2015 All-Star Game

The 2015 All-Star Game ended as it should — with the American League victory. And I’m only saying that because I’m strongly biased, and it was a lot of fun watching all three Yankee representatives play in tonight’s game. Most of the reason the AL won has to with the guy who won the MVP for the game tonight, but we’ll get there.

No Yankee started and no Yankee really contributed much offensively, but defensively, the Yankees showed off why they’re All-Stars and why the team leads the AL East right now.

Right in the top of the 1st inning, Trout (LAA) got a solo home run right into the right field seats to start the AL off right. As tonight’s AL starter, Keuchel’s (HOU) pitching was sharp as usual, going 2 innings with 31 pitches, giving up 1 unearned run — the lead-off batter in the 2nd singled and ended up at 2nd on a throwing error, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and scored on a 2-out single to tie up the game.

The NL starter Greinke (LAD) only allowed Trout’s run for the AL in his 2 innings and just that hit, plus he also struck out 4 AL batters. The 3rd and 4th inning pitchers kept the game rolling along — the AL’s Hernandez (SEA) and Price (DET); the NL’s Cole (PIT) and Bumgarner (SF); though the AL’s pitchers were slightly more efficient with their outings. In the 5th inning, some offensive changes started on both sides progressively throughout the rest of the game.

Kershaw’s (LAD) 5th inning was the one truly weak spot in the NL’s pitching staff tonight. A lead-off single was out on a force ground out (Trout’s). With 2 outs, Kershaw walked Pujols. A Fielder (TEX) single scored the speedy Trout, and then Cain’s (KC) double scored Pujols. Then Gardner, in his first at-bat in an ASG, struck out looking, and then did what he always did — that patent shaking his head as he dejectedly walks back to the dugout. Kershaw, however, was now on the hook for the loss.

Archer (TB) threw for the AL in the 5th, keeping the NL from chipping away at the AL’s 3-1 lead. When he came back in the 6th, Archer gave up a lead-off solo shot, and after a ground out, it was on to Britton (BAL), who had his own struggles but managed to get out of the rest of the 6th unscathed.

Quick story: deGrom, a reliever with the Mets, was easily the best pitcher that showed up for work tonight in Cincinnati — 3 strikeouts, just 10 pitches, and no one could hit anything off the pitcher in his 6th inning outing tonight. The Mets certainly have a gem on their hands.

Rodriguez (MIL), affectionately known as K-Rod, didn’t have a great outing either. Trout walked to lead off the 7th inning, and then Holt came in to pinch-run for him (Gardner moved from left field to center in the bottom of the inning for defense). Holt stole 2nd base and then scored on Machado’s double. Machado then moved to 3rd on Teixeira’s ground out and then scored on Fielder’s sacrifice fly. The AL just kept pushing up that lead, making them nearly untouchable.

Dellin Betances came on for the AL in the 7th inning, so that all three Yankees were on the field at the same time for a brief moment in the game — and it was a good moment. Betances got a ground out, oddly walked a batter, a strikeout, and a ground out to close out his outing in 20 pitches. In other words, Betances was doing what he did best, getting those fastballs up to 98-99 mph.

The AL came back in the 8th inning to add a just one more run. After consecutive strikeouts by NL reliever Melancon (PIT), Dozier (MIN) hit a big pinch-hitting home run just to the left of the centerfield berm. (Dozier was a last-minute addition to the roster due to injuries.) AL reliever Davis (KC) kept the AL in the lead, with a 16-pitch scoreless 8th inning, including 2 strikeouts.

Chapman (CIN), the hometown closer in Cincinnati, threw what has to be described as some really nasty stuff in his 9th inning. He started with 100 mph fastball and only got hotter. 14 pitches, 3 consecutive strikeouts, with his fastball rising to 103 mph. The only reason it wasn’t a shorter inning (like say 9 pitches) was because Teixeira kept hitting off foul balls in an attempt to beat the flame-throwing pitcher. Just insane amounts of speed there.

Perkins (MIN) gave up a lead-off triple to Braun, who pinch-ran for Tulowitzki in the 9th inning. Crawford’s sacrifice fly scored Braun. A fly out and a line out later, and the AL had won the day. The World Series will now play Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 at home this October.

Final score from Cincinnati: 6-3 American League over National League.

Some game notes: the NL pitchers (with two glaring exceptions) actually did a much better job than the AL counterparts, with 15 total strikeouts of AL batters. And their two best pitchers of the evening (deGrom and Chapman) were just amazing.

As you can figure out why, Trout took home his second MVP award, in as many years, and chose the tricked-out truck over the Camaro in the post-game ceremony.

Also, a few months ago, you were asked to vote on who you think was the “Franchise Four”. This included a list for each organization as well as the Four Greatest Living Legends and recognizing the greats of the Negro Leagues and the Pioneers who started the sport as a profession. Fans and players voted and the results are in: the Greatest Negro Leagues Players are Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Buck O’Neil, and Satchel Paige. Baseball’s Greatest Pioneers were selected as Walter Johnson, Nap Lajoie, Christy Mathewson, and Cy Young.

The Greatest Living Franchise Four (of all-time) were Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Johnny Bench, and Sandy Koufax. In fact, Koufax threw first pitch to Bench. And the Yankees’ Franchise Four stayed classic with voters selecting Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle. Not a bad selection in any of these categories, if I do say so myself.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: as it happens with many of these national broadcasts, I cannot get or include media links to tonight’s game just yet. Stay tuned when the channel relinquishes them.}

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