Giants' 4 All-Stars know what's at stake

Posey, Bumgarner, Cueto, Belt repping club with Majors' best record at Midsummer Classic

Giants' 4 All-Stars know what's at stake

SAN DIEGO -- Buster Posey openly aligns himself with the popular opinion that the outcome of the All-Star Game should not determine home-field advantage in the World Series. Yet he's not afraid to admit the significance of such consequences.

"It's really important," Posey said. "There's just no other way around it.

"I'm very appreciative that the All-Star Game means something, I just wish there was some other way we could make it mean something rather than deciding home-field advantage. For a team that works its tail off for eight months and maybe wins 100-plus games and doesn't get home-field advantage because of the All-Star Game, I wish it was different."

Posey's Giants, carrying baseball's best record at 57-33, could very well find themselves in this exact situation should they keep pace and land in the Fall Classic for the fourth time in seven years. And they'll have plenty of players on hand for tonight's All-Star Game (4:30 p.m. PT on FOX) to help their case.

Four to be exact, as the Giants have had at least three All-Stars six years in a row: Posey is joined by starters Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto, and first baseman Brandon Belt, who is making his first career All-Star appearance.

It all begins with the right-handed Cueto, named the National League starter by NL manager Terry Collins tonight. Cueto is 13-1 with a 2.47 ERA in 18 starts for the Giants, who are 16-2 on those days.

"That was a big-time signing for us," Bumgarner said. "He's been such a workhorse for us and has been throwing the ball great. He knows how to pitch, and it's fun to watch his command. He hardly misses his spot."

Bumgarner is hardly a slacker, posting a 1.94 ERA. The Giants' ace capped a sensational first half with a one-hit shutout of the D-backs on Sunday, entering the break with 10 wins and 146 strikeouts -- second-most in the first half in Giants history dating back to the first All-Star Game in 1933. Tim Lincecum maintains the record at 149, set in 2009.

Bumgarner's credentials would have made him a likely choice for tonight's start had he not pitched Sunday. It's his fourth consecutive All-Star nod, and this is also Posey's fourth selection, while Cueto is taking in his second.

"It's been awesome so far," Belt said. "It's been pretty surreal. It's hard to believe that I'm here right now. I've been kind of following my teammates around because they know the ropes a little bit and have been here a few times. I'm just trying to enjoy it and take it all in right now."

This Giants' All-Star contingent perfectly embodies the core that San Francisco officials so diligently worked to create. All four will be with the club through at least the 2019 season, as will shortstop Brandon Crawford, whom many felt was deserving of All-Star consideration.

Posey, Bumgarner, Belt and Crawford all came up through the Giants' system, while Cueto arrived via free agency on a six-year, $130 million deal in the offseason.

"They do a great job of the guys that they bring in and the guys that they draft and bring up through the system," Bumgarner said. "It's a lot of guys that aren't selfish and really enjoy being around each other. I know it gets said a lot about playing for the guy next to you and a lot of people don't understand it, but when you're in the clubhouse you understand, and that's what it takes. You got to have that to be a championship-caliber team.

"It's really nice, especially on the comfort side. You know what you're getting each year when you come into Spring Training and get ready for the season. That's a big deal for us."

Added Posey: "We don't really think about it as much until we get the questions, but I think it is special. It doesn't happen everywhere, and I hope it's one of those deals where we look back on it in 20 years and realize how special it is that we were able to win as much as we have and hopefully win more going forward with a lot of the same guys."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.