Angels' Escobar denied in Final Vote
Despite sensational first half, right-hander unable to win spot
ANAHEIM -- The prospect of fielding an Angels quartet at San Francisco's AT&T Park was dashed Thursday. In spite of a last-ditch voting blitz by teammates and supporters not wearing uniforms, Kelvim Escobar's bid for his first career appearance at the Midsummer Classic ended without a Bay Area berth.
The sensational right-hander, enjoying the finest first-half start of his 10-year career, was in competition for the final spot on American League manager Jim Leyland's staff against Boston's Hideki Okajima, Detroit's Jeremy Bonderman, Minnesota's Pat Neshek and Toronto's Roy Halladay in the 2007 Monster All-Star Final Vote contest.
Pitchers John Lackey and Francisco Rodriguez, as well as Vladimir Guerrero, the AL's top vote-getter among outfielders, will represent the Angels sans Escobar at the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
With Escobar on the road during the final week of balloting, the Angel Stadium staff used local television and radio broadcasts, a newsletter sent via e-mail to fans and a "Vote Kelvim Escobar to the All-Star Game" message flickering in front of motorists speeding on the freeway past the Big A, to help try to garner the extra votes necessary to secure his place in San Francisco.
The Halos' No. 2 starter holds a 9-3 record, second on the team behind ace Lackey's 11 wins, and a team-low 3.32 ERA. His 2.05 home ERA is second in the AL to the 1.80 ERA held by Oakland's Joe Blanton at McAfee Coliseum. Having won four of his last five starts, Escobar's most dominant performance this season was a complete-game three-hitter in a 5-1 win over Minnesota at Angel Stadium on June 5. He also held the rival Los Angeles Dodgers scoreless, allowing only three hits through eight innings in a 4-1 win at Dodger Stadium on May 20.
Although forced to watch his peers on television instead of joining them on the field, Escobar has maintained that his main goal has been to help his team secure a playoff berth. In that regard, he has thus far been an overwhelming success.
Larry Santana is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.