The Cubs, we hope, could be headed to the World Series this year. As you know (and as most of us dislike), the All-Star Game league winner will have home-field advantage in the World Series.
If the Cubs make it, they might get an extra home game in the WS due to the performance of some of their own players, because they'll have five starting players in the game. Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Dexter Fowler have all been voted to the starting lineup for the game, the first time the Cubs have ever had five starting position players. And:
#Cubs are 1st team since 1963 Cardinals to have entire infield starting in All-Star Game— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 5, 2016
#Cubs 1st team since 1985 Padres to have 5 starters (Rizzo, Zobrist, Russell, Bryant, Fowler)— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 5, 2016
It is, of course, still uncertain whether Fowler will be healthy enough to play in the game, but he'll certainly head to San Diego to be honored as one of the players elected by fans.
For Rizzo, it's his third consecutive All-Star selection and for Bryant, his second. Zobrist also has made the All-Star team for the third time, as he was an A.L. selection in 2009 and 2013 with the Rays. Fowler and Russell are first-time All-Stars. Rizzo led all N.L. vote-getters. The closest vote was at second base, where Zobrist edged Daniel Murphy of the Nationals by just 88 votes, 3,013,407 to 3,013,019.
They'll have help along the line from a couple of their pitchers, too. Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester will be part of the N.L. pitching staff, and since Jake is going Friday and Jon on Saturday, both could appear in the game. For Jake, it's his first All-Star Game, as he wasn't selected last year (even though his numbers at the break could have justified the pick) because he pitched on the Sunday before the game. For Lester, it's his fourth All-Star Game. He was chosen in 2010, 2011 and 2014 as a member of the Boston Red Sox. More on Arrieta and Lester:
Arrieta was selected by player votes, while NL manager Terry Collins picked Lester. #Cubs— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 5, 2016
The seven Cubs selected make this the biggest Cubs All-Star contingent since 2008, when eight Cubs went to Yankee Stadium for that year's game. The Cubs won the N.L. Central with 97 wins that year. We certainly hope for a repeat of that title this year, and a longer postseason run.
Congratulations to all the Cubs chosen for this year's National League All-Star squad.