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With Mariano Rivera Out, Joakim Soria Could Close The All-Star Game

Royals closer Joakim Soria was selected for his second All-Star Game this week but didn't expect to play a major role with another closer, Mariano Rivera, also in the game:

“That’s a little bit impossible because you’ve got the great Mariano (Rivera) there,” Soria said last Sunday shortly after being selected as the Royals’ sole representative to the American League team.

“He’s the one who is going to close the game. I don’t now what my role is going to be.”

So now the tables have turned. Obviously Soria would like to be the one out there. Frankly, he probably has the best case to be the guy to end it if the A.L. is in that position. His competition: Texas’ Neftali Felix, Detroit’s José Valverde and Tampa Bay’s Rafael Soriano.

“They’re all really good,” Soria said. “You could take any of those guys, and you would be fine. But I would love to do it.”

But Soria leads the majors with 24 saves (in 26 opportunities) while compiling a 2.41 ERA in 33 games. Further, he is on a roll with a career-best 17 straight successful conversions.

My money's on Soria.