Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Instant analysis: AL 3, NL 0

USA Today Sports Images
Game in a nutshell: This All-Star Game featured as much young offensive talent as you'll ever see on one field at one time. So, naturally, pitching dominated the affair, especially on the American League side. Ten AL hurlers combined to hand the NL only its third shutout loss in All-Star history, allowing only three hits in the process: one by Carlos Beltran, one by David Wright, one by Paul Goldschmidt. The AL lineup, meanwhile, managed to squeeze out three runs, getting a sac fly from Jose Bautista in the fourth, an RBI fielder's choice by J.J. Hardy in the fifth and an RBI double by Jason Kipnis in the eighth. Bryce Harper, the lone Nationals player appearing in the game, went 0-for-2. Mariano Rivera, making his final All-Star appearance, pitched a 1-2-3 inning of relief. Unfortunately, it was the eighth inning, with manager Jim Leyland not wanting to risk there not being a bottom of the ninth. Joe Nathan got that honor, earning the save and snapping the NL's three-game All-Star winning streak. So, for the first time in four years, Game 1 (and potentially Game 7) of the World Series will be played in an American League ballpark. Sorry, Nats fans.

Nationals highlight: Harper's night was fairly uneventful, though he didn't exactly have favorable matchups at the plate against White Sox lefty Chris Sale and A's closer Grant Balfour. Harper did make solid contact off Sale, lining a shot right at third baseman Miguel Cabrera. He then got jammed by Balfour and hit a little looper to short that was caught by J.J. Hardy. Harper did get to play six innings in the field, three more than he predicted before the game. He made three catches in center field, then spent three innings roaming right field without needing to make a play.

Other highlight: How can we not highlight Rivera in his final All-Star Game appearance? Entering for the bottom of the eighth — just in case there was no bottom of the ninth — the greatest closer in baseball history got a roar from the crowd and got a standing ovation from both dugouts. His AL teammates even left the field clear as Rivera began his warm-up tosses. Once a batter stepped into the box, the results were all too predictable: a 1-2-3 inning of relief. Rivera exited to another standing ovation and the knowledge no All-Star will ever wear No. 42 again.

Key stat: Five Nationals position players have appeared in the All-Star Game and gone a collective 2-for-11 at the plate (Alfonso Soriano 1-for-2, Dmitri Young 1-for-1, Cristian Guzman 0-for-3, Ryan Zimmerman 0-for-2, Bryce Harper 0-for-3).

Up next: The Nationals open the unofficial second half of their season Friday night when the Dodgers come to D.C. Stephen Strasburg will face Zack Greinke in the 7:05 p.m. opener at Nationals Park.


David Proctor said...

Amanda Comak ‏@acomak 2m
Bryce Harper, heading out to enjoy remainder of break, was asked if he needed the rest."Getting that swing on Sale I think I'm ready to go."

baseballswami said...

This game seriously needed Ian Desmond. And JZim. Or Gio, or Stras.

baseballswami said...

Like Mo needs a free car.

Faraz Shaikh said...

LOL but he deserves it I guess.

anyways, disappointed that NL lost.

Traveler8 said...

This story needs an edit - NL had three hits, with Goldschmidt's double in the bottom of the ninth.

baseballswami said...

This game helped us not to miss the Nats-it was so much like a Nats game. Hoping Bryce comes back even more in love with the game. Hoping everyone else returns healthy, rested and focused.

David Proctor said...

Well this is interesting. Scott Boras wants to talk to Mike Rizzo about Danny Espinosa:


natsfan1a said...

I watched through the 6th, then the kit-kat and I went to bed. I liked the "most interesting triple crown winner in the world" bit with Cabrera, and the Saturday Night Fever bit with Mr. Met (hide your eyes, FP). I think Davey got a bigger hand than Collins did.

On another note, just read the quote below from the Comish. Just thinking out loud, does anybody have the phone number of the Miller High Life guy? (Wait, did I just throw Bud under the beer truck? Yes, yes I did. Don't worry, we'll find somebody, I'm sure. ;-))

Selig repeated his intention to retire in December 2014 after 22 years in office but said there are no definitive succession plans.

"I've always operated under the theory that if I get hit by a beer truck tomorrow, they'd have to find somebody," he said. "Somehow, some way they'll find somebody."

natsfan1a said...

I kid, I kid. Um, yeah.

Rabbit34 said...

BBS said....."This game seriously needed Ian Desmond. And JZim. Or Gio, or Stras".

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