6/15/2013 7:15 P.M. ET
Push needed to get White Sox in All-Star contention
Rios, other position players trail leaders; Crain, Sale top pitching options
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- The White Sox offense has been a work in progress since the start of the 2013 season. But that work hasn't progressed near to the point the South Siders had hoped, ranking 13th, 14th or 15th in seven separate American League categories.
Alex Rios really stands out as the only consistent force throughout this entire starting lineup, featuring a .288 average, 11 homers, 33 RBIs and 10 stolen bases entering Saturday. The right fielder has earned support from manager Robin Ventura for All-Star consideration, with Ventura mentioning Rios as the team favorite with dominant reliever Jesse Crain. White Sox fans have the chance to show that same sort of support for Rios and the other position players, although it has not happened yet.
Per Saturday's release of the current AL All-Star voting, no White Sox outfielder falls in the top 15 and no other position player falls in the top 5.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via a mobile device -- using the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, July 4, at 10:59 p.m. CT.
Fans may submit 25 online ballots during the voting period but can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, fans must be logged into an MLB.com account when submitting any online ballot. To obtain an MLB.com account, visit www.mlb.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
Fans can also once again participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2013 Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 15.
Though originally scheduled for July 7, the 2013 rosters will now be unveiled Saturday, July 6, at 6:30 p.m. ET on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell. The show will be televised nationally on FOX.
From Saturday, July 6 to Thursday, July 11, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com for the final player for each League's All-Star roster.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
In reality, the White Sox best bet for All-Star representation stands as starter Chris Sale.
His 14 strikeouts of dominance Friday night in Houston fell one short of his career high and just two off matching the franchise's single-game record of 16. Yes, his record stands at 5-5 overall, but Sale has allowed just five earned runs in his last 21 1/3 innings covering three starts, while fanning 25 and walking four, but all three of those starts have ended in defeat. Four of those runs came on one Josh Donaldson grand slam during a game on June 7.
Sale ranks third in the AL with his .189 batting average against, third with a 0.90 WHIP, third with his 2.43 ERA and 10th with his 86 strikeouts over 85 1/3 innings. He has walked just 19, given up 58 hits, limited left-handed hitters to a Major League-low 4-for-53 and threw 28 consecutive scoreless innings earlier this season. He also has the respect among his peers to get selected for his second straight Midsummer Classic.
Crain, who has never been named as an All-Star, possesses the lowest ERA among relievers at 0.60 to go with his 39 strikeouts over 30 innings. He entered Saturday's contest at Minute Maid Park with a career-high 26 straight scoreless appearances and a career-best 25 1/3 straight scoreless innings thrown.
He realizes how special getting an All-Star nod would be.
"I know it's hard in the position I've been in, middle relief, setup guy," said Crain earlier this week. "It's hard to get in there.
"I've put a little thought into it, but I don't want to think about it too much and get disappointed. I go in not expecting anything. It would probably be a once-in-a-lifetime thing especially in the position that I'm in, but that's out of my control."