The Morning Report
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Well San Diego; you wanted Chris Young, you got him. Oh, and an All-Star Game loss tagged on your guy, for the second straight year.

In last year’s game at Pittsburgh, Trevor Hoffman allowed a deuce in the ninth inning, blew the save, and stuck himself with an “L” in the record books, which will sit there for all eternity. Also cost the National League home field in the World Series. No small thing.

First Trevor, and now Young. Same thing, different inning. Another booming extra-base hit and two runs across for the American League. Young is hardly the goat, but since his club was never headed, he’s the loser. That’s the way the baseball bounces. The Padres combined ERA for the 2006 and 2007 Midseason Classics stands at an unsightly 9.00.

Jake Peavy took the ball and looked every bit the All-Star starter he was. Why he pitched just the one inning on perfect rest is Tony LaRussa’s bad. I certainly can’t explain it.

Worse than that, and it’s not second guessing if you throw Red Bull cans at the TV before it happens, LaRussa had Albert Pujols twiddling his thumbs with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. Sure, game on the line, you can see why LaRussa would want deer-in-the-headlights-in-his-earlier-at-bat Aaron Rowand instead of Pujols, the most imposing hitter in the National League. Makes perfect sense, right?

Maybe LaRussa, famous for the pitcher batting eighth as much as anything, thought he’d do the exact opposite of the right thing, just to show how smart he is when it works out. He is the brightest guy in baseball, after all. That law degree ain’t up on the man’s wall for nothing (case in point: drunk driving arrest, March 2007). Oops.

I’ll say this much for Tony LaRussa. His St. Louis Cardinals couldn’t have cared less about home field in last year’s World Series. They won it anyway. The AL has had home field each year since the advantage has gone to the winner of the All-Star Game, starting in 2002, and won three of the five.

Hardly a trend, but still. I’m sure the San Diego Padres would appreciate a possible four out of seven games being played at Petco, should they be so fortunate. I know the fans would. And I really know Chris Young would.

— HOWARD COLE

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