We are only a few days away from the MLB’s 84th annual All-Star game which will be held in Citi Field, New York City, New York, which is the home of the New York Mets. One of the biggest question marks an All-Star Game manager has to face going into the midsummer classic is who will take the mound in the first inning of the game.
After Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish was placed on the DL this past Sunday with a right trapezius strain, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland now has three real choices for who will start for the American League in this years All-Star game. His top three options are Max Scherzer from the Detroit Tigers, Felix Hernandez from the Seattle Mariners, and Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox.
Mangers are not allowed to announce the starter until the day before the game. But I will break down each players numbers before the All-Star break and give you my pick for who will be the starting pitcher for the American League.
1. Max Scherzer-Detroit Tigers
So far this season, Max Scherzer stat line is this: 13-0 record, 3.o6 E.R.A., 146 Strike Outs, 0.95 WHIP, and has held his opponents to a batting average of .200.
Max Scherzer is the first MLB starting pitcher to start 13-0 since Roger Clemens did it in 1986.
To put Max Scherzer’s season into perspective, he has been tremendous to say the least. He has earned himself the title asDetroit Tigers ace, because The Ace, Justin Verlander, has been shockingly normal, especially of his circumstances. The Tigers are 15-3 when Scherzer pitches — and two games under .500 when anybody else pitches.
In 13 of his past 16 starts, Scherzer has pitched into the seventh inning (or beyond) for the Detroit Tigers. In the eight starts he’s made following a Tigers loss since mid-May, they’re 7-1 (and that one loss from a blown save), with Scherzer allowing 15 earned runs (a 2.37 ERA) in 57 innings.
Scherzer ranks in the top three in the AL in WHIP, strikeouts, strikeout ratio, FIP, opponent average, on-base, slugging and OPS. None of the other starters in this argument can make that claim.
2. Felix Hernandez-Seattle Mariners
So far this season, Felix Hernandez’s stat line looks like this: a 9-4 record, a 2.69 E.R.A, 136 Strike Outs, 1.11 WHIP, and has held his opponents to a batting average of .245.
Hernandez has allowed two or fewer runs in 13 of his 19 starts.
Those are typical King Felix numbers. The only difference for him this year is that he actually has a partner in crime in the rotation who deserves some All-Star starting recognition also. That guy goes by the name of Hisashi Iwakuma.
Hisashi Iwakuma has the American League’s best ERA at 2.60 and leads all qualified starters with a 0.88 WHIP. These numbers were enough to get him selected to the All-Star Game in just his second season since coming over from Japan.
So before Jim Leyland decides on Hernandez to start for the American League, he may have to think twice about King Felix’s teammate Iwakuma from Seattle.
3. Chris Sale-Chicago White Sox
So far this season, Chris Sales stat line look like this: a 6-8 record, with a 2.85 E.R.A, 131 Strike Outs, a 1.01 WHIP, and has held his opponents to a batting average of .213.
If you’re wondering why I have Sale on my list even with his losing record is because of one reason and one reason only: his run support average. Chris Sale ranks last amongst all starting pitchers when it comes down to team run support average , which his is at 2.76 runs scored per game.
I don’t know how the Chicago White Sox players could wake up day in and day out each and every 5th day their ace Chris Sale takes the mound and leave him out there all alone as if he was the only one playing against his opponents.
Every time Sale takes the mound you would think the 24-year-old lefty was pitching for his life out there. In his last six losses, the White Sox have scored a combined 8 runs for Chris Sale. That is an average of 1.333 runs per game.
But it is Sale’s electrifying “stuff” that has him on this list and as one of MLB’s top left-handers currently in the game.
When it’s all said and done, I believe American League manager Jim Leyland will stay in his clubhouse when making the starting pitcher decision for his team in this years All-Star game. Max Scherzer has done way too much for the 1st place Tigers in the American League Central for Leyland to pick otherwise. And besides, Leyland has always been a manager who loves to vouch for his players to be amongst the best in the league, which explains why the Tigers are sending 6 players to the All-Star game in the first place.