Clay Buchholz picked up his ninth win of the season Tuesday against the Diamondbacks, another fine start in a young season that is shaping up to be the best of his young and promising career thus far.
As Buchholz continues to mow down hitters, it is becoming more and more apparent that he may very well land a spot on the American League All-Star roster and be on the mound at some point during the Midsummer Classic on July 13 in Anaheim.
Buchholz may even get the starting nod. Manager Joe Girardi isn’t going to have an easy time deciding who will get the ball, though.
There are many young arms that have proven worthy, and most of them play their baseball in the AL East, but obviously, only one can start. So, who deserves to be the starting pitcher for the AL All-Star team?
Local fans will obviously look at Buchholz’s emergence as a top-of-the-rotation starter when making their case for him. After Tuesday’s win over the Diamondbacks, Buchholz improved to 9-4, with a 2.67 ERA, numbers that should certainly be looked at. His running mate at the top of the Sox’ rotation, Jon Lester, could also get some support for the starting role, as he has quietly posted a 7-2 record with a 3.18 ERA to go along with 89 strikeouts.
Staying in the AL East, David Price continues to solidify his position as one of the game’s best young pitchers. Already this year, he’s posted a 9-2 record with a league-leading 2.23 ERA. Price’s strikeout numbers aren’t that high, but his success on the mound is undeniable, especially for a Rays team that has sat atop the AL East standings all season.
The team that recently joined the Rays at the top of the AL East, the Yankees, also have a starting candidate. Phil Hughes is tied with Price for the league lead in wins, with a record of 9-1 while posting a 3.11 ERA. His numbers are great, and with Girardi at the helm, he could be the favorite to be on the bump.
There are a couple of dark horses as well, especially if these guys continue to pitch well up until the All-Star game. The re-emergence of Francisco Liriano makes him a legitimate candidate for the starting nod. Liriano is 6-3 with a 2.90 ERA and has racked up 87 strikeouts. An All-Star Game start may be the next chapter in a pretty impressive comeback.
Tampa’s Jeff Niemann (6-1, 2.83 ERA) or Detroit’s Justin Verlander (7-4, 3.56 ERA) are both only a monthlong hot streak away from being part of the discussion as well.
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