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AL bests NL 4-3 to win 2019 All-Star Game

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For the first time since 2014, an American League team hosted the All-Star Game. This time, it was at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, home of the Indians. For a seventh consecutive year, the American League emerged victorious, defeating the National League 4-3.

After the players were introduced on the field, the ballpark went silent in memory of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who died last week at the age of 27. In his honor, All-Star teammates Mike Trout and Tommy La Stella wore Skaggs’ No. 45. Players donned “45” patches on their uniforms, but they had trouble staying attached.

CC Sabathia, who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Indians and is retiring after this season, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Sandy Alomar, Jr.

Dodger pitching yielded the first two runs to the AL. Clayton Kershaw allowed a run in the second inning on a one-out single by Alex Bregman followed by a two-out RBI double to Michael Brantley. Walker Buehler allowed the next run in the fifth when Gary Sánchez led off with a double. Sánchez moved to third base on a grounder, then scored on an infield single by Jorge Polanco.

Before the top of the fifth inning, the players, the broadcasters, and the crowd stood up with their Stand Up To Cancer signs. Many of the signs mentioned Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Carrasco held his own sign, which said, “I stand.” His All-Star teammates Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, and Carlos Santana, as well as manager Terry Francona hugged him as he made his way back into the dugout.

Hometown hero Shane Bieber had a great moment after taking the mound for the top of the fifth. He struck out the side, becoming the first Indians player to do so in the All-Star Game.

The NL finally got on the board in the top of the sixth when Charlie Blackmon crushed a Liam Hendriks fastball out to center field for a two-out solo homer, cutting the deficit to 2-1. The AL would get that run back plus one in the bottom of the seventh against Brandon Woodruff. Matt Chapman drew a leadoff walk, then advanced to third base on a James McCann single and scored when Xander Bogaerts grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. After lefty Will Smith replaced Woodruff, Joey Gallo swung at the first pitch, driving a line drive solo home run out to right field to push the AL’s lead to 4-1.

Home Run Derby champion Pete Alonso played a key role in the NL’s eighth-inning rally against the Indians’ Brad Hand. Yasmani Grandal led off with a walk and moved to second on a David Dahl single. Paul DeJong drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Hand was able to strike out Blackmon, but Alonso ripped a line drive past Gleyber Torres, plating two runs.

The NL couldn’t figure out Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning. J.T. Realmuto and Max Muncy each struck out swinging. As Grandal came to the plate for the final at-bat, Sabathia came out to the mound to “visit” Chapman. As Sabathia walked back to the dugout, he received a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd. When play resumed, Chapman fanned Grandal, striking out the side and ending the game in a 4-3 victory for the American League.

Bieber won All-Star Game MVP. As mentioned, he struck out the side in his only inning of work. Bieber was added to the AL All-Star roster only four days ago.

Rumor: MLB execs discussing 100-game season that would begin July 1

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Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.

In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.

Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.

Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.