All season long, they've been mashing at a clip that is on pace with any of the greatest hitting duos in Red Sox history. And as a reward, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez will get to display their talents at the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on July 17 in
All season long, they've been mashing at a clip that is on pace with any of the greatest hitting duos in Red Sox history. And as a reward, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez will get to display their talents at the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on July 17 in Washington.
Betts and Martinez -- who were both voted in as starters at their position for the American League -- will have plenty of familiar company for the trip to the nation's capital.
Ace Chris Sale, closer Craig Kimbrel and first baseman Mitch Moreland were all selected via the Player Ballot.
There's a chance the Red Sox will have six All-Stars. Left fielder Andrew Benintendi is one of five AL candidates for the Camping World MLB Final Vote.
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For veteran Moreland, this is his first career All-Star appearance, and it's particularly special since he was a reserve at the start of the season.
"Obviously excited. Huge honor," Moreland said. "Something that I don't know if it would ever be quite possible. But definitely excited about the opportunity and appreciative of having that opportunity. I'm excited about it, for sure."
"That was cool. We talked about it before the game," said manager Alex Cora, who saved Moreland's name for last in his announcement, which led to a round of applause in the clubhouse. "There's a guy that in the offseason, a lot of people didn't think he was going to be here for X or Y reason. We decided to make a commitment with him. He didn't start the season as an everyday player. He earned it. We made a huge move because we wanted him to play every day. Out of all of them -- I'm very proud of all of them -- but to tell the team that he's an All-Star, that was amazing."
Moreland earned himself more playing time with a red-hot start and became the starting first baseman for the Red Sox when Hanley Ramirez was designated for assignment on May 25. In 236 at-bats, Moreland is hitting .288 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs.
"I feel like we're making up half the team," said Sale. "But it's awesome. I always love, like I said, going to the All-Star Game. But being able to enjoy with the teammates is a little bit more fun. Mitch going for his first time, and just filling him in on everything, and I know his son's going to have a blast too. So it's fun. It's exciting and I'm looking forward to it."
This is the seventh All-Star appearance for Sale, and they've come in successive seasons. Sale has been red hot of late and is a candidate to start the game for the second straight year. For the season, Sale is 9-4 with a 2.36 ERA and 176 strikeouts over 19 starts.
"It's exciting," said Sale. "I always enjoy this. It's fun for my family. Rylan, my oldest son, loves it, so it's fun. It's also an honor to be able to go to this game and be voted in by players and coaches. So I'm excited."
Kimbrel is also a seven-time All-Star, including all three seasons he's been with the Red Sox.
"I'm definitely honored, just like every time that I've had the opportunity to do this," Kimbrel said. "I'm also excited to take my daughter, you know, going every year and getting to see everybody with their kids and enjoying the Home Run Derby and things like that. It's always fun to watch, so being able to participate in that and taking my family -- they do their best to make it a family event, and to enjoy it with your family there, so I'm definitely going to do my best to do that."
The righty with the overpowering fastball and filthy curveball has converted 27 of 29 save opportunities. He has a 1.98 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings.
Look for right fielder Betts to soon be labeled a perennial All-Star. This is his third straight trip to the Midsummer Classic, and he's been a dominant force at the top of the Boston batting order. Betts leads the Majors with a .342 average and is second in the AL with 71 runs. All this while clubbing 22 homers, stealing 16 bases and playing Gold Glove-caliber defense in right field.
Betts led the voting in the outfield from start to finish. Ditto for Martinez at DH.
"It's definitely pretty cool," said Betts. "It just means you're doing something right. But hard work comes with that. So I know I have to continue to just do my thing and put in the work."
Part of the reason Betts has taken his game to another level this season is the presence of Martinez, who has mentored the outfielder. The two stars have worked many hours together in the cage.
"Mookie loves to talk hitting and stuff like that, so I wonder if he's going to do that in the All-Star Game," Martinez said. "It'll be fun. It's cool."
This is Martinez's second career All-Star appearance and first since 2015. This is the first time he will start.
"It's an honor," Martinez said. "It's one of those things where you do well and you kind of hope that everyone kind of sees it. This is one of those things where you kind of get noticed of it, and it's a humbling thing."
Martinez leads the Majors in homers (27) and RBIs (74), demonstrating emphatically why he was the top target for the Red Sox this past offseason. The DH/outfielder signed a five-year, $110 million contract in late February, and has been a devastating force in the middle of the order.
Martinez realizes one of the reasons he is having his second straight monster season is due to all the talent that surrounds him.
"It's a good group of guys, and to go to Washington and spend it with all of us together, it's cool," Martinez said.
While watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX on Tuesday, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.
The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.
For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. Jordan Wolf, an associate reporter for MLB.com, contributed to this story from Kansas City.