Tigers' ace deserves AL All-Star start, even if it won't grab headlines

Detroit Tigers v Cincinnati Reds
Detroit Tigers v Cincinnati Reds / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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On Sunday, Tarik Skubal was selected by player vote to make his first All-Star Game appearance this year in Texas alongside fellow Tiger Riley Greene. While Skubal getting a tap was a no-brainer, he's also now the presumptive favorite to start the game for the American League as they take on National League heavy hitters Bryce Harper, Shohei Ohtani, and co.

Skubal's been the best thing about the Tigers' pitching, if not the entire team. He's made 18 starts and pitched 110 innings for a 2.37 ERA, and he put a very fine point on not only the fact that he was deserving of an All-Star selection but deserving of a start when, on Sunday, when he pitched seven innings against the Reds and struck out 13 batters while only allowing one run in a game Detroit won 5-1.

Although this all seems obvious to Tigers fans, it could be easier to overlook when other AL teams are sending the likes of Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes and hot trade deadline chip Garrett Crochet, and the NL has new phenoms in Paul Skenes and Shota Imanaga, as well as lights-out veterans Tyler Glasnow and Ranger Súarez.

Tarik Skubal's presence at the All-Star Game shouldn't be underestimated even if the face of highly touted opponents

Pitchers like Skenes and Imanaga, who Skubal could very well be matched up against in the likelihood that either are tapped to start, do have a certain novelty that Skubal doesn't have. Skenes is the league's golden boy, MLB's No. 1 pitching prospect who's been able to bring the same dominance we saw in his college and minor league career to the majors. Imanaga played second fiddle of fellow countryman Yoshinobu Yamamoto on the free agent market this past offseason, but he's been better and has had more longevity this season despite his age.

Skenes and Imanaga are fantastic pitchers who are both deserving of a start in the All-Star Game. However, it's difficult to watch baseball commentators riding so hard for Skenes in particular when he's only made 10 major league starts so far this season, whereas 2024 is Skubal's fourth full year in the majors and he's only gotten better with age.

Skubal starting for the AL in the All-Star Game might fall by the wayside if his opponent is Skenes, but Skubal's dominance this season with hardly a waver shouldn't be overlooked by fans. Even if he doesn't get the start, there's no one better to represent Detroit on the 16th.

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