NEW YORK -- Joe Nathan's save against the Yankees in the Rangers' 8-5 victory on Wednesday was his 26th of the season, tying him with Mariano Rivera for second most in the American League. Nathan is hoping he and Rivera will also be joined together on July 16 at the All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York.
Major League players will vote this weekend on their All-Star selections. In addition to nine reserve position players, they will select five starting pitchers and three relievers. Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who will lead the AL squad, will then select five additional pitchers.
Nathan and Rivera have both made strong cases for being on the staff. In addition to 26 saves, Nathan and Rivera have just one blown save each. Rivera's 1.55 ERA, heading into Thursday, is the lowest among 12 relievers with at least 16 saves, and Nathan is second in that group with a 1.62 ERA. Nathan has also held opponents to a .165 batting average, second lowest among AL closers.
"I guess with a couple of weeks to go it's looking pretty good," Nathan said. "Absolutely, I would love to go. It's always a huge honor to go to the All-Star Game, and I've had arguably one of my better first halves if you look at all the right numbers."
This would be Nathan's sixth All-Star selection and second with Texas if he got it. Rivera would be going for a 13th time and it'll be his last. Rivera has announced that this will be his final season.
"At least he's living up to it," Nathan said. "It's nice to get in, but it's also nice to earn it. He's doing that."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less