Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 6/10/13
Mlb_indians_at_2209
At least Jim Leyland has one easy decision with his American League All-Star pitching staff: Mariano Rivera leading the league with 23 saves in the final year of his historic career is as close to a no-brainer pick as one could imagine. Leyland wont have Rivera start the game as a tribute, as has been suggested by some. He would, however, like Rivera to get the ball with a ninth-inning lead July 16 at Citi Field in the MLB All-Star Game on FOX. Given the success of that strategy over the past 17 years including four All-Star saves its hard to argue with him. Anyhow, Leyland is lucky to have one stress-free selection. Hes certain to face a number of pitching predicaments, with less than one month before the July 7 roster announcement. One obvious dilemma: Leylands Detroit Tigers have four of the leagues top eight starters, according to the pitching WAR rankings on FanGraphs.com. Will Leyland have room for each of Detroits (new) Four Tops, given that every AL team must be represented by an All-Star? Or will he make the agonizing decision to leave one of his deserving starters home? I hope I sneak in there, said Justin Verlander, the AL starter in last years Midsummer Classic. And he wasnt joking. To have four All-Star starters from the same team would be unprecedented in the Expansion Era. The 1942 Cincinnati Reds were the last team to do it, according to STATS LLC. That happened only after Paul Derringer replaced Ray Starr on the National League roster. But Verlander believes the Tigers could have three, maybe four starters on this years All-Star team, and I agree. Verlander concurred with my assessment that Anibal Sanchez (first in pitching WAR) and Max Scherzer (third) should be locks if the team were selected today. That leaves Verlander (fourth in WAR) and Doug Fister (eighth) in limbo. I know that, dealing with Jim, he plays who deserves it, said Fister, 23-14 with a 3.03 ERA in 49 games since arriving in a July 2011 trade with Seattle. Thats a great attribute: He takes care of any guy in baseball who deserves it. If it comes to that day and I deserve it, Ill be ecstatic and very honored. If not, Ill be cheering on my teammates and ex-teammates and wishing well for them all. When Leyland last managed the All-Star Game in 2007, he prioritized that seasons performance over career rsums. And he relied heavily on the results of player balloting in making the few managers selections he was afforded. Verlander actually ranks fourth among Detroit starters with a 3.71 ERA, behind Sanchez (2.65), Scherzer (3.24) and Fister (3.27). After Sanchezs last start, Scherzer said, To me, right now, hes the best pitcher in the American League. Verlander has made five All-Star teams. His fellow starters have made none. If their 2013 statistics are almost equal, would Leyland give one of his starters the recognition of becoming a first-time All-Star at the expense of Verlander, his Game 1 starter in two World Series and the planets highest-paid pitcher? It wouldnt be hurt feelings, Verlander said. Obviously, I want to go. Ive enjoyed every time Ive been. Its a lot of fun. At the same time, Id be extremely happy for my teammates. I dont think any of them have ever been. Im not saying you take anything for granted. Its an unbelievable experience. I want to experience it every time I possibly can during the course of my career. But if Im not there, Ill be cheering on my teammates like heck. If you think that sounds like a concession, well, it wasnt. Verlander also said this: Hopefully I can go out and have a couple dominant starts and make it a non-issue. It could be weeks before Leyland knows how much flexibility he has to pick the team. He must carry a minimum of 13 pitchers. The player ballot elects eight five starters, three relievers leaving five picks to the manager. But Leyland wont have complete autonomy over those picks, if certain teams dont have an All-Star position player and must be represented by a pitcher. Chicago (Chris SaleJesse Crain), Cleveland (Justin Masterson), Houston (Bud Norris), Kansas City (James Shields) and Seattle (Felix HernandezHisashi Iwakuma) could match that description. Another consideration: Because of a rule change last year, pitchers who start on the Sunday before the All-Star Game arent automatically disqualified from the active roster. For those pitchers to become eligible, though, the All-Star manager must agree on a one-inning limit or pitch count with the pitchers team. To put it another way: Leyland would need to get clearance from uh Leyland for SanchezScherzerFisterVerlander to pitch in the All-Star Game if one of them starts on the final Sunday of the first half. Leyland could deny himself that permission and replace a Tiger with a Tiger if he wants to maximize the number of Detroit pitchers in New York. But its a little early to start plotting out those scenarios, especially with Sanchez missing his most recent start due to a tight shoulder muscle. While having four Tigers starters on an All-Star team would be historically significant, National League manager Bruce Bochy took four of his San Francisco pitchers back in 2011. The difference then was one (Brian Wilson) was a reliever, along with starters Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong. Bochy probably wont have a Giant-laden staff this time around. Madison Bumgarner is the only San Francisco starter with an ERA below 4.00, although Sergio Romo (16-for-18 in saves) is a candidate out of the bullpen. After so much theorizing, I might as well say how I would select the All-Star staffs today, with two conditions: Im limiting myself to 14 pitchers per league assuming one injury or Sunday replacement and Im not abiding by the universal representation dictate (Leyland and Bochy wont be as fortunate). AMERICAN LEAGUE Starters (10): Clay Buchholz, Boston; Anibal Sanchez, Detroit; Max Scherzer, Detroit; Justin Verlander, Detroit; Felix Hernandez, Seattle; Yu Darvish, Texas; Derek Holland, Texas; Hiroki Kuroda, New York; James Shields, Kansas City; Doug Fister, Detroit. Relievers (4): Mariano Rivera, New York; Joe Nathan, Texas; Jesse Crain, Chicago; Glen Perkins, Minnesota. NATIONAL LEAGUE Starters (9): Adam Wainwright, St. Louis; Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles; Matt Harvey, New York; Cliff Lee, Philadelphia; Shelby Miller, St. Louis; Patrick Corbin, Arizona; Mike Minor, Atlanta; Jordan Zimmermann, Washington; Jeff Samardzija, Chicago. Relievers (5): Jason Grilli, Pittsburgh; Edward Mujica, St. Louis; Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta; Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati; Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia. All subject to change, of course.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL denies sending Donald Trump letter about schedule

Michael Bennett calls out NFL stars for not speaking up on social matters

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker