Sunday, July 3, 2011
Jered Weaver voted to All-Star Game
By Mark Saxon
The All-Star rosters are rarely about what's fair -- the big East Coast teams' fans usually stuff the ballot box for their guys and fame often carries greater weight than numbers -- but it's increasingly about competition.
That explains why, of the Angels' two fringe All-Star possibilities, Howie Kendrick got the nod over Dan Haren to travel to Phoenix and join teammate Jered Weaver.
Now that the game counts for something -- home-field advantage in the World Series -- the managers have a bit more incentive to field their best teams. It makes a lot of sense to skew your pitching roster toward relievers over starters, so -- despite tying for the ninth-best ERA in the AL -- Haren will stick to the temporary vacation plans he made with his family.
Relievers -- especially closers -- are used to getting warm quickly and locking down an inning at a time. Haren admits in his previous All-Star appearances he found it awkward to get warm before entering the game in relief. The one he enjoyed most was the 2007 game in San Francisco, when he started for the AL.
The Angels can only hope Weaver gets the nod to start -- he probably will -- because that's what he's used to doing. He'll have all the time he needs for his pregame routine.
In the last week or so, Haren was rooting for Weaver to get the starting nod. AL manager Ron Washington has some time to figure that out. Haren found starting to be less stressful than pitching in relief, which he did in St. Louis and New York.
"Everyone is expected to perform at the highest level and it's baseball. Somebody has to fail," Haren said. "Those are tough innings, but I really think [Weaver] deserves to start."
Kendrick gives Washington another valuable asset -- a guy who can hit and play multiple positions. Kendrick has rotated between second base, left field and first base for the Angels this season. Entering Sunday, he wasn't hitting like a utility guy: .307, eight home runs, .837 OPS.
Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com.