This isn’t exactly a surprise but Jon Lester will be representing the Red Sox at the 2014 All-Star game in Minneapolis on July 15.
Lester was selected by Red Sox manager John Farrell who made the announcement after Sunday’s 7-6 loss in extra innings to the Orioles.
Farrell also said that Red Sox closer Koji Uehara would be the first pitcher selected as a replacement if any pitcher is unable to participate because of injury or having proper rest. So it looks like Koji will eventually be making his way to Target Field for the midsummer classic as well.
“Jon Lester and Koji have pitched All-Star-caliber baseball the entire first half of the season,” Farrell said. “When you look at what Jon’s been able to do in terms of where he stacks up with other starters, in the top five or top six in most pitching categories, he has earned the selection.
The 30-year-old Lester has been dominating in his last five outings and overall is 9-7 with a 2.73 ERA with 122 strikeouts allowing just 29 walks on the season. Lester has not allowed an earned run in 16 innings over his last two starts and has given up only four earned runs over his last five starts beginning on June 12, with a 0.96 ERA in that stretch.
Among AL left-handers, only All-Stars Mark Buehlre of the Blue Jays and Scott Kazmir of the A’s have more wins (10).
Lester was also named an All-Star in 2010 and 2011. He pitched a scoreless inning of relief in the 2010 contest at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, and did not appear in the 2011 exhibition at Chase Field in Arizona.
Uehara has 18 saves to go along with a 1.30 ERA in 40 appearances. It would be Uehara’s first All-Star selection.
What may come as a surprise is that slugger David Ortiz did not get named to the All-Star squad for only the second time in the last 11 years. The Orioles Nelson Cruz and old friend Victor Martinez of the Tigers will serve in the DH role in the AL. Ortiz, who is batting .261 with 19 homers and 55 RBIs, dropped down to fourth when the fan ballots were tallied.
“Had a chance to talk with David and felt like the four days of rest might be more advantageous to him,” Farrell said. “And he was a pro about it, spoke his mind and really had a lot of input into the decision,”
Farrell will manage an All-Star team for the first time after serving as pitching coach for the 2008 game in Yankee Stadium. He will be joined by his coaching staff, Arnie Beyeler, Brian Butterfield, Greg Colbrunn, Dana LeVangie, Torey Lovullo, Juan Nieves, and Victor Rodriguez. Farrell also named Terry Francona and Ron Gardenhire as bench coaches for the game.