Mike Matheny’s decision over in the National League was a tough one, but American League manager John Farrell had an easy call for tomorrow night’s starter: Felix Hernandez.
Seattle’s ace will start the All-Star game after going 11-2 with a 2.12 ERA in 20 starts, including a 154/25 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.
Chris Sale is the only AL starter with a lower ERA than Hernandez, but the gap is 2.08 versus 2.12 and Hernandez has thrown 50 more innings.
This is Hernandez’s fifth All-Star game, but his first start at age 28. He won the Cy Young award in 2010, but not only didn’t he start the All-Star game that season … he didn’t even make the All-Star team.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?