After the 2014 All-Star game, there was a since of bitterness around Washington D.C., and rightfully so. The Washington Nationals entered the break in a tie for first in the NL East with the Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately, the Nationals only had one player selected to represent them in this game, a game that determines home field advantage for the World Series.
During the original selection process, Jordan Zimmermann was the only Nat to be elected an All-Star. After he left his last start in Philadelphia with a bicep cramp, it was clear he would not be available to pitch in the mid-summer classic. St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny then selected Miami Marlins’ starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez as Zimmermann’s replacement, and it appeared as if the Nationals would not have anyone participating in Tuesday night’s contest.
After all was said and done, Washington reliever Tyler Clippard was selected as a replacement by Matheny. However, the All-Star game still did not turn out in the Nationals favor.
Tuesday night proved why the All-Star game should simply be an exhibition. As most (if not all) of the attention was on Derek Jeter, the American League seemed destined to win from the start.
Matheny was met with criticism after he chose his own St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, Adam Wainwright, to start the All-Star game over Los Angeles Dodger starter Clayton Kershaw. Also, Matheny’s controversial decision to add Cardinal reliever Pat Neshek was criticized by a contingent of National League fans.
All five runs conceded by the National League on Tuesday evening’s 5-3 loss were given up by Cardinals pitchers. As Matheny’s roster moves already irked many Nats fans, the fact that the Nationals lost the possibility of home field advantage as a result of poor Cardinals pitching only made the frustrations grow.
Though the All-Star break did not go as Washington would have liked, it is time to refocus on the second half of the season. Home field advantage throughout the playoffs is no longer a possibility, but the Nationals could still win the NL East, and grab the best record in the National League.