The Pittsburgh Pirates will not have any fan-voted representatives in the 2015 MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati.
However, the face of their franchise and their unquestioned Ace figure to be heavily involved.
After a summer of relentless prodding for fans to get out and vote, the National League all-star starters shake out as follows:
Despite a valiant effort by Pittsburgh Pirates fans to tab Andrew McCutchen for the honor, the top three outfielders in the game – as voted on by the fans – are Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, and Matt Holliday, followed closely by Nori Aoki of the Giants.
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You will not find a baseball fan on the planet who can quibble with Harper’s selection, as the young phenom currently boasts a slashline of .344/.470/.719, for a staggering OPS of 1.189. This in addition to 25 HR and 60 RBI. Stanton, Holliday, and Aoki provide interesting studies. All are currently on the disabled list. In the cases of Stanton and Aoki, their injuries came too late to affect the voting outcome (June 27th and June 24th, respectively). Holliday is another matter – having been injured since June 8th, his injury represented the best chance for McCutchen to crack the top three and earn a starting nod. Alas, it was not in the cards for McCutchen, who still rallied to finish about 350,000 votes away from a starting nod.
All of this lamenting is likely for naught. Due to the rash of injuries, McCutchen will be named to the roster, and may be in line for a starting nod. Bill Brink of the Post-Gazette clarified some substitution rules for us in this tweet:
While this initially confused me greatly, this actually bodes very well for McCutchen’s chances to start the game. With the respect Cutch has earned from his peers, he would seem to be the odds-on favorite to earn the fill-in starting nod.
On Monday July 6, the reserves, replacements, and pitchers will be named by Bruce Bochy, manager of the National League. Pittsburgh Pirates fans will want to be glued to their phones and televisions, as the Pirate-related storylines are plentiful. A.J. Burnett is looking to receive his first all-star nod in his 18-year career. Francisco Liriano is on the bubble. Mark Melancon figures to be a shoe-in, but Tony Watson‘s fate is not so clear.
And of course, there is the matter of Gerrit Cole. A lock to make the team, he is currently jockeying for a starting spot. A quick look at the schedule shows that he will be on four days rest when the midsummer classic commences on July 14.