Getty Images

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

22 Comments

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.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
5 Comments

Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.