The MLB All Star Game in Phoenix is still a turn of the calendar away. We’re barely hanging on to June; the game is July 12. But an interesting scenario has evolved over the last 24 hours.
Most pitchers will adhere to the cliché that it’s all about the team, wins are important, and all the other stuff is secondary. If Cole Hamels says that this week when asked about being in line to miss his second All Star Game, and what could be his first start, I will officially call B.S.
The way the rotation is now set, Cole Hamels is slated to start Thursday against the Red Sox and then again five days later on July 5 against the Marlins in Florida. With an off day for the Phillies on the 7th, they’ll be able to pitch Hamels again on regular rest just before the break on July 10 at home against the Braves. With the midsummer classic two days after that start against Atlanta, Hamels would, by rule, be ineligible to pitch.
The rule brought into play last season by MLB says pitchers who start the Sunday before the game, but are selected as all stars, will be replaced on the roster. That means the National League will be missing perhaps its best pitcher on July 12.
Hamels will say all the right things when it comes to the Phillies decision to want to win games over having one of their aces pitch in an exhibition. Although, with the rule in place that gives the winning league home field advantage in the World Series, this isn’t just any exhibition.
For the Phillies, the odds-on favorite to win the National League, it could provide an interesting scenario a few months down the road.
Looking at it from Rich Dubee and Charlie Manuel’s perspective, it’s a no-brainer. They want their best out there as many times as possible this season, especially after the loss of Roy Oswalt. With the off days lining up just right, it’s unlikely we’ll see Cole Hamels in the game, which is a formality at this point. The only question is whether or not he is chosen to start.
If you were Hamels, wouldn’t that be a tough pill to swallow? Knowing you’re the cream of the crop in 2011; selected to represent your league as it’s best this season, but being unable to show the world what your made of?
Many will say it’s a semi-meaningless game, which is true. But on the other hand, to be selected by your peers is the ultimate honor. And who knows how many of these a guy will see in his career. Hopefully for Cole Hamels, that won’t be an issue.