Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty
Once again, the National League is left scratching their heads after yet another loss in the All-Star game. This one started off well for them, as Clayton Kershaw started it off by pitching a scoreless inning in his home ballpark. He even hyped up the home crowd by picking Shohei Ohtani off at 1st base. The momentum carried over to the bottom of the 1st, as the NL bats knocked around Tampa Bay ace Shane Mclanahan.
Mookie Betts started the scoring off with an RBI single, followed by St. Louis slugger Paul Goldschmidt with a solo homerun to left. That was all the offense the National League would see until the eighth inning.
Cleveland All-Stars were on full display from the very beginning. Andres Gimenez started it off with an outstanding backhanded flip to Tim Anderson to start a double play that. He then followed that up with a nice play in short right field later in the game. Unfortunately, Gimenez went 0-2 at the plate with two strikeouts. Jose Ramirez picked his teammate up, as he went 2-2 in the game, making him 4-7 lifetime in All-Star Games.
One of Jose’s singles was in the fourth, which allowed Giancarlo Stanton to come up to bat with a man on base. Stanton proceeded to blast a two-run shot to left field in the seats he used to sit and watch the Dodgers as a kid. Twins center fielder Byron Buxton followed with a solo shot of his own to make it 3-2 American League.
Heading into the eighth inning, the National League was zero for their last 20 at bats. The NL did not get a hit since the 1st inning. Austin Riley changed that by hitting a line drive single. Clay Holmes and Liam Hendricks proceeded to finish out the 8th with no damage done for the AL.
Cleveland fans got excited once again when the camera went to Emmanuel Clase warming in the bullpen by himself. Dusty Baker was going to let Clase pitch the whole ninth to get a save. Turns out he made the right decision, as Clase was one ball away from an immaculate inning, striking out the side and completely dominating the NL to secure the 3-2 win for the American League. What makes this even cooler is prior to heading to Los Angeles, Clase told reporters he wanted to come on for the ninth to strike out the side and save the game for the AL. He did just that. The kid is special. We are lucky he is on our team locked up long term.
The game itself was kind of a snooze fest, but MLB won the night by adding in some cool features to keep the fans interested, including putting mics on players. Blue Jays starter Alex Manoah was mic’d up in the second inning, which was outstanding TV. At one point, he even asked announcer John Smoltz what he would throw in that situation. Smoltz replied, “Backfoot slider”. Manoah said, "That was sexy" and proceeded to hit Jeff McNeil on the foot, which everyone had a laugh about. In the sixth inning, New York Yankees teammates pitcher Nestor Cortes and catcher Jose Trevino were mic'd up. This brought fans into the game, and showed us all what it is like for a pitcher and a catcher to strategize through at bats.
Other cool moments were captured by the mics as well. Jose Trevino ended up getting his first All-Star game hit in the bottom of the sixth, which he asked the first base coach if he was going to be stealing, and then proceeded to beg for the ball to add to his collection at home. They really should consider adding these microphones to players in regular season and postseason games. Baseball could use all the help it can get marketing the sport.
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