In a bit of a surprise, the Seattle Mariners had only two players named to the American League All-Star team. Yes, they are in last place in the American League West, but it seemed as though Seattle might get three players on the team this year.
Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki and pitcher Cliff Lee were obvious choices to make the team, however Felix Hernandez was somewhat surprisingly left off the 13-man pitching staff.
“I’m very proud of both Cliff and Ichiro. I think they are both deserving and will do a tremendous job representing the Mariners and the American League," manager Don Wakamatsu said. “Both guys work very hard, every day, on preparing to be successful. It is great to see that recognized from the fans and their peers.
“At the same time, I’m disappointed for Felix. I think he’s pitched great, and if we’d given him a little better run support it might have been a different story. I know there are lots of deserving players, but I had hoped he would make it with Cliff and Ichi."Obviously, there was little doubt that Ichiro was going to make the team. He was amongst the leaders in voting in the American League since voting had started. This is his 10th consecutive all-star team and the 9th time he was selected to start. The only year he wasn’t named a starter was in 2005.
In his previous nine All-Star Games, Ichiro has hit .333 (8-for-24) with 3 runs scored, a double, a home run and four RBI. He was MVP of the 2007 All-Star Game when he went 3-for-3 with the only inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history.
Coming into Sunday, Ichiro was hitting .330 (108-for-327) with 17 doubles, 2 triples and 3 home runs. He has started every game this season for the Mariners and ranks amongst the league leaders in batting average (7th/.330), multi-hit games (1st/36), hits (2nd/108) and stolen bases (10th/21).
Lee was elected to the team on the players’ ballot. The players also vote on the team, selecting eight pitchers and five starters.
This will be Lee’s second All-Star Game selection. He was also elected to the 2008 game. In 2008, at Yankee Stadium, he was the starting pitcher and tossed two shutout innings while allowing one hit and striking out three.
Lee, who starting today, came in with a 7-3 record and an ERA of 2.45. Despite missing almost all of April (2010 debut was April 30), he leads the American League (and is second in the Majors) in complete games with five. He has tossed three consecutive complete games and has four in his last five starts. He has pitched at least 7 innings in 11 of his 12 starts. Lee leads the Majors with a strikeout to walk ratio of 15.6 to 1; he has walked just 5 batters while striking out 78 in 95.2 innings. He ranks among the American League leaders in complete games (1st/5), ERA (3rd/2.45) and opponents average against (T11th/.227). Lee has walked just .47 batters per 9.0 innings pitched (0.13 per batter faced), both tops in baseball.
It’s a bit of a surprise that Hernandez didn’t make the squad. Manager Don Wakamatsu lobbied for Hernandez yesterday.
Hernandez made his first all-star team last year. This season, he’s 6-5 with 3.03 ERA. He’s thrown three complete games, including a shutout. In 121 2/3 innings with 116 strikeouts and 38 walks.