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Monday, July 5, 2010

All Stars

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?


Anonymous said...

Capps was selected by player vote. Of the three possible ways to get in (fan vote, player vote, manager selection) that's probably the one most indicative of how worthy a player is to be considered an All Star. (I'm presuming that it's at the manager selection level where they take care of the political business of ensuring that every team has someone, which means not all those guys are truly worthy.)

And here's a thought about the whole Strasburg brouhaha. Right now being an All Star is baseball's equivalent of winning an Oscar. If they start manipulating the process to get flavors of the month like Strasburg in, being an All Star becomes equivalent to winning the Peoples' Choice Award. Who even remembers who won those two days later? And it's no disrespect to call Strasburg the flavor of the month either, because right now that's what he is. Some flavors of the month do stick around to become classics, but the process needs to play out first.

bdrube said...

Regarding Stammen: I know the Nats' desire is to find out which of their plethora of soft tossing young pitchers might develop into long term contributers, but Stammen has proven he is not one of them. He now has 33 career starts (the equivilent of a full season). His line is 6-10, 5.37, 86K in 182.2 IP. Compare that with Matt Chico's career line of 6-12, 4.95, 128K in 220 IP and you pretty much have the same guy except that one is a lefty.

So I really don't want to hear any more garbage from the team about the injured starters not having a guaranteed spot when they return because the guys in there now are getting the job done.