MLB selecting Yankees' Clay Holmes for All-Star Game even baffled Clay Holmes

Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees
Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

When Yankees closer Clay Holmes fought off Mookie Betts with a devastating slider for strike three against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday Night Baseball (June 9), it represented an emphatic return to form for the stopper, who'd suffered a few dings after beginning the year with 20 consecutive appearances without an earned run allowed.

Somehow, on July 9, this outing still represents Holmes' most recent successful save of the season. The Yankees have contributed significantly to that skid; after all, they've only won nine games since, and most of them didn't present save opportunities (a tired Holmes gave way to Michael Tonkin the very next night in Kansas City to get the job done).

Still, when Holmes has been used, he's blown up a fair number of times (two-run homer late against Baltimore in a 4-2 win, two-out game-flipper against Kansas City, literal-last-second gag against the Red Sox), leading to a 10.80 ERA in his seven most recent appearances. That extended rough stretch didn't stop MLB -- the league itself, not the players -- from mandating Holmes' participation in the All-Star Game.

For whatever reason, Holmes wasn't docked for his recent poor run of form and Luis Gil, once a near-lock for the roster and in consideration to start, was knocked off entirely.

Yankees' Clay Holmes doesn't belong on MLB All-Star roster, wasn't planning on going to Texas

At least Gil spent Sunday night clawing back into consideration for a roster spot, pending dropouts, with six innings of brilliance against the Red Sox. Holmes? He really thought he was going to have some time away from the game.

"Two days after surrendering a game-tying two-run homer to Red Sox designated hitter Masataka Yoshida, Holmes acknowledged that he was “probably a little surprised” to be named an All-Star. He’d been entertaining spending the break on a beach or in Nashville."

Bryan Hoch,

Insert your favorite rival reliever -- Kenley Jansen, Craig Kimbrel, Hunter Gaddis -- and yes, they likely had a stronger argument than Holmes for this particular platform. Even Luke Weaver's numbers have maintained better than the Yankees closer's tallies in recent weeks.

The oddest part isn't that Holmes made the contest on the strength of his first 20 appearances. It's that MLB was responsible for his selection; they named him rather than the players. If it was a matter of "New York bias," why wouldn't the league have just selected Gil, the far more interesting story and better representation of this season's guiding themes of youth and electricity? The Red Sox have been one of MLB's best stories, too, and the league loves to reward them. Wouldn't Jansen have been a better bias pick?

It's tough to make heads or tails of why the game's governing body sanctioned this decision, which made very little sense both outside and inside of the Yankees' locker room. All we know for sure is that it made most parties upset, and left Holmes sputtering.