As always, you can make a case for two dozen players who are on the all-star teams and shouldn't be, or who aren't on the teams and should be.

One of those is Atlanta first baseman Bob Horner, who wasn't selected despite ranking second (tied with three others) in the National League in homers (17) and fourth in RBI (56) through Friday. What's more, Horner has hit .407 (11 for 27) with three homers and eight RBI against the NL's all-star pitching staff.

If he's upset, maybe he shouldn't be. The Braves have said privately for several years that Horner determines what kind of season they'll have and, in fact, the only year he played more than 130 games, they won a division championship. If he stays healthy, his reward may come in October.

Atlanta center fielder Dale Murphy's decision to break the 11th-longest consecutive-games streak in history (740) came only after Ted Simmons, the Braves' clubhouse leader, intervened. Apparently, Murphy had been wanting a day off, but didn't want to ask. Manager Chuck Tanner had been wanting to give him one, but didn't want to ask, either.

Simmons went to Tanner and said, "The guy needs a day off," then to Murphy and said, "You've got to take a day off."

Said Murphy: "I had to get to the point where I said I'm like everybody else," meaning he'll now need a day off now and then. . . .

Just as you didn't expect, baseball's first two 10-game losers were 1984 NL Cy Young winner Rick Sutcliffe and 1985 American League winner Bret Saberhagen. . . .

No turnaround this season has been more dramatic than that of the Cleveland Indians, who improved 17 games from the first half of 1985 to the first half of 1986 (27-54 to 44-37). Cleveland pitcher Ken Schrom (10-2) entered the weekend with the longest winning streak in the AL, having won his last seven starts. Still, his success may be more a product of the Indians' mighty offense than anything else. In the seven-game streak, he has allowed 23 earned runs and 11 homers in 43 1/3 innings. . . .

If proposed sales of the Texas and Cleveland franchises are approved, they'll be the 19th and 20th times teams to have changed hands in the last 10 years (17 teams are involved in the 20 sales). . . . How Bad Is St. Louis?

The St. Louis Cardinals had scored three or fewer runs in 56 nine-inning games and hit only 27 homers through Friday, prompting Manager Whitey Herzog to say, "We're not going to catch Roger Maris." When the Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers played last Monday, the two lineups had a total of 21 home runs. "The first team to get someone to second base wins the game," umpire Bruce Froemming said.

Pitcher John Tudor on the Cardinals: "Generally, this team has a bad attitude. A lot of guys have mentally written off this season as one of those years. I think people should realize how bad this team really is. I think it's time they jumped up and jumped on some people, all of us." . . .

Reliever Kurt Kepshire won 10 games for the Cardinals last season, but was sent to Louisville this spring. He was 1-9 when sent to Class AA Arkansas. . . .

Dodgers outfielder Pedro Guerrero has been taking some ground balls this week, and the club now hopes he can return by Aug. 1. . . .

The easiest hard bet remaining is that California will win the AL West. Not only do the Angels have the best defense in baseball (with Dick Schofield at shortstop and Gary Pettis in center), they may have the best pitching staff this side of the New York Mets. Since the return of Donnie Moore and John Candelaria, Angels pitchers had allowed 16 earned runs in 72 innings (2.42 ERA) through Saturday. . . .

Do you think this might be the Boston Red Sox' year? They've won five games in the ninth inning or later when the winning run scored on a walk (twice), a hit-by-pitch (twice) or a balk. . . .

A statement to remember: "This'll be the last all-star game they don't invite Oil Can to." -- Oil Can Boyd when he wasn't picked for the AL team in 1985.

More worrisome than his tantrum Thursday over not being picked for the team is that he has completely abandoned fastballs and is throwing a mixture of breaking pitches and junk. Scouts wonder if he has lost his fastball or doesn't want to throw it, but when he throws 13 straight screwballs (as he did in one game), he'd better be perfect with his location. . . .

Desperate for pitching, the New York Yankees are talking to Milwaukee about Danny Darwin and St. Louis about Bob Forsch. They've all but given up on getting Rick Rhoden from Pittsburgh. . . .

Minnesota's Bert Blyleven has given up one fewer homers (30) than walks (31), but is on a pace that would demolish Robin Roberts' record for homers allowed in a season (46 in 1956). . . .

No team has gone from winning a World Series to last place in two seasons, but the Tigers are threatening to. As they fade, their clubhouse is getting more and more interesting, with reliever Willie Hernandez claiming he has an injured rotator cuff and various players blaming each other or Manager Sparky Anderson.

"Sparky says these are the nicest players he's been around," Kirk Gibson said. "It's a nice atmosphere. We all have nice families and nice homes. Complacency has set in." Through Saturday, the Tigers were only 1-34 when trailing in the sixth inning or later. . . .

The Mets are wondering about reliever Jesse Orosco, who has allowed 10 earned runs and three homers in his last 10 1/3 innings. Manager Davey Johnson probably will go to Roger McDowell or Doug Sisk more often in closing situations, but he's also worried about wearing out McDowell, who has shown signs of tiring recently. . . .

Houston's Glenn Davis leads the NL with 19 homers, the latest an Astro has led the league since 1967. That's the year Jimmy Wynn was overtaken by Hank Aaron Sept. 13. Since coming off the disabled list, Houston's Nolan Ryan had allowed six earned runs in 29 innings and struck out 35. "All the talk about me being finished has been kind of an incentive," he said. . . .

The Brewers are puzzled about the first slump of pitcher Teddy Higuera's career. He's 1-2, with a 6.27 ERA in his last four starts and has constantly denied that anything is wrong with his arm. A worse problem for the Brewers has been a St. Louis-like batting slump (47 runs in the last 17 games through Friday). . . . Easy Targets in Seattle

Toronto's Jimmy Key became the 20th pitcher to have his season-high strikeout game against Seattle. . . .

Addison, Ill., may be the perfect place for the Chicago White Sox, but the etiquette there needs work. When White Sox co-owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn visited with civic leaders for lunch Thursday, they were served plates of ham. Both are Jewish. . . .

The Philadelphia Phillies had eight different chances to reach .500 this year, and they made it on the eighth try, after which they promptly lost three in a row. It appears the Phillies and Angels are going to trade two slumping pitchers, Charlie Hudson and Ron Romanick. Hudson hasn't won for the Phillies since April 29, and Romanick is 6-12 with a 6.37 ERA since July 17. . . .

Detroit's Darrell Evans carries a portable VCR on the road with him and has two tapes: one of him hitting and another of a Jane Fonda workout.