Cutch to start as Bucs boast 4 All-Stars
McCutchen, Burnett, Cole and Melancon get the call on Monday
PITTSBURGH -- All-Star constant Andrew McCutchen not only made his fifth consecutive Midsummer Classic as the rest of the National League squad was announced Monday night -- but is also the pick to replace the injured Giancarlo Stanton in the starting lineup for the 86th All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile on July 14 in Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park.
McCutchen will be joined in the Pirates' contingent by first-timers A.J. Burnett and Gerrit Cole -- the first tandem of Pittsburgh starters on an All-Star staff since Bob Friend and Vernon Law in 1960 -- and fellow 2013 All-Star Mark Melancon.
"I'm happy I was able to make the All-Star Team," McCutchen said a few minutes after scoring the winning run in a 2-1 walk-off victory over San Diego at PNC Park. "But I'm definitely more excited for the others who are joining me. If they chose one person on this team, I wanted it to be A.J."
Burnett was picked by NL manager Bruce Bochy, and the other three on the players' ballot.
The selection of Burnett was undeniably the biggest hit in a pregame meeting with the players in which manager Clint Hurdle revealed the All-Stars among them.
"When I shared the players' pick -- a tremendous honor to be chosen by your peers -- everyone got a slow clap that built into a loud clap," Hurdle said. "Then I shared the manager's pick -- that got nothing slow; went right into the fast clap an a lot of hootin' and hollerin'."
"It's cool," Burnett said in his typically dry style. "We were hoping, but you never know. It's out of your hands. I know one thing: There's no other colors I'd want to wear. I want to represent these guys, this city, this organization."
Voting is open now at MLB.com to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each League until 4 p.m. ET on Friday.
And the voting doesn't end there. During the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
The 86th Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (coverage begins 7 p.m. ET), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Fittingly, the Cardinals and the Pirates, the teams with the two best records in the NL, comprise 26 percent of the league's 34-man All-Star roster. St. Louis, with five, is the only team with more selections than the Bucs.
This marks the fifth consecutive year for the Bucs to boast multiple All-Stars, the franchise's longest such streak since the '60s.
While McCutchen, who also started the 2014 Classic in Target Field, is an All-Star for the fifth straight year, Cole and Burnett will make their debuts from the opposite ends of the career spectrum.
Cole is in his second full Major League season and Burnett is in the middle of his 17th and final season.
"It's a tremendous honor, and I'm super excited," Cole said. "But I think everyone in this clubhouse is most ecstatic about A.J. being picked. After not having been picked before what better setting than in his final season?"
Cole leads the Majors with 12 wins -- a new career high in only a half-season; he had 11 wins last season around two stints on the disabled list. Cole also ranks fifth in the NL with his 2.28 ERA -- but only second on his own staff, behind Burnett.
It reasons for Burnett to receive an honor he has never gotten before, because he is pitching as he never has before.
He began his 17th season with a career ERA of 4.04 -- never posting a single-season mark lower than 3.30 -- and took a 2.05 ERA into Monday night's start. His modest record of 7-3 is tempered by the fact he has posted an ERA of 1.85 in games he didn't win, the losses and no-decisions.
"I can't even imagine the feelings he has to be going through," Hurdle said. "To put in all that time, effort and energy and to never make an All-Star team, and this year, in the midst of a farewell tour, to be hand-picked by arguably the best manager in baseball? Extremely, extremely cool."
The selection of Melancon, who leads the NL with 27 saves, is somewhat seminal: Two years ago, he made the All-Star team as the peerless setup eighth-inning guy for Jason Grilli. He now returns owning the ninth.
"I hadn't thought of that," Melancon admitted. "It is cool to be going in both roles. I was hoping for the best, and being at the top of the leader board [in saves] helped for sure."