The American League All-Star rosters were announced Sunday. The Boston Red Sox will be represented by pitcher Jon Lester, while the Chicago White Sox, visiting Fenway for a four-game series this week, will be represented by rookie thumper Jose Abreu and potentially ace Chris Sale, who is a candidate in the Experian Final Vote.
The All-Star announcements were small consolation for two teams that appear to be out of it in their respective divisions and face difficult climbs in the Wild Card race. The ChiSox, for their part, have won three of their last four games, blanking the Mariners 1-0 on Sunday. The Red Sox have dropped five of six to start a ten-game home stand.
At ten games below.500, the Red Sox are really hoping for Good Clay Buchholz in the first game of the series against Scott Carroll, who has been popped for ten earned runs in his two most recent starts. Carroll has shifted between the rotation and the bullpen this season and has a 5.05 ERA. In Game Two, Boston sends Brandon Workman to the mound against veteran John Danks. The BoSox have yet to set their starter for the third game of the series, while the White Sox counter with Sale, who’s a magnificent 8-1 with a 2.16 ERA on the season. The final matchup features a battle of lefties, with Jon Lester facing a tough challenge in Jose Quintana. Quintana hasn’t been scored upon and has held Red Sox hitters to a .160 average in two career starts against Boston.
BSI: Chris Sale and Jose Abreu (in a short time) have established themselves as bona fide superstars in the American League, both likely to appear in the All-Star Game in Minneapolis. Who’s the next White Sox All-Star, judging the roster as it’s currently comprised?
SS: I believe shortstop Alexei Ramirez should be selected to the AL roster this season, but for the future I think the player the White Sox need to become an All-Star, or play up to that caliber, is second baseman Gordon Beckham.
Beckham is a former first round selection, and in 65 games played he’s batting .252, off from his .267 average from last season. I would like to see his play improve for this season and in future years, but it is tough to tell if he’ll be the next consistent All-Star like Sale and hopefully Abreu will become.
BSI: Both of our teams are down in the Division and Wild Card standings. While it’s unclear what the Red Sox will do in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, what do you suspect from the White Sox’ front office?
SS: If I were to pick a couple players that the White Sox will trade as the deadline approaches it would be in this order: Dayan Viciedo, Adam Dunn and Alexei Ramirez. I would be surprised if they are on the roster at the end of the season.
With that said, I believe the White Sox will be sellers at the deadline since their play on the field this season has left them in this position.
BSI: What would be your goals for the rest of the season, if you were running the show?
SS: Since I believe they White Sox are out of the running, for the most part, in the AL Central, and getting the second Wild Card spot would be tough as well, I believe they should bring up some of the younger position players in the minors and see what they have to offer.
BSI: Who’s your all-time favorite White Sox player? I’m partial to Harold Baines.
SS: The reason I began to cheer for the White Sox when I was a kid was because of Frank Thomas. He’s is one of the main reasons I got into watching the sport of baseball, and seeing him go into the Hall of Fame make me realize I made the right choice when picking a favorite player growing up.
The Big Hurt was a tremendous choice. I’m also rooting for Beckham, a member of my hometown Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox 2007 Cape Cod Baseball League championship team. But not in this series.
The Red Sox could really use a good performance at home against Chicago before heading to Houston leading into the All-Star break, if they really have designs on contending in 2014. With Sale and the powerful Abreu in the way, however, they will have their hands full.