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Three Stars

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That sound about right for the 2007 Phillies, doesn't it? Good action, decent drama, but ultimately a little predictable and overloaded with too many characters for a viewer to easily keep track...

But wait: this isn't a review, but news that the team will send three players to the 2007 All-Star game in San Francisco. Chase Utley was voted the starter at second base for the National League, and outfielder Aaron Rowand and pitcher Cole Hamels were selected by the players, or the manager, or Zeus, or whoever picks the reserves these days.

There wasn't much suspense about Utley, who led the fan balloting all spring, or Hamels, whose dominance became well known through the big leagues in short order this season. Rowand's selection, though, is a bit of a surprise. He's got good-but-not-superlative numbers across the board (.312/.390/.478, 11 HR) and a defensive reputation that outstrips the reality. But he's also been the Phillies' sole consistently productive bat from the right side, and he's well regarded through the majors. I'd argue that the selection is deserved... though given Rowand's high energy level, a few idle days might have better served the team.  

On the outside looking in are shortstop Jimmy Rollins--in my opinion the most deserving non-selection, with his .283/.328/.513 triple slash numbers, 14 homers, 15 steals and steady defensive work--and 1b Ryan Howard, whose feast-or-famine hitting has produced 19 homers and 57 RBI but just a .248 batting average. With four other first basemen (Fielder, Pujols, Lee, D. Young) on the NL squad, there was no room for the reigning MVP.