American League manager Dusty Baker named Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Shane McLanahan the All-Star Game starting pitcher on Monday, a pitcher that the Houston Astros manager is looking forward to watching.
Mostly because, according to Baker, he has actually never watched McLanahan pitch before.
“To tell you the truth, I’ve never seen him pitch,” Baker told reporters on Monday to a round of laughter. “But everyone I’ve talked to, they say he’s nasty. He is my choice through talking to others and I’m excited to see him pitch — except when he’s pitching against us in September.”
Upon closer examination, Baker’s memory appears to be a bit foggy.
McLanahan actually pitched against the Astros in Game 6 of the 2020 ALCS — but pardon Baker for not exactly remembering as it was hardly a memorable performance for the southpaw.
He allowed five hits and three runs over just 1.2 innings of relief as the Astros forced a Game 7.
But the 25-year-old McLanahan, in just his second MLB season, is a much different pitcher now. He leads the American League with a 1.71 ERA and 0.79 WHIP and has 147 strikeouts over 110.2 innings pitched, making him a worthy starter for the Midsummer Classic.
He'll have his work cut out for him, too. He will have to face Ronald Acuna Jr., Mookie Betts and Manny Machado. And, if anyone reaches base, Paul Goldschmidt and Trea Turner are next.
We will see just how much he can impress Dusty and the rest of us.