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Matt Capps selected to National League all-star team, Stephen Strasburg left off, Ryan Zimmerman on final vote ballot

Washington Nationals closer Matt Capps was named to the National League all-star team today. Capps, second in the major leagues with 22 saves in his season in Washington, made his first All-Star Game at emotional time in his career. Last October, Capps's father, Mike, died of a heart attack.

"It kind of hit me this morning when they told me," Capps said. "I wish he could see it. He'll be with me."

Capps may be joined in Anaheim by Ryan Zimmerman, whom NL Manager Charlie Manuel and the league placed on the Final Vote fan ballot.

Around baseball, debate will focus on the exclusion of Stephen Strasburg. He was not selected to the team and he will not be on the fan ballot to select the team's 34th and final member.

Strasburg "got quite a bit of consideration," NL manager Charlie Manuel said. "I love to watch the guy pitch. ... I don't have to tell anybody, he's got a great future. What's he got, like five starts in the major leagues? And from my experience in the game and everything [tells me], 'Leave him alone and let him pitch.' He's gonna be an all-star for a long time, and I just felt like there are other guys out there who have started anywhere from 18 to 20 games and I felt like, 'Just leave him alone and let him get used to the major league level,' and he'll take care of himself."

Strasburg seemed unconcerned with the proceedings -- as the final starting pitchers were announced on a clubhouse television, Strasburg walked across the Nationals clubhouse and into the shower.

His nonchalance contrasted with Capps' elation. This offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates did not tender Capps a contract. This afternoon, he learned NL players had voted him on to the team.

"You work your whole life for it," Capps said. "To be voted on by the players, your peers and people you compete against, that makes it all the more special."

For Zimmerman to join Capps, he'll have to beat out Padres closer Heath Bell, Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Braves closer Billy Wagner.

The biggest "snub" among Nationals belongs to outfielder Josh Willingham. He entered ranked third among oufielders in OPS, first in on-base percentage and tied for third in home runs.

As for Strasburg, Manuel had a point about the stiff competition this summer at starting pitcher. Here are the eight starters on the team, with win-loss record, ERA and K/BB ratio:

Ubalado Jimenez: 14-1, 2.27, 107/44
Josh Johnson: 8-3, 1.82, 115/27
Roy Halladay: 9-7, 2.42, 112/17
Tim Lincecum: 8-4, 3.28, 121/46
Adam Wainwright: 11-5, 2.34, 114/32
Chris Carpenter: 9-2, 3.16, 105/36
Yovani Gallardo: 8-3, 2.56, 120/46
Tim Hudson: 8-3, 2.37, 51/40

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 4, 2010; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  Matt Capps , Stephen Strasburg  
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Next: Game 83 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Mets


Question posed by Cal to Charlie Manual related to different strategy for the NL squad this year, i.e., small ball, stealing, bunting, etc. Manual said that this was the case, that is to have a more balanced lineup. I would think this was one of the reasons why Willingham or Dunn were not named.

Posted by: joemktg1 | July 4, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I think All-Star games are kind of silly - and MLB's is down right reduculous with the home field advantage up for grabs. But Zim missing out is really not a good thing for him at this point in his career (though he still has a chance to be voted in or maybe added as a replacement). It also shows how lightly regarded our club is - our lone rep is a closer in a bloated NL bullpen. Though let's see if this gets Ryan in a zone over the next few weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 4, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Zim's on the fan ballot this week. Let's get voting!

Posted by: Kev29 | July 4, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Don't vote for Zim: give the poor bastard some time off!!

Posted by: joemktg1 | July 4, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Capps made it. But you could make a good case for Pudge being on the team. His average is way better than McCann's, and just as Musial and Mantle got picked near the end of their careers, Pudge deserves the same kind of respect.

I long for the day when the Nats get past the every-team-has-to-have-somebody stage. Honestly, tho, do Zim's numbers earn him that last spot? Let's hope he goes on a tear starting today.

Posted by: nats24 | July 4, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

OK so much for the all star game ? I will not be watching without SS

I rather watch a Dentist filling a tooth then the so called all Star game

Posted by: joevick2 | July 4, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I was watching the selection show and saying "right on, Charlie" while he was answering the question about SS. There will be plenty of other years when SS can be on the team.

In other news, I was somewhat surprised to see Lincecum mentioned before Jiminez (the former as a starter and the latter as a reserve if memory serves). imo, the latter is having a better year.

Anyway, guess I'll go vote RZ now. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 4, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Shoot, meant to say that I was happy for Capps and thought of his dad as soon as they announced it, as I'm sure he did. Good on him.

Was also happy to see former Nat Marlon Byrd get a nod.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 4, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks Strasburg should be on the team is an idiot. Let him earn it, he'll appreciate it much more than if it is given to him because of hype. And so will the fans. He's pitched 6 games, and was not a factor in two of them. Let it go.

Posted by: tojo45 | July 4, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Strasburg may become a good major league pitcher in time, but he ain't it yet. He's 2-2, and batters are beginning to figure him out. The campaign to put him on the All Star team is simply weird. Should all 2-2 pitchers be on the team?

Posted by: lowercaselarry | July 4, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

the guy who says ss shouldn't be on because he's 2-2 didn't watch the games. I, also, won't bother to watch the ALL Star Game.

Posted by: richardshaker | July 4, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The ONLY National that deserves to be on the All-star game is Ivan Rodriguez. Above ALL others.

Posted by: AWWNats | July 4, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Most fans (and sadly, seemingly all baseball writers) are only recently getting their heads around "new" stats like OPS which are superior to the ones from the 1800s that dinosaur writers still cling to in fear of learning something new. They are probably unaware still then that ERA, while better than the laughably irrelevant "pitching victories", is still a highly flawed stat. ERA often is driven by luck (good or bad), which can now be largely removed by more advanced calculations. When one does this, one discovers among other things that Ubaldo Jimenez is not having a remarkable year at all. He's just getting very lucky on batted balls and when he gives up the hits.

Here for your reading pleasure then, is a list of today's "All Star" starting pitchers ranked by xFIP, which is a luck-removed version of ERA. In an admittedly small sample size, a certain Washington pitcher blows every one of them away. Happy fourth.

(stats courtesy of

Chosen for All-Star squad (GS range from 16-18):

Hallady 3.04
JJohnson 3.10
Wainwright 3.28
Lincecum 3.34
Gallardo 3.46
Jimenez 3.74
Carpenter 3.77
Hudson 4.29

Not chosen (6 GS):

Strasburg 1.88

Posted by: B2O2 | July 4, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

If anybody got screwed on the NL it was the Padres. They lead the majors in ERA by a bunch and don't get a pitcher on this squad. They have the best team W/L record in NL. The best small ball team in the majors, hands down!!

Posted by: donndunlap | July 4, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

donndunlap -

Granting that the Padres pitch in a cavernous park which deflates run production, Mat Latos (3.58 xFIP) certainly deserved a nod more than Tim Hudson (4.29).

Posted by: B2O2 | July 4, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

There is simply way too much hype surrounding this kid. He's a very promising rookie. Remember Ben McDonald? Let's leave it at that.

Posted by: zephyr99 | July 4, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

At least Omar Infante was chosen for the All Star game. And really, what would an All Star Game be without Omar Infante?

Posted by: B2O2 | July 4, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

No, he shouldn't have made the all star team, but he should have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Posted by: davidm4 | July 4, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

All I remember is that Hideo Nomo started the All-Star Game, and everyone tuned in. I wouldn't expect Strasburg to start, but he's gotta pitch!

Posted by: gfriday | July 4, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Strasburg. Who's Strasburg? Nobody's heard of him. Why should he be an all star when he hasn't done anything?

Posted by: llrllr | July 4, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to see him go to the Yankees; he has to get out of Washington. What else do/did the Nats ever have?????

Posted by: Classic3 | July 4, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Happy for Capps, hoping for Zim...

SS needs to learn to pitch better in the stretch. The stats in yesterday's blog indicated he needs to work on those mechanics when guys get on base. Sure, it's easier when the bases are empty: there's no pressure. Let's see if he can get out of jams better in the future. I still think he is the pitcher to watch this year and has a bright future, but let's not get crazy here...

Posted by: ecglotfelty | July 4, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

"He’s my guy. He’s my player. My guy."

Charlie Manuel's explanation as to why he picked Ryan Howard instead of Joey Votto for the All Star Game.

Posted by: metatext | July 4, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Classic3? Even in your 4 version, you were putrid.

Posted by: nats24 | July 5, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Why would he be he' played only a couple of games.....Just another stup1d question from an ignorant reporter.....

Posted by: askgees | July 5, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

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