Jul 1, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) in the dugout before the game against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The votes have been tallied for the All Star Game and the Detroit Tigers will have at least three players and one starter at the festivities in Minneapolis. Miguel Cabrera won the vote at first base to the American League which is a surprise to no one. Cabrera’s .308/.367/.535 split with 14 home runs and 68 runs batted in is just another year for the man many consider to be the greatest hitter walking the planet.
I say at least one starter, because Max Scherzer is also on the American League squad and he may (but probably won’t) get the start once again this year. That honor will most likely go to Masahiro Tanaka or Felix Hernandez who are the two front runners for AL Cy Young as we head toward the All Star Break.
Victor Martinez was voted onto the All Star team by the players which also is not a surprise. Martinez has been the best hitter in the Tigers lineup this year with his .328/.391/.599 split with 21 home runs and 55 RBI. Victor should probably be the starting DH for the AL, but Nelson Cruz earned that honor with his league leading 27 HR and 71 RBI. Martinez has been battling a side injury that has held him out of the last two games against the Tampa Bay Rays, which probably eliminates Martinez from the Home Run Derby and may hold him out of the game completely to play things safe.
Just like I said there could be more than one Tigers’ player starting for the AL, there could be more than three players on the AL squad because the roster that is announced for the All Star Game only kind of resembles the roster that plays in the All Star Game.
Rick Porcello has made it into the Final 5 for the AL vote and will face off against Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Garrett Richards, and Dallas Keuchel. Before Porcello’s implosion on Sunday Night Baseball which definitely hurt his stock, Porcello was 11-4 with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Sunday’s loss took those numbers to a 3.53 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP which are still a career best by a considerable margin.
Porcello’s numbers are good and many in Detroit will believe he was snubbed in the initial vote, but the main thing that set Porcello apart were his 25 scoreless inning streak and his record. Many look at the win as either a stat that means little to nothing, unless it is for your team (see Max Scherzer). The Tigers have started the #PickRick campaign on Twitter where you can vote with the hashtag or you can text a vote by sending A3 to 89269.
I do not believe that Porcello will win the vote, nor should he. Sale is the front-runner at the moment with his 2.16 ERA and 0.870 WHIP. Sale could easily start for the American League, but the only reason he was not put on the roster to start because of a DL stint due to a strained flexor muscle in his pitching arm. Sorry Rick, but since this game matters and the Tigers are all-in this year, Sale is the better choice for the American League. Richards, Kluber, and Keuchel also all have better ERA’s than Porcello and Kluber and Keuchel’s WHIP are the same as Porcello’s.
If Porcello does not win the vote, he could still be eligible for the game because of injuries, drop outs, and Sunday starts. If a pitcher starts on Sunday, he is ineligible to pitch in the All Star Game so Porcello still has hope, even if he does not win the last spot vote.
The biggest Tigers’ snub was Ian Kinsler. Kinsler’s .306/.342/.486 gives him a top 10 average and the best OPS for any AL 2nd baseman. Robinson Cano won the AL vote and Jose Altuve is the reserve and both have had very nice years that are very worthy of an All Star appearance, but Kinsler also deserves to go to Minneapolis. I believe that you can have more than 2 2nd basemen on a roster and Kinsler could also be used as a pinch hitter or pinch runner in the game. Kinsler will probably be added due to injuries or players deciding not to play in the game which will cure the snub, but for now, we can do what fans do best: complain about the game.