In the past, the Yankees have been criticized for their less than enthusiastic interest in the All Star Game. This year, the voters returned the favor.
Note: Not every player actually appeared in the game.
Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera are the only Yankees who will represent the franchise in the 84th All Star Game at Citi Field. The Bronx Bombers’ two selections represent the smallest pinstriped contingent since Wade Boggs and Jimmy Key were named to the 1993 team. In the 19 seasons between then and 2013, the Yankees had boasted 89 total selections, including eight representatives in 2004, 2010 and 2011, but this year, they will be one of the least represented franchises at the Midsummer Classic.
The Yankees loss could be the American League’s gain, at least according to the All Star Game record book. Although the Bronx Bombers are easily the most decorated franchise in terms of total selections, the team’s pitchers and hitters have been lackluster relative to other All Stars. On offense, the Yankees’ collective OPS of .641 (.229/.300/.341) in 604 All Star plate appearances ranks 24th among all teams and is 8% below the average, making it more reminiscent of the team’s 2013 lineup than the litany of pinstriped Hall of Famers who have suited up for the American League. Cano, who is 1-5 in his All Star career, should have at least two at bats to help the cause, provided he remembers how to hit when not being pitched around.
Cumulative Franchise Performance in the All Star Game, by OPS
With four hitters selected from each team, the Tigers and Orioles will make up the bulk of the A.L. offense. From a historical perspective, that’s good and bad news for the junior circuit. Whereas the Tigers have collectively been a top A.L. offensive contributor, the Orioles’ production in the All Star Game has been on par with the Yankees. The same dichotomy exists for the National League. The Cardinals, who are sending four hitters to Citi Field, have collectively produced a premium OPS, while the Rockies, who have three hitters on the N.L. squad, have yielded the second lowest rate among all major league teams.
The Tigers have complimented their hitting prowess at the All Star Game with a combined ERA of 3.61 in the 87 1/3 innings thrown by the franchise’s hurlers. Jim Leyland is counting on more of the same from Max Scherzer, but the National League also has precedent on its side. In 38 2/3 innings, Mets’ pitchers have recorded an ERA of 2.56, and Matt Harvey will be looking to bring that down a notch.
Although Yankees’ pitchers have not collectively distinguished themselves in the Midseason Classic, their lone representative this season sure has. In eight All Star Game appearances, Mariano Rivera has not allowed an earned run and limited the senior circuit to only five base runners, placing him behind only Mel Harder and Johnny Vander Meer for most innings pitched with an ERA of nil. Rivera is also the exhibition’s all-time saves leader with four and trails only Roger Clemens (10) for most All Star appearances.
With Harvey starting and Rivera a candidate to finish, tonight’s All Star Game could have enough New York flavor to compensate for the small contingent representing both metropolitan teams. Regardless, the game will likely be the season’s highlight for Met fans. Will the same be true for the Bronx Bombers? Yankee fans are hoping otherwise.