BOSTON – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – Five Boston Red Sox players were selected to the American League roster for Major League Baseball’s 89th All-Star Game, scheduled for Tuesday, July 17 at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.
Named to start in the All-Star Game via fan balloting are outfielder Mookie Betts and designated hitter J.D. Martinez. Voted in by the players to participate in the Midsummer Classic were first baseman Mitch Moreland, left-handed pitcher Chris Sale, and right-handed closer Craig Kimbrel.
In addition, outfielder Andrew Benintendi can be selected as the final player on the American League’s roster via the Camping World MLB All-Star Game Final Vote.
The Red Sox are the only American League team with multiple players elected to start the All-Star Game via fan balloting. Their five overall selections are tied with the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians for the most in either league.
Betts will be making his third appearance on an All-Star team, having started the 2016 and 2017 Midsummer Classics in right field and center field, respectively. He received 4,286,994 fan votes, second-most among all major leaguers behind only Jose Altuve (4,849,630). In 71 games for the Red Sox this season, Betts has hit .342 with 22 home runs, 23 doubles, 71 runs scored, and a 1.105 OPS. Entering Sunday’s games, he was leading the majors in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS, also ranking second in at-bats per home run. Betts would become only the seventh Red Sox player to start an All-Star Game in three or more consecutive years, joining Ted Williams (1940-42, ’49-51, ’55-57), Frank Malzone (1958-60), Carl Yastrzemski (1970-72), Fred Lynn (1978-80), Wade Boggs (1986-92), and David Ortiz (2005-07, ’11-13).
Martinez earned his second career All-Star selection (also 2015) after receiving 3,035,619 fan votes. He leads the majors in home runs (27) and RBI (74) and has hit .329 with a 1.039 OPS in 85 games, making 51 starts at DH and 34 in the outfield. Martinez has batted above .300 against lefties (.333) and righties (.328), at home (.364) and on the road (.304), with runners in scoring position (.345), and when leading off an inning (.394). He became the first Red Sox player since Ted Williams in 1946 to have more home runs at the All-Star break than any member of the team had in the entire season prior, as Betts led Boston with 24 in 2017. He became only the fourth Red Sox player ever with as many as 25 home runs and 100 hits through 84 team games, joining Jimmie Foxx (1938), Ted Williams (1946), and Manny Ramirez (2001).
Moreland will be making his first appearance on an All-Star team at the age of 32. He is currently experiencing career highs in batting average (.288), on-base percentage (.358), and slugging percentage (.525), as he has hit 11 home runs with 43 RBI in 71 games with Boston. He ranks second on the Red Sox with four triples, after he entered the season with three in his career. Among AL first basemen, Moreland ranks first in both slugging percentage and OPS. He has committed only one error in 66 games (59 starts) at first base, with his 1.4 ultimate zone rating entering Sunday ranking second among AL players at the position (source: FanGraphs). In his last 16 games, Moreland has hit .322 (19-for-59) with a .388 on-base percentage. He has hit .288 against left-handed pitchers and .288 against right-handers, and in 32 games at Fenway Park he has batted .319 with a .976 OPS.
Sale has earned an All-Star selection in each of his seasons as a starting pitcher (2012-18), making him the only pitcher named to a Midsummer Classic roster in each of the past seven years. The All-Star Game’s starting pitchers will be announced on Monday, July 16, with Sale having previously started for the AL in 2016 at Petco Park and in 2017 at Marlins Park. In 19 starts for Boston this season, the left-hander is 9-4 with a 2.36 ERA (32 ER/122.0 IP), a 0.89 WHIP, and a .181 opponent batting average. He has posted a 1.10 ERA in his last six starts and has not surrendered a home run in his last 44.0 innings, the longest such streak of his career. Entering Sunday’s games, he led the majors in strikeouts per 9.0 innings (12.98) and opponent OPS (.545), having recorded an AL-best 176 strikeouts against only 30 walks.
Kimbrel has also earned his seventh All-Star selection, including four with the Atlanta Braves (2011-14) and three as a member of the Red Sox (2016-18). He is 27-for-29 in save opportunities for Boston this season, having converted each of his last 18 chances. In 37 relief appearances, he has posted a 1.98 ERA (8 ER/36.1 IP) with 13.38 strikeouts per 9.0 innings, a 0.91 WHIP, and a .152 opponent batting average. The Red Sox are 21-0 in his last 21 appearances, as 12 of his last 13 outings have been scoreless, including each of his last seven. He recorded his 300th career save on May 5 at Texas, becoming the fastest pitcher to reach the milestone in terms of appearances (494), save opportunities (330), and age (29). Kimbrel earned the win in the 2017 All-Star Game at Marlins Park after throwing a scoreless ninth inning.