July 3, 2011
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The Giants won the 2010 World Series on the strength of their supremely gifted and balanced pitching staff, which has shouldered even more of a load this season in keeping the club near or at the top of the National League West standings.The defending world champions' reliance on their arms will be fittingly reflected at Chase Field in Phoenix when the 2011 NL All-Stars line up for pre-game introductions Tuesday, July 12.Closer Brian Wilson and starters Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong were named to the squad Sunday; it's the first time the Giants have sent four pitchers to the game.
San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy, whose team's appearance in the Fall Classic came with the honor of guiding and helping to select the players for this year's Midsummer Classic, used three of his discretionary selections to add Lincecum, Cain and Vogelsong to the NL roster, and Wilson earned a spot via the players' ballot. Bochy's coaching staff with the Giants also will make the trip to the Valley of the Sun and help Bochy run the game.Wilson, 29, is tied for the big-league lead in saves (24) through Saturday and will be making his third trip to the All-Star Game.Lincecum, 27, is 6-6 with a 3.04 ERA and sits third among NL pitchers with 122 strikeouts; the two-time Cy Young award winner is now a four-time All-Star.Cain, 26, is 7-4 with a 3.02 ERA and was on the disabled list the only other time he's been named an All-Star, in 2009. If Cain pitches for the Giants next Sunday, he'll be allowed to participate in all things All-Star with the exception of the game. Having ripped through the postseason without allowing an earned run and having welcomed his first child, a baby girl, in the world over the offseason, Cain is thoroughly enjoying the whirlwind his life's been over the past nine months.
VIDEO: Matt Cain on making the All-Star Game roster
"It's been a special year," Cain said. "It's been very exciting and very fulfilling."Vogelsong, 33, is 6-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 14 games (12 starts) since being called up from Triple-A Fresno to replace injured Barry Zito. A former Giants farmhand who hadn't won in the majors since 2006 before re-joining the Giants, he played all over the baseball map -- including a three-year stint in Japan -- on the way to earning his first All-Star nod."I think that's one of the best stories I've ever been around in the big leagues," Cain said.In theory, Bochy could replace Cain on the NL roster with another member of his rock-solid bullpen; righty setup man Sergio Romo and lefty Javier Lopez each has an ERA under 2.50 in 35-plus appearances.Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson, 9-4 with a 2.62 ERA, is among the most deserving non-Giants pitchers who weren't named to the roster announced Sunday.