Upset by All-Star snub, Rafael Soriano says he’d turn down an invite as a roster replacement

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Rafael Soriano is among the various players “snubbed” from the All-Star game, which apparently upset the Nationals closer and quite a few of his teammates, but if MLB decides to select him as a last-minute injury replacement Soriano plans to turn them down.

James Wagner of the Washington Post describes Soriano as being “confused” by the snub and here’s how the closer described his feelings:

In this job, nothing is given. What I’ve got, I’ve earned. No one has given it to me. Things are not given. The all-star game isn’t given to anyone. There are some pitchers who can’t pitch because they have to pitch on Sunday. I’m not going anymore. If the manager comes and tells me tomorrow, I’ll say I’m not going because I don’t want to be given anything. Things are not given, they’re earned. And if it’s by numbers, look up at the numbers of all the closers. Where am I? I’ll go home and spend three, four days there and I’ll forget about this.

Odds are pretty decent that Soriano would have been chosen as a replacement, since injuries and pitching schedules knock numerous players out of the mix every year in the days leading up to the game. Seemingly half of the “snubs” end up getting in anyway.

Soriano is certainly deserving of an All-Star spot with a 1.00 ERA and 33/11 K/BB ratio in 36 innings to go with a decade-long track record of excellence, but tons of relievers have great first halves every year and more so than any other position/role the competition is fierce. And spending a few days at home in the Dominican Republic with his family isn’t the worst thing ever.

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A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.