In what might be the best case of “better late than never” in recent memory, another member of the Minnesota Twins is heading to the MLB All-Star Game this year.
Sonny Gray is already heading to Seattle but he’ll be joined by fellow starter Pablo Lopez. It was announced on Saturday that Lopez was chosen as a late addition to the American League squad.
This marks the first time in his career that Lopez has been named an All-Star.
It’s fitting that the two players Minnesota is sending to Seattle this week are from the starting rotation. For what feels like the first time in our lifetime the Twins have a capable and competent pitching staff. The starters have been without a doubt the best part of the team this year with both Gray and Lopez leading the charge (with serious honorable mention to All-Star snub Joe Ryan).
Lopez being named to the All-Star team also serves as a bit of catharsis. He started the year looking like every bit the ace Minnesota traded for back in January, but his season has been juxtaposed against what Luis Arraez is doing down in Miami.
Arraez is having a historic year at the plate, and is on tack to become the first player since Ted Williams to finish the season with a .400 batting average. Meanwhile, the worst aspect of the Twins this season has been the offense, which has been either bad or wildly inconsistent.
That’s the backdrop against which any struggles Lopez has, and it’s made for some stretches of frustration for fans.
Still, despite any struggles he’s encountered Lopez had put together one of the best seasons we’ve seen out of a Twins pitcher recently. He has a Top 20 ERA among American League pitchers, and is Top 10 in WHIP. He’s also coming off one of the best performances of his career, throwing a complete game shutout against the Royals in which he tossed 12 strikeouts.
That marked the first career complete game shutout for Lopez, and now he’s chasing it with his first ever — and well deserved — All-Star selection.