Corey Seager and Justin Turner, two Los Angeles Dodgers having terrific seasons, were not named to the starting lineup for the MLB All-Star Game, and closer Kenley Jansen was quick to assign blame.
“I’ll say it loud and clear again,” Jansen said. “It’s the Dodger fans’ fault. We should have voted for [Seager and Turner]. They deserve to be the starters.”
This is the third consecutive year that the Dodgers have not had a position player in the National League’s starting lineup. Jansen and three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw will be on the pitching staff, while Seager and rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger are reserve hitters.
Turner was one of five players named to the National League’s Final Vote ballot, but he faces stiff competition for the spot, including reigning MVP Kris Bryant.
Seager, a shortstop, has continued the torrid pace that won him the Rookie of the Year Award last season, with a .305 average, 13 home runs, and 3.1 WAR. Turner, a third baseman, bounced back nicely from an early-season hamstring injury and now leads the National League with a .382 batting average.
However, the All-Star Game’s starting lineups are determined by fan votes, and Seager and Turner were beaten out by Zack Cozart and Nolan Arenado, respectively. This is in spite of the fact that the Dodgers lead all of baseball in average attendance.
“I can’t imagine myself a better first half than I’m having right now,” said Turner, according to the Los Angeles Times. “If it’s not in the cards, then it’s not in the cards.”
Jansen, who’s saved 18 games to the tune of a 0.79 ERA this season, seems to have a gripe with the All-Star Game’s popular vote mechanism, an issue he’s not the first to raise.
“Addison Russell got voted in [in 2016],” Jansen said, referring to the Cubs’ young shortstop. “Corey Seager was way better. It’s the same thing this year, I feel like.”
Russell was batting .237 at last year’s All-Star break, while Cozart, although having a good season, is on a down-and-out team and has established himself as more of a solid, everyday Major Leaguer than a true star.
Only time will tell if Dodger fans respond to Jansen’s call to arms next summer, but until then, he’ll have to be happy with reserve roles for his teammates.