It's been a leaky Monday morning in Kansas City.
First, we learned -- hours before the official announcements were due -- that Justin Verlander's going to start for the American League in the All-Star Game. Now comes the National League news: according to sources, Matt Cain's going to start for the National League.
The early reaction has been ... well, this Tweet from John Harper gets at it pretty well:
LaRussa can explain this any way he wants, but Dickey should be starting. Best pitcher this season and best story.
Dickey's 12-1 and Cain's 9-3, but otherwise their numbers are practically indistinguishable. Same strikeouts, same walks, same innings, same earned-run averages. Cain's home ballpark is probably slightly tougher on hitters than Dickey's, and all things considered Dickey's probably pitched slightly better than Cain.
But there's something to be said for history, isn't there? Matt Cain was also an All-Star last year, and finished eighth in the National League's Cy Young balloting.
Dickey's story is certainly better than Cain's. But this is probably the last game Tony La Russa will ever manage. He probably cares a lot less about stories than about winning. He probably thinks Cain pitching two innings gives him the best chance to win. And it's not obvious that he's wrong.