CHICAGO – Give the Chicago Cubs credit, they didn't take the bait. Starter Jake Arrieta and manager Joe Maddon were asked if Arrieta was snubbed by National League All-Star Game manager Bruce Bochy when the teams were announced without Arrieta's name on the NL squad.
Both took the high road.
"Everybody that was chosen is having tremendous years," Arrieta said after beating the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4 on Tuesday afternoon. "There are guys that were left off that easily could have been in there but it's just about the amount of spots they have."
Maddon added: "There's so many tough ones (decisions) to make. So difficult."
Arrieta didn't make the team despite an overall ERA of 2.80 (10th in NL) and a team leading nine wins -- which includes a 3-0 record with a 1.17 ERA over his last three starts. Tuesday's performance against the best team in the league came after the All-Star teams were announced but it doesn't look like it would have mattered if they had come a day later. Bochy chose one of his own, Madison Bumgarner (3.34 ERA), over others that may have been more deserving.
"The spoils go to the victors?" Maddon laughed. "That's exactly what it is. I have no problem with that because when I have this opportunity to do this again I'll probably do the same thing."
And Arrieta has pitched better lately which should also have played in his favor. Other top pitchers like Clayton Kershaw and Johnny Cueto didn't make it either but if this is about winning the game, there aren't more than a couple pitchers in the league that have better stuff than Arrieta. His array of pitches could be devastating in a one inning scenario.
"I like to throw all my pitches no matter who's at the plate," Arrieta said. "I figured I had a shot. It's a tough crop to hang with."
"We have a few guys that are very deserving," Rizzo said. "Hammel and Jake. They've pitched really well for us. Arrieta did it again today. That's what he does."
All-Star selections become complicated because every team needs to have a representative. Maddon was the All-Star Game manager in 2009 so he knows what Bochy and AL manager Ned Yost were experiencing. But at the end of the day is it more important to do the right thing and look good around the league or to your own team? Bochy answered that question.
"Of course Jake is worthy, Maddon said. "His stuff is in that elite category of stuff. Velocity, movement, his other pitches. What he can do to the opposite side, left handers. He's an elite pitcher."