PHOENIX — A statistical argument could be made that Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens deserved to start the All-Star game for the National League instead of Phillies ace Roy Halladay.
Jurrjens is 12-3 with a 1.87 ERA, while Halladay is 11-3 with a 2.45 ERA.
But Halladay also has four more complete games and 32-2/3 more innings than Jurrjens this season. Oh, yeah, and he also has 131 more career wins, seven more All-Star selections and two more Cy Young awards than Jurrjens.
NL All-Star manager Bruce Bochy named Halladay the starter on Monday.
“I couldn’t have a better guy to start the All-Star game for us,” said Bochy, managing the NL All-Stars after his San Francisco Giants won the 2010 World Series. “If you look at how he’s pitched this year, the numbers are certainly very deserving. But when you talk about the great pitchers in our game today, the elite pitchers, the pitchers that you’d want to start a game that you would have to win, Roy’s name is always at the top of the list.
“The incredible career he’s had, and again he’s doing it this year. His experience. This was really an easy one for me, that he would start this game.”
While some Braves followers hoped Bochy might give Jurrjens the nod, no one at All-Star media day was at all surprised he went with Halladay.
“It would have been a super honor to get the start,” Jurrjens said. “But, you know, it’s Halladay. You cannot go wrong with him. Like I’ve been telling people, I had my mind set that there was a chance I wasn’t going to get it. When I got the news, I wasn’t surprised about it.”
Kimbrel’s whirlwind tour
Braves closer Craid Kimbrel didn’t find out he was added to the All-Star team until the Braves were flying back from Philadelphia on Sunday night.
He said pitching coach Roger McDowell came back to the back of the plane and summoned him to see manager Fredi Gonzalez, who gave him the good news.
“I couldn’t tell anybody because we were in the air,” said Kimbrel, who called his girlfriend and parents in Hunstville, Ala., when the Braves’ plane touched down in Atlanta.
Braves officials had already made plans for his flight to Phoenix, and Kimbrel had to go straight from one terminal to another to make his flight. There was no time to go to his home in Atlanta to get any clothes.
“Even though I’m here because another guy couldn’t pitch [because Cain started Sunday], it’s still an honor to be here,” he said Monday. “Everything’s going so fast, I don’t really know everything that’s going on.”
His parents and girlfriend were due to arrive in Phoenix Monday night.
“They won’t get here in time for the Home Run Derby, but they’ll be here for the game,” he said, smiling. “I’ve got to buy a video camera.”
Kimbrel leads the majors in saves (28) and reliever strikeouts (70), and Bochy said he picked Kimbrel over Hanson because he wanted to have another reliever available at the back end of the bullpen.
Bochy also indicated, however, that he planned to use Giants closer Brian Wilson if there’s a save situation Tuesday.