Cubs’ Justin Steele won’t start the All-Star Game, but it’ll be a super Tuesday just the same

Also: Guardians star Jose Ramirez weighs in on the White Sox, and the Phillies’ Nick Castellanos gets real about his time with the Cubs.

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The Cubs’ Justin Steele pitches at Wrigley Field in June.

The Cubs’ Justin Steele pitches at Wrigley Field in June.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

SEATTLE — It would be hard to top the Tuesday that Cubs left-hander Justin Steele is going to have. Not only is it his birthday — his 28th — but his baby boy, Beau, turns 1. And then there’s the whole All-Star thing, with Steele participating in the Midsummer Classic for the first time.

“Truly a special day,” Steele said, “and something we’ll never forget.”

But just imagine if, on top of all that, Steele got to start the game for the National League. That possibility was on the table for a while, but NL manager Rob Thomson made up his mind last week to go with Diamondbacks right-hander Zac Gallen.

Come on, Skip, why spoil such a great narrative?

“We just looked at the numbers,” the Phillies’ Thomson said, “and Zac’s numbers just came off the page for us.”

Gallen, 27, is tied for the major league lead in wins (11), is in the top 10 in strikeouts (125) and has a 3.04 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 19 starts. That’s mighty good.

But Steele is 9-2 with a 2.56 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 16 starts. That’s as good as anybody has been.

“Zac Gallen is very deserving, just as deserving as I am,” Steele said. “It’s really cool to see him get that nod.”

As of early Monday afternoon, Steele didn’t know if he’d get into the game. If he does, he suspects it might feel a lot like it did to pitch in London, where he beat the Cardinals.

“If I get in there to pitch,” he said, “I’ll just go out there and do my job.”

Castellanos on Cubs

In 51 games with the Cubs in 2019, Nick Castellanos hit .321 with 16 home runs, 21 doubles and a 1.002 OPS.

He was sensational — at the plate, anyway — and then he was gone.

“I wasn’t made aware of even one offer from the Cubs [to stay],” Castellanos said. “They never offered me anything. That kind of made me angry.”

Not so angry that he wouldn’t jump at the chance to return to the North Siders. If he’s still playing a few years from now after his Phillies deal ends, he hopes it will be with either his hometown Marlins or the Cubs.

“Chicago was the best high I’ve ever had playing baseball, there’s no question,” he said. “I wanted to win so bad. I was so sick of losing [in Detroit]. It was just so great to be at Wrigley Field. I loved the day games. It’s still my favorite stadium to play in.

“Yeah, I would definitely do it again.”

Ramirez on White Sox

One team that always seems to get the most out of what it has is the Guardians. Make that the first-place Guardians, who lead the Sox’ division at 45-45. They’re far from great, but so far they’re good enough. But why?

“Because on our team, everybody has the same vision,” said Jose Ramirez, the Guardians’ best player, via a translator. “Everybody wants the same thing. We have unity and it gives us confidence, and that makes it easier to play.”

So what the heck is wrong with the Sox?

“I don’t know much about the chemistry or how their clubhouse is,” he said, “but on paper they have really good players. We know they’re really good. So I can’t [explain] it.”

This and that

• Don’t be surprised if American League manager Dusty Baker puts all six Rangers on the field at the same time. Second baseman Marcus Semien, shortstop Corey Seager, third baseman Josh Jung and catcher Jonah Heim all are starters, with outfielder Adolis Garcia and pitcher Nathan Eovaldi in reserve.

• Thomson seems game to throw an all-Braves infield out there for an inning. Shortstop Orlando Arcia is starting along with catcher Sean Murphy, with infielders Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley on the bench. Remember when, Cubs fans?

• A’s outfielder Brent Rooker hit .198 in May. That wasn’t bad enough, so he hit .191 in June. Less than two weeks later, he’s an All-Star. God bless America.

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