The move is not sitting well with some fans and sports writers who think R.A. Dickey should be the starter. The 37-year-old, who leads the league in wins, would have become only the second knuckleballer to earn the honor, the first since Dutch Leonard for the AL in 1943, according to STATS.
But last week, La Russa expressed reservations about pairing a knuckleballer with a catcher (Buster Posey) who has no experience catching the difficult pitch.
Few can argue Cain's credentials - he is 9-3 with a 2.62 ERA, and 118 strikeouts. Last month, Cain pitched a perfect game against Houston.
But Dickey's numbers are arguably better. The Mets pitcher is 12-1 with a 2.40 ERA and 123 strikeouts. Dickey, who threw consecutive one-hitters in June, is riding a 10-game winning streak into the Midsummer Classic.
Dickey, whose career was nearly ended by an injury in 2005, reinvented himself with the knuckleball and has been the biggest surprise in baseball this season. His off-the-field exploits (climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in the offseason) and eccentric personality have also made him a fan favorite.
Says CBSSports.com's Matt Snyder: "Simply, in whatever terms one wants to put this, it seems like Dickey should have been an easy choice (to start the All-Star Game)."
Before Cain was named the starter, Dickey told the Daily News' Wayne Coffey (who co-wrote ) that he wanted to start the game.
"I do want to start the game, of course, but I am thrilled just to be there," he said. "The fact that we are having an argument about me starting the All-Star game is kind of miraculous.''