84th MLB All-Star Game

The American League wins the 2013 All-Star Game 3-0

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source:  Another Midsummer Classic in the bag. Another scoresheet which looks like a train wreck, but that’s how the All-Star Game rolls. And the American League rolled to victory here at Citi Field, beating the National League 3 to 0.

As with most All-Star Games it was the small moments which were the most memorable. Here we had the Mets’ Matt Harvey, pitching in his home park, obviously carrying some extra adrenaline early. His velocity was high but his first couple of pitches shaky as he gave up a leadoff double to Mike Trout and then hit Robinson Cano on the right leg. Cano had to leave the game after taking first base and, thankfully, X-Rays came back negative — he has a contusion — but you don’t want to see that happen in an exhibition. Harvey calmed down after that and retired six in a row. A nice outing for the kid.

Beyond that, not many fireworks, as pitching and defense came to the fore.

The game remained scoreless until the top of the fourth when Miguel Cabrera doubled off Patrick Corbin, advanced to third on a Chris Davis single and scored on a Jose Bautista sac fly. The American League added another run in similar fashion in the fifth, this time with an Adam Jones double off Cliff Lee, a Joe Mauer single and a J.J. Hardy fielder’s choice. Not the most exciting way to score, but it was mixed in with a fan wearing a Robinson Cano shirsey running onto the field — he telegraphed it, quite stupidly, via his Twitter feed — and that’s kinda fun. Except for the fan, of course, who was slammed to the ground.

More zeros after that with Matt Moore, Jose Fernandez, Grant Balfour and Aroldis Chapman putting up zeroes through the the bottom of the fifth, all through the sixth and into the seventh-inning stretch. Then in the bottom of the seventh Jim Leyland decided to get some more relievers in the game, going through Greg Holland, Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar. They combined for yet another zero, aided by a slicker than slick play by Manny Machado on a hard Paul Goldschmidt ball to third. Machado looked like Brooks Robinson.

source:  The AL added an insurance run in the eighth off of Craig Kimbrel. The sequence: a Salvador Perez single, Jhonny Peralta single and then, after Torii Hunter grounded into a double play, Jason Kipnis doubled to left scoring Perez. That set the stage for Mariano Rivera, who came in an inning earlier than expected, covering the bottom of the eighth. He entered to a nice tribute from the assembled All-Stars — they left the field empty for him as he took the mound, giving him a standing ovation — and ended it by retiring the National League in order, throwing 16 cutters, in his final All-Star appearance.

Everyone involved was getting punchy by the top of the ninth inning, but Prince Fielder woke us up with a leadoff triple of Jason Grilli. Prince Fielder. The big man. And he moved like nobody’s business, letting out a yell as he slid head-first into the third base bag. I love to watch that guy run. He must have been tired, though, as he remained stranded on third despite a couple of infield outs that may have scored a less tired man.

Joe Nathan came on in the ninth, struck out the first two batters he faced before surrendering a double to Goldschmidt. Nathan bore down, however, and induced a pop fly by Pedro Alvarez to end the ballgame.

Chris Sale got the win, Corbin got the loss, Nathan got the save and the American League has home field advantage in the 2013 World Series. Mo Rivera was named MVP and awarded a new Corvette.

Report: Cardinals are scouting Cuban outfielder Luis Robert

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.

There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.

Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.

Cubs extend Pedro Strop through 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Pedro Strop #46 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game One of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.

Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.

The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.

Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.