You know that the fans and the other decision makers didn’t think too highly of Los Angeles’ two major league baseball teams when only one player from the Dodgers and one player from the Angels were chosen to go to the All-Star Game, which will be played at Citi Field in New York on Tuesday, July 16.
The Angels’ Mike Trout was voted into the Mid-Summer Classic as a starter by the fans, and he certainly deserved it as his numbers are among the American League’s leaders:
* A .322 batting average, second in the league only to Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers’ .365,
* 29 doubles, second only to Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles’ 39,
* 118 hits, which ranks third in the league, and…
* 21 stolen bases, which is good for fourth in the league.
After a slightly slow start, the young outfielder has picked up where he left off in 2012 as he has been a bright spot in the Angels’ so-far dismal season, one in which they find themselves, at 44-49, 11 games behind the Oakland A’s in the A.L. West.
Meanwhile, National League manager Bruce Bochy chose Clayton Kershaw as the Dodgers’ lone representative to the All-Star team.
The Dodger ace’s 8-6 record doesn’t look spectacular at first glance as he has been a victim of poor run support, but his other numbers have stood out as among the best in the league, particularly his 1.98 earned run average as that not only ranks as the best in the N.L., but in all of baseball.
His other stats likewise justifies his selection:
* 139 strikeouts, second in the league only to Matt Harvey of the New York Mets’ 147, and…
* Three complete games, tied for second with the Washington Nationals’ Jordan Zimmerman. Only the St. Louis Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright has outdone Kershaw with four complete games.
When one thinks about it, the Dodgers’ bad start, combined with the high expectations that the team had back in April, the injuries suffered to guys like Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford, and the fact that Bochy, as the manager of the rival San Francisco Giants, was really not expected to name any more Dodgers to his all-star team than he absolutely had to (read: Yasiel Puig), contributed to only one guy in a Dodger uniform going to New York.
Sure, L.A. has come on like gangbusters as of late, their 17-5 record over the past three weeks or so, lifting them from last place to a .500 record (47-47) and second place, 2 1/2 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks, but I reckon that as far as all-star selection was concerned, it was a case of too little, too late.
Not that there weren’t any other Dodgers and Angels that could have gone to the game, because there were:
Howie Kendrick definitely should have been picked as a reserve on the A.L. squad as the Angels’ second baseman, along with Trout, has been the biggest bright spot in Anaheim.
His .310 average, 11 home runs and 40 RBIs are easily at or near the top among the players at his position, but I suppose the rule saying that each MLB team must have at least one representative on the all-star squad kept him out.
Hanley Ramirez has been incredible with the bat for L.A. with his .386 average, but injuries to his thumb and hamstring, which has limited him to only 39 games to date, were the main factors in the Dodger shortstop getting snubbed.
And Adrian Gonzalez’ 14 homers and 59 RBIs lead the Dodgers, but unfortunately he’s also on the annual list of deserving players who are passed over.
Although the All-Star Game means more than in years past, with the winner getting home field advantage in the World Series, in the long run not going to New York for the festivities is probably a blessing for Kendrick, Puig, Ramirez, and Gonzalez, for one important reason:
Those players – and every other Dodger and Angel – can get the rest and healing that they need in order to be ready for the upcoming stretch run.
And that is ultimately more important than what is, at heart, an exhibition game.