KANSAS CITY (BaseballStL) – Tony La Russa managed the All-Star Game a lot like he managed the previous 5,097 games – with intrigue and a little bit of controversy.
La Russa’s handle on the All-Star Game could be questioned all over beginning with how he managed the Cardinals players. Matt Holliday didn’t play the field, David Freese played first base, Rafael Furcal played the majority of the game and Lance Lynn did not play at all.
Holliday did not start the game, but when he entered he did not have to worry about bringing his glove because he was used as a pinch hitter for the designated hitter spot. It was his only at-bat.
David Freese, who has been nursing a bruised leg, did not have to worry about playing the usual ‘hot corner’ as he entered the game as a replacement at first base. He entered the game even before Cubs’ first baseman Bryan LaHair.
Rafael Furcal played the most of any All-Star starter this year despite having one of the game’s brightest young stars in Starlin Castro, another Cub, on the bench. It is a move the NL Central rivals could quickly jump on.
And finally, starter Lance Lynn was one of two NL All-Stars not to play; the other player being Padres reliever Huston Street, who is also rumored to be on the trade market (hmmm…possibly a future Cardinal?). It was extra rest Lynn could definitely use.
The ninth inning could also sum up what La Russa is all about – going to the bullpen. In fact, he used three pitchers to get the final three outs of the game. It was sort of a nostalgic feel to a ballgame which was likely his last.
La Russa will be La Russa. It is the reason why many fans will question him but also respect him and, in all honesty, the reason why the game will never be the same.