Final, 3-0 AL: That’s it and that’s all, folks. It wasn’t quite the offensive show I was expecting from the American League, but nonetheless, behind a strong pitching performance all around, the AL came away with a 3-0 victory, their first since 2009, and they’ll take home-field advantage in the World Series.
Chris Sale will take the win, Patrick Corbin the loss and Joe Nathan picks up the save. The best moment, by far, however, will be Mariano Rivera’s moment before the bottom of the eighth, when he received a standing ovation in his final All-Star Game. A moment that will surely live on in All-Star Game lore forever.
Thanks for reading, everyone. It was fun.
Mid 9th, 3-0 AL: Prince Fielder sprinted around the bases and slid into third for a triple. And now we’ve officially seen it all.
He was left stranded, though, and we’ll move to the bottom of the ninth. Joe Nathan, not Mariano Rivera, will try to close this thing out. It seems as though Jim Leyland just wanted to make sure Rivera got in the game in case the NL scored four runs and took the lead. Because that would happen.
The NL is probably wishing Yasiel Puig was available, huh?
End 8th, 3-0 AL: It would just seem wrong if Mariano Rivera blew this save, wouldn’t it?
The Yankees closer was given a standing ovation as he stood on the mound alone on the field — which will certainly be a signature moment in All-Star Game history — and then retired the NL side in order.
We go to the ninth, as the AL will try to tack on some more insurance before Rivera likely gets the ball again.
10:52 p.m.: “Enter Sandman,” commence. Mariano Rivera is in to try to put together a two-inning save. He gets a standing ovation and raises his cap to the crowd. Don’t blow this, Mo.
10:50 p.m.: Stick to singing, Neil Diamond. Dancing ain’t really your thing.
Mid 8th, 3-0 AL: An interesting development at Citi Field as Mariano Rivera was warming up in the top of the eighth, seemingly to get ready for a two-inning save.
We’ll see if Leyland puts in No. 42, which is made more interesting by the fact that the AL extended its lead to three runs with an RBI double from Jason Kipnis. However, no one else is warming, so Leyland may not have another choice but to go with the Yankees legend.
End 7th, 2-0 AL: David Wright gave the NL some life with the team’s first hit in seemingly a million years, a one-out single to left, but in the end, it’s still 2-0 AL.
The AL used three different pitchers — Greg Holland, Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar — and each recorded an out in the inning. Oh, and that Manny Machado fella is kind of good too — he fired an out to first from a seemingly impossible angle from the third-base line.
We’re onto the eighth. It won’t be too long before AL skipper Jim Leyland calls for Mariano Rivera to warm up in the pen.
Mid 7th, 2-0 AL: Try to keep up with Aroldis Chapman’s fastballs. You’ll likely fail.
The Reds reliever threw some serious heat that inning. He blew Adam Jones away with a fastball — clocked by FOX at 101 mph — to end the inning and we move to the seventh inning stretch with the AL still leading 2-0.
The NL will hope some of Chapman’s heat will carry over to its bats with just nine outs left before handing World Series home field back to the AL.
End 6th, 2-0 AL: Does anyone else find it funny when Grant Balfour walks somebody? Get it — ball four?
OK, bad joke, but alas, we move to the seventh with the AL still on top 2-0. Balfour led the inning by walking Michael Cuddyer, but then set down Bryce Harper, Matt Carpenter and Andrew McCutchen in order to end the inning.
We’re just a few innings away from that much anticipated Rivera save. Remember, I’m never right about these things.
Mid 6th, 2-0 AL: Jose Fernandez comes in to close the door on the AL bats in 1-2-3 fashion, and the NL is still within striking distance in case their bats decide to wake up.
Fernandez set down Pedroia, Cabrera and Davis in order in that inning. Not too shabby.
End 5th, 2-0 AL: Are the NL batters this bad, or the AL pitchers this good?
Whatever the case is, the NL has just one baserunner through five innings, and it seems like — seems — this game is destined for a game ending with a Mariano Rivera save in his last All-Star Game.
Don’t hold me to that, though. I’m usually wrong on these things.
Mid 5th, 2-0 AL: Brandon Phillips makes turning double plays look so easy.
The Reds second baseman pulled off a bare-handed double play to end the fifth, but not before the AL extended its lead to 2-0.
Adam Jones led off the inning with a double and eventually came around to score on a J.J. Hardy fielder’s choice. The AL leads 2-0, and if the first four innings are any indication, the NL’s bats are going to seriously need to heat up to catch up.
End 4th, 1-0 AL: Well, there goes the perfect game.
Carlos Beltran hit a one-out single, but nothing came of it. Andrew McCutchen pinch ran for Beltran, stole second and made his way to third, but David Wright hit a two-out groundout to third to end the inning. The AL will keep its 1-0 lead after four innings from Citi Field.
Mid 4th, 1-0 AL: Leave it to the two best hitters in baseball to finally get some offense going.
Miguel Cabrera led off with a double, Chris Davis followed with a single and Jose Bautista drove in Cabrera with a sacrifice fly to give the AL a 1-0 lead.
But that’s all the AL could manufacture as David Ortiz then grounded out into an inning-ending double play.
End 3rd, 0-0: I’d assume there’s never been a perfect game in All-Star Game history, so I guess the AL is six innings away from pitching one?
Either way, someone eventually has to score a run in this one. Or maybe even a hit. Chris Sale delivers another 1-2-3 inning and we’re already onto the fourth. At least it’s going by quick.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Clayton Kershaw’s feelings apparently aren’t hurt anymore, as the Dodgers ace delivers … you guessed it, another 1-2-3 inning.
For those of you scoring at home, there hasn’t been a hit in this game since the first pitch.
Oh, and Robinson Cano’s X-rays came back negative. So there’s that.
End 2nd, 0-0: Forget all of that offense, we’ve got ourselves a good old pitcher’s matchup in tonight’s All-Star Game.
White Sox starter Chris Sale took over for Max Scherzer and picked up where he left off with another 1-2-3 inning. David Wright grounded out, Carlos Gonzalez struck out swinging and Yadier Molina flew out.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Harvey’s second inning was much easier, and his night is likely over.
Harvey put together a 1-2-3 inning for the NL side. David Ortiz flew out to deep center, Adam Jones struck out swinging on a 98-mph fastball and Joe Mauer ended the inning by lining out to left.
End 1st, 0-0: Someone must have hit the easy button for Max Scherzer, because it was.
The AL starter picked up where he left off during a dominant first half to his season with a 1-2-3 inning. Brandon Phillips flew out to left, Carlos Beltran grounded out and Joey Votto ended the inning by looking at strike three. Easy as pie for Scherzer.
Harvey will return to the mound for the NL to start the second. David Ortiz leads off for the AL.
Mid 1st, 0-0: It was a rocky start for Matt Harvey, but the Mets ace settled down to retire the AL order.
Harvey’s first pitch of the game was sent down the right-field line for a double by Mike Trout. He then hit Robinson Cano — who later left the game. But Harvey calmed down, struck Miguel Cabrera out swinging, forced Chris Davis into a fly out and Jose Bautista struck out to end the inning.
The NL will now gets its first crack at Tigers ace Max Scherzer.
8:26 p.m.: Every manager’s worst nightmare is now a reality for Yankees skipper Joe Girardi.
Matt Harvey’s first pitch to Robinson Cano hit him in the right knee, and the Yankees second baseman has left the game. Dustin Pedroia is in the game a bit earlier then he probably expected.
8:20 p.m.: Is the national anthem over yet?
Now that all the pregame festivities are out of the way, let’s play some baseball. Matt Harvey’s first pitch is lined to right by Mike Trout for a double. Well then.
By the way, those fluorescent cleats are hurting my eyes, so try to stay with me here.
8 p.m.: Both starting lineups have been announced, and we’re finally ready to play ball. To no one’s surprise, David Wright and Matt Harvey, the two Mets representatives, were given the loudest cheers by their home crowd.
Who do you got? Will the NL make it four in a row, or will the AL break the streak? I’ll take the AL — their lineup is much too powerful to keep quiet. Final score: 10-5.
7:25 p.m.: You may not like that the All-Star Game determines which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series, but there’s no denying the importance of home field.
In the last 27 World Series, 22 winners have done so with home field, and the last time the team without home field won it all was in 2008, when the Phillies took the crown.
Still not convinced? Dustin Pedroia has a few words for you, then.
“Just look at our team,” Pedroia said on Monday, according to ESPN. “If we’re in the World Series [and the American League loses Tuesday], we play another game in the National League park. We lose our best hitter. We lose David Ortiz for that day — or he has to play first base, which he hasn’t done all year. The game means a lot.”
T-minus 35 minutes until game time.
6:55 p.m.: Uh-oh, it sounds like Clayton Kershaw’s feelings are hurt.
The Dodgers ace initially told reporters yesterday that he understood why NL manager Bruce Bochy named Matt Harvey as the starter. After all, the game is being played at Citi Field, Harvey’s home field, and the Mets ace is having a surprisingly stellar season.
But when told that Bochy’s decision had nothing to do with the location of the game, Kershaw sang a different tune. “It hurts,” he told reporters.
Surely, Kershaw is deserving of the start. He only has an 8-6 record, but his 1.98 ERA is tops in the majors by a fairly wide margin. However, Harvey is just as deserving. He’s 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA and an NL-leading 147 strikeouts. Mix in that the game is at Citi Field, home of the Mets, and there’s not much room to complain. The All-Star Game is for the fans — after all, they’re the ones who vote the players in — and you’d probably be hard-pressed to find many of them who disagree with Bochy’s decision to start Harvey.
Game time is just about an hour away. Keep it here for updates and commentary all night.
4:50 p.m.: If Max Scherzer was looking for any kind of advice for tonight, one person the AL starting pitcher certainly isn’t talking to is his Tigers and AL teammate, Justin Verlander.
If you recall, Verlander started last year’s All-Star Game for the AL, and he didn’t do so hot. He lasted just one inning and gave up five runs as the NL ran away with an 8-0 victory and its third straight win in the Midsummer Classic.
“I wouldn’t listen to a word he says,” Scherzer said, “with his start last year.”
That seems reasonable, but Scherzer better hope he can back it up tonight. Speaking of which, we’re just a little over three hours away until the 84th MLB All-Star Game begins. Get excited.
12 p.m. ET: Some fans love the All-Star Game, and some hate it. Some think rewarding home field advantage in the World Series to the winner is fair, and some do not. The chatter surrounding the premise of the All-Star Game is often more exciting than the actual game, but love it or not, the game will still happen tonight at 8 p.m.
This year’s affair is packed with the usual big names. Yasiel Puig and Home Run Derby winner Yoenis Cespedes won’t be around, but plenty of other stars will, from MLB’s youngsters (Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and first-time pick Chris Davis) to the perennial standouts (David Ortiz, David Wright).
And, of course, with home field advantage on the line, this year’s contest will determine which league gets four games at home in the World Series. The American League used to dominate the Midsummer Classic, but after taking 12 of 13 through 2009 (a streak marred only by a tie), the National League has come out on top the last three years — seasons in which National League teams also won the World Series.
Check out the lineups for this evening’s game, then come back here a few hours ahead of the game for news and notes heading into the action.
Mike Trout, LF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Chris Davis, 1B
Jose Bautista, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Adam Jones, CF
Joe Mauer, C
J.J. Hardy, SS
Max Scherzer, P
Brandon Phillips, 2B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Joey Votto, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Carlos Gonzalez, LF
Yadier Molina, C
Troy Tulowitzki, SS
Michael Cuddyer, DH
Bryce Harper, CF
Matt Harvey, P