Launching Pad: Pitchers make All-Star auditions

What to expect in the major leagues today:

All-Star auditions

Stephen Strasburg gets his last opportunity to prove he's worthy of being an All Star.
Stephen Strasburg gets his last opportunity to prove he’s worthy of being an All Star.

The All-Star rosters will be announced Sunday, but a couple of NL starters will be on the mound today hoping to impress. In Colorado, Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez, the front-runner to start for the NL, can cement his status as he goes for win No. 15 against the Giants. In his only start against San Francisco this season, Jimenez threw a complete-game shutout. Meanwhile, Nationals rookie Stephen Strasburg will have one more chance to impress NL All-Star manager Charlie Manuel when he faces the Mets. Strasburg finally appeared human in his recent outing, allowing three earned runs on six hits and two walks in a loss in Atlanta.

Hittable Hanson

After a dominant rookie campaign in 2009, Braves righthander Tommy Hanson has hit the second rough patch of his sophomore season. In his past two outings (at White Sox, vs. Tigers), Hanson has failed to pitch four innings and has posted a 17.19 ERA. On May 20, Hanson was pounded for eight earned runs in 1 2/3 innings but responded by going 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA in his next five outings (prior to his current struggles). The first-place Braves hope Hanson can regroup and begin another impressive run when he faces the Marlins at Turner Field this afternoon.

Road Reds

Cincinnati’s season-long 11-game road trip—it won’t play at Great American Ball Park again until July 16—will continue this afternoon at Wrigley Field. The NL Central-leading Reds will turn to righthander Johnny Cueto, who has allowed one earned run in his past two starts (15 innings). However, for the second time this season, Cueto failed to record a strikeout in his most recent outing. This series is a homecoming for Reds skipper Dusty Baker, who managed the Cubs from 2003-06 and took the team to the NLCS in ’03.

Chris Bahr is Sporting News’ baseball editor. E-mail him at cbahr@sportingnews.com.

What to expect in the major leagues today:

All-Star auditions

Stephen Strasburg gets his last opportunity to prove he's worthy of being an All Star.
Stephen Strasburg gets his last opportunity to prove he’s worthy of being an All Star.

The All-Star rosters will be announced Sunday, but a couple of NL starters will be on the mound today hoping to impress. In Colorado, Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez, the front-runner to start for the NL, can cement his status as he goes for win No. 15 against the Giants. In his only start against San Francisco this season, Jimenez threw a complete-game shutout. Meanwhile, Nationals rookie Stephen Strasburg will have one more chance to impress NL All-Star manager Charlie Manuel when he faces the Mets. Strasburg finally appeared human in his recent outing, allowing three earned runs on six hits and two walks in a loss in Atlanta.

Hittable Hanson

After a dominant rookie campaign in 2009, Braves righthander Tommy Hanson has hit the second rough patch of his sophomore season. In his past two outings (at White Sox, vs. Tigers), Hanson has failed to pitch four innings and has posted a 17.19 ERA. On May 20, Hanson was pounded for eight earned runs in 1 2/3 innings but responded by going 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA in his next five outings (prior to his current struggles). The first-place Braves hope Hanson can regroup and begin another impressive run when he faces the Marlins at Turner Field this afternoon.

Road Reds

Cincinnati’s season-long 11-game road trip—it won’t play at Great American Ball Park again until July 16—will continue this afternoon at Wrigley Field. The NL Central-leading Reds will turn to righthander Johnny Cueto, who has allowed one earned run in his past two starts (15 innings). However, for the second time this season, Cueto failed to record a strikeout in his most recent outing. This series is a homecoming for Reds skipper Dusty Baker, who managed the Cubs from 2003-06 and took the team to the NLCS in ’03.

Chris Bahr is Sporting News’ baseball editor. E-mail him at cbahr@sportingnews.com.

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