By C. Trent Rosecrans
Perhaps the list of who won't be starting the All-Star Game is as impressive as who may start the game on July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Because of the rule that pitchers who start on the Sunday before the game are ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game, Justin Verlander, James Shields, Matt Cain, Felix Hernandez, Cole Hamels, CC Sabathia and Jon Lester won't be getting the nod to start the game. However, it should be noted that neither Sabathia nor Lester were selected to the team, perhaps with an eye toward the fact they wouldn't be able to pitch in the game.
With those pitchers eliminated from the competition, it's easier to pick the starters for next Tuesday's game. We'll continue the process of elimination to determine the starters for the All-Star Game.
Without Hamels and Cain, there are six pitchers left to pick from. It's unlikely that Tim Lincecum or Ryan Vogelsong of the Giants would be headed to Phoenix if San Francisco manger Bruce Bochy wasn't making the picks, so cross them off the list. That leaves Roy Halladay, Jair Jurrjens, Clayton Kershaw and Cliff Lee.
I'd be surprised if Kershaw didn't start an All-Star Game in his career, but it's not this year. He's got the potential to be as good as anyone in the game, but he's allowed six earned runs in three of his last six starts, so he's out.
Cliff Lee had an unbelievable June, but take that away and he's 4-6 with a 4.23 ERA. He's out.
So it comes down to the two 11-game winners, Halladay and Jurrjens. Jurrjens leads in ERA at 1.89, while Halladay has a 2.44 ERA. Halladay has more strikeouts, 131 to 63 and also leads in WHIP (1.027 to 1.061). Either one would be a good pick, but expect Bochy to go with the veteran Halladay, and it's tough to argue picking Halladay for about anything. His track record gives him the edge.
If Verlander and Shields were in this discussion, it would be a lot more difficult. So in the also-rans, we'll start with C.J. Wilson. Wilson is 8-3 with a 3.14 ERA, good numbers to be sure, but not elite. Like Bochy picking two of his starters (and 60 percent of his starting rotation), Rangers manager Ron Washington was looking out for one of his own players by picking him over Sabathia or Lester, so he's out of the discussion.
David Price is 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA with 116 strikeouts, a good half-season to be sure, but not an All-Star starting pitcher.
Gio Gonzalez is that under-the-radar starter who has been lights-out this season, going 8-5 with a 2.31 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 109 innings. Gonzalez is fourth in the American League in ERA but his WHIP is an improved 1.235, which is decent but not in the Top 10 in the league.
Jered Weaver and Josh Beckett are both in the top three in both ERA and WHIP, with Weaver first in ERA (1.92) and third in WHIP (0.921) to Verlander (0.862). Beckett trails Weaver in ERA (2.12) and jumped ahead of him in WHIP (0.906) with Sunday's performance. If you're one of those people who puts value in pitcher's wins as a stat, Weaver leads all American Leaguers eligible to pitch in the game with 10 wins, while Beckett's pedestrian record of 6-3 belies what he's been able to do on the mound this season.
Weaver had a case to start last season season's game in Anaheim, but wasn't eligible because he'd started the Sunday before the game. He's scheduled to start on Thursday, putting him on track to start again on July 12, and he should get that chance.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.