After being named by a vote of players to the American League team in next Tuesday's All-Star Game in Cincinnati, Adam Jones and Manny Machado made it clear that they were honored to have been picked by their peers.
It's interesting to see the discrepancy between this year's fan balloting and player balloting.
Jones finished seventh among American League outfielders in the fan voting but was the second-leading vote-getter among players. Jones' 424 player votes trailed only the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout (785), who was voted in as a starter, and was ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista (320) and the Detroit Tigers' J.D. Martinez (315), both of whom received enough votes from the players to earn All-Star Game selections.
Neither the Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain nor Alex Gordon, both voted to start by the fans, were among the top four vote-getters in the players' vote.
Even though Machado finished third among AL third basemen in fan balloting, behind Toronto's Josh Donaldson and Kansas City's Mike Moustakas, he finished second in the players' vote, receiving 271 votes. Donaldson led with 649.
"It was awesome," Machado said of being voted in by the players. "We've got four players going. On top of that, it's a great honor that the players were the ones that voted for it, and you're just very humbled, very humbled to be selected, and it's just a great honor. I'm going to enjoy it and looking forward to spending it with my teammates."
Closer Zach Britton and setup man Darren O'Day were selected for the All-Star Game by Kansas City manager Ned Yost, who saw the Orioles up close in last year's AL Championship Series.
As is the case every year, Yost received input from other managers around the league before deciding whom to select.
One thing Yost knows is bullpens. Kansas City's late-inning combination of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland was a major reason his Royals went to the World Series last year and are leading the AL Central this season.
O'Day was shocked to be selected, given the great relievers around the league.
“You look at the talent pool to get picked out of that — it just blows my mind, not just the Royals' bullpen, but all the bullpens around the league,” O’Day said. “There are so many good arms, and the way the game has changed, bullpens are such an important part of the game now. To be selected as one of those guys, it’s pretty amazing. I’m excited to meet some of these guys, some of the premier relievers, to kind of pick their brains and sit through nine innings with them.”
Britton joked that Yost couldn't have made his selection based on his performance in the ALCS last year.
"I didn't know how it went down or how the selections were made," Britton said. "We just played against them in the playoffs last year. I'm not sure I made that good of an impression. I think I walked the bases loaded the first game, but I'm just honored that he selected me."
Regardless of how their selections came about, sending four players to the All-Star Game shows that the Orioles are getting attention for their on-field success.
"Winning is the most important thing," Britton said. "I think when you win, people take notice of that, and that's what we've done the past couple years. People are maybe more enticed to pick our guys because we know we have a good organization and a good team that's always in the hunt and has been in the playoffs the past couple of years. I think, if anything, the winning is the most important thing, and that's what makes people take notice."
Other items of note from Monday's 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins:
-- Catcher Matt Wieters entered Monday's game hitless in his previous 15 at-bats but went on to post a three-hit night (two singles and a double), his first since April 23, 2014.
-- Jones’ sixth-inning solo homer — a tape-measure, 430-foot shot high off the left-field foul pole — was his first blast since June 11, a span of 14 games. Jones’ power has been streaky this season. He has just two homers in his past 18 games after hitting three in the four games before that.
-- The Orioles entered Monday's game 11-8 all time at Target Field, but they've lost their past three games here, scoring a total of five runs against the Twins.