Now that the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game is in the books, the attention of baseball fans can move to the second segment of the regular season and some exciting pennant (and wild card) races.
I will break down three of the most common gripes.
Wong and Carpenter Snubbed
Complaint: Second-place finishers in the voting, specifically Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter, were snubbed by the players, NL manager and MLB for not being selected as reserves and for being left off The Final Vote ballot.
Reaction: The fans get to pick the eight position player starters. That is it. MLB players and the manager of the World Series team from the prior year are empowered to fill out the roster. MLB sets The Final Vote competitors for the fan ballot.
Those are the rules. Deal with it.
Only the most arrogant of fans would believe that two of their favorite team’s players should be among the five on The Final Vote ballot. Besides, had one or two other Cardinals been among the choices along with eventual winner Carlos Martinez, chances are very good they would have split the vote and none of them would have made it.
The reality is that both Wong and Carpenter have been scuffling. Wong suffered a concussion in Chicago recently and Carpenter has been dealing with fatigue this season. The extra rest received over the break is going to be more important to St. Louis this season than whatever small effect they may have had on the All-Star Game and resulting home field advantage in the World Series.
No Cardinals Pitched in the Game
Complaints: MLB’s best staff was disrespected by not getting to pitch. Since the Cardinals were the best pitchers, they deserved to appear.
Reactions: I disagree. The major reason is the same one with which I closed the above section. All three Cardinals All-Star pitchers are young, throwing a lot of innings in 2015, and therefore, are at risk of burning out by October. It is great they got to ride in the parades and suit up, but better for the Cardinals they did not pitch in Cincinnati.
Look back to last season when All-Star manager Mike Matheny started Adam Wainwright and pitched Pat Neshek in relief. The two Cardinals gave up all the AL runs in the 2014 All-Star loss for the NL. It is not like their pitching resulted in any positive outcomes for anyone.
To those who insist Wacha and Martinez are better than the arms NL manager Bruce Bochy chose to pitch in the 2015 game, again I disagree. With home field riding on the outcome, Bochy had as much motivation as anyone to try to win.
The NL used five starters to pitch six innings: Zack Greinke, Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, Clayton Kershaw and Jacob deGrom. At that point, the NL was down, 3-2. I had no issue with any of those stars pitching.
With all the relievers on the roster, both the AL and NL finished the game with three relievers. In hindsight, though K-Rod was not the losing pitcher, his time was when the game seemed to get away.
A least one poster on The Cardinal Nation message board specifically believes that Martinez should have gone ahead of Bumgarner and Kershaw, because he is a “better pitcher.”
I don’t see it that way. To me, Martinez is not better than Bumgarner or Kershaw. He may be hotter right now and maybe sometime down the road, he could eclipse them. However, outside of St. Louis, I do not see anyone complaining about them pitching instead of Martinez.
Bochy pitched his team’s star, Bumgarner, just as Matheny called on his guys the year before. Kershaw has simply been the best pitcher in the game for the last year, or three years or probably five years. A young guy with a half-season of success like Martinez isn’t going to push them aside.
Where is Thursday baseball?
Complaint: Some are upset that the second half schedule does not begin on Thursday instead of Friday because they are impatient for games.
Response: Is there any other team in all of baseball that seems to need a prolonged rest more right now than the Cardinals? The club has eight players on the disabled list, with several getting close to returning. As noted above, a number of others still active seem to be running on fumes.
The bottom line
In the 14 games since their last pre-All-Star break day off, on June 29th, the Cardinals are 5-9. During that time, their divisional lead shrunk from nine games to 2 1/2.
At this point of the season, extra rest for everyone associated with the Cardinals makes a lot more sense to me than the alternatives. Those who disagree need to step back and consider the big picture.
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