Justin Verlander had made 13 career starts at Kauffman Stadium and never given up more than four runs. Of course, he was facing the Royals in those outings.
The NL All-Stars roughed up Verlander in the first inning Tuesday, scoring five runs on four hits and two walks. Ryan Braun started the scoring with an RBI double, but Pablo Sandoval’s three-run triple was the big blow. Sandoval went on to score on a Dan Uggla single.
The plan was for Verlander to pitch two innings tonight, but Joe Nathan replaced him to start the second. Verlander is the fourth starter to allow five runs in an All-Star Game, joining Jim Palmer (AL, 1977), Tom Glavine (NL, 1992) and Roger Clemens (NL, 2004).
The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”
Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.
After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.