Originally written July 17, 2013 on Fox Sports South:
Entering Tuesday night's All-Star Game in New York City, the NL East-leading Braves felt a bit slighted by just two All-Star nods -- or three, depending on how you quantify injury replacements. After the game was played, perhaps they should feel a bit misrepresented. Dominant closer Craig Kimbrel, who has earned 26 saves with a 1.53 ERA this season, was the only Atlanta player to log any playing time. His results were far from ordinary. Manning the eighth inning for a National League team already trailing 2-0, Kimbrel allowed an earned run on three hits to the AL All-Stars -- the big hit coming off the bat of Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, sailing just over the head of NL left fielder Domonic Brown. It was the first run Kimbrel has allowed in three All-Star appearances. He also forced a double play and logged a strikeout (his third career All-Star K). The American League would go on to win by the final score of 3-0, securing home field advantage in the World Series, piling on yet another underwhelming All-Star result for the title-contending Braves. But with Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman, who won MLB's Final Vote with a record 19.7 million votes but sat out the game with a thumb injury, and catcher Brian McCann (injury replacement for Freeman) not making an appearance, the feeling of misrepresentation likely stems from Kimbrel's uncharacteristic outing. Even though he's fallen off his historic 2012 numbers, Kimbrel still boasts the sixth-best reliever ERA and 13th-best FIP in baseball. Heck, he's given up just 12 doubles in 763 opponent plate appearances. It all just felt ... strange. McCann was eligible to play for NL manager Bruce Bochy, but he never replaced Yadier Molina (Cardinals) or Buster Posey (Giants). The seven-time All-Star selection has just one hit in seven All-Star at-bats; however, that one hit plated three runs and earned him the 2010 All-Star MVP trophy. The Braves (54-41) enter the second portion of the season with a six-game lead in the NL East. Atlanta re-starts its regular schedule with an interleague series against the Chicago White Sox, starting on July 19.
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