While the Phillies were swept by the Pirates in Pittsburgh, there was some good news out of this weekend: Chase Utley will start his sixth MLB All-Star Game this year. It’s his first All-Star Game nod since 2010.
Fans vote for the starters in baseball’s All-Star Game. Utley received about 800,000 more votes than the second-place vote getter, Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon. He won the player’s vote, too, over Gordon.
He’s had a bit of a career resurgence this year, though he’s fallen off a bit in recent months. He hit .489 with 3 homers and 10 RBI (and a 1.440 OPS!) in his first 10 games, but has just a .574 OPS since May 26. Still, Utley tops all NL second basemen in the Wins Above Replacement statistic — in this case the fans made the correct decision.
Utley is, of course, responsible for one of the greatest moments in All-Star Game history: When fans booed him at the 2008 All-Star Game at the old Yankee Stadium, he replied: “Boo? Fuck you.”
No other Phillie was in the top 8 at his position (or top 24 for outfielders). That means fans in other cities don’t appreciate Jimmy Rollins (6th in NL shortstops in WAR) as much as they should, either. Marlon Byrd’s having a good year, too. But neither are really All-Stars, and so the Phillies will have just one All-Star for the first time since 2003 (Randy Wolf).
That 2003 team went 86-76, five games back of a playoff spot. The 2014 Phillies are 37-51, 12 games back.