All told, 71 players were selected to the All-Star Game this season. That includes the original 32-player roster for each team plus various replacements. Of those 71 All-Stars, 57 played in the Midsummer Classic. That means 14 others were left sitting on the bench or in the bullpen for whatever reason. Here's why those 14 did not play in the 2017 All-Star Game.
By rule, pitchers who start the Sunday immediately before the All-Star Game are not eligible to pitch in the All-Star Game. They are still selected to the game and participate in the ceremonies and all that, but they can't actually pitch and are replaced on the roster.
Five of the 14 players who did not appear in the All-Star Game started this past Sunday, June 9, and were thus ineligible to pitch Tuesday night. Here are the five:
- Chris Archer, Rays
- Yu Darvish, Rangers
- Michael Fulmer, Tigers
- Corey Kluber, Indians
- Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Rangers fans did not get to see any of their players in the All-Star Game this year. Darvish was their only selection.
Inevitably, some players get hurt after being selected to the All-Star Game, or they get hurt and are selected to the All-Star Game anyway because they were having incredible seasons. Three players were selected to this year's All-Star Game but were unable to play because they are currently on the disabled list. Those three players:
- Starlin Castro, Yankees: Out with a hamstring injury. He is due to begin a rehab assignment soon.
- Dallas Keuchel, Astros: Out with a neck injury. He recently resumed throwing.
- Mike Trout, Angels: Out following thumb surgery. He will be activated Friday, the Angels announced earlier this week.
I guess that means LeMahieu was technically available to play, but since the All-Star Game no longer counts for anything, there's no reason to push it. He sat this one out.
Available but did not play
OK, so among those 14 players who did not play in the All-Star Game, five were actually available and eligible to play. All five were pitchers who would have pitched had the game gone deeper into extra innings. Yankees righty Luis Severino was going to get the ball in the 11th inning for the AL.
Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. was the AL's only available pitcher other than Severino. Had Severino gotten through the 11th (and 12th?) and the game continued, it would have been McCullers' game.
McCullers went out to the bullpen in the 6th inning. He was probably about an inning or two away from getting in the game.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) July 12, 2017
Stephen Strasburg would have pitched if the game extended into the 12th inning— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) July 12, 2017
Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray was available and would have gone multiple innings had the game continued, manager Joe Maddon said after the game. "We still had Robbie Ray [for] three innings, if necessary," Maddon said. The last pitcher to throw three innings in the All-Star Game was former Rockies hurler Aaron Cook. He threw three scoreless innings in the 2008 game at Yankee Stadium, which went 15 innings
The 14th and final All-Star who did not play in this year's game was Brewers closer Corey Knebel. He was Milwaukee's lone All-Star representative this season, you know. The first-place Brewers did not have a player play in the All-Star Game. That's pretty crazy.
Anyway, Maddon confirmed Knebel was indeed available and would have pitched in extra innings. Knebel has worked pretty hard lately though. He threw 16 pitches Saturday and 33 stressful pitches during a four-out save Sunday. Pitching Tuesday would have been three appearances in four days. You can understand why Maddon stayed away from him. He was looking out for the kid.
Among the 14 players who did not appear in this year's All-Star Game, only five were actually available, and all five would have played had the game gone to extra innings. That's baseball. The All-Star managers always hold a few pitchers back for extra innings, and inevitable some don't get in on the action.