Seeing as the World Champion San Francisco Giants had four representatives in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game, one would think that at least one of those players would step up and impact the NL team. However, that was not the case on Tuesday night, as Buster Posey was the only Giant to even get into the game, striking out in his only plate appearance as the NL was defeated by the AL by a score of 3-0.
It was already expected that left-hander Madison Bumgarner would not appear in the game, as Bruce Bochy had said that he would only be available in case the NL needed a long reliever for extra innings. However, it was more of a surprise that closer Sergio Romo and second baseman Marco Scutaro did not get in the game.
Romo was a late addition to the roster and has had a few rough outings recently, so it makes sense that Bochy passed him up for other pitchers. It may have been reasonable, however, for him to put Romo in as Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel was struggling in the eighth inning.
Earlier in Romo’s career, he excelled at putting out fires against right-handed hitters, and it would have been a nice place to use him and still be doing it in the spirit of competitiveness.
Scutaro was more a victim of poor fan voting. St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter was clearly the most deserving player at the position, yet .266-hitting Brandon Phillips was still voted in as the starter. As a result of those two needing playing time, the 37-year-old Scutaro was forced to sit out his first All-Star game.
While he hasn’t provided as much of an impact as a player like Carpenter this year, he is hitting .316 and it’s very possible that he could have provided a spark to the NL, especially considering his clutch performances in the playoffs last year.
NL manager Bochy has a history of sitting his own players during the Midsummer Classic. In 2011, Giants starters Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, and Ryan Vogelsong were selected to the game. It was Vogelsong’s first time being selected and it very well could have been the last All-Star selections for both he and Lincecum.
However, Bochy did not use any of them, only allowing then-Giants closer Brian Wilson to appear in the game. In fairness to Bochy, he makes it very clear that his philosophy is to secure home-field advantage for the league, not to jeopardize competition in favor of letting everyone play.
While it would have been nice to get all the Giants representatives into the game, ultimately it is a competitive environment with World Series home-field advantage at stake. While Bumgarner, Romo, and Scutaro undoubtedly would have served their league well, the responsibility falls on Bochy to field the best group possible, and it’s a fair decision if he feels that those players don’t give him the best chance at a victory.