LOS ANGELES -- Brad Brach's wife, Jenae, darted into the bathroom to take a discreet phone call from Orioles manager Buck Showalter. When she appeared, she had news for her husband: Brach had made the American League squad for the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard in San Diego.So goes
LOS ANGELES -- Brad Brach's wife, Jenae, darted into the bathroom to take a discreet phone call from Orioles manager Buck Showalter. When she appeared, she had news for her husband: Brach had made the American League squad for the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard in San Diego.
So goes the feel-good story for the O's this year, as Brach -- who was the Padres' 42nd-round pick in the 2008 Draft -- is headed back to San Diego. This time as one of five Orioles All-Stars, with teammates Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo, Matt Wieters and Zach Britton also headed to this year's Midsummer Classic.
"I know if I was managing the game, I would want Brad down there," Showlater said of Brach, who is 5-1 with a 1.01 ERA over 44 2/3 innings. "Brad's competition was probably as thick as any of them. You look at some of the guys I'm sure they were considering. That was fun because I don't get to deliver much good news. … Actually, I called Brad's wife and let her do it. Any time you've been together and things weren't necessarily rosy, that means a lot. They're able to share it."
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Brach has given up just 23 hits and 13 walks, striking out 50 over that span.
"I don't really have words to describe it," Brach said of the selection. "It's been a fun three years now. Now, to go back to San Diego, it's going to be awesome. I'm real excited about it."
Machado was voted in, as he led the American League fan voting among third basemen the entire way. A reserve last year and in 2013, Machado was the American League Player of the Month in April and entered Tuesday batting .325 with 29 doubles, 18 homers, 50 RBIs and a .584 slugging percentage.
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"It's awesome. When the fans actually go out there and put a lot of votes out for you, it's humbling," said Machado, who will turn 24 on Wednesday. "I'm so excited for right now, to go to San Diego and start my first All-Star Game. This is by far my best All-Star gift, the best birthday gift I can get. I'm just excited and very humbled at the same time."
Wieters' selection is his fourth as an All-Star, with his most recent in 2014. He missed that game, though, because of Tommy John surgery. He entered Tuesday batting .268 with nine homers and 37 RBIs.
"It was definitely humbling to get voted in even though I didn't play but a month two years ago," Wieters said. "The whole year it was hard sitting on the side not watching and not having the opportunity to play. More than anything I'm happy to have to opportunity to get out there and play."
This is Trumbo's second All-Star team and comes during a career year. He played in 2012 (and also participated in the Home Run Derby) and entered Tuesday with a league-leading 24 homers. Trumbo is batting .280 with 62 RBIs and has already surpassed his home run total from last year.
"It's awesome. Anytime you are up for something like this, it's a huge honor," said Trumbo, who said he has interest in doing the Derby again. "I guess I am lucky enough to have done enough to maybe get a chance to go out there and compete a little bit."
Britton's selection is his second, as he's now made it in back-to-back years, which is rare for a reliever. The Orioles closer is 2-1 with a 0.80 ERA and is 23-for-23 in save opportunities. He is tied for first in the AL in saves.
"I think just a mindset of coming to the field every day with a purpose," Britton said on how he's been able to sustain his success. "Trying to get better and never feeling like you are complacent with anything and trying every day to get better."
Fans can vote for the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote until 4 p.m. ET on Friday. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will be announced during a Final Vote-themed telecast of "MLB Now" featuring commentary from political analyst Jeff Greenfield, live on MLB Network and MLB.com from 4-5 p.m. ET. MLB Network will provide extensive coverage across all of its studio programming during the Final Vote, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating the cities where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.
Baseball fans have cast nearly 600 million online votes for Final Vote candidates since the program's inception in 2002. In addition to MLB.com and the official club websites, fans can use their mobile devices to cast votes at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Final Vote will include social balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET on Friday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.
On Tuesday, July 12, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.