The top four strikeout pitchers in the American League this season are Detroit right-hander Justin Verlander (147 Ks), Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez (140 Ks), Tampa Bay right-hander James Shields (137 Ks) and New York left-hander C.C. Sabathia (126 Ks).
Guess how many of them pitched in the All-Star Game Tuesday night? None. And that stinks.
All four of those men started for their respective teams Sunday afternoon, and there's a stupid MLB rule that bars any pitcher who throws Sunday from pitching in the Tuesday game. It's ridiculous.
With their four best pitchers unavailable, is it any wonder the American Leaguers lost 5-1 to the National League?
As a fan, I want to see the best players in the All-Star Game. On Tuesday, the AL trotted out such luminaries as David Robertson, Jordan Walden, Chris Perez, Brandon League and Gio Gonzalez.
Are those good pitchers? Yeah, sure. But none of them can carry the jock of the four guys I mentioned earlier.
A couple of pretty decent National League pitchers were prohibited for pitching because of this stupid rule as well -- San Francisco right-hander Matt Cain and Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels.
Hamels, quite rightfully, was pissed about not being able to participate.
"I'd love to pitch," Hamels said. "Tuesday is a bullpen day. It's usually the day I feel the best. It's one of those things where people who don't play the game make the rules. I don't think they understand the way we work out and how we train. When you come you want to play. Most of us are pretty smart; we're not going to injure ourselves in an All-Star Game.
"I'd be all for it. I have to throw a bullpen anyway. And it's only one inning. That's the thing. It's not like I'm going out to throw 60 pitches. As strenuous as it is, we're built to throw a hundred and 25 is nothing."
Exactly. Instead of making up dumb rules designed to save people from themselves, MLB should allow each individual pitcher to make a decision on whether they are available to pitch in the game. These are grown men. These are pitchers who are at the very top of their profession. They don't need "protection" from the league.
If the All-Star Game is going to decide homefield advantage for the World Series (another stupid rule), then all the best guys should be out there. That's the bottom line.