BOSTON –– Even in losses, Jarrod Saltalamacchia continues to impress.
By belting a solo shot to deep center in Thursday's 7-3 loss to the Tigers, the Red Sox catcher tallied his 10th home run of the year. That gave him the second-highest total on the team, behind David Ortiz's 12 long balls.
Saltalamacchia's home runs haven't been close calls, either. In the second inning of Thursday's game, he unloaded on a pitch to center field that nearly nailed the Jordan's Furniture sign.
In one month, Saltalamacchia silenced all the critics calling for the beginning of the Ryan Lavarnway Era. Not only that, he's quickly vaulted himself into the discussion of being among the game's elite catchers.
With his string of performances, the 27-year-old is warranting selection to the All-Star Game in Kansas City. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine can attest to the catcher's credentials.
"In the last couple of weeks, I've seen a player turn into an All-Star," Valentine said earlier. "An absolute player that you can count on who's got it. He understands what's needed out of him and he's delivering it."
He's breaking personal records, at that. Saltalamacchia's round-tripper against Detroit pitcher Max Scherzer marked his fifth homer in his last 10 games and his sixth in the month of May, setting a new career high for a single month.
The catcher's previous high for a month was five homers, which took place during August 2007. In addition to long balls, Saltalamacchia has also continued to ignite the offense with small ball.
"Salty's been swinging really good," Valentine said. "Second hit to drive in a run, I thought it was going to be his night again. He's playing great."
The numbers validate his bid for an All-Star nod. Saltalamacchia currently leads all catchers in Major League Baseball with 10 blasts, and is tied with Baltimore's Matt Wieters for sixth place among catchers with 22 RBIs.
Despite a lackluster showing in April, Saltalamacchia has elevated his batting average back to .281. Only White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and Twins catcher Joe Mauer have posted higher averages, hitting .299 and .296, respectively.
That's respectable company for Saltalamacchia, considering both Mauer and Pierzynski have been All-Stars. Now, the Red Sox catcher warrants a reward in the form of an invite to the Midsummer Classic.