Saltalamacchia belongs among AL All-Stars

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Saltalamacchia belongs among AL All-Stars

Count me among the millions who wanted to see Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the All Star Game.

And why not? On a team full of superstars who can't keep it together, Saltalamacchia's one of the few guys to actually exceed expectations this year. He doesn't have an ego or an attitude, or carry himself like a martyr for getting paid millions to play baseball. Instead, he's just a plain, old likable athlete. He works hard. He's easy to root for. He just so happens to have hit more home runs (15) than any catcher in baseball.

And for all those reasons, we wanted Salty to get the call.

Of course, he didn't.

Whether or not he eventually finds his way to Kansas City remains to be seen. These days, you know at least a handful of All-Stars will drop out of the game, and this year, Salty will be on the short list of replacements. But even if he gets the late invite, it's not the same. It's like getting a call from a couple three weeks before they get married: "Hey, I know this is last second, but do you want to come to our wedding?" You appreciate the offer, and you probably end up going, but you know that you were on the B-List; that they only invited you after a bunch of other people turned them down first.

Anyway, despite the desire to see Saltalamacchia in the All-Star game, and the disappointment in the fact that he didn't make it, it's hard to get too riled up about the snubbage.

First of all, because Salty's hitting .254 with a .302 OBP this season. I don't care where the competition is, or what kind of feel good story you might be, if those are your numbers, there's a serious argument to be made against your All Star status.

Second, because even though he's done an admirable job taking over for Jason Varitek, the Sox rotation as a whole hasn't been that good. I'm not saying that's the catcher's fault, I'm just saying that his presence behind the plate doesn't really support the case.

Third . . . no, I'm going to stop there. I don't want to sit here and pick apart all the reasons Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn't an All-Star.

Because the real story is that we're even having the conversation to begin with.

That whether or not he ultimately spends July 10 sweating his brains off in Kansas City, for the first three months of the season, Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been one of the best catchers in the American League, and one of the biggest surprises in Boston.

Count me among the millions who never saw that coming.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com.

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

OAKLAND, Calif. - A five-run ninth inning for the Red Sox that lasted more than a half-hour derailed any chance Eduardo Rodriguez had of getting his first career complete game.

Not that the left-hander was complaining.

After a bitter loss to Oakland a year ago when he allowed just one hit over eight innings, Rodriguez was more than happy with the way things turned out.

Rodriguez earned his second straight win, Mitch Moreland homered in his third consecutive game and Boston beat the Oakland Athletics 12-3 on Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.

"I wanted to go back out there but they hit the ball pretty good in that inning and I know I had to get out of the game," Rodriguez said about the long wait. "I'll take it because we score more runs, I have a chance to win. If every inning's like that, I'll get out of the game after five."

Rodriguez (3-1) allowed three runs over eight innings. He struck out eight, walked one and retired 14 of his final 15 batters.

"Where he was with the pitch count, it'd be nice for him to go out there for the ninth inning given where he was and how well he was throwing the baseball," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "But at that point you're up nine, probably about a 35-minute inning, didn't want to take any chances."

Hanley Ramirez and Christian Vazquez had three hits apiece to power a Red Sox lineup that tallied 15 hits. Every player in Boston's starting lineup had at least one hit, and eight of the nine drove in runs.

Chad Pinder homered and drove in two runs for Oakland.

Boston, which hasn't been swept in a four-game series since July 2015, trailed 3-2 before scoring 10 runs over the final five innings.

"It felt we had them on the run a little bit," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They get the lead and then we come back and take the lead again and you feel pretty good. But they were pretty persistent today."

Pinder went deep in the fourth, his fourth home run in eight games and fifth overall.

The A's committed three errors, giving them a major league-leading 42.

BRADLEY'S DEFENSIVE GEMS

Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts gave the A's trouble with his running and defense. Betts scored twice from first base and also made a pair of strong defensive plays. He made a sliding catch on Mark Canha's sinking liner in the eighth and then slammed into the wall after catching Khris' Davis fly to end the inning.

"This place during the daytime plays very difficult," Farrell said. "What Mookie was able to do a couple times in right field, those aren't easy plays. To be able to stay with it, go up against the wall a couple of times, we played very good outfield defense here today."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Brock Holt continues to deal with lingering symptoms from vertigo and isn't yet ready to come off the disabled list, according to Farrell. Likewise, Boston plans to keep third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the minors to get consistent at-bats while recovering from a right knee sprain. ... Farrell said LHP Drew Pomeranz, who took the loss Saturday, will start against Texas on Thursday.

Athletics: Yonder Alonso (sore left knee) sat out his fourth straight game but could be back in the lineup Tuesday when Oakland begins a two-game series against Miami. ... Sean Doolittle (strained left shoulder) threw on flat ground before making 15 pitches off the mound. The plan is for the former closer to throw 25 pitches on Wednesday. ... Melvin said the team has applied for an extension on Chris Bassitt's rehab assignment. Bassitt underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (2-5) faces Texas on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. Porcello has lost three of his last four decisions.

Athletics: Following an off day, RHP Jesse Hahn (1-3) starts against Miami on Tuesday at the Coliseum. Hahn leads the majors in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings at 0.19.