Max Scherzer is starting. Juan Soto and Trea Turner are on the bench. Kyle Schwarber is there for moral support.
Max Scherzer was thrilled to get added to the NL roster for the 91st MLB All-Star Game, and even more happy when he was named the starter for the National League. Scherzer said on Monday, when he spoke with reporters at the All-Star press conference, that he’s excited to make his eighth appearance and fourth start in the Midsummer Classic.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” the three-time Cy Young award winner said. “To be named to this All-Star Game, and now my fourth chance to start it, it’s an incredible honor. When you step into a room with a room full of All-Stars, and you get the ball, it’s a really special feeling. It’s hard to put into words.
“For [NL Manager] Dave [Roberts] to select me again,” Scherzer added, “… to give that honor to me with the quality of arms that are in the National League this year, I’m very blessed and very thankful for that opportunity.”
Appearing in his eighth consecutive All-Star Game in his 14th big league season, Scherzer said, is a sign of his durability, something he’s proud of.
“Durability, I pride myself on that,” he said.
“Durable every single year and try to make every single start. This is another kind of testament to that. It’s hard to be selected, much less selected consecutively.
“That’s where I have to give a lot of thanks to our trainers and strength coaches that have worked with me through the years of putting me in the right positions to keep my body feeling as good as it does still today so that I can go out there and compete and pitch at my best. There’s a lot of other people that deserve credit for this, as well.”
Going into the second-half of the 2021 campaign, Scherzer has a 2.66 ERA, a 3.31 FIP, 22 walks (2.02 BB/9), 134 Ks (12.31 K/9), and a .185/.247/.350 line against in 17 outings and 98 innings pitched.
Scherzer is joined in Coors Field by teammates Trea Turner, Juan Soto, and Kyle Schwarber, who’s injured and unable to play.
Turner, who went into the break with a .318/.365/.520 line, 15 doubles, and 17 home runs in 85 games and 375 plate appearances, over which he’s been worth 3.9 fWAR, said last week that his first All-Star nod was especially meaningful for him, having grown up watching the game.
“It’s a game that you watch on TV as a little kid and you kind of dream of playing in, and to get a chance to get voted in, whether it’s by fans or players, or the Commissioner’s office, whoever does it, I think just to be a part of it is special, and something that we won’t forget and we’ll try to cherish for the rest of lives and try to soak it all in when we go.”
“It’s like a dream for every player to come to the All-Star Game,” Soto said, “… to be around all those stars, and famous people. It’s going to be a great experience to be out there and have fun with all those guys.”
Soto had a good showing in the All-Star HR Derby last night, eliminating Shohei Ohtani in the first round before he lost to eventual champ Pete Alonso in the second round.
Soto finished the so-called “first-half” of the 2021 campaign with a .283/.407/.445 line, nine doubles, and 11 home runs in 79 games and 332 PAs, over which he’s been worth 2.3 fWAR.
Schwarber landed on the 10-Day IL with a hamstring injury on July 2nd, after a ridiculous run in June that saw him put up a .318./400/.894 line with a double and 16 homers in 24 games and 100 PAs after manager Davey Martinez put him in the leadoff spot for the first time back on June 8th.
On the year, the 28-year-old outfielder has a .253/.340/.570 line with nine doubles and 25 HRs in 72 games and 303 PAs, over which he’s been worth 1.8 fWAR. His manager tried to convince him that even though he couldn’t play, he should make the trip to Coors Field to take part in the festivities after earning his first All-Star nod. Schwarber made the trip.
“We talked a lot about him going to the All-Star Game,” Davey Martinez said on Sunday.
“Obviously he won’t be able to participate, but I told him, “It’s your first one, you need to go. You need to be amongst your peers. You’re the best of the first half, and go and have some fun and enjoy it, it’s a great experience, especially for your first time.’ So focus on that and then let’s worry about the other stuff after that. He’s itching to come back, this guy is working unbelievably hard to get back as soon as he possibly can and hopefully we get him back soon.”
All four Nationals are in Colorado and Scherzer will be on the mound at the start of the All-Star Game tonight. Enjoy the Midsummer Classic…