The Orioles won’t have a starter named to the American League’s All-Star team unless Adam Jones or Manny Machado make an incredible run over the next few days. Sort of like Forrest Gump without the long beard, short shorts and what I can only imagine was some hellacious body oder.
Machado should be a shoo-in as one of the reserves, and I’d expect Jones to join him. It’s mind-bending how Jones is more than 800,000 votes behind the Royals’ Alex Rios, who’s batting .211/.240/.263 in 31 games.
One of Jones’ teammates joked that it’s his own fault for being out of the lineup last week with a sore shoulder. If he had just kept playing ...
Relievers Zach Britton and Darren O’Day deserve to be included on the AL roster. Britton has a better shot because he’s a closer who’s 22-for-23 in save opportunities and is sporting a 1.93 ERA in 32 2/3 innings.
O’Day’s stats jump off the page, including the 1.21 ERA this season and three earned runs allowed in his last 28 appearances over 26 2/3 innings, but he’s the guy who always gets overlooked when it’s time to dish out the honors. And the rule requiring every team to have a representative in the All-Star Game further limits his chances.
Pitchers and reserves for both teams are determined through a combination of player ballot choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers.
“I think the postseason really helped, just the relievers in general,” Britton said. “What Andrew Miller did before he was a closer and what Wade Davis is doing. Darren. I think it really shined a light on how important it is, what the relievers do every day. Dellin Betances was selected.
“I think Darren’s got a shot, too. Just really depends on what players on the other teams, what they’re seeing. A lot of times they just look at saves and that’s how guys select. Even guys around here, sometimes they’ll just go ahead and look at stats and see where guys line up. But I think if people would really look and see who’s worthy of it, they’re going to run across guys like Darren and be like, ‘Wow, how is this guy not an All-Star?’ Throughout his career, not just this year. But I think it’s getting a little easier for those guys to get selected and they’re not just looking at what closers are doing.”
Britton cherishes his time at home with wife Courtney and 9-month-old son Zander, but he’d happily make the trip to Cincinnati for the All-Star Game.
“It just seems like it’s difficult and weird how they select the pitchers and relievers, I guess, so I haven’t really thought about it too much,” Britton said. “If it happens, obviously it would be really special, but I try to keep my expectations in line and just focus on pitching well through the break and kind of seeing what happens.
“I’ve been around guys I felt like, ‘Well, he should be an All-Star,’ guys like Nick (Markakis) who’s never been an All-Star and you don’t know why. So, nowadays with the voting and how it’s done, you’re unsure what going to happen, but like I said, if I get selected that would be great. If not, just enjoy the break.”
Britton has heard the uproar over the Royals’ high vote totals and the ensuing fallout. The subject came up again yesterday with Machado and Jones again the only Orioles appearing in the latest balloting update.
“It comes down to fan voting,” he said. “You credit the Royals fans even though it’s kind of crazy how out of whack it got, but their fans are out there voting. If you want your favorite players to get there from a position player standpoint, then you’ve just got to go out and vote.
“Jonesy definitely deserves to be a candidate in there. And what Manny’s done over this stretch and over the course of the season. I know he’s really getting hot right now, but he’s an All-Star without a doubt in my mind, so it’ll be interesting to see where they are in the fan voting.”
Miguel Gonzalez gets the start tonight for the Orioles. He’s gone 4 1/3 and five innings in his last two outings, though the former was abbreviated due to a groin injury.
Gonzalez is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA in three career starts against the Rangers. The current group is 10-for-43 against him.
Mitch Moreland, who homered twice last night, is 3-for-8 against Gonzalez. Adrian Beltre is 1-for-9.
Rangers starter Colby Lewis has allowed three earned runs or fewer in all five starts this month, going 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA in 35 innings. He’s 1-4 with a 6.35 ERA in eight games (six starts) against the Orioles and 0-3 with a 5.74 ERA in five games (four starts) at Camden Yards.
J.J. Hardy is 5-for-15 with two doubles and two home runs against Lewis. Delmon Young is 4-for-13 and Jones is 4-for-15 with a double and home run.
Young was 1-for-16 in his last eight games before his single last night in the fourth inning.