2013 MLB All-Star Game: Jim Leyland Wrong For Starting Max Scherzer Over Chris Sale

Jim Leyland

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s official —Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer will start for the AL on Tuesday night in the MLB All-Star Game.

To many baseball fans, Scherzer would seem like the correct choice to start for the AL in the All-Star game. His 13-1 record is hard to overlook, and I understand that. However, a pitcher’s win-loss record can be very deceiving, and while Scherzer is deserving of a spot on the 2013 AL All-Star roster, he has no business being their starter.

Now, before I go on, it’s important we look at a two things.

First off, a key reason Scherzer ultimately got the nod to start for the AL is because of the man who made the decision — Tigers manager Jim Leyland. Obviously, Leyland wanted to give his own guy a chance to fulfill a dream, which is becoming a trend for the All-Star Game. In the past, we have seen plenty of All-Star managers favor their own team and although it might not be fair or the correct thing to do, it’s almost become customary.

Also worth noting about Scherzer is that his 13 wins definitely deserve some applause. A pitcher’s win-loss record doesn’t always tell the true story, but 13 wins before the break is still very impressive and I don’t want to sound like I’m completely disregarding them.

Okay. Now that I have acknowledged those two points and given Scherzer the respect he rightfully deserves, it’s time to discuss why he shouldn’t have been awarded the honor of starting the All-Star Game, and why Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale would have been a more deserving candidate.

Let’s first compare both Sale’s and Scherzer’s stat lines from the first half of the season.

Sale: 6-8, 2.85 ERA, 2 CG, 94 H, 42 R, 38 ER, 27 BB, 131 SO, .213 AVG, 1.01 WHIP
Scherzer: 13-1, 3.19 ERA, 0 CG, 96 H, 47 R, 46 ER, 31 BB, 152 SO, .206, 0.98 WHIP

When comparing Sale to Scherzer in these general statistics, Sale beats out Scherzer in six of the 10 categories (ERA, CG, H, R, ER, BB). However, like I said about Scherzer’s 13 wins, one can make an argument that even these numbers don’t exactly give you a clear view of just how good a pitcher has been.

Sale owns a 4.7 WAR while Scherzer’s WAR sits almost a full point lower at 3.8. Sale has a quality starts percentage of 82 percent, which is six percentage points higher than Scherzer’s 74.

Possibly the statistic that has helped Scherzer the most in 2013 is run support average per start. Scherzer gets an incredible AL-leading 5.89 runs of support in each turn. Sale, on the other hand, is supported by just 2.76 runs, the worst of any starter in the entire MLB.

When you factor in these numbers, there really isn’t much of an argument — Sale should have been named the AL starter for the All-Star Game.

Max Scherzer has been brilliant for Detroit and I wouldn’t be surprised if he threw two shutout innings tomorrow night in the 84th All-Star Game. However, due to the favoritism of Jim Leyland, Chris Sale was robbed of the opportunity to start on one of baseball’s biggest stages.

Thankfully, as these numbers indicate, Sale is an up-and-coming star in MLB, and this year will not be the only time he’s a candidate to start in the All-Star game. Lets just hope next time the hard-throwing lefty isn’t up against another homer of a manager.

Matt Malecha is a MLB writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattMalecha and add him to your network on Google

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  • Farva55


  • Scott Ibbotson

    This is rubbish. The fact that you titled this article “2012 MLB All-Star Game” is telling. The fact of the matter is that the Tigers are a team that relies more on their batting than their fielding . If you look at Defense-Independent ERA, Scherzer is 2.79, while Sale is 3.02. They are both great pitchers, but Leyland made the same decision that the majority of managers in the league would have made.

    • SportsGenius705

      Stop being a doucher. We all know he’s talking about the 2013 game. Mistakes happen. Grow up Captain Crunch.

      • Scott Ibbotson

        Ooooo… name calling! Nah-na nah-na boo-boo, Scherzer’s better than Sale!

        • SportsGenius705

          If the shoe fits…and it does.

          I don’t recall disagreeing with the sale/scherzer argument. Clearly you can’t read either.

          • Scott Ibbotson

            Nope. I’m illiterate, but at least I can count past 2012.

          • SportsGenius705

            Another stupid comment from a stupid person. If you think I’m the author, you sir are mistaken. I just think you’re a dumbass who needs to point out simple mistakes to make himself feel better.

            Sorry Scotty, that makes you a toolbag.

          • Scott Ibbotson

            My god you’re dumb. First of all, in my initial post, I was drawing a parallel between the author’s carelessness in using the wrong year and his carelessness in developing an argument that didn’t consider important facts. When you ripped on me for getting on him about something so tangential as using the wrong year, I naturally assumed that you agreed with the substance of his argument (because why else bother commenting?). This, as it turns out, was an incorrect assumption, but a logical one nonetheless. (Strike One.) You showed your ignorance again when you declared me illiterate for making an incorrect assumption. My mistake obviously wasn’t due to misreading your comment but rather was due to misinterpreting your comment. (Strike two.) In my third post, I pointed out hypocrisy of you getting on my case for pointing out the author’s explicit mistake while criticizing my own mistake. In no way did I indicate that I believed you to be the author, yet you chose to draw that conclusion. By criticizing me again for something that wasn’t true but rather was the product of your faulty deduction, you proved yourself to be a fool and hypocrite as just moments earlier you had criticized me for also incorrectly reading between the lines. (Strike three – You’re an idiot.)

            You are clearly one of those people who are so egregiously stupid that you don’t realize your intelligence is being insulted unless someone spells it out nice and slow for you. So there you go.

          • SportsGenius705

            Strike 1: BLAH BLAH BLAH
            Strike 2: BLAH BLAH BLAH
            Strike 3: You’re still an idiot.

            I win.

          • Scott Ibbotson


  • http://www.rantsports.com/blog/author/davidfouty/ Dave Fouty

    Scherzer has also pitched ten more innings over two more starts than Sale. Sure, Sale has allowed fewer hits, runs, walks etc…but that’s bound to happen when you log two less starts. Scherzer has a higher K/9 rating, gives up fewer hits/9. BBs, you got ‘em. CGs, all Sale.

    It’s almost splitting hairs, but with the record, the nod easily goes to Scherzer. When all is said and done, this will most likely be Scherzer’s career year. I get that Max has gotten a ton of support, but you don’t really think he should pick a guy with almost identical numbers and a 6-8 record over one who is 13-1?

    The only stats that actually go in Sale’s favor are fewer runs allowed, CGs, and better BB/9 (barely.)