The All-Star teams were announced, Chris Young allowed four home runs in 2 1/3 innings (giving him a mind-blowing 26 allowed in 60 innings this season), the New York Yankees pounded out 20 hits, and Zach Eflin won his first major league game for the Philadelphia Phillies with a 92-pitch complete game. Our top five:
1. Theo Epstein had a big day. What do you mean? Of the 17 All-Star starters announced on Tuesday, nine of them were acquired by Epstein — all five of the Chicago Cubs starters and all four from the Boston Red Sox. The list:
Of course, all nine names aren’t necessarily deserving All-Star starters, especially Russell, who is at best the third-best shortstop in the National League behind Corey Seager and Brandon Crawford. Still, it’s an impressive list of talent acquisition and doesn’t include Jake Arrieta, acquired in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles; Jon Lester, signed as a free agent; or Dustin Pedroia, who could win the AL’s final player vote.
2. Let me tell you about your sabermetrics … I wrote about All-Star snubs here. There weren’t really any egregious selections this year — the least deserving players chosen were probably Eduardo Nunez of the Minnesota Twins and Stephen Vogt of the Oakland Athletics, but both were their team’s lone representative — but the player selections followed a pattern. In the outfield, they voted in the one-dimensional sluggers over more well-rounded players. In the NL, they voted for Adam Duvall and his 22 home runs but low OBP and Carlos Gonzalez and his 19 home runs in Coors Field over players with a higher WAR, such as Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Christian Yelich of the Miami Marlins. In the AL, glorified DHs Mark Trumbo and Carlos Beltran were voted in over George Springer, who has 19 home runs of his own and plays good defense, and Adam Eaton, who has a higher OBP and good defense but less power.
What the votes show is the players collectively still have little understanding of things such as OBP in the case of Duvall, or park effects in the case of Gonzalez, or defense in the case of Beltran and Trumbo. No, I don’t want to hear that the players know other players more than we do. You don’t play that many games against non-division opponents, so there’s no way they really get more than snapshot glimpses of most players around the league. They’re looking at the numbers and not really looking past the home run and RBI columns.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 6, 2016
3. Will the Detroit Tigers even show up on Wednesday? This is one of the amazing things of the 2016 season: After beating the Tigers, 12-1, the Cleveland Indians are now 11-0 against them, the first team to start 11-0 against a divisional foe since the Toronto Blue Jays went 12-0 against the Baltimore Orioles in 2010. That wasn’t quite as crazy, because the Orioles were 66-96 that year. The Tigers are playing over .600 baseball when they don’t play the Indians. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say the Indians and Tigers are equal, and each game they play against each other is a separate event, unique from the other game. The odds of the Indians winning 11 in a row — think of a coin coming up heads 11 times in a row — is one in 2,048, or .00049 percent. Incredible. And how about this double play, which I don’t think I’ve seen before:
Defensive gems tonight!
Here’s the 4-6-5 from the 5th, Frankie’s stop on its way.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 6, 2016
4. Giancarlo Stanton has power. But we knew this! He homered twice and drove in five runs as the Marlins beat the New York Mets. One of the home runs registered 119.7 mph off the bat, the second-fastest in the majors this year behind a Mike Trout home run, and reached an apex of just 52 feet; the other reached 129 feet and reached the second deck in left field at Citi Field. Here they are. Stanton didn’t make the All-Star team, but we do have this:
Giancarlo Stanton said, if asked, he would participate in Home Run Derby #Marlins
— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) July 6, 2016
Yes, MLB, please ask.
5. Jose Reyes debuts for the Mets. He played third base, hit leadoff, and went 0-for-4. I’ll repeat my take: I don’t think he has much to offer, and that’s just as a baseball player. I don’t think he can offer anything more than Wilmer Flores does at the plate and probably gives you worse defense. The Mets also confirmed that they control Reyes for 2017 as well. ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin has the report on Reyes’ return to Queens. Does Reyes deserve a chance at redemption? Mets GM Sandy Alderson believes “he is a good person at heart,” one worthy of a second chance. Others disagree:
Standing ovation and some “Jose, Jose, Jose” chants for Reyes’ first AB. Sorry, folks, that’s a little much under the circumstances.
— Peter Botte (@PeterBotte) July 5, 2016
If you gave Jose Reyes a standing ovation at CitiField tonight, please tell us: what did he do to earn your energetic applause?
— Wendy Thurm (@hangingsliders) July 5, 2016