Naming Chris Sale ASG starter the winning move for AL


They say the All-Star game counts now.

With home field advantage on the line, there is added pressure for American League and National League managers to win the Midsummer Classic. So much so that thought process of constructing a roster can get a bit unconventional.

This was the case this season in the AL with Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost.

For position players, instead of putting in a guy like Alex Rodriguez or Brian Dozier who have both excelled offensively at their respective positions, Yost used a roster spot for Brock Holt. Rodriguez could play some third though these days he is a mainstay at designated hitter and Dozier hasn’t played anywhere other than second base since 2012.

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Holt whose numbers aren’t bad (.294/.381/.421) has made at least two starts at every position except catcher this season.

For pitchers, he selected seven relievers, including three setup men in Darren O’Day, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis. Of course Herrera and Davis are two of Yost’s own players.

Normally the pitchers that are rewarded with All-Star selections are either starters or closers. So as you can see, Yost is looking to gather the players that give him the best chance to win.

Now the only thing left to do is name Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale his starter for the game.

For the season, Sale is 7-4 with a 2.80 ERA and an AL best 147 strikeouts in 112.1 innings (16 starts). Opponents are hitting just .205 against him and his 0.94 WHIP is also tops in the AL.

Jun 30, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) walks off the mound after the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

When going purely off numbers, the argument can be made that Dallas Keuchel, Chris Archer and Sonny Gray are all just as deserving of the honor. All three have better ERA’s and more wins than Sale. But Sale is the hottest pitcher on the planet.

His last start ended a streak of eight straight games with at least 10 strikeouts which tied the record previously set by Pedro Martinez in 1999.

In the last 30 days, Sale has more strikeouts and innings pitched than any other AL pitcher. In fact, his 68 strikeouts in that time frame are 25 more than the next closest pitcher which is Keuchel with 43. His 2.14 ERA over the last 30 days is also better than Keuchel (2.74), Archer (3.03) and Gray (3.58).

Another thing to consider is the fact that Sale will be making his fourth All-Star appearance. The other three pitchers are all first time selections.

What could be better than starting the game with a pitcher who is striking out every hitter that steps in the box and also already knows what it feels like to pitch in the All-Star game?

How exciting would it be to see the first six NL batters set down via strikeout? Right now, that is the type of role Sale is on.

Do yourself a favor Yost and continue making the moves that strategically give you the best chance to win. Let Sale start this year’s All-Star game.

Next: Did you miss this week's power rankings? Check them out here.

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