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The second-place Red Sox will send at least four players to this summer’s MLB All-Star Game. Adrian Gonzalez (first base) and David Ortiz (designated hitter) were voted into the starting lineup by the fans, while Jacoby Ellsbury and Josh Beckett made Ron Washington’s squad as reserves.
Gonzalez is perhaps the most obvious choice of the bunch. He leads the American League in hitting (.350) and RBI (74), and also ranks tied for 10th in home runs with 16. He has been the best player of the first half and is the leading MVP candidate heading into the final week before the All-Star Break. And….he can play right field!
Despite going 0-for-his-last-21, Ortiz has had a marvelous first half after two straight years of crappy starts. Ortiz leads the Red Sox in home runs (17) and also has 49 RBI to go with a .301 average and .382 on-base percentage.
In a far cry from last year’s debacle, Ellsbury has turned in a strong season to earn his first All-Star appearance. Ellsbury has 9 home runs, 40 RBIs, and a .302 batting average. He also leads the American League with 26 stolen bases.
Beckett is making a shocking appearance to this year’s team, as no one other than maybe Theo Epstein, Terry Francona, and Beckett thought he was capable of such a brilliant first half. After Sunday’s dominant outing against the Astros, Beckett improved to 7-3 with a 2.12 ERA (second in the AL), 0.91 WHIP (second in the AL), and 91 strikeouts in 106.0 innings.
No, Dustin Pedroia (.278/.394/.406) is not nearly as deserving as he has been in recent years and should not be on the A.L. squad. I suppose you could make an argument for Jonathan Papelbon (17 SV, 3.53 ERA, 11.65 K/9) or Daniel Bard (2.25 ERA, 0.83 WHIP), but let’s face it, four Red Sox and six Yankees (Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Russel Martin, Mariano Rivera) represent almost a third of the AL squad.
Oh, and sorry John Lackey, as well as you think you have pitched, your numbers (5-7, 6.81 ERA) just aren’t good enough.
Also, it’s worth noting that players get replaced all the time (injury, vacation, other stuff)…so
Lackey the following players still have a shot.
Youk is the cleanup hitter for the best offense in the American League, yet has somehow missed the All-Star team for the second consecutive season? He hasn’t been outstanding, but he’s definitely been better than former Sox 3B Adrian Beltre (.271/.317/.470, 15 HR, 63 RBI), who made the team as the backup for starter Alex Rodriguez (.292/.373/.500, 13 HR, 52 RBI). Youk is hitting .271 with 11 home runs, 57 RBI, a .392 OBP and .476 SLG. Yes, Beltre, has better counting stats, but the averages (specifically OBP, and as a result, OPS) isn’t even close.
We can pair Lester’s snub with Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia. Both pitchers didn’t make the team despite leading the league with 10 wins apiece. Lester (10-4) has 105 strikeouts in 110.1 innings. But, in a year that has seen a shocking 12 starters (somehow including Bartolo Colon) with ERA’s under 3.00, it’s a little easier to explain the absences of Lester and Sabathia.