My colleage at FanHouse, Jay Mariotti, has a column taking baseball to task for not selecting Stephen Strasburg for the All-Star game.
He makes some good points. In general, though, I come down on the "no" side. Hasn't been there long enough, didn't earn it. Is it a showcase for the players the fans want to see or a reward for a quality half-season? If it is merely a showcase, you can probably pick the participants in March.
That doesn't mean I'm correct.
I must say I was a little surprised when the announcement of Matt Capps making the team flashed on the scoreboard yesterday. No disrespect to Capps, who was certainly lights out during the Nats' good start. His ERA has ballooned in recent weeks and his hits per nine is pretty high. A little better defense and he'd have more saves (who can forget Houston?), a little tougher pitching after some bad breaks/calls and he'd have more saves, too.
I'm not going to rant and say he doesn't belong. His case is probably as strong as any other Nat. I was just surprised. I thought for sure it would be Zimmerman, or Dunn is not Zim. Willingham had a slight chance, I thought, of being the one (and I never thought for a second after that bad June that the Nats would get more than one).
The Nats don't have a dominant player. A number of them are having good years, no one is having a great year. With the Reds' Joey Votto being snubbed, you can't gripe too much about Dunn. A total of 98 Braves make the team but Troy Glaus isn't one of them? Even as those all-star rosters expand, some head-scratching decisions are made
I give Zimmerman a slightly better chance than me of being voted into that final spot. I just don't see the Nats' fan base pulling that off.
As for yesterday's game, I suppose I should thank Craig Stammen for making my point from Saturday about Jee-SUS. The Nats have too many pitchers still who can't get out of their own way. The slightest bit of trouble doesn't get resolved, it gets exacerbated. Strasburg turns what could be a 6-0 deficit into 2-0, keeping his late-sleeping team in the game. Stammen turns 2-0 into 5-0 and all hope is pretty much lost.
Decent long relief by Batista again. Is it time to give him a start just for yuks?
Defensive play in the first by Alberto Gonzalez led to this message from My Son the Braves Fan (with 98 all-stars): Maybe the best defensive play I've seen.
I'm not sure I'd go that far but I'm not sure I wouldn't. That was quite a play.
One more thing while I'm on the game itself. Nats are trying to rally, bases are loaded, Wil Nieves coming up. Yeah, I know all the schools of thought about not using your backup catcher of the day unless you have to - but don't you have to there? Don't you have to bring up Pudge and say to hell with it, try really hard not to get hurt but we need one of your doubles here? Badly?