Was that an arrogant headline? Probably, but I got you to read! Four of the Orioles contributed to the American League’s 3-0 victory in the annual MLB All-Star Game, thus securing the home-field advantage for the eventual AL champion. (Hopefully this will not collide with the Baltimore Ravens schedule and create another controversy!)
If I was a major league manager, I would have a lot of conflicted feelings about All-Star games – being proud of my guys who were selected, but hoping nothing happened to them that would alter their availability for the regular season. Any and every of the 162 games are more important than this exhibition.
So Buck Showalter can at least feel good that his five guys are coming back apparently still in one piece (notwithstanding an opened blister on Chris Davis’ palm). But Joe Girardi certainly had a difficult night worrying about Robinson Cano being plunked on the knee in the 1st inning. X-rays were negative and it is described as a quadriceps contusion, but I’d be worried about it if I were (God forbid) the Yankees’ manager.
The Orioles players presented themselves well, contributing to the first two American League runs. Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and J.J. Hardy all started as planned, while Manny Machado entered the game in the 7th inning. Chris Tillman was not used in the game.
Orioles At Bats …
Davis – Top of the 1st off Matt Harvey… After swinging through a first pitch strike at 97 mph, a second pitch, tailing fastball at 98 was called a strike, though outside. Davis then hit a soft fly to center field.
Jones – Top of the 2nd off Matt Harvey… After swinging through both a fastball and curve, Jones fouled off four pitches including ball four, then missed a high and tight fastball – the 10th pitch of the at bat.
Hardy – Top of the 3rd off Clayton Kershaw… The herky-jerky Dodgers pitcher worked J.J. to a 2-2 count, when Hardy drilled a long line drive to deep left-center field where it was hauled in by Bryce Harper.
Davis – Top of the 4th off Patrick Corbin… On a 2-2 count, Chris hit a crisp line-drive single off the glove of first baseman Joey Votto. Cabrera was at second base after drilling a double, but had to hold up to see if Davis’ ball went through … then advancing to third and setting up a score on a sac fly by Jose Bautista for a 1-0 AL lead.
Jones – Top of the 5th off Cliff Lee… On a 2-2 pitch drilled a low-inside ball into the left-field corner for a leadoff double. He moved to 3rd on a Joe Mauer grounder through the infield … bringing up J.J.
Hardy – Top of the 5th off Cliff Lee… On a 2-2 pitch, Hardy hit a grounder up the middle and beat out the double-play throw to first for the fielder’s choice RBI.
Davis – Top of the 6th off Jose Fernandez… Davis faced some pretty nasty pitches (one of them getting a “nasty factor” score of 99 on MLB Gameday!), fanning on a 2-2 curve ball.
Jones – Top of the 7th off Arnoldis Chapman… Coming to bat with none on after a DP by Encarnacion, he struck out on four pitches.
Machado – Top of the 8th off Craig Kimbrel… Manny swung at a first wild pitch in the dirt, and then went right through a good fastball, eventually striking out on a 1-2 slider.
Other observations …
- There were very definitely some “O’s” during the National Anthem!
- Miguel Cabrera ain’t quite Machado at third, but he made a number of nice plays along with setting up the first AL run. The guy can play the game. OK – confession here – I wrote that before seeing Machado’s great play in the bottom of the 7th!
- I’m not sure when I’ve ever seen quite so much of a staged event in bringing Mariano Rivera into the game. But he has earned the accolades. There was a brief shot of Chris Davis taking an iPhone video of Rivera pitching to his final batter.
- A Prince Fielder triple! Priceless! The replay showed him dogging it to first … if he ran it hard, he could have had a stand-up three-bagger! I wish I had a picture of Davis and Hardy smiling at him from the dugout! Very cool.
OK … game over … let’s get back to the season!