ESPN running down the All-Star Game again

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ESPN is just fine with a three-hour Home Run Derby.  After all, it gets to televise the proceedings.  But the All-Star Game itself?  Well, that’s FOX’s baby and that makes it fair game for the worldwide leader.

Jerry Crasnick’s piece on all of the stars skipping the game is currently leading the big features box on ESPN.com, with Crasnick spewing lines like the following: “big names bailing by the hour for Bahamas vacations, family cookouts or orthopedic consultations.”  This comes two days after Buster Olney proposed the solution that players should decide in spring training whether to opt off the All-Star ballot.

It’s a shame, because Crasnick is better than this.  There were three healthy players across both leagues who had the chance to go to the All-Star Game and pulled out: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Aramis Ramirez.  Rivera missed time last week with a strained triceps, and while he was back pitching over the weekend, it’s hard to blame him for wanting to save his bullets.  Ramirez would have been a last-minute injury replacement, but he had already made plans for the break and decided to follow through on them.

So, really, as usual, this all boils down to Jeter.

And doesn’t Jeter deserve a free pass just this once?  This is the first time in 12 All-Star selections that he’s skipped the game.  Between all of the postseason appearances, the All-Star appearances and off-the-field obligations, Jeter has had less time off between the months of February and October than any player in baseball these last 15 years.  Let him have his little break.

Anyway…

Midsummer Mirage? All-Stars deserted this year’s Classic in droves? All-Star Game feeling snubbed?  All-Star Game getting the cold shoulder?  Players backing out of Midsummer Classic threatens showcase event for baseball?

It’s all just propaganda because ESPN would rather you watch it than FOX tonight.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.