Sunday, July 6, 2008

A pair of all-stars: Navarro and Kaz

So it’s Navie and Kaz going to the All-Star Game. Congrats. Both are deserving.

Dioner Navarro turned his career around during the second half of last season and is now the best defensive catcher and the second-best offensive catcher in the American League.

Scott Kazmir shrugged off a strained left elbow suffered in spring training, joined the team one month into the season and has been pretty solid.

Andy Sonnanstine has more wins and James Shields has been more consistent, but the way Kazmir pitched in May started the Rays climb to the best record in baseball.

We can whine all we want about having just two players from the best team in baseball on the American League All-Star team, but with the way the Rays win, having two is almost enough.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen J.P. Howell land on the team. Take him out of the bullpen and who knows what happens to this team.

But, as manager Joe Maddon said, it’s a different bus driver every night, a fact that bodes well for the second half of the season. The Rays aren’t relying on two or three players who are having career-years.

Navarro helps drive bus every night when he catches with the way he handles the pitching staff and the way he know handles himself at the plate.

There are few pitchers better than Kazmir during those nights when his fastball is blazing and his command is sharp.

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