Koji making strong case for first All-Star berth

Koji making strong case for first All-Star berth

SEATTLE -- After narrowly missing a trip to the All-Star Game last season, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara could be in line to earn a berth on the squad for the first time in his Major League career this season.

Though the Red Sox have underperformed as a team, their closer has been lights-out, which could help him earn a trip to Minneapolis.

Entering Tuesday's game against the Mariners, Uehara was 3-1 with 15 saves and a 1.30 ERA. Uehara's one blown save of the season occurred on Sunday at Oakland, when he surrendered two home runs.

"He's performed at such an elite level for not just this year but over a long period," said manager John Farrell recently. "Without looking at the names of guys that would be in that same conversation, in our eyes, he's certainly an All-Star, but before even saying or suggesting that he's going to be there in Minnesota, we're hopeful there's many more save opportunities between now and the break.

"He's done everything we've asked -- multiple innings, tie games. He's not your 'classic closer' of today. More than three outs. Save situations. He's a breath of a fresh air, and he's one hell of a pitcher."

Uehara became Boston's closer on June 21, 2013. Since that date, he has an 0.83 ERA and a .132 opponents' batting average. Over his last 79 innings, he has six walks and 103 strikeouts.

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15, on FOX.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.