The Major League Baseball All-Star break is approaching and the St. Louis Cardinals are having a special season so far which includes a number of noteworthy performances from pitchers. Starters Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, and Jake Westbrook have all been among the league leaders in key categories at some point in the first half of the season. Westbrook has fallen off and was sidelined with an injury for about a month, so he will not make the All-Star game, but here is a look at the other’s chances.
Lynn and Miller both had great starts to the 2013 season. Lynn was 10-1 at one point and Miller was top 5 in the league in ERA for much of the first half, but the rookie Miller has slowed in his last 4 starts. Still, Miller had perhaps the best game of any pitcher in the league thus far with his performance on May 10 against the Rockies when he allowed a hit to the first batter he faced, and then was perfect retiring the next 27 he faced for a complete game shutout.
Lynn, an All-Star last year, has received unbelievable run support from the Redbird offense in his starts and has taken advantage of that to be among the league leaders in wins. However his ERA is not outstanding and he has not been as sharp as he was at the start of this year, nor as sharp as he was in the first half of last year. His overall presence has not stood out especially compared to his teammates Miller and Wainwright.
Miller and Lynn would both be viable options as All-Star selections, however there are a number of other solid candidates around the league and ultimately it would be understandable if neither made it. If there was a spot for only one, Miller would be a better option than Lynn this year.
There is no doubt that Wainwright should be an All-Star this season, as he seems completely back from his Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2011. With 10 wins, a top-6 ERA, the fourth most strikeouts, and the most complete games in the league heading into action Friday, the question is whether Wainwright deserves to start the All-Star game for the National League. Wainwright stands out even among the best pitchers in the league with his astonishing walk rate. Wainwright has yielded just 10 walks in 116 innings, just a fraction of the amount allowed by some of his competitors. The main competition for the starting job at the midsummer classic will be Matt Harvey of the Mets, Jordan Zimmermann of the Nationals, and Patrick Corbin of Arizona, and Wainwright is the veteran of that group. Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Cliff Lee of the Phillies would also be decent options, but with so little separating all of these pitchers it would be nice to see Wainwright get the starting spot.
Edward Mujica – Mujica has been the surprise of the Cardinals’ season, filling the closer role which was vacated when Jason Motte got injured. Mujica has been fantastic going a perfect 21 for 21 in save opportunities and stabilizing the St. Louis bullpen. If Mujica had not stepped up, it is doubtful that the Cardinals would be having such a successful season thus far. Mujica has been just as good as any closer in the NL this year, so he should be included in the All-Star game.