HOUSTON -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he plans to lobby for relief pitcher Will Harris to make the American League All-Star team. This is the second year in a row Hinch said he will stump for Harris, who had made 20 consecutive scoreless appearances and had a 0.42 ERA entering Thursday's series finale against the Orioles.
Since allowing a run in his first appearances of the season, Harris has gone 20 1/3 innings scoreless, marking the longest scoring-innings streak by an Astros pitcher since Alberto Arias tossed 21 1/3 innings from May 27-June 18, 2009. It's also the longest active streak in the Majors.
"Numbers-wise, you never know what to expect," Hinch said. "This is a pretty good stretch for him, and for any reliever. I have all the confidence in the world he can do well. No one is really going to throw out the type of season prediction he's had this far. It's not too far away from his first half last year. I thought he was All-Star worthy last season; I think he's All-Star worthy this year."
Hinch said he would talk to Royals manager Ned Yost, who will manage the AL team in the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, and make a case for Harris. Claimed off waivers in November 2014, Harris posted a 1.90 ERA in 68 games for the Astros last year, but getting a non-closer on an All-Star roster is rare.
"Last season, I know he was very close, and I'll be lobbying a call to Ned again and seeing if we can get him considered, because as a reliever, it's hard to get noticed if you're not closing," Hinch said. "But it's very evident when you watch him pitch and the dominance that he's shown that he deserves a lot of attention."
Harris was somewhat of an unknown commodity when the Astros picked him up off waivers, but this year he has stepped right into the setup role in the bullpen and has been handling the eighth inning for much of the season.
"It's amazing to watch him on a daily basis and come out -- in a little more defined role -- and get outs in volatile times where I often give him very little room for error," Hinch said. "He's not only not given up his runs, he doesn't give up anybody else's runs, either. It's a very, very versatile and valuable reliever that the other side knows about now. They see his power curveball, power fastball, and it looks like it's not a comfortable at-bat. "
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.