For the first time since 2005 the Milwaukee Brewers will be represented by just one player at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
And the Brewers aren’t too pleased about it.
Left fielder Ryan Braun will be the lone Brewer headed to Kansas City for the Mid-Summer Classic, but for the first time in five years, he wasn’t elected as a starter.
Neck-and-neck with Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera for the final starting spot in the NL outfield, Braun was actually edged out for the final starting spot by Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. Braun finished 107,005 votes behind Kemp. Melky Cabrera finished first with a surge in voting last week.
However, that’s not what had the Brewers talking after the game.
It was right-hander Zack Greinke not being chosen for the squad that had Brewers manager Ron Roenicke surprised and disappointed.
The 28-year-old former Cy Young Award winner is 9-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 16 starts for the Brewers in 2012, but was not chosen by NL manager Tony La Russa.
“I don’t like how the thing is run,” Roenicke said of the All-Star Game selection process. “I think it is great that the fans vote, but you get in some big cities and fans vote for their guy, which they should, and the guy that is more deserving doesn’t get in or maybe isn’t starting.”
Roenicke broke the news to Greinke and the whole team before the game. It was taken with shock and disbelief.
“It is very surprising,” Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo said. “He has been throwing the ball very well in this first half. When we found out he wasn’t going there were a lot of guys who were surprised that he wasn’t going. We know what kind of stuff he has, he should have been there. That’s just how it goes sometimes.”
In an interview with MLB.com, La Russa explained why he didn’t take Greinke and Reds starter Johnny Cueto, but part of his reasoning was factually wrong. His first argument was the amount of quality pitchers in the league.
“That’s exactly right, those are the two guys (who were close), and there are others that you could point out,” LaRussa said. “There was something to consider: both Greinke and Cueto are pitching Sunday. When you’re splitting some pretty fine hairs, that worked against them.”
If a pitcher starts on the Sunday before the All-Star Game, he is ineligible to pitch in the game. However, Greinke is actually scheduled to start Saturday in Houston, making him eligible.
“I think every year somebody is upset somewhere,” Roenicke, who will be on La Russa’s coaching staff for the All-Star Game, said. “The manager has tough choices. He always has somebody upset with him. If you don’t pick your own guys, then your own team is upset with you. If you pick them over somebody that’s more deserving, you have them upset.
“It is a really tough thing to do, to pick an All-Star team and be fair to everyone.”
Greinke also wasn’t chosen to be one of the five players up for fan vote for the final All-Star Game spot. With no National League pitcher starting the Sunday prior to the All-Star Game, thus ineligible to pitch, Greinke’s only hope to make the roster would be if one of the pitchers pulls out with an injury.
Kemp is doubtful to start due to an injury. According to Major League Baseball, the player that would fill in Kemp’s starting spot would be the next highest vote getter on the players’ ballot.
That would be Braun, meaning that he is likely to start the game regardless of not being voted to do so.
The reigning National League MVP is hitting .313 with 22 home runs and 55 RBI this season, but Roenicke had no problem with the three guys chosen to start over Braun.
“I think Melky Cabrera is having a great year,” Roenicke said. “Ryan feels the same way, Melky deserves it. That’s not an issue. They picked three great outfielders.”
The last time the Brewers had just one representative in the All-Star Game was 2005 when Carlos Lee was the club’s lone selection.