As I sat at my computer anxiously awaiting Charlie Manuel's decisions on this year's National League pitching staff, I wondered whether or not the Phillies' skipper thought Josh Johnson would make the team.
Would Javier Vazquez sneak in? Who would he choose as the last relief pitcher? One wonder that I did not think I had to consider was whether or not Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee's ace, would be on this year's team.
After all, he has one of the most impressive resumes of any pitcher in the National League, has his team in first place, and has done it all under the spotlight of following in C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets' footsteps.
I refreshed the page at brewers.com and saw that Prince Fielder had been chosen as a reserve at first base behind "The Machine", Albert Pujols. I clicked on the link and scrolled down the list of reserves at each position.
With no big surprises in the American League, I went to the National League pitching staff only to find that Gallardo had been left off the staff while the lone Cubs' representative, Ted Lilly, had made the squad.
Under Bug Selig's revisions, one player from every team in the Major Leagues must be represented in the Midsummer Classic. I understand this rule completely and, while I do not agree with it, realize it is there and must be followed.
I had never really cared about the rule because, for the most part, the manager of each team got it right. However, I am taking a stand this year and saying that the rule needs to be changed and that the best thirty three players in each league need to play in the game, regardless of the team they play for.
Lilly is having an average year for a Cubs team that has failed to meet expectations. Going into the year as the sure-fire favorites in the National League Central, the Cubs sit 2.5 games out of first but are barely floating above .500.
Their offense has been one of the worst in the National League this year and no one outside of Derrek Lee was going to sniff the All-Star Game. Because of the outstanding seasons Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Adrian Gonzalez are having thrown in with Manuel coaching the team, Ryan Howard was bound to get in. Lee missed out on making the team.
In the Cubs' rotation this year, Lilly has been the best and most consistent pitcher, with no one in the bullpen being even remotely close to deserving an All Star bid. It makes sense that he would be the choice for the All Star Game.
However, the fact that Gallardo will watch the game from his television set instead of in the bullpen at Busch Stadium is an outrage and a reason why the rules need to be switched.
Let's take a look at the numbers and see how Manuel could have chosen Lilly over Gallardo as a pitcher in this year's All Star Game. First and foremost, Gallardo's ERA sits at 2.75, good for sixth in the National League. Only seven pitchers in the NL have an ERA under three, with four of those making the All Star Game. Lilly's ERA sits at 3.34, which places him 15th in the National League.
In the same amount of starts, sixteen, and the same amount of innings pitched this year, Gallardo has more strikeouts, 114 to 88, a better opponents' batting average,.193 to .242, less home runs allowed at 11 to 16, and the aforementioned ERA.
Their WHIP's are almost identical at 1.13 for Lilly and 1.15 for Gallardo, which all but cancels out the walk differential. Gallardo has walked twice as many batters, at forty six, as Lilly.
Lilly has twelve quality starts compared to Gallardo's ten, but Gallardo has given up three runs or less in 14 of 16 starts, while Lilly has done so in only 12 of 16 starts.
For some icing on the cake, Gallardo is batting .129 at the plate with two home runs and four RBI's as compared to Lilly's .083 batting average with just two RBI's. In the field, Lilly has five errors to give him a .737 fielding percentage and 15.684 zone rating while Gallardo has zero errors and a 22.071 zone rating.
In case you were wondering, zero errors gives Gallardo a 1.000 fielding percentage.
The difference between Lilly and Gallardo is not night and day, and Lilly has done a pretty good job on the hill for the Cubs this year.
That being said, there is no way one can overlook the performance Gallardo has had this year and say it has been worse than the Chicago lefty.
Once again, the rules say that one player from every team must be represented, and because of that I know why Lilly is in the game. However, something needs to change in order for the game to be more fair.
If the All-Star Game is going to count for something as big as home field advantage in the World Series, then the best players need to be playing in the game.
It goes back to my article saying something needed to change about the game. If a player from every team is going to be represented and fans are able to vote in who they want, make it a fun game meaning nothing, but if the MLB wants this game to mean something, then Gallardo deserves a ticket to St. Louis, not Lilly.
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