Houston’s Dallas Keuchel Monday received the starting nod for the American League in Tuesday night’s Major League All-Star game at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, relegating Seattle’s Felix Hernandez to a backup role. Keuchel (11-4, 2.23) leads the AL in WAR for pitchers (4.7) and innings pitched (137.1), is tied for first in victories with Hernandez (11-5, 2.84) and ranks second in ERA.
Hernandez, who will make his sixth All-Star appearance, started last year’s game at Target Field in Minneapolis. While he has allowed two or fewer runs 13 times in the first half, he had two big clunkers, an 8-2 loss to the New York Yankees June 1, when he allowed seven earned runs, and a 10-0 setback at Houston June 12 when he allowed eight earned runs in and managed one out.
Hernandez, who opened the season 6-0, won his last start, a 7-2 decision over the L.A. Angels last week, and likely will receive no more than an inning in the All-Star Game. He is scheduled to make his next start for the Mariners Sunday when they conclude a three-game series against the Yankees in the Bronx.
Nelson Cruz, who leads Seattle with a .308 average, 21 home runs and 53 RBIs, will bat cleanup for the American League Tuesday night.
Manager Lloyd McClendon Monday announced his probables for the New York series. Mike Montgomery (4-3, 2.29) will throw opposite Masahiro Tanaka (5-3, 3.63) in the opener and Hisashi Iwakuma (1-1, 5.22) will face RHP Michael Pineda (9-5, 3.64), a former Mariner, Saturday.
Following the New York series, the Mariners move to Detroit for a four-game set beginning Monday. Seattle (41-48) is seven games under .500 and 7.5 games behind the Angels in the AL West.