2013 All-Star Game: Can Cliff Lee or Dom Brown End the Phillies All-Star MVP Drought?

The last time the New York Mets hosted the All-Star Game, Phillies outfielder Johnny Callison won the MVP award.  In the 49 years since that game, the Phillies haven’t had another player earn those honors.  With two representatives on the 2013 National League team, do they have a chance to end that drought? Let’s take a look at the two Phillies who will be involved.

Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee has performed well in his past All-Star Game appearances. Image Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

By nature, it is difficult for pitchers to win the MVP Award. With 16 pitchers on the team, it isn’t even guaranteed that Lee will appear in the game. Since his regular turn in the rotation was scheduled for Monday, he is expected to pitch an inning, but that is far from certain.

Even if Lee makes it into the game, it would be tough for him to make that much of an impact. In the past 16 years, only one pitcher has been named the MVP of the game: Pedro Martinez in 1999. That came in a low scoring game in which Martinez’s two inning-five strikeout performance was easily the most memorable part of the contest. Lee is likely to only pitch one inning, so he would probably need to strike out the side to even merit consideration.

Lee has been successful in his past All-Star appearances. He’s played in three games, and has given up only one run in 5.2 innings. And he’s certainly not going to be fazed by facing a lineup full of stars.  Still, I wouldn’t count on Lee to be the one to end the drought.

Dom Brown

This will be the first of hopefully many All-Star Game appearances for Dom Brown. Image Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Simply by being a position player, Brown has a better chance of being named MVP. Most position players will appear in the game at some point. But with four reserve outfielders on the team, Brown is unlikely to receive more than one plate appearance.

If Brown wants to win the MVP, he’d better hope that his appearance comes at a crucial time in the game. Getting a hit that either ties the game or gives his team a lead is usually the key to earning MVP votes.

Brown might just have to force the issue.  While he’s had an exceptional first half, Brown isn’t coming into the game especially hot.  He only has two home runs in July and is 1 for his last 15.  If a truly clutch situation arises, National League manager Bruce Bochy is more likely to favor one of the more experienced players on the roster.

This is likely just the first of many All-Star appearances for Brown.  He’ll probably get several more chances to shine and merit MVP consideration.  But chances are, the drought is going to continue for at least one more season.

Topics: 2013 MLB All-Star Game, All Star Game, Baseball, Cliff Lee, Dom Brown, Domonic Brown, Johnny Callison, MBL, MVP, Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies

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