Can’t find much to argue with in the All-Star Game starters. Dan Haren has had an amazing run and been consistent all season, while Jake Peavy has been just as dominant. And as a National League fan, I’m hoping Haren’s uncharacteristically “rough” outings in his last two starts carry over. Peavy may have lost his last two decisions, but he hasn’t given up more than three runs since June 7.
Sadly, John Maine never got the call. Two pitchers backed out, but John Smoltz was replaced by Roy Oswalt and Brandon Webb took the spot of Brian Fuentes. Both were taken, I understand, because they were the next pitchers named on the player ballots who did not make the team. By that logic, I assume NL manager Tony La Russa chose the five pitchers for the Final Vote the same way, which means Maine didn’t get the backing of the players to be among the top five pitchers left off the team. He’ll just have to go out there and put up a 10-1 record in the second half — that would be 20-5 — and show everyone. It was also interesting how Oswalt was added to the team a few hours before the Final Vote ended, meaning it was clear that he was not going to win that competition, which Chris Young rightly did. But why make that announcement before the voting ends? Can’t figure that one out.
La Russa admitted that he made choices based on the game’s importance. Brad Hawpe gets a three-day break while Aaron Rowand is an All-Star because he plays center field. And Freddy Sanchez is a repeat representative because he can play three infield positions. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather see the best players in the league at the All-Star Game, rather than the best players who fit the manager’s style. Another reason the stupid tie-in to World Series home-field advantage needs to go.