Finley, White Picked; Blyleven, Downing Aren’t
A couple of veterans with good numbers were passed over, but the Angels’ new wave made a big splash Thursday when the American League All-Star pitchers and reserves were announced.
Left-hander Chuck Finley, who is 10-6 with a 2.24 earned-run average, and center fielder Devon White, who took a .260 batting average with nine home runs and 37 runs batted in into Thursday night’s game, will make their first appearance in All-Star competition Tuesday night at Anaheim Stadium.
Bert Blyleven (7-2), who has a league-leading 2.16 ERA, and designated hitter Brian Downing, who had a .310 average, eight homers and 31 RBIs going into Thursday night’s game, were left off the squad. Finley and White are 26; Blyleven and Downing are 38.
Finley leads the staff in wins and is second in the AL in ERA. He is tied for the league lead in complete games (eight), sixth in strikeouts (92) and ninth in innings pitched (124 1/3). Opponents are hitting .235 against him.
White leads the majors in triples (nine), is third in the league in steals (25) and has 31 extra-base hits.
White, whose batting average has fallen 27 points in the last two weeks, said he was “a little shocked” when he came to Anaheim Stadium and was told by a reporter that he had made the team.
“I’ve been struggling the last couple of weeks,” White said, “and I thought I’d blown my chances. I was surprised, but I’m honored. Maybe this will loosen me up a little.
“I thought Brian (Downing) would be picked and I thought Blyleven would make it. There are so many players out there, it’s tough to say whether I deserve it or not. But I was chosen and I’m going. I’m looking forward to three days of fun.”
Finley, who had been fielding questions about his All-Star chances for three weeks, said the selection was “a load off my mind.”
“Basically, I’m just glad it’s over,” Finley said. “I’ve known about the possibility for a while but I’ve been trying not to think about it. I just tried to take it one game at a time, got a little luck here and there, and ended up 10-6.”
Actually, Finley has been the Angels’ most dominating pitcher. With added poise and a new forkball, Finley has come a long way from last season, when he was 9-15.
“The new pitch has changed me,” Finley said, “but getting off on a roll and having the confidence has something to do with it, too.”
Angel Manager Doug Rader said he was happy for the two players who made the team but felt badly for “others who were as deserving.”
Only Blyleven admitted he was disappointed, though.
“I thought I had a chance,” Blyleven said. “It would have been an honor and special because it’s at home, but I didn’t make it. So . . . I won’t even watch it then.
“Anybody want to buy some All-Star tickets?”