Who are Joe Maddon's Tigers? Well, he has three of them, with an outside shot at four. As expected, no Detroit Tigers were voted to the American League All-Star starting lineup by fan balloting. But pitchers Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson, and outfielder Curtis Granderson were named to the team as reserves. 16 spots on the All-Star rosters were determined by player balloting, with the remaining eight chosen by managers Maddon and Charlie Manuel. (You can view the rosters here.)
If you had to pick one reason why the Tigers are a first-place team going into the second week of July, their starting pitching would have to be among the top choices, so it's fitting that Detroit's two best pitchers are headed to St. Louis to represent their team. Verlander leads the AL in strikeouts with 130 strikeouts, with his eight wins tied for the third-highest total in the league, and a 3.54 ERA that's among the top 15. Jackson's 2.59 ERA is second among AL starters, and his 93 strikeouts among the top 10 in the league. And as we know all too well following the Tigers, Jackson's win total would be much higher than six, if only he received better run support from his lineup.
Granderson was something of a surprise, perhaps, but he really shouldn't have been. (And my failure to mention him among the Tigers' possible All-Star candidates yesterday truly was an oversight.) Though his .256 batting average would be his lowest since he became a full-time starter with the Tigers if he finished with that number, his 18 home runs are tied for the fifth-highest total in the AL. Defensively, Grandy is also one of the league's top centerfielders (as Lee illustrates at Tiger Tales), and being named to the All-Star team rightfully places him among the best outfielders in the league.
The Tigers could also get a fourth All-Star representative, with Brandon Inge being one of five candidates on the Final Vote ballot to determine the last player on the AL Roster. The other competitors for the spot are Texas' Ian Kinsler, Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena, Anaheim's Chone Figgins, and Toronto's Adam Lind. Inge has experienced a resurgent season, with a .269/.361/.513 average, and his 19 home runs are tied for the fourth-highest total in the AL. Combine those numbers with his usual stellar defense at third base, and you have arguably the Tigers' most valuable player this season and the second-best third baseman in the league.
You can cast your votes for Inge up until 4 p.m by clicking here for the Final Vote ballot. He's probably going to need your help, as he's facing some fierce competition. As with the fan balloting for the All-Star starting lineups, you can vote
up to 25 times as many times as you'd like, apparently.
Were there snubs? Well... the Tiger with the best shot to be named as a starter was probably Miguel Cabrera, but first base was a stacked position in the AL, and Cabrera soon fell behind in fan balloting. And with Mark Teixeira, Justin Morneau, and Kevin Youkilis already on the team, Miggy lost out in a numbers game despite batting .323/.385/.540 with 16 home runs and 47 RBIs. Terrific numbers, but not enough to stand out among the fray.