When I was a kid, the National League won the All-Star Game every year. In the past couple of decades, it’s been dominated by the American League. A tad more dominance by the AL, however, can bring things into a state of equilibrium.
Going into tonight’s contest, the NL leads the series 43-42, with two ties. One tie you remember: 2002 and the famous Bud Selig shrug. The other occurred on July 31, 1961 at Fenway Park in Boston when the game was called at 1–1 after nine innings due to rain.
Streaks have been common. The American League won the first three All-Star Games. The NL won eight straight times, from 1963 through 1970. It won 11 in a row from 1972 through 1982. The American League is 16-3-1 in the last 20 Midsummer Classics.
If the Junior Circuit wins again tonight it’ll be 43-43-2. After which we will cancel the All-Star Game forever, give everyone participation trophies and call it a day.
Or not. No one ever asks me.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.