Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez unconcerned with All-Star snub
Felipe Vazquez spent more time trying to get a teammate elected as an All-Star Game starter than he did worrying why he was snubbed.
Vazquez, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ closer, and starting pitcher Joe Musgrove went around the city, hoping to convince people to vote for Josh Bell as the National League starter at first base. It didn’t work — Bell finished a close second to Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves — but at least he was named a reserve for Tuesday’s game in Cleveland. Bell could be the NL’s starting designated hitter.
But what about Vazquez, who made his only All-Star Game roster last year before finishing the season with a career-high 37 saves?
“I’m not going to cry about it,” he said. “I’m not going to say anything about it.”
Vazquez also was left off the 2017 All-Star squad when he had an 0.76 ERA at the break, but only six saves.
This season, Vazquez is tied for eighth in the NL with 19 saves in 20 opportunities. The three closers named to the team — the Padres’ Kirby Yates (27 of 28), the Giants’ Will Smith (22 of 22) and the Brewers’ Josh Hader (20 of 21) — had more saves than Vazquez before Friday’s game against the Brewers at PNC Park.
Vazquez’s ERA (2.00) is second only to Yates (1.27) among NL closers, but Smith (2.10) and Hader (2.16) are not far behind.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Vazquez is deserving.
“The value he brings could be significant in an all-star game,” Hurdle said. “He has been an exclamation point at the end of games. He has continued to grow and mature into that role as a leader out there and a guy who understands the importance of a short memory and understands what he needs to bring as far as energy when he comes into the game to put that game away.”
But he also understands not everyone gets a ride on the merry-go-round.
“There’s going to be people missed,” Hurdle said. “Life’s not fair. Not everyone gets a trophy.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .