The Boston Red Sox had three players selected to this years All Star Game – all of which had their moment in the spotlight
The 2017 All Star Game is a special game for players that get selected. The Mid-Summer Classic took place in Miami this year and just like every ASG, there were some memorable moments, whether funny involving umpires, shocking involving some plays, or the classic “wow, didn’t see that coming moment. The 2017 All Star Game was a pitchers duel from the very beginning.
Sox Ace Chris Sale got the first two innings against the National League underway allowing three hits and struck out two. Still as vintage Sale, no runs crossed the plate. Had you asked him to pitch the entire game, I’m sure he would have humbled himself saying, “this is for the fans, everyone deserves to pitch.” Why? Because he’s that guy.
Sale is a front runner for the American League Cy Young Award and could make a stride for the AL Most Valuable Player Award if he keeps pitching the way he does. Yankee Rookie candidate and 2017 Home Run Derby Champion Aaron Judge, could also find himself in the final voting of the MVP Award with his current campaign.
The 2nd inning got a little dicey, but let’s be honest, with Sale pitching you don’t have to worry about anything. With two runners on and no outs, Sale got Ryan Zimmerman to ground into the 4-6-3 double play before striking out Marcell Ozuna to end the inning unscathed. Oddly enough, both of Sale’s strike outs were to Marlins batters in their home stadium. The other Marlin to strike out? Why Giancarlo Stanton of course.
Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts also made a very memorable play in the bottom of the 4th inning. With Jason Vargas pitching to Zimmerman, he sent a ball to deep center field, Betts then launches a rocket at an estimated 93.1 MPH to throw out Nolan Arenado at 2nd base. Watch the throw here to gun down Arenado. Why people try to run on him is beyond me. Arenado isn’t fast and Betts has a cannon for an arm.
Not sure what Joe Maddon was thinking at that moment in time, maybe he thought that Arenado had jet behind him, who knows. Either way, it definitely made for a memorable play at the ASG. Rule of thumb going forward, if you’re gonna try being cute, do it with someone who’s got wheels and don’t try it advancing a runner from 1st to 2nd base unless they’ve got wheels. Betts otherwise went 0/2 with a ground out and fly out.
Zimmerman just couldn’t catch a break as he grounded into a double play in the 2nd inning and then flew out into a double play in the 4th. Just unlucky. In the top of the 5th inning, Miguel Sano hit a blooper to short right field right right on the line, knocking in the first run. Three National players were unable to get it to in time. What made it ironic was that Zimmerman, who had already had a bad day was one of those three.
The final member elected to this years All Star Game was Sox closer Craig Kimbrel who everyone knows is a flame thrower who’s main objective is to strike everyone out. He didn’t allow a hit but did surrender two walks and had his traditional two strike out performance. The Red Rocket walked two of his first three batters before getting Paul Goldschmidt to fly out and then got Michael Conforto to strike out.
Wasn’t the prettiest inning of work for Kimby but he didn’t allow any runners to advance while pitching so I’ll take it. Kimbrel ended up getting the win as Robinson Cano hit a solo home run in the top of the 10th inning before Andrew Miller closed it out for the save. Bit of an interesting end as Yankee Catcher Gary Sanchez met up with former Yankee set up man Miller to finish up the 88th All Star Game in baseball history.
Yadier Molina has always been recognized as one of the games best catchers and one of the best pitch framers in the game but during the All Star Game he was framing more than just pitches. Yadi snapped a couple pictures (video here) of Joe West with Nelson Cruz before his at bat in the top of the 6th inning. Cruz became the first player to ever ask for a picture with an umpire before an at bat during an All Star Game.
Joe West has been an umpire for a record 40 years and has called over 5,000 games becoming only the 3rd umpire in the history of the sport to achieve the milestone. West has been a part of two other All-Star Games, over 120 postseason games and has been a part of six World Series crews including the most recent one in 2016.
For Sox fans, West was a part of the 2004 crew against the Yankees during the historical down three games to win the next four and followed that up with their first World Series Championship Title in 86 years.
With the American League winning the All Star Game 2-1, they now have tied the National League with 43 wins a piece along with two ties. The atmosphere was a little different for this game as Jose Fernandez was missing. He more than likely would have been elected, and possibly could have been elected the starter for his home city.
Fernandez, who passed away tragically at the end of last season, was credited by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria as one of the major reasons why the Marlins got to host the 2017 ASG. His memory will live on Miami and as Loria said according to the Sun Sentinel,
“no doubt he would’ve been an All-Star,” said Loria on Tuesday in the home clubhouse at Marlins Park. “He would’ve found a way to be the starter. The last five starts would’ve probably been one-hitters, so he would’ve forced the issue.”
Photo Credit – AP Photo – Collage