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!


Let’s take a look at some of the hitters around the league who enjoyed the month of May. I’ll start with the American League:

Justin Morneau – There may not be a hotter hitter on the planet right now. All Morneau did in May was hit .400/.496/.710 with six home runs and 19 RBI. His ridiculous .400 average leads the AL. He’s actually been solid all season with a line of .372/.483/.691 with 13 HR and 40 RBI. The question surrounding the Twins first baseman is will he not slow down in the second half or stay healthy unlike the past couple of seasons?

David Ortiz – Remember when Big Papi was struggling and Boston fans were up in arms over it? Well, after a disastrous April in which Ortiz hit just .143 with a lone home run, Papi broke out in May with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs. The Red Sox designated hitter wasn’t all power either as he hit .363/.424/.788.

Jose Bautista – The former Pirate Joey Bats is enjoying his best season in the majors to date with the Blue Jays. Bautista led the American League with 12 home runs in May along with 25 RBIs despite a .263 average. Bautista’s previous career high in homers was 16 with the Pirates in 2006, a number he has also surpassed with AL-leading 18 homers north of the border. He’s just one of the many sluggers in Toronto’s lineup that has the team leading the majors in home runs.

Kevin Youkilis – I wasn’t going to mention Youkilis here until I saw his on-base percentage at a ridiculous .521 clip in May. I thought Morneau’s OBP was high until I saw Youk’s. The Greek God of Walks (as he is known) walked 31 times in 28 games throughout May while also hitting seven home runs and 17 RBI for a stat line of .329/.521/.683. With Youkilis and Ortiz murdering the ball in May, no wonder the Red Sox have turned their early season struggles around.

Vladimir Guerrero – Vlad just continues to rake no matter what team he’s a part of. He hit a ton of home runs with the Expos back in the day, then he hit more than 30 as a part of the Angels, now the career .322 hitters is on his way to possibly doing it with the Rangers. Vlad was money in May, hitting .330/.339/.633 with 10 home runs. His 31 RBIs in the month also leads the AL. Count me in as one person rooting for the Rangers to win the AL West this season.

And last, but not least, the senior circuit:

Joey Votto and Jonny Gomes – It’s no surprise to find two Reds on top of the May totals considering the success Cincinnati is currently having only one game behind the Cardinals in the NL Central. Both sluggers’ stat line are very similar as they currently have been powering the Reds. Gomes hit .364/.420/.636 with five homers and 22 RBI while Votto went .344/.412/.600 with six homers and 21 RBI. Votto isn’t a surprise at all being one of the game’s good young hitters, but while Gomes has always been a home run threat he’s never really hit for average. Time will tell if he can keep it up with his career high in games being 117 in 2006 with the Rays.

Jason Heyward – Well this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Heyward’s rookie storybook season continues with a solid May in which he hit .337/.453/.628 with four home runs and 19 RBIs. Despite hitting only four home runs, Heyward is really getting the extra bases. Of his 29 hits through May, 14 of them were for extra bases (seven doubles, three triples and four home runs). Plus like a lot of young hitters are, Heyward is not a free swinger as he walked 16 times while striking out just 10 times in May. Can you say National League Rookie of the Year?

Troy Glaus – Another Braves slugger is on his list as Troy Glaus turned his early disappointment with a scorching May. Hey, someone has to pick up the production that Chipper Jones has apparently lost. Glaus launched six home runs with a NL-leading 28 RBIs in May, which is six RBIs more than the next hitter. Glaus also hit .330/.408/.534 and is looking like a great pickup for the first-place Atlanta Braves.

Corey Hart – No, not the wedding singer. If you were asked prior to this who led the NL in home runs in May, I doubt Corey Hart was moving around in your head. The Brewers outfielder is putting together a stellar season as he currently leads the NL overall with 14 home runs. That is due to his power outburst in May where he hit 10 home runs with 22 RBIs. Despite hitting just .253 in the month, he went on to slug his way at a .659 mark. He’s been a bright spot on an otherwise dismal start to the Brewers year.

Cristian Guzman – Remember this guy who would rack up double-digit triples like clockwork with the Twins back in the day? Well believe it or not but Guzman led the NL in average with a .381 mark in May. His full line reads .381/.411/.452 and as you can see from the slugging percentage, he’s not getting it done with triples and homers. He had only five extra-base hits out of his 32 hits in May. Four doubles, one triple and zero home runs and 27 singles. Despite getting it done station to station, he’s been a nice spark plug for the Nationals this year.

During my daily routine scouring boxscores around the league, something stood out to me like a big red flag. David Ortiz hit a RBI-triple against the Twins Wednesday night. My first thought—holy smokes, where did he hit that or how bad was the defense or bounce off the wall for the big guy to chug his way for three bases?

Well as I looked into it more, it wasn’t a triple at all, but a two-run home run that was reviewed for about five minutes. Turns out that Yahoo Sports had it wrong on their play-by-play. Ortiz hit a ball off the top of the green monster that was eventually ruled a home run after the review, so Ortiz’s triple was not to  be. It would have only been his 15th triple of his 14-year career. He has more than 5,200 career at-bats and only 14 triples, so Big Papi hits a triple about 0.002 percent of the time. Though he has recorded at least one triple every year since 2000, so you have to figure he’ll get it at some point this season. Then again for the way he started in 2010, any extra-base hit will be good for him.

Another unusual play on Wednesday was the Mets triple play turned on the Nationals to end the fifth inning. Angel Pagan made a shoestring catch in center and was able to double off both Nationals base runners as they thought the ball had dropped in for a hit. What made it all the more unusual was that Pagan threw into the infield wildly while the catcher cut it off through to Jose Reyes at second base and over to first for your routine 8-2-6-3 triple play. Happens all the time…definitely.

Pagan also hit an inside-the-park home run in the fourth inning to become the first player in 55 years to be a part of a triple play and an inside-the-park homer in the same game. And despite all of that, the Mets still lost to Washington. Strange night around the league.