Western North Carolina will be well represented at Major League Baseball's Annual All-Star Game next Tuesday, July 15, at Target Field in Minneapolis, MN. Greg Holland, who played at McDowell High School, and Madison Bumgarner, who played at South Caldwell, were selected to their second all-star game Sunday. Holland,
now in his fifth MLB season, is a member of the Kansas City Royals. He's currently 1-2 with a 1.93 earned-run-average with 23 saves in 24 saves opportunities. Holland is 15-9 in his career with a 2.35 ERA and 90 saves.
Holland had a breakout year in 2012, going 7-4 with 16 saves, 91 strikeouts and a 2.96 ERA in 67 relief appearances. He assumed closing duties when Jonathan Broxton, who began the season as the team's closer, was traded to the Cincinnati Reds on July 31.
In 2013, Holland had his best season in the majors. He became the Royals full-time closer and converted 47 of 50 save Opportunities. On September 26, 2013, Holland set the Royals single season saves record with his 46th save in a 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. He surpassed Dan Quisenberry and Jeff Montgomery whom both had 45 save seasons.
Bumgarner, who led South Caldwell to the Class 4A state championship, is in his sixth MLB season with the San Francisco Giants. He's 9-6, following a 7-2 start, with a 3.09 ERA. Bumgarnerf, who owns two World Series rings (in 2010 and 2012), has won 57 games in his career with a 3.04 ERA.
Bumgarner set career bests for ERA (2.77), walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) (1.03) and strikeouts (199) in 31 starts last season, finishing with a 139 record. Bumgarner's WHIP was the lowest for a Giants' left-hander since Carl Hubbell's in 1933. Bumgarner was also selected by Bruce Bochy, the Giants' manager and the manager of the National League team, to pitch in the All Star game for the first time. However, Bumgarner didn't pitch in the game. He took pride in pitching 200+ innings for the third consecutive season (201.1) and improving at holding runners on base, conceding eight stolen bases in 2013 compared with 27 in 2012.
The Atlanta Braves will be well represented at the All-Star Game. Closer Craig Kimbrell, Freddie Freeman and pitcher Julio Teheran were selected to play for the NL team.
Kimbrell, making his fourth All-Star Game appearance, is Atlanta all-time saves leader with 166. He surpassed sure Hall-Of-Famer John Smoltz, who held the record with 154. Kimbrell became Atlanta's all-time leader when he picked up career save No.155 against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 6.
Freeman, a two-time all-star, is hitting .294 with 25 doubles, 13 home runs and 47 RBI; Teheran will be making his first All-Star Game appearance. He's currently 8-5 with a 2.29 ERA. He has 108 strikeouts in 126.0 innings pitched.
Teheran made the all-star team when Jeff Samardzija, who was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics Friday, was ruled ineligible to play for the NL because of the trade.
Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals will manage the NL; John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox will manage the AL. This will be the 85th meeting between the AL and the NL. The AL won last year's game 3-0 at Citi Field in New York; the NL leads the all-time series 43-39-2.
Photo Courtesy: Madison Bumgarner, PHOTO SUBMITTED