Fans have an interesting theory about why Dave Roberts picked Max Scherzer to start the All-Star Game instead of Zack Wheeler.
As the manager of the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, Dave Roberts got to decide his lineups and pitching order. And of course, he had an abundance of talent to work with.
The All-Star Game is supposed to be fun, so there isn’t a lot of righty-lefty matchup tinkering as pitchers like to do during normal games. It’s all about showcasing as many of the best players in the game as possible, and Wheeler has been one of the best.
So why didn’t he get the start?
An interesting theory has been floating around, and honestly, it’s not beyond belief.
Dave Roberts could be buttering up the Washington Nationals to set in motion a trade for Scherzer.
With Trevor Bauer on administrative leave and under investigation for assault, potentially done for the season (or forever), the Dodgers have to be looking for someone to fill his spot in the rotation.
Scherzer is in the final year of a seven-year contract and has the ideal resumé for any team looking to upgrade at the deadline. The speculation has been all over Twitter, even before Roberts announced his All-Star starter.
Roberts claims that his decision was influenced by the fact that there was no 2020 All-Star Game, and therefore, then defending-champion Dave Martinez was not able to fulfill his role as NL manager. Roberts said that starting Scherzer was a sign of respect to Martinez, but if Roberts really wanted to honor Martinez, why didn’t he have him on the coaching staff for the game?
Wheeler, who has been one of the best arms in the game this year, deserved starter consideration, bare minimum. But even when Roberts named the other pitchers he’d considered for the honor, Wheeler was not among them. Roberts called the decision to start Scherzer “a no-brainer,” which makes sense, since he clearly didn’t look at any of the statistics that show Wheeler has out-pitched Scherzer.
The Nationals deserved a true reigning champions season in 2020, and were robbed of that, as was Scherzer, who is one of the best pitchers of this era. It’s unfair and unfortunate, but Wheeler shouldn’t have gotten shunted to the side just to make up for lost time.
After a decade of .500 seasons or worse, the Phillies haven’t gotten much respect lately. But the All-Star Game isn’t about what team someone plays for, it’s about how well they’ve played as an individual. Wheeler deserved to start, or at the very least, pitch a full inning. And if the speculation about the Dodgers and Nationals turns out to be true, it’ll be even more insulting to Wheeler than that ninth inning crumb Roberts threw him already was.
Update: the Dodgers are finalizing a trade to acquire Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals
On Thursday, July 29, Jeff Passan and Ken Rosenthal both reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers would acquire Scherzer and shortstop Turner for a significant haul of prospects.