The All-Star game will be played with designated hitters which put Giancarlo Stanton in as a starter tonight with Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins and 4 Nationals players. That makes for 60% of this NL All-Star line-up from the NL East and 40% from the Washington Nationals. In a traditional 9 man starting line-up, the 4 Nats starters would make up an astounding 44.4% of the line-up. If Max Scherzer looks over his left-hand shoulder before the first pitch (assuming no shifts), he will see all Nationals players.
The Nationals had 5 players named to last year’s All-Star team, and this year sets a Nationals franchise record for the most starters (four). Bryce Harper led all players in votes again this year which again leads to those reports leading into Bryce’s 2015 MVP season of “overrated”.
“I’m humbled by it,” Bryce Harper said of his 5th selection. “This will be great to be part of.”
What might be great for Harper, his teammate Daniel Murphy is just at his second All-Star game after finding success later in his career.
“I definitely think it’s a team honor,” Daniel Murphy said. “We’ve played really well this year, and to have this many representatives, I think, is a reflection on how good our ball club is.”
For Ryan Zimmerman as we wrote yesterday, it is 8 years for him between All-Star appearances and some very humbling moments and a change in positions on the diamond. In the 2009 All-Star game, Zimmerman was thought to be one of the best defensive 3rd basemen in baseball, and he has endured much to get to where he is today after numerous injuries and slumps and dealing with the reality that baseball wasn’t going to change for Zimmerman — he had to change to baseball. Zimmerman’s batting average was dropping as teams were defensing him tactically based on predictor charts taken from his spray charts of where groundballs and flyballs were going. This year Zimmerman increased his launch angle to much success and the ball was flying for him during April and May.
“Sports are funny,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “To go through the injuries, a different position and a completely different spot in life, it’s fun to think what’s happened since then. It’s a crazy path to get back. Any time individual awards or honors can be experienced with teammates makes it more special.”
Max Scherzer, like Bryce Harper, is now an All-Star for the 5th time and he is the reigning Cy Young winner and now getting the rare chance to start an All-Star game for both leagues having done it before as a Detroit Tiger.
“Does it still resonate with me? Yes.’’ Scherzer told USA TODAY Sports about his critics. “But it’s not my motivation. My motivation is not to go out there and prove people wrong. Basing your results on somebody else’s negativity is not the best way to have success.
“That’s fool’s gold to use that.
“For me, you have to be driven to win, and that goal to win, is much stronger than anything anybody else can say.’’
For Stephen Strasburg, this is his 3rd All-Star selection, but he has only pitched in the 2012 All-Star game, and after being struck on his hip on Saturday he became questionable to pitch today, but he says he is fine. The initial reports were slightly exaggerated as the ball he said caught him on “the meaty part of the hip”. Still, Strasburg says it’s no guarantee that the manager will pitch him tonight given all of the options.
“As far as I know, I’m available,” Stephen Strasburg said. “I don’t really know what the plan is. There’s a lot of pitchers here. If I get in, that would be awesome. But if I don’t, then I don’t.”
That is 18-combined-years of All-Star game selections with these 5 Nationals, and every one of them wishes Gio Gonzalez and Anthony Rendon were named to the All-Star team. Gio Gonzalez has at least been part of 2 All-Star teams — Anthony Rendon hasn’t had the honor.
“[Anthony Rendon] should be the starting third baseman for the National League this year. Definitely,” Bryce Harper said. “Nothing against Nolan Arenado or anybody else that’s there, but that guy has had an unbelievable first half. He’s kept us in ballgames, had innings to win ballgames, played a great third base and just done everything all around for us. I know he’s excited to go back to Houston and get some rest of course, but he should be down in Florida with us. It’s definitely a bummer, but he’ll get his chance.”
This is the starting line-up for the National League team:
- Charlie Blackmon CF
- Giancarlo Stanton DH
- Bryce Harper RF
- Buster Posey C
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Nolan Arenado 3B
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Marcell Ozuna LF
- Zack Cozart SS
Max Scherzer RHP
This All-Star game won’t determine home-field advantage for the World Series; however, there is a small prize as the winning team tonight will share $20,000 each which is $4,000 less than the average game check for an average player, but consider $20,000 for 162 games is $3,240,000 and some of these players will have spent more than the $20,000 to fly family in for this game. For players like Max Scherzer it is all about the pride, and for Ryan Zimmerman, this means a lot more. To every player, the All-Star experience has a different significance, and for the fans, most can’t wait for real baseball to resume!
By the way, it was reported by Forbes magazine that both Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper will both receive from the Washington Nationals checks for $100,000 each as All-Star bonuses. Just add that on to the Nationals 2017 payroll expense!
UPDATE: In a first, FOX interviewed Bryce Harper while he was playing rightfield as the game was in progress. Bryce turned the conversation to football and the Cowboys.
— Sports Funhouse (@SportsFunhouse) July 12, 2017
Earlier in the week you heard from Bryce that he does like to stir it up. This could have been premeditated or it just popped into Bryce’s head, but any time a Washington athlete talks about the Dallas Cowboys it will surely stoke the flames. John Wall did it and Bryce Harper does it over and over again. The odd thing is he now has his own hometown team in the Las Vegas Raiders (coming soon) which also drew the ire of Las Vegas residents who are already fired up for their very own football team.
“I do that to the media because they stir it more than I do. That’s why I do the things I do at times, because it’s funny to me. It’s like, ‘All right, people want to talk about this and talk about that. Why not just throw this out there and make them think about it?’ ”
Bryce, you did just that today on a very slow sports day. Instead of talking about Robinson Cano’s home run they are talking about you.
“I’m so truthful with what I say, so I don’t have to put on a cape or an act or whatever — like I’ve got to be a different person kind of a thing. Of course, I [B.S.] sometimes, because I have to. But things about the future and things like that, I don’t shy away from it. I’ve always said: I enjoy playing in D.C. But as much as it’s my choice, it’s the team’s choice as well.”