Yoenis Cespedes wins his second Home Run Derby in a row

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN — It was delayed by rain and taken over by a new format that didn’t, despite its intended goal, speed anything up. But in the end a winner was crowned and it was Yoenis Cespedes. He beat Todd Frazier in the finals, 9 homers to 1.   It was the second year in a row Cespedes took home the little silver bat trophy. The last and only player to win back to back Home Run Derbies before Cespedes was Ken Griffey Jr., who did so in 1998 and 1999.

The odds-on favorite tonight, Giancarlo Stanton, didn’t even make it out of the semifinals. Indeed, he didn’t hit a single homer in the semis, beaten by Frazier 1-0. One has to wonder if the new format for 2014 in which the player with the most homers in the first round got a bye into the semis didn’t work against Stanton. As this event drags, Stanton spent a long time on a cold night not doing anything. As did first round AL leader Jose Bautista, who likewise didn’t make it out of the semis, falling to Cespedes.

But it was Cespedes’ night overall, not just in the finals. He needed to win a tiebreaker over teammate Josh Donaldson to make it out of the first round, but did so and after that had the least amount of rest and down time than anyone. He got stronger as the night wore on, hitting nine in the second round, seven in the third round and then nine in the final. Frazier took a similar path, needing a swing-off against Justin Morneau in the first round and then hitting six in a strong second round. Then came that freakish 1-0 round against Stanton.

Was this a success? Sure, for Cespedes it was. And for the folks who count the money at Major League Baseball and ESPN. They got over 40,000 butts in the seats here in Target Field for over five hours and a lot of TV programming on a night when there were no other sporting events.

But it’s hard to say it was satisfying. It dragged on just as long under the new format as the old and a format tweak may have worked against two of the favorites and the two hitters who broke best out of the gaete in Bautista and Stanton.

 

ALCS Game 3 lineups announced: Jose Altuve will DH, Rafael Devers sits

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As expected, Jose Altuve will serve as the designated hitter for Game 3 of the ALCS against the Red Sox this afternoon.

Altuve has been bothered by a right knee injury, so A.J. Hinch has chosen to give his legs a bit of a breather. In his place at the keystone will be Marwin Gonzalez, putting Tony Kemp in left field. Brian McCann is behind the plate.

For Boston, a lefty on the mound means that Rafael Devers will sit in favor of Eduardo Nunez at third base while Christian Vazquez will do the catching.

Red Sox

1. Mookie Betts (R) RF
2. Andrew Benintendi (L) LF
3. J.D. Martinez (R) DH
4. Xander Bogaerts (R)  SS
5. Steve Pearce (R) 1B
6. Eduard Nunez (R) 3B
7. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B
8. Christian Vazquez (R) C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr. (L)  CF

Astros

1. George Springer (R) CF
2. Jose Altuve (R) DH
3. Alex Bregman (R) 3B
4. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
5. Marwin Gonzalez (S) 2B
6. Josh Reddick (L) RF
7. Carlos Correa (R) SS
8. Brian McCann (L) C
9. Tony Kemp (L) LF