All-Star Starters: The Managers Got It Wrong


There are a lot of things I could say about the All-Star Game and its flaws – the voting system, the managerial system, etc.

That being said, the biggest issue I’ve had this year is the selection of starting pitchers.

I know that I’m a Mets fan, which obviously inclines me to support R.A. Dickey as it is. And Matt Cain is certainly a deserving candidate – he’s had a stellar year for the San Francisco Giants and a perfect game is nothing to scoff at, but the numbers don’t lie, nor do the stories.

R.A. Dickey has been the best story in baseball this year. He’s overcome a dark past and personal struggle to craft his pitching career and helped carry the Mets to one of the most surprising seasons in the MLB.

Let’s compare the numbers:

Record: Dickey 12-1, Cain 9-3

I’m not a huge fan of using Win-Loss as a concrete stat in determining pitcher value, considering pitchers don’t get wins without runs, but take a peek at the records anyway. Dickey has lost one game and is tied for first with Gio Gonzalez for wins at 12. Cain’s record is certainly respectable, but it doesn’t hold against Dickey’s.

ERA: Dickey 2.40, Cain 2.62

There’s not too big of a difference here, but Dickey still has the edge. Both pitchers have thrown 120 innings.

Strikeouts: Dickey 123, Cain 118

Once again, not much difference. But note that Cain has faced more batters than Dickey at 473 to 462 respectively.

Walks: Dickey 26, Cain 24

Home runs allowed: Dickey 9, Cain 12

Finally, let’s take age into consideration: Dickey 37, Cain 27. Dickey has had a career year and he’s getting up there in age. Luckily, he’s a knuckleballer so he may be able to extend his career longer than a normal pitcher, but if he’s approaching the end of his career, why not give him the start?

More importantly, if his numbers and his stories are better, why not give him the start?

A similar argument could be made in the case of the AL starters, as Justin Verlander was given the ball, though many feel it should have been Jered Weaver. Let’s compare:

Record: Verlander 9-5, Weaver 10-1

Once again, the guy with the better record wasn’t picked. And while this is a flimsier stat to judge off of, it’s still a concern that having just one loss means nothing.

ERA: Verlander 2.58, Weaver 1.96

I don’t think I can say much about this, because these numbers pretty much speak for themselves. Granted, Verlander’s thrown more innings at 132.2 to Weaver’s 96.2 and Verlander’s started three more games.

Strikeouts: Verlander 128, Weaver 73

This one is no surprise, given that Verlander is a strikeout machine.

Walks: Verlander 30, Weaver 22

Home runs allowed: Verlander 11, Weaver 5

Age: Both pitchers are 29 years old.

Obviously, Verlander is a prime candidate when it comes to discussions of AL All-Star pitchers, considering he’s arguably had the best career. But if you ask me, Weaver’s having a better year and should be the one starting tonight.

Of course, it’s not up to me; it’s up to Tony LaRussa and Ron Washington. But should it be?

It seems that there are some clear issues when it comes to All-Star voting. The casual fans have too much say in the process and the managers are put in a tough position when choosing players.

In this case, a fan vote for starting pitcher might bring out the more in-depth fans, as casual fans may not care who starts, as long as certain players make the cut overall. Or maybe a fan vote would fail miserably and someone like Ubaldo Jimenez would be nominated to start.

Either way you look at it, the managers messed up. And while Dickey and Weaver may never admit it, I’m sure they’d agree.


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