Adam Wainwright fails the sport by “grooving” in the All Star Game
The National League Central division had a healthy 15 players participate in last night’s All-Star Game. They may not have all left healthy or smart, but for the most part they didn’t do all that bad.
The NL Central saw the good, the bad and the ugly. If it wasn’t for the Brewers, it would’ve been a blow out. If it wasn’t for the Cardinals, the American League might’ve been shut out. When in doubt, steal story ideas from Alex Smolokoff: Here’s grades for all of the NL Central National League All-Star participants.
Andrew McCutchen: 1-3, SB; Grade: C
McCutchen just about ruined the entire All-Star Game by beating out an infield single to lead off the game when a diving (gasp) Derek Jeter just missed throwing out McCutchen by less than half a step. It was so close that Joe Buck suggested the use of instant replay–that is if you were even paying attention to what Joe Buck was saying. The stolen base helps, but it was rather average. That doesn’t even consider almost ruining the All-Star Game.
Tony Watson: .1 IP, 0 H; Grade: A
I mean, he had one job and performed it perfectly. Right? What else is he supposed to do to earn an A?
Josh Harrison: 0-2, K; Grade: F
Not only was Harrison the one who was probably least-deserving of playing in the All-Star Game, but he didn’t do anything to change anyone’s mind either. Are we sure we didn’t want Anthony Rendon in that spot?
Anthony Rizzo: 0-1, K; Grade: D
I could give him an F, but he didn’t have the easiest assignment coming in cold off the bench to face Sean Doolittle. He’s not different than any other All-Star pinch hitter. Every player (except Harrison) is used to playing every day and getting plenty of at-bats in. Rizzo, meanwhile, sat all game until the 8th before striking out against the Oakland left-hander. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Starlin Castro: 0-1, K; Grade: D
Same thing goes for Castro. He struck out in his only at-bat, but at least he got to play defense and make a play. What’s that? You didn’t know Castro was in the game? That’s because Joe Buck was the announcer and waited two innings after he entered to do so.
Todd Frazier: 0-0, BB; Grade: C
I might’ve given him a higher grade if he struck out. At least Rizzo and Castro are up there swinging. Who goes to the All-Star Game to take a walk? The same guy doing it in slow-pitch softball. But perhaps Frazier was tired after all those swings in the Home Run Derby the night before. Wait, I forgot. This one counts, so he was just doing what was best for the team.
Devin Mesoraco: 0-1, K; Grade: D
Rizzo isn’t alone in playing the waiting game. Mesoraco waited his turn to bat before coming up and striking out. He played defense, so he wasn’t completely useless.
Alfredo Simon: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K; Grade: B
American League fans surely raised their eyebrows and said “Who?” when Simon came to the mound. But unlike Harrison, Simon was deserving of an All-Star nod. Also unlike Harrison, Simon did his part to prove it. He allowed a hit in his inning of work while striking out one, but the Reds pitcher hadn’t started a game in two prior seasons in Cincinnati, so maybe he felt right at home.
Aroldis Chapman: .2 IP, 0 H; Grade: C
Okay, here me out: Yeah, getting two outs is cool and all, but you’re Aroldis Chapman and you didn’t strike anyone out. What the hell is that? The radar gun hit 100 at least once, but nothing like 109 for the All-Star Game? It doesn’t help that he limped off the field with a bum ankle after covering first base on his final out.
Aramis Ramirez: 2-3, R; Grade: B+
Ramirez had the second best offensive performance of the game for the National League, scoring a run on two hits in three at-bats. Many were surprised and disappointed Ramirez was named the starter at third base (not that many obviously since he won a fan vote), but Ramirez proved his worth. You know, unlike Josh Harrison.
Jonathan Lucroy: 2-2, 2 RBI; Grade: A
Yadier Molina was voted the starter, but Lucroy–who deserved the start in the first place–was Molina’s replacement in the starting lineup. All Lucroy did was continue to open eyes on the national stage. Lucroy drove in two early runs for the National League, keeping the team in the game. Even better, both of Lucroy’s hits were doubles. If you read Three Up Three Down on Monday’s then you’re sick of reading his name. If you don’t, you might want to get used to him.
Carlos Gomez: 0-2, K; Grade: F
Gomez struck out in one of his two at-bats, but he did manage to make it to the dugout without attempting to break his bat. But Gomez weirdly talked to himself after every swing, and then talked to himself and walked to the dugout with the face of an 8-year-old that got told “no ice cream”. He went straight into the dugout, didn’t acknowledge anyone and assumedly went into the corner and buried his face in a pillow crying.
Francisco Rodriguez: 1 IP, BB; Grade: B
The NL leader in saves pitched a clean inning, allowing a walk. Ho-hum.
St. Louis Cardinals
Pat Neshek: .1 IP, 3 H 2 ER; Grade: F
Welcome back to Minnesota, Pat. Neshek returned to his former stomping grounds to earn the loss by allowing three hits and two runs while recording just one out. He was probably the better option than say, Stephen Strasburg in that spot. You get an “F” too Mike Matheny.
Adam Wainwright: 1 IP, 3 H 3 ER; Grade: F
And we save the best for last. Wainwright was given the starting nod over Clayton Kershaw, who’s the hottest pitcher in baseball and probably the best pitcher on the planet right now. Then Wainwright went out and got rocked, starting with a lead-off double by none other than Derek Jeter. He gave up a triple after that to Mike Trout and a home run to Miguel Cabrera after striking out Robinson Cano on a ball that bounced in front of home plate (See, Todd Frazier? No one wants to walk). But here’s the real issue: Wainwright told reporters after his outing that he “grooved” a pitch to Jeter because he “deserved it”. Wainwright later told Erin Andrews that he mis-said what he meant, and that he didn’t groove a pitch to him and he didn’t want to take anything away from Jeter.
Here are the problems with that. For one, you can’t groove a pitch in a game that matters. Whether you think the game should count or not is irrelevant. It counts. You think the Dodgers don’t care about home-field advantage in the World Series? Do you think the Cardinals don’t want it? One pitch after delivering a 94-mph fastball, Wainwright came back with 87 down the middle of the plate. Jeter isn’t what he used to be, but hitting 87 down the middle might as well be off a batting tee.
The second problem: He admitted it. If Jeter really deserved it, then he deserved the entirety of the moment. If Wainwright respected the game, and his own team, then he would’ve made Jeter earn a hit. Instead, it almost shows remorse that he feels for Jeter. It basically suggests that he doesn’t think Jeter could hit Wainwright at his best.
Everyone talks about the Cardinals and class. Wainwright showed none against a player who is known for representing nothing but just that.