In theory, Oakland A’s fans have one specific reason to watch the All Star Game on Tuesday. It is to see how Paul Blackburn does as the A’s representative.
In years past, it was probable that Blackburn would have received an appearance. While there would have been a pitcher or two kept back in case of extra innings, most of the pitchers added to the roster would have gotten a chance to take the mound.
Will Paul Blackburn pitch during the All Star Game?
That strategy is no longer relevant. Now, if the game is tied after nine innings, they will move to a Home Run Derby to determine the victor. Managers no longer need to save a bullet or two for the tenth inning or beyond since those innings will no longer occur.
This leads to a question of how many pitchers will get into the game. There are 14 pitchers on the American League roster, although two of them – Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander – will not pitch. Shohei Ohtani, who is also on the roster as a designated hitter, has requested that he not pitch as well. Even with those arms being out of service, that leaves 11 pitchers for nine innings.
If each pitcher that is brought in pitches just one inning, that would still leave two pitchers who do not get into the game. As this is a fan friendly exhibition, they are going to want to showcase the biggest names and brightest stars in front of as many people as possible. Blackburn, for how well he has performed this year, does not move the needle on a national level.
That may matter a lot more if the A’s had more than one representative. Had someone joined Blackburn in Los Angeles, he likely would have remained in the bullpen for the entirety of the game, getting a nice view of the proceedings. However, as the league would want every team to have someone in the game, Blackburn could get his chance in the middle innings.
Oakland A’s fans are hoping to see Paul Blackburn make an appearance in the All Star Game. Chances are, that will happen at some point.