Behind A.J. Pierzynski's All-Star snub

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Behind A.J. Pierzynski's All-Star snub

Ron Washington sounded apologetic when speaking to reporters about not selecting A.J. Pierzynski to the American League roster for this month's All-Star Game. But Pierzynski wasn't buying what Washington was selling.

If (Washington) felt that bad he would have put me on the team, Pierzynski said Sunday. He had an opportunity to do it and he didnt do it. Obviously he can feel as bad as he wants, but he didnt feel that bad.

Rangers catcher Mike Napoli won the fan vote and will start, while Wieters was voted in by fellow players and Mauer was selected by Washington.

Washington needed to select someone from Minnesota, with Mauer and Josh Willingham being prime candidates. But all of the AL outfield reserves -- Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout -- deserved their spot on the team. Willingham could've DH'd, but Kansas City needed a representative, and that went to Billy Butler. Adam Dunn earned the other DH spot.

What it came down to was that someone from the White Sox was going to be snubbed. Had Willingham made the roster, it would've been Dunn. But with Mauer making it, it was Pierzynski.

Pierzynski's best shot was to beat out Wieters for the player vote. No doubt Wieters' hot start to the season -- when plenty of perceptions are formed -- played a part in him winning it, as well as Pierzynski's reputation around the league. In a survey of MLB players published by Men's Journal last month, Pierzynski was voted as the most hated player in the league.

Statistically, though, he stacks up very well against his fellow junior circuit catchers (asterisks denote highestbest stat among these four players, and all stats are of Sunday):

StatPierzynskiNapoliWietersMauerG68697170BA.285.235.249.324OBP.331.335.331.414SLG.512.438.440.445OPS122101109140HR1412114RBI45303836CS30193613WAR2.20.92.02.5
Mauer absolutely deserves to be an All-Star, as he leads the AL in OBP. But Pierzynski leads in all the power categories, which certainly could merit a trip to Kansas City. A half-win difference between Pierzynski, Mauer and Wieters is negligible; there's a legitimate case to be made for all that they're the best catcher in the AL -- especially Pierzynski and Mauer.

So what really messed things up for Pierzynski was Napoli beating out Mauer for the starting spot. Had Mauer won that, chances are Washington would've gone with Pierzynski as his third catcher, even though Napoli's his guy.

Unfortunately for Pierzynski, what may wind up being his best season in a White Sox uniform won't be recognized with an All-Star bid -- at least, for now, since an injury to Mauer, Napoli or Wieters almost certainly would get Pierzynski to Kauffman Stadium.

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Here are some of Monday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Preview: Cubs look to bounce back vs. Giants tonight on CSN

White Sox fall to Diamondbacks in series opener

Cubs can't complete another miracle comeback against Giants bullpen

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

How Bears are using veteran videos to school rookies on NFL way

Luis Robert the latest high-end acquisition for White Sox

For Joe Maddon, Cubs winning World Series came down to Giant comeback in SF and avoiding Johnny Cueto in elimination game

Carlos Rodon 'getting closer' but still without time frame for return

Have the Cubs found their new leadoff hitter in Ben Zobrist?

MMQB's Peter King's thoughts on Trubisky, Howard, White and the Bears offense

White Sox fall to Diamondbacks in series opener

White Sox fall to Diamondbacks in series opener

PHOENIX -- The red-hot White Sox ran into Zack Greinke on Monday night.

He cooled them off in a hurry.

Greinke struck out 12 hitters and Daniel Descalso blasted a three-run home run off Miguel Gonzalez as the Arizona Diamondbacks sent the White Sox to a 5-1 loss in front of 18,333 at Chase Field. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the White Sox, who had scored 24 runs in their final two games against the Seattle Mariners.

“(Greinke) keeps the ball down out of the zone a lot,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s kind of enticing. He keeps the ball in the hitter’s area and it ends up falling out. It’s one of those things that you’ve got to try to get him up. Our approach was to try to make him throw a lot of strikes. He ended up hammering the strike zone early and then finally he just came into a groove.”

Descalso’s three-run shot off Gonzalez was one of two pitches the White Sox right-hander would have liked back. After Gonzalez walked Chris Owings with two outs in the fourth inning, his only free pass of the night, he left the curveball over the middle and Descalso deposited it in the right-center field stands to break a scoreless tie.

He also left a pitch up to Paul Goldschmidt in the sixth inning and the All-Star first baseman ripped it for a solo shot.

But overall Gonzalez rebounded from his previous two starts when he walked nine batters. He was sharp for three innings as he faced one over the minimum. He just missed to Owings in the fourth, which brought up Descalso.

Gonzalez allowed five runs (four earned) and seven hits in five innings.

“You see what happens when you walk guys,” Gonzalez said. “That wasn’t in a good situation to walk the guy. You have to keep grinding, keep making my pitches. Really two pitches were the ones that hurt me tonight. A lot of positives. Nothing to worry about. Keep working hard and things are going to go my way.

“Sometimes things don’t go your way. Those two pitches, if I take those back, you never know. It’s a different ballgame.”

Not only did Greinke strike out a dozen hitters, he limited the White Sox to four hits in 8 2/3 innings.

Omar Narvaez had two hits, the first coming after Greinke opened the game by retiring seven straight batters. Leury Garcia homered off Greinke with one out in the fifth inning to break up his bid for a shutout.

It was quite the turnaround from when the White Sox bashed Yovani Gallardo and Chris Heston on consecutive days in Seattle. The White Sox scored a combined nine first-inning runs in winning three of four against the Mariners.