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Sure, the Boston Red Sox may be in last place in the American League East, 9.5 games out of wild card contention, and only 2.5 games ahead of the lowly Houston Astros (you know, the franchise all but actively trying to lose games).
But damn it all, they’ll still have two representatives at the 2014 All-Star Game. And that’s something to be proud of, isn’t it?
After Jon Lester was initially selected as the lone Red Sox representative at the All-Star Game, teammate and closer Goji Uehara will join him at Target Field in Minnesota as an injury replacement for the New York Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka, who was placed on the DL on Tuesday with an elbow injury. After making This will be Uehara’s first MLB All-Star appearance.
Uehara has followed up his spectacular end to the 2013 championship season, in which he came in 7th in the Cy Young voting, with another dazzling performance thus far in 2014. In 41 appearances (good for 42.2 innings pitched), Uehara has allowed just six runs, 25 hits, and six walks, racking up 18 saves (with only one blown save) and 55 strikeouts. That’s all good for a 1.27 ERA, a 0.73 WHIP, and an astronomical strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Still, one can’t help but acknowledge the cloud of skepticism surrounding his selection to the All-Star Game considering his own manager, John Farrell, is calling the shots as defending AL champion and manager of the American League All-Star team. Farrell essentially promised his closer a spot on the team if one opened up due to injury, and lo and behold here he is. It’s hard not to consider his selection as partly an achievement award for his record-breaking season last year and for delivering a World Series to Boston.
Haters can’t get too mad, though, as Uehara does rank in the top ten (if not top five) among AL relievers in pretty much every major statistical category. From the Red Sox press release announcing Uehara’s selection:
Entering today, he ranked among AL relievers in save percentage (2nd, 94.7), WHIP (2nd, 0.74), ERA (3rd, 1.30), strikeout/walk ratio (3rd, 8.7), wins (T-3rd), saves (5th), walk rate (6th, 1.3 BB/9.0 IP), and strikeouts (T-6th, 52).
Whether Uehara merited his first All-Star selection or not, as a Red Sox fan one can simply hope he (and Lester, if either pitches in the Midsummer Classic) perform admirably against their National League counterparts. It’d be nice to have something to be proud of as a Red Sox fan during the 2014 MLB season…