Cishek making a case for NL All-Star squad

Cishek making a case for NL All-Star squad

WASHINGTON -- Pitching for Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic was about as high an honor Steve Cishek thought he could receive.

Aside from pitching in the World Series, Cishek couldn't imagine a bigger thrill being on the mound.

The way the Marlins' closer is throwing right now, he is making a case to be a National League All-Star for the first time. Cishek is 11 of 12 in save chances entering Wednesday, and he has a 4-1 record with a 1.74 ERA. He's struck out 26 with six walks in 20 2/3 innings.

Fans don't vote for the All-Star pitchers. Those who decide pitchers have something to think about with Cishek.

"If it happens, it happens," Cishek said. "If it doesn't, it doesn't. Move on. But it would be cool. It would be an honor of course. But I'm not even thinking about it."

Cishek has already experienced the thrill of the World Baseball Classic.

"Yeah, I figured that was probably the closest I'd come," he said, to being part of an All-Star environment. "That was an incredible experience. I don't know if anything other than the World Series or playoffs in general would compare to that."

Cishek's velocity has been increasing of late. According to Fangraphs.com, the sidearm-throwing right-hander is averaging 92.6 mph on his fastball. Earlier in the season, it was in the 90-mph range.

Because of his arm angle and his lanky frame, that 93-94 mph fastball looks like 98 mph from someone throwing more over the top.

Cishek noted that he dealt with a stiff neck in Spring Training, which threw his mechanics off a bit.

"I just got into some bad habits," he said. "I was throwing the ball differently."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter