Four St. Louis Cardinals – pitchers Adam Wainwright and Pat Neshek, third baseman Matt Carpenter and catcher Yadier Molina – were named to the 2014 National League All-Star Team. The club’s representation was down from six the year before.
In the fan voting, Molina defeated all challengers. As such, the 31-year-old, considered by many to be the game’s very best at his demanding position, was set to make his sixth consecutive appearance in the Midsummer Classic, fourth as a starter. A subsequent thumb injury that put Molina on the disabled list sidelined him for the July 15 contest in Minneapolis, as well.
Based on the Cardinals’ NL pennant-winning performance in 2013, manager Mike Matheny was the 2014 NL all-star skipper. That also gave him a number of roster selections, including two used on his players.
Carpenter, selected by his manager, received his second consecutive All-Star nod at his second position. At the time of his selection, Carpenter led the Cardinals with a .378 on-base percentage, ranked second among NL leadoff hitters with 32 RBI and was among the league’s top 10 in runs scored and walks.
Wainwright, named by his peer players to the NL squad, participated in his third All-Star Game. In fact, Matheny named him the NL’s starting pitcher. At the time, the Cardinals right-hander was tied for the most wins in the league with 11 and led the league in ERA with a stingy 1.89 mark.
Neshek, signed as a free agent during the off-season to a make-good minor league deal, was named an All-Star for the first time in his eight-year career. The 33-year-old right-hander had put up the lowest ERA (0.77) and WHIP (0.57) of all NL relievers with at least 30 innings pitched when named to the squad by Matheny.
The selections backfired as Wainwright and Neshek combined to allow all five American League runs in the 5-3 All-Star Game loss for the NL. Carpenter did not appear in the contest.
Ultimately, all ended well for the Senior Circuit as the advantage gained by the AL in the All-Star Game victory did not matter in the end. San Francisco defeated Kansas City in the World Series despite the Royals having home field advantage.
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