All-Star lineups filled with standout after standout

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 15, 2014 - 8:25 AM

 

Chase Utley put an imaginary coin on his thumb and pretended to flip it. Who deserves to start the All-Star Game more, Clayton Kershaw or Adam Wainwright?

“That’s my answer,” the Phillies second baseman said.

It might have been Mike Matheny’s, too. As manager of the Cardinals, he wants to honor his workhorse ace. As manager of the NL All-Stars, he wants a brilliant, shutdown starter to face a power-laden AL lineup. In Wainwright, he managed to do both — even though it meant, for a second consecutive season, denying Kershaw the prestigious assignment.

Making that choice “was not an easy task, even though it may have looked that way,” Matheny said. “A lot of deserving pitchers [are] out there, but none more so than our Adam Wainwright.”

American League manager John Farrell had perhaps a little easier job, especially once Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka was injured last week. The Red Sox skipper has Yu Darvish and Max Scherzer on his staff, but “given what he’s done over his long and successful career, and what he’s doing this year,” Farrell said, he settled on Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, who is 11-2 with a 2.12 ERA.

Hernandez appeared honored by the decision. His catcher, Salvador Perez of Kansas City, seemed even more thrilled. “One hundred percent,” said Perez, like Hernandez a native of Venezuela. “I’m excited to be the first two Venezuelans, pitcher and catcher, to start an All-Star Game.”

The NL battery is more domestic, with Georgia native Wainwright throwing to Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, a Floridian. Lucroy said he has plenty of respect for a technician such as Wainwright, especially in these days when pitchers seem to throw harder every year.

“There seems to be a huge influx of those 100-mph guys,” said Lucroy, chosen by Matheny to replace injured starter Yadier Molina. “Wainwright’s one of those guys who doesn’t throw mid-90s. He stays around 90 [mph], but he’s able to locate so well, he doesn’t need to throw so hard.”

Apparently not. Wainwright has limited the opposition to two runs or fewer in 16 of his 19 starts, and he’s shut them out nine times, including a pair of complete-game shutouts. He’s 12-4 with a 1.83 ERA (second only to Kershaw’s 1.78), and has failed to go at least seven innings only three times.

“He makes it look so easy,” Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek said. “You kind of just smile when he pitches, because it’s like getting a night off. He goes seven at the minimum.”

He’ll go only an inning or two Tuesday, when the All-Star Game returns to Minnesota for the first time since 1985, and then likely give way to Kershaw, the Dodgers’ two-time Cy Young winner who no-hit the Rockies last month and put together a 41-inning scoreless streak. Kershaw had similarly awesome numbers last season but was bypassed then, too, so Mets righthander Matt Harvey could have the honor in Citi Field, his home park.

For Wainwright, the thrills will start with the first batter. Derek Jeter, playing in his 15th and final All-Star Game, will lead off for the American League.

“I’ve been in the big leagues for nine years, and I’ve never faced him,” Wainwright said of the Yankees shortstop. “I’m very excited about it, to say I’ve faced the best. And he’s undoubtedly one of the best to ever play the position, one of the greatest Yankees of all time.”

One of the greatest Twins of all time will throw out the ceremonial first pitch — seven-time batting champion Rod Carew has been given the honor — and then Target Field will be taken over by baseball’s best, including a couple of versatile, powerful lineups. The National League features an outfield of Andrew McCutchen, Yasiel Puig and Carlos Gomez, a trio who can cover ground and launch baseballs into the seats.

The American League has a legend leading off in Jeter, and perhaps the best player in the game, Angels center fielder Mike Trout, right behind him. And the 4-5-6 hitters, Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Nelson Cruz, own some of the longest home runs ever hit in Target Field.

Meanwhile, a couple of native Minnesotans will wrestle with the reality of wearing an All-Star uniform in their home state. Neshek and Twins closer Glen Perkins, once teammates in the Metrodome bullpen, will soak in the cheers of their fellow Minnesotans, a dream neither ever imagined would come true.

  • related content

  • All-Star Live Blog: It's Game Day!

    Tuesday May 20, 2014

    Follow all the action during and around the MLB All-Star Game. We'll have photos, social media and video from in and around Target Field.

  • Kershaw passed over again, but not overlooked

    Tuesday July 15, 2014

    The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw isn’t starting after baffling NL hitters.

  • Streets named for Carew, Puckett find new homes next to Target Field

    Tuesday July 15, 2014

    Signs now identify street blocks near Target Field as Kirby Puckett Place and Rod Carew Drive.

  • Astros' Altuve brings big numbers to big showcase

    Tuesday July 15, 2014

    Astros’ Altuve is undersized, but no longer overlooked

  • Goldschmidt doesn't seek praise, but opposing pitchers pile it on

    Tuesday July 15, 2014

    Arizona’s Goldschmidt is known for his focus, not fanfare

  • Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals throws in the outfield during batting practice Monday before the Home Run Derby.

  • Felix Hernandez:Forms, with Salvador Perez, an all-Venezuelan battery.

  • Adam Wainwright:Gets starting nod, barely, over L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw.

  • Those who endured the rain delay before Monday’s Home Run Derby were treated to a beautiful rainbow over Target Field and the Minneapolis skyline as Twins second baseman Brian Dozier batted.

  • The Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright, the NL’s starting pitcher for Tuesday’s All-Star Game, loosened up in the Target Field outfield.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: K. Herrera 7
San Diego 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 90 FINAL
Orlando 89
Brooklyn 86 FINAL
Boston 100
Washington 100 FINAL
New York 103
Cleveland 92 FINAL
Memphis 96
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Milwaukee 91
Atlanta 117 FINAL
San Antonio 107
Portland 86 FINAL
LA Lakers 94
Phoenix 105 FINAL
LA Clippers 108
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Washington 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close