The 93rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played at Seattle’s at T-Mobile Park. The American League Squad, managed by Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker sent right hander Gerrit Cole to the mound for his first All-Star game start of his career. Cole is 9-2 with a 2.85 ERA. National League Skipper Rob Thomson from the Phillies tapped Arizona Diamondbacks righty Zac Gallen who is 11-3 with a 3.04 ERA in 19 2023 starts. Like his counterpart in the AL, Gallen is making his first All-Star start.
Personally, no professional league does a better job with their All-Star game than MLB. As a fan for the last fifty plus years I have looked forward to these games every year. But league officials made a huge mistake in 2021 changing the long-standing tradition for players to wear their own team uniforms during the game. In the past, the ceremonial uni’s were worn during the Home Run Derby, batting practice and promotional activities. But the player’s own uniform was worn for the game. To add insult to injury, this year’s design, an homage to the Mariners, is truly ugly—especially the National League dark-blue jerseys over black pants. The helmets are completely unimaginative, and the caps are dull and boring. A’s Nation readers know this is clearly not the biggest error in judgement by Commissioner Rob Manfred, but it’s a close second. (Rant over)
The game started with dynamite defense behind Cole with right fielder Aroldis Garcia making a great catch on Braves lead-off hitter Ronal Acuna, Jr.; and then Randy Arozarena stealing an extra-base hit from Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman.
The American League jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the second when Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz homered to left field off Pirates righty Mitch Keller.
J.D. Martinez, Dodgers Designated Hitter led off the top of the fourth with the NL’s first extra-base hit. After a Nolan Arenado ground out, Miami Marlins second baseman Luis Arráez singled to drive Martinez home and tie the game. Arráez, who leads baseball in hits and batting average, has seen two pitches in this game and has singled on both.
Quality pitching dominated through the first five innings. The national league had five baserunners (four hits and a walk) and the American League had only four (three hits and one base-on-balls). The Cubs Justin Steele continued the trend by closing out the inning with a 3-pitch strikeout of Texas catcher Jonah Heim.
In the bottom of the sixth, Royals catcher Salvatore Perez singled to right field. Our Oakland Athletics representative Brent Rooker doubled, moving Perez to third base. A Bo Bichette sacrifice fly drove in the go-ahead run. The National League thought they had tied the game up in the seventh inning when Lourdes Gurriel, Jr ripped a line drive off Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano into the left field bleachers. After rounding the bases, AL Manager Dusty Baker challenged the call, and it was overturned (the second call of the night to be overturned).
Nick Castellanos led off the top of the eighth with a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch. Then Elias Diaz, the Rockies catcher who pinch hit for slugger Jorge Soler, drove one into the left field stands giving the NL a 3-2 lead.
Rob Thomson sent his Phillies closer Craig Kimbrel in the close out the ninth for the National League. Wander Franco sent Juan Soto to the warning track, for a long and crowd-energizing first out. Kimbrel then struck out last night’s Home Run Derby champion Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Kyle Tucker walked to bring hometown superstar Julio Rodriguez to the plate with two outs. With the crowd chanting “Ju-Li-O,” JRod walked, moving the tying run to second. But Kimbrel struck out Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez to end the game and bring an end to the nine-game losing streak for the NL.