The Boston Red Sox have several players representing the team and the American League headed to Miami for the All Star Game
The three men listed are no brainers. Chris Sale has electrified the rotation with his multiple string of 10+ strike out performances. He’s statistically speaking, the best pitcher in the American League and a case can be made for him to be the best pitcher in all of baseball. Sale looks to be the starter representing the American League in Miami. Since the end of April covering his 12 starts he’s 10 – 1 including a perfect 5 – 0 in May.
Sale has posted an 11 – 3 record through 17 starts with 166 strike outs in 120 1/3rd innings. He’s also got a 12.4 K/9 ratio which also leads the league. Sale’s 11 wins are one behind the major league lead. His 2.61 ERA is 2nd in the American League and 4th best in the majors. No one has more strike outs in the majors than Sale. He’s got so much fire that John Farrell has got to get nervous telling him his night is over.
Saving games is no easy task. What’s more difficult? Striking out the side. That’s something Craig Kimbrel has done more than any other closer in baseball. He’s struck out the side extending more than an inning. If he faces four or five guys, there’s a chance he’ll strike them all out. Kimbrel leads the American League with 23 saves in 25 chances, that’s a 92% success rate. Any team would take that.
Kimbrel has given up just five walks and five earned runs this season. Two of those runs came off of solo home runs. He’s also added 65 strike outs spanning 36 2/3rd’s innings. His 65 K’s this season are good for 4th most on the Sox squad. Can’t remember the last time I saw a closer with the 4th most strike outs on any team playing into July. That’s just insane. His 16.0 K/9 ratio is the 3rd best of his career.
He’s got a great chance to get 40+ saves this season as he’s already at 23 and we’re only at July 4th. No one makes closing out the 9th inning look easier than the Red Rocket. When the releasing of the Kimbrel happens, the Red Sox have not lost a game. In his only two blown saves this season, Kimbrel won one of them and the Sox won the other game 7 – 5 last night in extra innings. Case and point, no one shuts the door better.
The third player representing the Red Sox and the American League is Mookie Betts. Betts in his last game facing the Toronto Blue Jays set a record in the lead off spot hitting two home runs and had eight runs knocked in. He is the current team leader in both home runs, RBI’s, runs, and stolen bases. He’s been invaluable.
He’ll be playing in his 2nd All Star Game and becomes just the 2nd member of the Red Sox to play in two All Star Games before the age of 25. The other? The late Ted Williams. Betts has hit safely in seven of his last eight games and is poised to make a come back in the second half. Most thought that his number last season were largely in part to having a stacked line up. It doesn’t look like that’s the case now as he’s starting to finally heat up.
Photo Credit – AP Photo – Collage