The stars were all in Cleveland tonight for the 90th edition of the MLB All-Star Game. In contrast to the 2018 contest, and to the prolific Home Run Derby the night before, the name of this game was pitching.
The National League staff allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out seven and walking one. While they did a pretty good job, the American League pitchers dominated right from the start. They allowed three runs on five hits, striking out 16 while walking three. It looked as though the NL batters weren’t seeing the ball well and they simply had no answer for their opponents.
The interviews throughout the game were great, though the multi-player interviews were a little weird at times. Still, it was cool to see and hear them interact with each other and the broadcast duo of Joe Buck and John Smoltz. If there was a get-off-my-lawn aspect of the game, it’s that the stadium music was loud and consistently affected the players’ ability to hear the booth, a fact which was largely ignored by Buck. (Box score)
How the Cubs Fared
One thing I absolutely loved about this game was the Cleveland fans booing every Cubs player when they were introduced and when they went to the plate to hit. If you don’t remember, which I understand because people always forget, the Cubs clinched the 2016 World Series championship in Cleveland.
Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, and Javy Báez all failed to reach base in their combined five plate appearances. They didn’t have many opportunities to contribute on defense, but had no issues when the ball came their way. Báez was mentioned much more than his teammates, which is understandable given his cachet. The broadcast did highlight Contreras’ penchant for attacking pitches this year, which has attributed to his success at the dish.
One of the more fun only-at-the-ASG moment was Báez waving excitedly to the AL dugout both times he walked up to the plate.
All-Star Game MVP
Shane Bieber took the MVP honors for his performance in the 5th inning, when he made Willson Contreras, Ketel Marte, and Ronald Acuna Jr. look silly. He was only the 15th pitcher to strike out the side in an inning in the All-Star Game. For winning, Bieber got to choose between a red truck and white truck. He went with the latter.
The Cubs have two more days off before resuming the season Friday at Wrigley against the Pirates. Will there be any bad blood left over from last week’s head-hunting fiasco? We’ll find out when Yu Darvish faces off against an as-yet-undetermined Bucs pitcher. Start time is 1:20pm CT and you can catch it all on NBC Sports Chicago (or MLB Network for out-of-marketers) and 670 The Score.