by shooting some drug into your arm especially when we’re not even sure of the effects from it. Endurance, will power and talent all play a part to get to this club. Anyway, the A-Rod 600 hunt is over. Now, on to your regularly scheduled baseball season.

Imagine for a minute that it’s your major league debut, and you’re slated to face the New York freakin’ Yankees, a lineup that features Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, etc. Not to mention there’s all this additional hype and excitement around A-Rod possibly belting home run number 600 against you. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Well, not if you’re not Indians rookie pitcher Josh Tomlin. Tomlin made his ML debut Tuesday night and promptly shut down the Yanks for 7.0 plus innings to pick up the W in a 4-1 victory for Cleveland.

The 19th round pick of the Indians in 2006 went 7.0 plus strong innings, allowing just three hits, one run while striking out two and walking none. Tomlin actually faced the minimum through six innings. Incredible.

I began wondering how many pitchers making their ML debut mowed down the Yankees in the history of the game. Using Baseball Reference’s Play Index, I searched for pitchers who picked up the win against the Yankees and their ML debut with zero or one run allowed. Since 1920, this has occurred 12 times…

Rk Gcar Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit GSc
1 1 Josh Tomlin 2010-07-27 CLE NYY W 4-1 GS-7 ,W 7.0 3 1 1 0 2 0 93 69
2 1 Koji Uehara 2009-04-08 BAL NYY W 7-5 GS-5 ,W 5.0 5 1 1 1 0 0 86 52
3 1 Anibal Sanchez 2006-06-25 (2) FLA NYY W 5-0 GS-6 ,W 5.2 7 0 0 0 2 0 96 57
4 1 Brian Sikorski 2000-08-16 TEX NYY W 5-0 GS-7 ,W 7.0 4 0 0 4 5 0 108 70
5 1 Paul Rigdon 2000-05-21 CLE NYY W 6-1 GS-7 ,W 7.0 2 0 0 4 2 0 92 71
6 1 Jason Dickson 1996-08-21 CAL NYY W 7-1 GS-7 ,W 6.1 10 1 1 2 1 1 48
7 1 Vaughn Eshelman 1995-05-02 BOS NYY W 8-0 GS-6 ,W 6.0 3 0 0 2 1 0 62 65
8 1 Pat Rice 1991-05-18 SEA NYY W 4-1 GS-6 ,W 5.2 2 0 0 0 3 0 75 68
9 1 Billy Rohr 1967-04-14 BOS NYY W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 1 0 0 5 2 0 82
10 1 Luis Tiant 1964-07-19 (2) CLE NYY W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 4 0 0 4 11 0 86
11 1 Charlie Beamon 1956-09-26 BAL NYY W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 4 0 0 7 9 0 81
12 1 Clem Dreisewerd 1944-08-29 (1) BOS NYY W 8-1 9.0 6 1 1 1 2 0 72
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/29/2010.

Koji Uehara of the Orioles was the most recent to accomplish this last season in the second game of 2009 on April 8. Uehara only went 5.0 innings, but still got the win in a 7-5 O’s victory. Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez turned the trick in game 2 of a doubleheader in 2006. Of the 12 games, eight of them occurred since 1991, and of those eight games only two had better game scores than Tomlin’s 69 on Tuesday night.

Also, besides the recent names of Sanchez and Uehara, who are still both active, most of the pitchers on this list only lasted a couple of seasons in the bigs. The exception being Luis Tiant, the only notable name on this list. Tiant won 229 games in 19 major league seasons, was selected to three All-Star teams, and along with Tomlin, also owned the Yankees in his first start while wearing an Indians jersey in 1964. Paul Rigdon also did it with the Indians in 2000. Must be something about those Indians rookies that strike fear into the Yankees.

On the flip side, Mariners pitcher Pat Rice appeared in only seven games at the major league level. His first ever start against the Yankees on May 18, 1991 was his only win of his career. Strangely enough, he suffered his first and only loss in his last ML appearance. Today, Rice is the pitching coach of Triple-A Fresno in the Giants organization.

No matter what road Tomlin’s career heads down, he shook off the nervousness of his first start and will always be down in the books as shutting down the Bronx Bombers.

I don’t believe what I just saw. For the first time since 1996, the National League is victorious in the midsummer classic. Brian McCann, you had me at hello. McCann is named MVP thanks to his three-RBI double in the seventh inning—the only runs for the NL in the game, and the only runs they needed to net the W. Who knew I could cheer for a Brave so much during a game?

2010 All-Star Game MVP

It’s fitting that in a year where the pitching has been so dominant that the NL would win a 3-1 game and allow just one run, an unearned at that, through nine innings.

At first blush, I’m skeptical of a couple of decisions (or non-decisions) by Joe Girardi in the ninth inning. First, why didn’t he pinch run for David Ortiz when Papi led off the inning with a base hit? I understand that he wasn’t the tying run, but why would you ever want Papi on the basepath with the game on the line? Ortiz ended up getting thrown out at second base on a single to right field on a superb play by Marlon Byrd to nail Papi at second base on the force. Second, Girardi left his big bat in Alex Rodriguez on the bench instead of pinch-hitting him. He had to let John Buck bat since he was the only catcher available for the AL, but he had Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler and both made outs.

Oh well, there’s always second guessing to go around, but I’ll take it as the National League finally breaks the streak!