Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer was named MVP of the 2016 All-Star Game at Petco Park in San Diego, blasting a solo home run and adding an RBI single in a 2-for-3 performance, helping the American League beat the National League 4-2 on Tuesday night. His solo homer off of Johnny Cueto tied the game up at 1-1 in the first inning and his RBI single in the third inning off of Jose Fernandez boosted the AL’s lead to 4-1. Teammate Salvador Perez smacked a two-run home run off of Cueto in the second as well.
The AL was set behind early when Kris Bryant drilled a solo home run to left field off of starter Chris Sale. The NL was only able to tack on one more run in the fourth inning thanks to Marcell Ozuna‘s RBI single.
The NL’s best chance to tie the game came in the top of the eighth inning when Jonathan Lucroy and Starling Marte singled, and Adam Duvall walked to load the bases with two outs against Miller. Will Harris came in and struck out Aledmys Diaz to put out the fire.
Orioles closer Zach Britton came on in the ninth to seal the 4-2 victory. After allowing a leadoff single to Daniel Murphy, Britton got Paul Goldschmidt to ground into a 1-3 fielder’s choice, then induced a game-ending 5-4-3 double play. Corey Kluber got the win, Cueto got the loss, and Britton got the save. The American League champion will have home field advantage in the 2016 World Series.
The American League has emerged victorious from the All-Star game for the fourth year in a row. The NL won three years in a row from 2010-12 after the AL won every year from 1997-2009, excepting the 2002 tied game at Miller Park.
Notable: NL manager Terry Collins didn’t put any of his players — Noah Syndergaard, Bartolo Colon, Jeurys Familia — into the game.
The Phillies are in a tailspin. The club lost its perch atop the NL East, losing 12 of its last 18 games dating back to May 30. They enter Thursday night’s action four games behind the now-first-place Braves. The reasons for the slide are myriad, including a rash of injuries, but the players have also simply not played well. Understandably, fans are upset.
It didn’t help when, for the second time in three weeks, shortstop Jean Segura didn’t run hard on a batted ball. On June 3, Segura didn’t run on an infield pop-up that eventually resulted in a season-ending injury to Andrew McCutchen. On Wednesday during the second game of a doubleheader, Segura weakly hit a Max Scherzer pitch to shallow left-center that wasn’t caught. Because he was watching the ball rather than running hard, he had to hold up after a wide turn around first base.
To the surprise of many, Segura wasn’t pulled from the game despite the lack of effort. To the even further surprise of many, manager Gabe Kapler included Segura in Thursday’s lineup against the Nationals, which has otherwise been thoroughly reshuffled. Per Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Kapler said, “Jean is one of our eight best players. I don’t think taking one of our eight best players and our shortstop out of our lineup is what’s best for the Philadelphia Phillies.”
Kapler said he had a long talk with Segura. “I told him that we’re going to address not just him but other players in the clubhouse and we’re going to talk about the highest level of effort and talk about how we can’t win every night but we can win the game of give-a-[hoot] and be undefeated in that category. Then we can protect the Phillies by putting the best lineup together on a nightly basis and not think about making ourselves feel better by sending a message.”
Kapler hit the nail on the head with that last line. Benching Segura only makes fans and pundits feel better by punishing someone for a perceived transgression. But does it actually teach anything, and is it actually beneficial to the team? Maybe to the former, and no to the latter. Matt Winkelman of Baseball Prospectus brought up a great point on Twitter, writing, “The idea that punishment is the only way to solve a problem or change behavior is such a narrow minded idea.” People learn best in different ways. Some might respond well to punishment. Others may just need a good talking-to. It’s a case-by-case thing. Kapler is right to apply nuance to the situation.
So many of baseball’s long-held beliefs have fallen to the wayside in recent years. The idea that a player must always be punished for a lack of effort will hopefully be the next one to be taken out to the dumpster.