TORONTO -- How about an All-Star Game in which Chris Sale fires a couple of scoreless innings as the starter, with Craig Kimbrel getting the save and Mookie Betts coming up with a key hit and catch?That scenario is very much a possibility, as Sale, Kimbrel and Betts were the
TORONTO -- How about an All-Star Game in which Chris Sale fires a couple of scoreless innings as the starter, with Craig Kimbrel getting the save and Mookie Betts coming up with a key hit and catch?
That scenario is very much a possibility, as Sale, Kimbrel and Betts were the three Red Sox players who were selected as American League All-Stars on Sunday.
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Betts celebrated the honor with a monster performance in leading the Red Sox to a 15-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Sunday. The leadoff man went 4-for-6 with two homers and tied a career high with eight RBIs. He also scored three times.
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"Just knowing that your peers think you're a good player, I think that's pretty cool," said Betts. "It shows the hard work I've put in, but I know I've got a long way to go, and the end goal is to win a World Series."
Boston's impressive All-Star trio could still have company, as shortstop Xander Bogaerts is one of five candidates on the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote.
"It's an honor," said Kimbrel. "This is my sixth All-Star Game now and it feels kind of crazy to think about. Getting to take my family down there and spending two days in Miami, it should be a fun time and a great experience."
This is also Sale's sixth All-Star appearance, and they've come in successive seasons. Sale has been everything the Red Sox expected and more after trading for him in December.
"It's still special. I still enjoy it," said Sale. "Obviously, being on a new team, being in a new city, makes it a little bit more special, too. So I'm excited for it."
The dominant performances by Sale (11-3, 2.61 ERA, 166 strikeouts) and Kimbrel (23 saves, 1.01 ERA) all season have been the driving force in propelling the Red Sox to first place in the AL East.
"They've kind of been our backbone," said Betts of Sale and Kimbrel. "Just being part of the All-Star experience in general is nice, but going with those guys is definitely something special."
The dynamic Betts is special in his own right, as he once again displayed on Sunday. The right fielder has helped lead the offense in Boston's first year without iconic slugger David Ortiz -- all while having another stellar season in right field.
"Nobody can take the place of David," said Betts. "Only thing I can do is be Mookie, and that's all I'm trying to do."
Betts was voted as a starter for the AL in 2016 in a stellar season in which he finished second to Michael Trout in the Most Valuable Player Award voting.
How does he feel about the way he's playing this season?
"It's OK," Betts said. "Obviously, I want to be more consistent and do a little better and when I come up in spots where I can help the team, I want to come through. It's a long season and every day I'm preparing for those situations."
The Boston contingent should play a significant role for the AL in Miami on July 11. Indians manager Terry Francona is guiding the AL, and he will decide at which points of the game to use Sale and Kimbrel.
Sale started the All-Star Game last year. Kimbrel missed the festivities in 2016 due to right knee surgery.
"I haven't had that opportunity to get the last out of an All-Star Game," Kimbrel said. "If that opportunity comes, it would be pretty cool, definitely, if Chris was starting."
Fans can cast ballots for the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile devices until 4 p.m. ET on Thursday. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will then be announced during "MLB Tonight" live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. Extensive coverage throughout the Final Vote will be provided by MLB Network and MLB.com, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns, and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.
Now in its 16th season, with more than 680 million votes cast, the Final Vote again will include social votes on the last day of balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the final six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.
On Tuesday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.