Did you see Price finish the sweep against Boston? Seriously? Even with all of Boston’s injuries, they are still no offensive slouch.

David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, and Adrian Beltre were no match for Price. The trio was a combined 2-for-13 with five strikeouts.

The crazy thing is, Price beat them with just one pitch: his fastball. Of his 111 pitches, 99 of them were fastballs.

But one start does not an All-Star starter make. However, this does:

Twelve wins—most in the AL.

2.42 ERA—second to Cliff Lee by .08.

114.2 IP—sixth most in the AL.

Fourteen quality starts—tied for second to Felix Hernandez in the AL.

.223 BAA—eighth best in AL.

Consider this: Stephen Strasburg and his blazing fastball generate a 9.2 percent whiff rate against batters. Price is generating 9.1 percent.

Consider this: The last pitcher not yet 25 with at least 12 wins, an ERA under 2.50, and 100 strikeouts heading into the All Star break was in 1986.

The pitcher’s name was Roger Clemens.

Take a look at how valuable Price has been to the Rays. When the Rays offense disappeared and Tampa went 11-14 in the month of June, Price prevented it from being much worse. In the month of June Price went 4-1 with a 2.18 ERA, his best month of the season.

Price stepped up when his team needed him the most. Think about it this way: Price’s four wins are the difference between being two games and six games out of first. That’s nearly saying the difference between being in the playoff chase and being out of it.

If that doesn’t convince you, maybe this will. Tuesday would be the day Price would already be scheduled to start. If that isn’t a sign of divine intervention, I don’t know what else is.

The All-Star Game is a game of showcasing talent. It’s putting the best out on the field. Cliff Lee may steal the headlines at the trading deadline, but Price should be stealing the lines at the All-Star Game.

Price is living up to his billing as the 2007 first overall pick. He already has mastered the hype, closing out Game Seven of the ALCS in 2008 with less than 40 innings of major league experience.

Bottom line, Price has been the best starting pitcher in the AL in the first half. On Tuesday, he should be the first to step on that mound for the American League. Baseball is a young man’s game. Price should be the crown jewel of baseball’s star-studded event.

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