Stars begin to align for Jesse Crain

CHICAGO -- Hopefully Chicago White Sox reliever Jesse Crain hasn’t made plans to go fishing or island hopping over the All-Star break.

The right-hander put together his 25th consecutive scoreless outing Monday and is an early candidate to represent the White Sox in the July 16 All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York.

For Crain it would be no small task to be named an All-Star from a relief role other than the closer’s spot. Matt Thornton took that route to the 2010 All-Star Game.

“The bullpen’s been great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You get that lead and you start mixing and matching with guys. Jesse, I think coming in the situations he’s been coming in, he’s been big.”

The streak nearly ended in the eighth inning Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Adam Lind's one-out double put runners on second and third.

Cody Rasmus hit a comebacker for the second out in the inning, but J.P. Arencibia appeared to get an elusive run off Crain with a ground ball up the middle. White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez got to the ball on the run, whirled and fired to first base in time for a highlight-worthy play.

“You don’t necessarily think he’s going to be able to make that play,” Ventura said. “It’s a great play.”

Crain has delivered 25 1/3 innings over his scoreless run, while limiting opponents to a .185 batting average during the stretch. It’s definitely All-Star material, but he still has a month to nail down the honor.

“I don't know too many guys in the league that are doing better than him,” Ventura said. “He comes in for nasty situations. If we're tied or winning, he's in there. He's getting it done. If he doesn't, you'd be shocked. I know you don't get the actual save next to your name but if there's anybody in the league that deserves it, he's been a guy that deserves something. It's a save in our book.”