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2018 All-Star Game: American League wins home run extravaganza

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The 2018 All-Star Game was a reflection of its time. It was full of homers and devoid of most other action. In the end, though, it was a baseball game, and when the dust settled the American League prevailed 8-6, taking its sixth Midsummer Classic in a row and taking the all-time All-Star Game lead, 44-43-2 against the Senior circuit.

Every run save one scored on a homer. Ten were hit, in fact, shattering an All-Star Game record set back in 1971, when six were hit. The men going deep in this one: Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, Willson Contreras, Trevor Story, Jean Segura, Christian Yellich, Scooter Gennett, Alex Bregman, George Springer and Joey Votto. All were solo shots except for Segura’s and Gennett’s, with the former being three-run shot off of Josh Hader in the eighth and Gennett’s a two-run shot off of Edwin Diaz which sent things into extra innings.

The American League struck back quickly in the 10th, however, with Alex Bregman and George Springer hitting solo shots to lead off the inning. They were both hit off of Ross Stipling, pitching in his second inning, under the supervision of his own manager, Dave Roberts. One wonders how much of Roberts’ decision to keep Stripling in was a function of him not wanting to anger his fellow NL managers by using their pitchers’ arms in an extra inning contest. No one wants a pitcher overworked, but Roberts sticking with his own guy is something that would be worth questioning if someone cared enough to question strategy in an All-Star Game.

The American league scored a final run off of Stripling, this off of a Michael Brantley sac fly following a couple of singles. Who knew you could score by means other than the long ball?

In the bottom of the tenth the American League sent J.A. Happ to the mound to save it. Joey Votto led things off with a first pitch homer to right field to bring the Nationals to within two. That was all they’d get, however, as Happ retired Yelich, Charlie Blackmon and Lorenzo Cain to close it out.

Alex Bregman won the All-Star Game Ted Williams MVP Award, by virtue of his homer being the one that put the A.L. ahead for good. It would’ve been Segura’s for that three-run dinger if it had ended up being decisive, but those are the breaks in the All-Star Game. Bregman had a choice of a Chevy Truck or a Camaro for the All-Star Game prize. He picked the Camaro and said he’d give it to his mom. I sorta wanna meet Bregman’s mom now. That’s probably another blog post.

In any event, eleven runs were scored after the seventh inning. Some of the best drama of the night involved a transaction, not game action. It was a weird night of baseball, frankly, but if you dig the longball, it was right up your alley.

Astros, Red Sox announce lineups for ALCS Game 5

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The Red Sox are looking to punch their ticket to the World Series in Houston on Thursday night Game 5 of the ALCS. If they do, they’ll return to the Fall Classic for the first time since 2013, knocking out the defending champs in the process.

Red Sox

RF Mookie Betts
LF Andrew Benintendi
DH J.D. Martinez
SS Xander Bogaerts
1B Mitch Moreland
2B Ian Kinsler
3B Rafael Devers
C Christian Vázquez
CF Jackie Bradley, Jr.

SP David Price

Chris Sale is still feeling weak after his brief stint in the hospital earlier this week, so Price is getting the start instead. If the series goes to a Game 6, Sale would start.

The lineup is a little different than it was when they faced Verlander in Game 1. Moreland and Kinsler are new additions. Devers draws another start with Eduardo Núñez banged up.

Astros

3B Alex Bregman
RF George Springer
DH José Altuve
SS Carlos Correa
1B Yuli Gurriel
2B Marwín González
LF Tony Kemp
C Martin Maldonado
CF Jake Marisnick

SP Justin Verlander

Bregman hits leadoff again. He hasn’t hit for average — just .182 — but he has drawn seven walks across four games. González handles second base again as Altuve’s right knee remains sore. Marisnick is getting his first start of the postseason. He’s had just one plate appearance, coming in Game 2 of the ALDS and he struck out.