Not since Frank Thomas was in his prime have the White Sox had a player regularly make the All-Star Game via the fan vote.
It's not going to happen again this year, either, and if only one Sox player gets an all-star nod, relief pitcher Jesse Crain is a smart choice.
Contact information ( * required )
"I don't ever set a goal," Crain said. "The way I look at the season is one day at a time, one pitch at a time. I don't look too far ahead and definitely don't look behind. I've always felt like you're only as good as your next outing.
"Obviously, it would be an honor to be there (All-Star Game). Opportunities for my position don't happen very often, so if it was to going to happen this would be the year I would hopefully get the chance. But I'm not going to put too much thought into it."
Crain is the White Sox' primary setup man for closer Addison Reed, and the 31-year-old right-hander has a streak of 26 scoreless appearances. He's struck out 33 in 251⁄3 innings during the stretch.
"I think I'm a better pitcher now than I used to be, but streaks come with luck and everything kind of goes into keeping them going," Crain said. "Good pitches get hit, bad pitches don't get hit, it kind of just goes back and forth. You need guys to make plays, have the ball bounce the right way. Obviously things have been working out so far."
While there has been some luck, Crain is an obvious talent. He can blow most hitters away with his fastball, but he's nearly perfected his curveball and added a "splange," a combo splitter-changeup.
"I throw my curveball a lot more and I have the split-change that I throw," Crain said. "I've added two more pitches and I think I go inside a lot better than I used to, so as a pitcher I think I've gotten better."
Back in a groove:
Seemingly in danger of being benched in late May when his average dipped under .240, outfielder Alejandro de Aza has picked it up with the bat.
De Aza was 1-for-3 Tuesday night and is hitting .385 (20-for-52) over his last 13 games.
"He's been putting it in play and then using his legs," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's a big thing for our lineup when that guy gets on and starts putting pressure on the pitchers."
A guy can't just sit there and take his time and throw. He's got to rush it a little bit and the last few games he's been doing that."