ANAHEIM -- Competition for spots on the National League All-Star pitching staff will be intense, as usual. Perhaps a couple of facts concerning Pittsburgh lefty Jeff Locke will bend Bruce Bochy's ears as the Giants/NL manager rounds out his roster.
One, the Pirates have never had a rookie pitcher make the All-Star team. It is true that Locke is not officially a rookie, but he missed that rank entering this season by one inning -- so an All-Star selection would help remove some of the sting from that close call, since otherwise the Bucs' current ace would be a frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year Award.
Two, while there are plenty of other worthy candidates for the All-Star staff, none of them come close to this Locke distinction: In his six wins, he has allowed one run in 38 innings, an ERA of 0.24 that ridiculously would have actually gone down to 0.20 in seven wins had the 1-0 lead he'd bequeathed in Cincinnati on Wednesday held up.
Those are some crazy numbers.
"I'm made aware of those things, and they lead to some nice little accolades," Locke said, "but otherwise stuff like that doesn't do much for me. I just know that I feel good. I'm awful happy with everything that's going on -- as long as I can sustain it for these guys right here. That's my main focus."
But trotting out to the Citi Field baseline to be introduced as an All-Star ...
"Obviously that'd be such an honor," Locke said. "At the same time, my main focus will always be here. Doesn't matter how good your first half is; the team needs a whole year from you."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less