Any pitcher who starts the Sunday before the All-Star Game is no longer eligible to be on an all-star roster. It’s a new rule from MLB, designed to keep teams from running out of pitchers. It doesn’t mean next Sunday’s starters can’t be picked, just means they have to be replaced. Joe Girardi was well aware of the rule when he was making his final selections this week.
“I don’t think a player should be penalized for pitching on Sunday,” he said. “If he’s an all-star, he’s an all-star. They’re an all-star, and then someone would replace them.”
It could be significant for a Yankees team with three starting pitchers worth consideration. Andy Pettitte is close to a lock, Phil Hughes is closer to the edge, and CC Sabathia has pitched his way back in to the mix but is scheduled to start Sunday.
If one of Girardi’s choices starts on Sunday, he will name the replacement himself. If a pitcher chosen by the players pitches on Sunday, he will be replaced by the next highest vote-getter on the players’ ballots.
Six all-star candidates who could start next Sunday.
10-3, 3.33 ERA, 93 K, 1.13 WHIP
Think there’s any chance Girardi intentionally named Sabathia with plans to immediately replace him with Hughes?
8-3, 2.82 ERA, 124 K, 1.06 WHIP
Weaver is probably a lock for the all-star roster — he leads the league in strikeouts with only 24 walks — but he’s on Sabathia’s schedule. He started Thursday, he’s scheduled for Tuesday and the Angels don’t have an off day next week.
9-6, 3.30 ERA, 63 K, 1.05 WHIP
Just like Weaver, Pavano is on exactly Sabathia’s schedule. Sunday is a division game against second-place Detroit. Hard to imagine the Twins keeping Pavano out of that game just so he can pitch in the all-star game.
8-2, 2.74 ERA, 56 K, 1.05 WHIP
Cahill will pitch against Sabathia on Tuesday. Oakland has an off day on Thursday, so but indications are the A’s will go with a four-man rotation just before the break, keeping Cahill in line for Sunday. It’s worth noting that the A’s don’t have another lock for the team, so Cahill could be replaced by another Oakland pitcher.
10-4, 2.45 ERA, 64 K, 1.25 WHIP
Scheduled to start Monday, but the Red Sox have an off day next week, which means his fifth game would be Sunday. His next start could also be pushed back to Tuesday, which means his fifth day could be Sunday.
6-4, 3.34 ERA, 73 K, 1.26 WHIP
A borderline candidate, but one who’s top five in the league in opponents batting average. Hitters might have been impressed and voted him in. Probably doesn’t matter, but he is in line to start on Tuesday, one day before another Rangers all-star candidate, Colby Lewis.