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Cain, Verlander named All-Star starters

Jul 9, 2012, 6:19 PM EDT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez are going to pitch in tomorrow night's All-Star Game, they'll have to do so out of the bullpen.

National League manager Tony La Russa named Giants right-hander Matt Cain his starter today, with American League skipper Ron Washington selecting Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

Strasburg and Gonzalez appeared to be candidates for the honor earlier this summer, but each faded a bit over the last month. Strasburg was 9-1 with a 2.48 ERA after his June 20 victory over the Rays, but he's 0-3 with a 4.80 ERA over his last three starts. Gonzalez is tied with the Mets' R.A. Dickey for the NL lead with 12 wins, but his ERA over his last seven starts is 4.28.

La Russa's selection of Cain (9-3, 2.62) over Dickey (12-1, 2.40) stirred up some controversy, particularly in New York. The retired Cardinals skipper (who was given permission to return to manage this exhibition game) cited the familiarity between Cain and Giants catcher BusterRead more »

  1. JaneB - Jul 9, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Man, I would have played Dickey absolutely. But Tony knows more than I do, so….Just as long as he brings us home field advantage. Not kidding around about that, either.

  2. peric - Jul 9, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Crappy infield defense behind Cain with Sandoval and Uggla. He gets to suffer with that.

  3. Drew - Jul 9, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    That AL lineup looks a lot more imposing.Speaking of pitchers, Giolito is one of six first-round picks still unsigned ahead of Friday's deadline.Get 'er done.

  4. peric - Jul 9, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    You want the better gloves with the Knuckleballer i.e. Desmond. That includes the catcher. Posey isn't the best defensive catcher in the NL.

  5. peric - Jul 9, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Speaking of pitchers, Giolito is one of six first-round picks still unsigned ahead of Friday's deadline.Hope for the best but don't expect that to happen. The guy could trundle off to college and try to earn a first round college slot and more money. With the CBA the way it is I don't think it'll work for Lucas Giolito but you never know.

  6. peric - Jul 9, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    So, now Pudge doesn't believe Rizzo will shut Strasburg down? But he has to … absolutely, positively shut him down. You don't want to take any risks with that arm. Other than the potential in Meyer there isn't another one like it in the Nat's organization and only the Tiger's have the equivalent.Again, why I see the Lerners and Mike Rio pursuing Grienke (or he could surprise us by finding someone younger and better) to replace Strasburg in the rotation this year and continuing on for the next few. Pulling the plug suddenly on something that is evolving and progressing into something very special could hurt the entire team if they end up regressing as a result. I think he has to find a better solution than CM Wang and it isn't John Lannan that's for certain.

  7. MicheleS - Jul 9, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Molina opted out of the AllStar game because of a death in the family. So who is going to catch Dickey now? JaneB.. agree as long as Tony wins home field advantage for us, don't really care ;-)

  8. MicheleS - Jul 9, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    From Boz's chat a snippet about getting another starter:The Nats only want a starting pitcher in trade if he's exactly who they want and they can sign to a multi-year extension immediately. That's very unlikely. I mentioned that in the chat last week. Mark Lerner talked along those lines last week. This is a long-term team. After watching Greinke get ejected after FOUR pitches because he spiked the ball in anger after a close play at 1st went against him, it just reminded me of what a jerk he can be with teammates at times. Remember he showed up Jerry Hairston after an E5 in the playoffs last year. He's the anti-Gio Gonzalez. All that plays into decisions.

  9. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    dickey's regular catcher should replace Molina.

  10. baseballswami - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    I know we all want Rizzo to have everything lined up and figured out right now.But it seems to me that these situations are very fluid, with things changing almost daily as to who is available. John Lannan could start to pitch his butt off and be the answer, Wang could figure things out, some team could crash and burn and offer up someone we don't know about right now. Rizzo has his finger on the pulse all the time and will act if the situation is right or stand if that looks like the prudent thing to do. And as for Gio and Stras fading a bit, didn't cain fade a bit against us? Still – he seems to be the right guys – Dickey might be a nightmare for the catchers – and we want the NL to win!

  11. natsfan1a - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Bring Doug Mirabelli out of retirement, get him a police escort to the game, and…what? :-)

  12. NatsLady - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Rizzo will shut Stras down. Stras is already tired, and he won't get less tired in the heat of August. Look at JZ, and you can see how improved he is, and you can imagine what Stras will be like next year, with more stamina and maturity (by which I mean ability to not let foolish stuff happen and get to him). This is a non-starter. On Boz' article last week he had a vote and the fans were 84% in favor of the shutdown, I call that a landslide. Try to remember he is only TWENTY-THREE.

  13. NatsLady - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    I know some people don't like the ASG determines the home field advantage, but how exciting is it that Nats players and FANS have SKIN in the GAME!!!!

  14. David - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Hey guys. Does anyone know where I can find information about the scoreboard tributes to the 1924 World Series champs that was played during the game last Thursday? Are any clips available? I'd like to learn more about the '24 team…

  15. Steady Eddie - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Another interesting item from Boz's chat, for the very miniscule "bench=Rizzo fail" contingent here:For the season, the entire Nats bench __defined as "every at bat in every game by somebody who was NOT in the starting lineup that day"__ [OPS] is around .830, or the Same as the career numbers of LaRoche or Zimmerman. (Thanks to John Dever.)I added OPS because that was the obvious stat intended.I wouldn't have thought it was that high with Tracy on the DL for the past month, but IIRC Shark actually has a pretty good average as a PH, and Ankiel will even get an XBH off the bench every half-dozen or so PH PAs. (It's all the bad PAs when they start that drive you crazy.)

  16. baseballswami - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Even though the subject of SS shutting down is beat to death — and it will be beaten to death even more this next two days — I remember an interview early in the season with Jordan, he said that he felt like he could pitch more last season and didn't quite understand until spring training. That's when he realized how important it was and I am guessing that Rizzo and co. are seeing the fruits of that decision with him right now. Others outside the organization, for whom JZim is invisible, don't realize that he is a template for Strasburg. The Nats are seeing how well the plan worked so why wouldn't they repeat it? I wish some of these people who think they know what they are talking about would interview Jordan.

  17. NatsLady - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    So I'm listening to various podcasts and they are speculating about the NL wildcards (Cards, Dodgers, Mets, etc.) No one talks about who is going to win the NL East… All we have to do is keep it together, folks, just keep it together!

  18. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    David, 'Baseball' by Ken Burns or 'The Big Train' by Walter Johnson's grandson are good places to start. One is video and other is a book. Been a while since i seen either but I remember they had a mention of 24 world series in the episode about 20s baseball.

  19. NatsLady - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Stephania Bell (who is excellent on ESPN Fantasy Baseball) was asked how long does a cortisone shot last? She had no good answer, because no one really knows, and after all, Zim had a shot before that didn't work. She said it could be that the one shot helped him "get over the hump" and he may not need another. She also said they would only give two or three MAX in the same place because of long-term damage.

  20. NatsLady - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Here is the link to Stras on ESPN 980 today (audio)Stras on ESPNhttp://www.stationcaster.com/player_skinned.php?s=65&c=428&f=610951

  21. baseballswami - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    I heard a lengthy discourse ( sorry , I forgot where, I have heard so many) about the cortisone shots only risking long-term damage if they go into muscles or tendons. That's why Nady is shut down – his was in a tendon. I am pretty sure it was Rizzo talking about cortisone in a joint to relieve inflammation not posing a problem. They were talking maybe once a month if needed. Zim seemed to indicate that they shoulder wasn't that bad anymore but had caused him to fall into bad habits and he could not go about his daily routines. This may have been a one-time thing and now he is back in his regular routine.

  22. NatsLady - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Gio–On Bryce Harper’s firefighter aspirations:“What month does he want to be on the calendar?”Wapo has the link to the entire interview, funny stuff.gio-gonzalez-explains-the-deer-pose-celebrationhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/post/gio-gonzalez-explains-the-deer-pose-celebration/2012/07/09/gJQAr1snYW_blog.html

  23. baseballswami - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    I can't quite get used to all these nats interviews and nats articles and lots of attention being paid. It's just strange. Bryce was on 106.7 and as usual, handled himself well.He talked about the clown question thing very eloquently. He actually did find it to be a disrespectful question and was not trying to be funny. For once, the radio morons seemed to accept what he said and respect it. When you hear all of our guys speak, they are thoughtful and well spoken. Even though they did not all go to college, they sound intelligent.The ones that did go to college went to real schools like UVA and Stanford. Great representatives of the organization. Rizzo must be busting his buttons. It was quite funny on the Stras interview when he said that he thought maybe he should just record his answer about being shut down and play it for everyone.

  24. Natslifer - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    God I love this team – best record in the NL and not a single starter in the All Star game. What a great, collective group of players we've got.

  25. peric - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    I suspect Rizzo is looking around for a young high-ceiling starter on a team like the A's, the Astros, Twins, Padres (with the sale there are going to be money issues), etc. It just wouldn't make any sense for him not to. Picking a 4th to go with the Big-3 and then next year and beyond filling in the final 2 from prospects they have heading into the high minors seems like the best strategy at this point.If not for Kasten they could have had Matt Moore instead of Lannan 2 years ago when TB was willing to give him up for Adam Dunn. Imagine Matt Moore in this rotation? Yes, there would be no Storen … but …

  26. peric - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    She also said they would only give two or three MAX in the same place because of long-term damage. As I stated before, morbidity is the big risk with that kind of treatment.

  27. NatsLady - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Shawna Thomas ‏@ShawnaNBCNewsDuring interview w/ @JimSnyder_NBCLV tdy, POTUS gives Bryce Harper a shoutout: "I know folks are really proud of him. He's doing great."Thass our boy!

  28. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    After Rizzo's double coup last year, picking up both Gio and Ejax late, you never know what else he might pull off next. They have converted Ryan Perry to a starter at Harrisburg, and he has a 1.63 ERA, and pitched 5 scoreless last night. They do not need any more relievers, and Perry has the stuff to be a starter. There really is no one else in the system right now – Meyer is not ready.It's early July, and Stras is likely to still be around in late August or early September. Can't believe they made Perry a starter without thinking about late summer. He has more stuff than Lannen or CMW, and is the kind of power pitcher Rizzo likes. He looks like Rizzo's hole card, just in case he can't make a trade, and Lannen or CMW don't pick it up.All they need is someone to get them through the end of the season. They can go with JZ, Gio and Ejax, or Det, post-season. I see the Nats as NL East champs, either way, but post-season will be tough without their best arm.They are right to shut SS down, though. JZ was fabulous. His stuff and command were both there yesterday. NatsLady is right, SS will be that much better and that much stronger next year.

  29. Secret wasian man - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Natslifer. Great point. I actually don't like the allstar thing. I'd rather stay under the radar. That's not the case now.

  30. Secret wasian man - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    Natslifer. Great point. I actually don't like the allstar thing. I'd rather stay under the radar. That's not the case now.

  31. natsfan1a - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. natsfan1a - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    baseballswami, thanks for the report on Bryce's interview. I don't listen to sports talk radio, but I've heard anecdotes about how those guys talked about him in the past. grrr…I agree that our guys sound intelligent, though I'd also opine that one needn't attend college, even a "real" one, to do so. In fact, I happen to have a number of in-laws who didn't pursue formal education beyond high school but were lifelong learners and, imho, highly intelligent. Further, I'm not sure exactly what a real college might be but I'm pretty sure that I didn't attend one. Anyhoo, I love all my Nats no matter where or how long they went to school. That is all. ;-)baseballswami said…I can't quite get used to all these nats interviews and nats articles and lots of attention being paid. It's just strange. Bryce was on 106.7 and as usual, handled himself well.He talked about the clown question thing very eloquently. He actually did find it to be a disrespectful question and was not trying to be funny. For once, the radio morons seemed to accept what he said and respect it. When you hear all of our guys speak, they are thoughtful and well spoken. Even though they did not all go to college, they sound intelligent.The ones that did go to college went to real schools like UVA and Stanford. Great representatives of the organization. Rizzo must be busting his buttons. It was quite funny on the Stras interview when he said that he thought maybe he should just record his answer about being shut down and play it for everyone.July 09, 2012 4:12 PM

  33. Firm Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa - Jul 10, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    I agree that our guys sound intelligent, though I'd also opine that one needn't attend college, even a "real" one, to do so. In fact, I happen to have a number of in-laws who didn't pursue formal education beyond high school but were lifelong learners and, imho, highly intelligent.a little brains, a little talent…

  34. Squiffy - Jul 10, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Besides, all good Hokies know that UVA isn't a real school anyway…I kid, I kid.

  35. Frediemac - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Sandoval better than Zimm NO CHANCE!

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