NEW YORK -- A few days off never hurt anyone, but Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson would rather be Miami-bound.Nelson conceded disappointment that he missed the cut for the National League All-Star team, both for personal reasons and because he believes a first-place club warrants more than one representative. At 7-4
NEW YORK -- A few days off never hurt anyone, but Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson would rather be Miami-bound.
Nelson conceded disappointment that he missed the cut for the National League All-Star team, both for personal reasons and because he believes a first-place club warrants more than one representative. At 7-4 with a 3.20 ERA ahead of Sunday's scheduled start at Yankee Stadium, Nelson ranked among the top 10 NL qualifiers in ERA, Wins Above Replacement, strikeouts per nine innings and strikeout to walk ratio -- the last of which is remarkable, considering he led the Majors last season in walks.
Yet barring a last-minute replacement, closer Corey Knebel will be the lone Brewer at Marlins Park.
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"I would have loved it," Nelson said. "Are you kidding me? I grew up watching the All-Star Game. Ever since I was little, watching baseball on TV, you watch those All-Star Games. That's the best from each league right there. That's what you strive to be.
"I can't really do anything about it. The one thing, looking back on the first half, that makes you go, 'dang,' is wondering what would have been if not for that rainout in Pittsburgh."
He was talking about May 5, when Nelson threw 30 pitches in three perfect innings against the Pirates before a long rain delay. From that day on, Nelson is 6-2 with a 2.39 ERA in his past 12 starts.
"It's like, 'Man, what if I had gone seven, eight [innings]?' Who knows," Nelson said. "That could have been that final straw that pushed me in."
Major League Baseball did add one pitcher to the NL staff on Friday, but Clayton Kershaw's replacement was Dodgers teammate Alex Wood. He has been excellent (3.2 WAR per Fangraphs), but he is short of the innings to qualify for the ERA title.
It did not escape Nelson's notice that the NL West-leading Dodgers have six All-Stars, while the NL Central-leading Brewers have one.
"It definitely just adds a little fuel to our fire," Nelson said. "I think you could ask anybody in here -- we firmly believe that we have three-four guys who are deserving."
Kershaw opted not to participate in the Midsummer Classic because he is pitching on Sunday. The rules in that area have changed in recent years. Initially, Sunday starters were deemed ineligible. Then, they were allowed to make the decision themselves (albeit limited to a single inning if they opted to play). Now, clubs or players are allowed to make requests for usage accommodation based on their individual situation.
Like Kershaw, Nelson is starting Sunday, but he said he would have opted to go to Miami and would have been available.
"One hundred percent," Nelson said. "That's my bullpen day, anyway. … I'm one of the starters who throws more pitches in my bullpen than other guys, anyway. I probably throw 40-50 pitches in my bullpen. That's easily warming up in the bullpen and throwing an inning."
For the Brewers, the silver lining is Nelson will be well-rested for his second-half debut.
"This is the All-Star Game; it's a show," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "They have to satisfy a lot of parties to get everybody on the roster. … It's a fun thing to be a part of, and guys remember it, but we'll be fine."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.