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Zimmermann named All-Star, Rendon in Final Vote

Jul 6, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

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A Nationals club that boasts the NL’s fourth-best record but fewer dominant performances by individuals so far this season received only one All-Star selection Sunday evening: right-hander Jordan Zimmermann.

There’s still a chance of more Washington representation at Minnesota’s Target Field on July 15, with infielder Anthony Rendon one of five candidates in the NL’s Final Vote competition. But barring a Rendon victory or injury substitution by someone else, the Nationals won’t play a major role in this Midsummer Classic.

“We’re pretty much a first-place team, and we’ve only got one guy. I think that’s a little odd,” center fielder Denard Span said. “We’ll see what happens. Hopefully Rendy gets on and we’ll have two guys representing the Washington Nationals.”

The most-surprising development from the Nationals’ perspective: No members of the majors’ top bullpen were selected. A case could be made for any of three late-inning relievers: closer Rafael Soriano (1.03 ERA, 21-of-23 in save opportunities) and setup men Drew Storen (1.33 ERA after giving up a run Sunday) and Tyler Clippard (1.89 ERA).

“It’s a joke, to be honest with you,” said Clippard, who had a 1.86 ERA at the time of his selection for the 2011 All-Star Game. “I don’t know who’s going to make it. I’m sure there’s a lot of worthy guys out there in the league that have done really well, but what Soriano has done this year, there’s no way he doesn’t make the All-Star team in my opinion. The guy’s got [almost] a 1.00 ERA and 21 saves. It’s incredible that he didn’t make it. …

“It’s eye-popping stuff. You have to take notice. Somebody didn’t take notice, and it doesn’t seem right. But I’m not making those decisions. It’s just surprising.”

Cases could also be made for Adam LaRoche, who ranks third among all NL first basemen with a .883 OPS and fifth among all NL players with a .401 on-base percentage, and Ian Desmond, who leads all NL shortstops with 53 RBI and ranks second with 15 homers.

In the end, with no position players voted on by fans, and no others selected in the player vote, NL manager Mike Matheny was left to choose one guy off the roster and went with Zimmermann.

“I’m sure Mike took a hard look at everybody that’s deserving and available,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “Regardless of whether they are added or something happens, we’re proud of the way they have performed.”

The guy who did get picked earned the selection based off an absolutely dominant five weeks on the mound. After a May 28 loss to the Marlins, Zimmermann sported a 4.07 ERA and questions about his suddenly hittable repertoire.

But in seven starts since, including Sunday’s six scoreless innings against the Cubs, Zimmermann has posted a sparkling 1.26 ERA with 46 strikeouts and only seven walks. Overall, he’s now 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA, ranking in the NL’s top 10.

“Five weeks ago, I was thinking I’d be home having a little vacation,” the right-hander said. “I just started throwing strikes and locating a lot better. The slider finally came back. I didn’t have it for a month-and-a-half. I was able to get that back, and that’s a big pitch for me.”

This is Zimmermann’s second career (and second consecutive) All-Star selection, but this will mark his first opportunity to actually appear in the game. Though he attended last summer’s event at New York’s Citi Field, he was held out due to a lingering neck injury that continued to bother him into the second half of the season.

“Last year, being the first time, I wanted to [pitch], but I was a little banged up,” he said. “This year, it’s going to be good.”

Zimmermann, who grew up only three hours from Minneapolis in tiny Auburndale, Wisc., figures to have plenty of friends and family in attendance at Target Field. Teammates and fans in Washington have known it for some time, but the rest of the baseball world is starting to recognize just how good the 28-year-old has been over an extended period.

“He’s been so consistent for the last four or five years,” third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “He deserves every bit of credit he’s gotten.”

Zimmerman played in the 2009 All-Star Game and he was in the Final Vote in 2010. This will be the sixth straight year in which a Nationals player is in that competition; none of the previous candidates won: Cristian Guzman (2009), Michael Morse (2011) Bryce Harper (2012) and Ian Desmond (2013). (Harper did make the 2012 game as an injury replacement.)

Rendon faces stiff competition this year in online voting that runs through Thursday: Marlins first baseman Casey McGehee, Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Braves outfielder Justin Upton.

The case for Rendon: He’s hitting .282 with 12 homers, 21 doubles and 50 RBI, all while bouncing between second and third bases in his first full season in the major leagues.

“I just think he’s played really well,” Williams said. “The fact that he’s in that final grouping says a lot about his season and the way he’s played. He’s handled himself very well for being a very good player. He certainly deserves consideration, that’s for sure.”

The happy-go-lucky Rendon isn’t making a big deal out of this and insisted he won’t be openly campaigning for himself.

“It would be pretty cool,” he said. “I’m not getting my hopes up. I’m not getting my highs too high or my lows too low. There’s definitely a lot of guys who are deserving, especially on that list. I don’t think I should make it. I should be home.”

  1. David Proctor - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    Given the apparent…let’s say lack of enthusiasm…about Soriano’s signing, I respect Clippard a lot for going to bat for him like that.

    • knoxvillenat - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:06 PM

      +1

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:41 PM

        +2

      • therealjohnc - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:05 PM

        +3

    • janebeard - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:26 PM

      Totally agree. Clippard is awesome on and off the field.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:25 PM

      me too

  2. knoxvillenat - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    How do we vote? Can we vote early and often?

  3. naterialguy - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    The true stars playnin October

  4. manassasnatsfan - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    2 best closer percentage wise in NL SNUBBED

  5. David Proctor - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    Sale and Rendon are apparently teaming up.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Br5lPvyCcAAlQOt.jpg

  6. unkyd59 - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    Instructions:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2014/fv/mobile.jsp

    Just voted for Tony

  7. Nats Amore - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    Looking at the NL roster, I guess Rendon got squeezed out by virtue of Daniel Murphy being the only Met on the squad ( no Wright, how odd that seems). The rules and goals of the ASG are so muddled and conflicting. I never cared for the minimum one player per team rule for this reason.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      Wow, Daniel Murphy got the nod in front of Jon Niese. Niese has put up top of the Majors numbers in a hittiers ballpark.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:21 PM

        Niese is on the DL

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:28 PM

        No way. Missed that one. Didn’t stop Wieters ;)

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:57 PM

    “We’re pretty much a first-place team, and we’ve only got one guy. I think that’s a little odd,” center fielder Denard Span said.

    “It’s a joke, to be honest with you,” said Clippard.

    Well said by both of them. Combine the 2 statements and it’s “We’re a first-place team (almost) and we’ve only got one guy and it’s a joke to be honest with you”.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:10 PM

      I don’t know. I don’t mind under the radar stuff.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:10 PM

      I don’t know. I don’t mind under the radar stuff.

  9. NatsLady - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    Soriano wasn’t even mentioned in the SNUBS!!! Talk about being invisible.

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24609604/all-snub-team-national-league

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:36 PM

      There is no way werth is a snub. I am saying this without looking at any overall stats but werth was pretty brutal before this current success.

      • NatsLady - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:45 PM

        You’re kidding. Werth was having a career year in April-May and start of June. He had a terrible three weeks.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:51 PM

      I have to look at his stats again. I was pretty sure that he was struggling for more than just three weeks.

      • NatsLady - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:59 PM

        Every week I report on who is the Nats best offensive player for the week and for the season. Week after week it was Werth. Here is how it stood the first week of June.

        Nats Stats Week 9

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      Yep, may wasn’t that great. 110 wRC+ which is good but his ops was .734 as compared to April .827

      • NatsLady - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:10 PM

        His defense is really dragging him down, though. If you believe Fangraphs, he is 13th among 16 NL right fielders. And, in this case, I do believe Fangraphs, because my eyes agree. NL right fielders

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      I agree that Werth has been good much more than he’s been bad this season.

      Still can’t really see his omission as a “snub,” tho.

      • NatsLady - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:26 PM

        Agree on that. Soriano is the real snub, but perhaps it’s for the best. He doesn’t have the great velocity, he’s just a very smart, experienced pitcher who has studied under the best. I think of what Desi said about Soriano. And he fields his position, too, which I like.

  10. dcwx61 - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    guys will bow out before next Tuesday giving Soriano/Rendon/ALR/Storen a chance.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:22 PM

      This is true

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:15 PM

      Tanaka is scheduled to pitch Sunday so he will be out and most likely Sale will take his place.

  11. dcwx61 - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    What…no reliever from baseball’s best bullpen

    The NL bullpen will consist of Craig Kimbrel (Braves), Aroldis Chapman (Reds), Francisco Rodriguez (Brewers), Pat Neshek (Cardinals) and Tony Watson (Pirates)

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:29 PM

      Those are the big names.. Fans don’t go off stats… They go off the sexiness of the name… AS game is a joke to me.. I don’t watch any sports league AS/ProBowl/etc game….

      • dcwx61 - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:32 PM

        but it counts for something now adays….

        by seasons end, i think more nats will be unofficial all stars. but how many on this team will be hofers…will have to wait. 27 yanks had 6 hofers but only 16 teams then.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:33 PM

        Pat neshek and tony Watson are sexy names? Only folks who know these names are who play fantasy baseball very seriously. Neither are closers but pretty awesome relievers. Besides bullpen is selected by manager if I am not mistaken.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:35 PM

        With sports as with the movies–being a star and actually being good at the thing are not at all the same.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:40 PM

        DC – what does it count for at this point? Will it guarantee us playing in October? I mean different strokes… Me personally, I can care less…

        FS – I know who both of them are and I don’t play fantasy baseball..

        HH – Bingo… Statistically other guys should be in there but alas they aren’t… I’d rather the Nats (who care) take this snub personally and go on a tear all the way to and thru October….

      • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:42 PM

        I was half joking about only fantasy folks knowing those two relievers but my point still stands that neither are big name players.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:44 PM

        D’oh…. I missed it… But the sports commentators like to mention those guys… I’ve tuned into MLB network and heard quite a few mentions but yeah I get what you’re saying,..

        So whoever the hot name is, people tend to over value… I mean look at Arietta… He was a sub par pitcher years prior then all of a sudden he has this dominating year and getting all kinds of recondition like this is the norm…

  12. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    Congratulations to Jordan but I would have been fine with not 1 Nat playing in the AS game.. I’d rather they stay under the radar and continue to surprise those people who have no clue…

  13. philipd763 - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    The selection of Josh Harrison of the Pirates is a joke!

  14. tcostant - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    Tuff to win that vote …

  15. stoatva - Jul 6, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    Have to think Matheny was rewarding Carpenter for his superb 2013 season, more than for the first half of this year. Rendon’s numbers absolutely crush Carpenter’s in almost every category.

  16. texnat1 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:51 AM

    Silliness that Rendon /Soriano isn’t on there, but I’d prefer that the boys just get a chip on their shoulder about it.

  17. thelatencn - Jul 7, 2014 at 5:53 AM

    The real snub is to LaRoche, who didn’t even get a mention in this thread until now, something like ten hours after it was posted.

  18. rabbit433 - Jul 7, 2014 at 6:35 AM

    The all-star game is just to make money anyway. It is put together like a three-ring-circus. The home run derby is a farce. Look…hit ball far. Oooh! If you want to see all-stars, watch a REAL baseball game each day on TV or at a stadium. The only reason the all-star game gives the winning league home field advantage in the WS is to give some purpose to it. The AS game is just played for the money.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:26 AM

      MLB is a for-profit business. It’s ALL”just for the money.” You say that as if it were a bad thing.

      • Candide - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:24 AM

        +1

  19. dcwx61 - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    MBLN: I’m a fan of the all star game…maybe a little more meaningless than other games, but the whole sport is just…well a game. However, This fascination with the ASG and the sport derives from my days when baseball cards was my primary form of currency

  20. Candide - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    Personally, I’d be happy if not a single Nat plays in the game. Give the whole team a few days’ rest.

    Plus, “under the radar” is a bunch of hooey. Yes, most fans don’t know (yet) who Anthony Rendon is, but you can bet your last dollar that every team’s scouting report knows evrything about him down to whether he prefers boxers or briefs. Nobody’s under the radar for very long; if that were true, rookies wouldn’t regularly burn up the league for a month or so, then slump after opposing teams’ scouts got a chance to watch them for a while.

    Saw a tweet this morning – someone asked Rendon what it would mean to him if he won the fans’ vote. “It would mean I’m going to the All-Star game.”

    Sounds like the young man’s been taking question-answering lessons from Jayson Werth.

    • Section 222 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      +1.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      Someone asked Rendon what it would mean to him if he won the fans’ vote. “It would mean I’m going to the All-Star game.”

      Sounds like the young man’s been taking question-answering lessons from Jayson Werth.

      Yeah, but he has a real knack for it, too. The kid’s a natural star all around. (And as my wife points out, “Yeah, and he’s ugly, too.”) It just doesn’t come that naturally to everybody (COUGH*harper*COUGH), but that’s not such a knock. Some guys never get it, and go on to live perfectly normal lives.

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