Papi and Gonzalez went head-to-head in the Home Run Derby, but neither of them walked away with the trophy. Papi actually didn’t do so well; he hit five dingers in the first round and four in the semifinals, so he was eliminated and never made it to the finals. Gonzalez hit nine dingers in the first round, eleven in the semifinals, and tied a derby record of eleven in the final round that Papi set last year when he won the derby with thirty-two total. It looked like the stage was set for a victory. Even the park was cooperating; Gonzalez has only hit more home runs at his former home park in San Diego. But Robinson Cano hit eight, twelve, and set a new derby record with twelve in the final round and therefore managed to beat him by one. One! That is frustrating.
As far as the All-Star Game is concerned, that didn’t have a great outcome either. The American League lost, 5-1. I mean, come on. If we have to lose, at least put up a fight. At least lose by only one run or, even better, tie it and force extras and rise to the occasion. That’s what the National League has been doing for the past few All-Star Games. The American league went two for five with runners in scoring position; the National League went three for eight. The American League left six men on base; the National League left three. The American League had six hits; the National League had nine. The difference-maker was Prince Fielder’s three-run shot in the fourth; CJ Wilson gave that up. After that, there was an RBI single in the fifth and an RBI double in the seventh.
We had nothing to do with that. Beckett ended up pulling out due to soreness in his left knee. He says it’s a minor thing and expects to start Sunday. It takes a big man and an even bigger team player to pull out of the All-Star Game so he can make his scheduled start with his team.
In two at-bats, Ellsbury struck out twice. In one at-bat, Youk singled. In two at-bats, Papi struck out once. Gonzalez was a different story. Adrian Gonzalez is the reason why the American League wasn’t shut out. He went yard off of Cliff Lee on the second pitch of his first at-bat of the game with two out in the fourth inning, a cut fastball. It was a hugely powerful swing that ended up in the first few rows of seats in right center field. It was the first home run hit in an All-Star Game since JD Drew’s blast in 2008. It’s funny; that home run didn’t make the American League win the game, so if he’d hit it in the derby instead of in the game, he would’ve forced a tiebreaker with Cano and maybe carried home the trophy after all.
Well, it’s not like we didn’t try to secure home field advantage for ourselves. It just goes to show you that, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. I can’t speak for anyone else. None of our pitchers played in the game so the National League’s runs were not our fault. Did I expect our guys to make a bigger impact at the plate? Yes, but I also expected everyone else on the team to chip in. After all, it is the All-Star Game. All-stars appear in All-Star Games because they’re supposed to be the best of the best. I guess that goes for both sides, but if it’s the American League versus the National League, the American League should at least be giving the National League a run for its money every time. Well, I guess come October we’ll just have to boost our away game. But you have to get there first. Let’s see what happens in the second half.