Photo courtesy Los Angeles Angels
Angel Stadium, site of tonight's All-Star Game.
There should be a fair amount of intrigue to tonight's game in Anaheim. The National League, which is amazingly seeking its first victory since 1996, sends out a potent pitching staff that includes Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum, among others. The American League counters with one of the greatest lineups ever assembled (how about that 7-8-9 of Joe Mauer, Robinson Cano and Carl Crawford?).
Nationals fans can only hope Matt Capps works his way into the game and perhaps gets to play a key role in securing a late NL lead.
All baseball fans will be interested to see what kind of tribute is planned for George Steinbrenner, who died this morning at age 80. I can only imagine what this game will be like for Derek Jeter and his Yankees teammates.
Obviously, I'm not in Anaheim for the game. But I will be watching it on TV with the rest of you. So I figured it only makes sense to provide a forum for discussion. I'll have some thoughts along the way, and if there's anything you're interested in discussing, just drop that into the comments section and I'll see what I can do.
Hope everyone enjoys the game...
NATIONAL LEAGUE at AMERICAN LEAGUE
Where: Angel Stadium
Gametime: 8 p.m.
Radio: 980-AM, 94.3-FM, 92.7-FM.
Weather: Sunny, 76 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to RF
SS Hanley Ramirez
2B Martin Prado
1B Albert Pujols
DH Ryan Howard
3B David Wright
LF Ryan Braun
CF Andre Ethier
RF Corey Hart
C Yadier Molina
(P Ubaldo Jimenez)
RF Ichiro Suzuki
SS Derek Jeter
1B Miguel Cabrera
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Vladimir Guerrero
3B Evan Longoria
C Joe Mauer
2B Robinson Cano
LF Carl Crawford
(P David Price)
8:27 p.m. -- This game isn't going to start til about 8:45 p.m. and may run past midnight, but this All-Stars Among Us tribute is well worth the delay. A very nice touch MLB added to the midsummer classic last year and should continue as an annual tradition.
8:50 p.m. -- Guess I was overly optimistic by five minutes. At long last, David Price has thrown tonight's first pitch to Hanley Ramirez.
8:59 p.m. -- Wow, Derek Jeter walks to the plate introduced by Bob Sheppard. Very nice. Gotta believe this has been an emotional day for the Yankee captain.
9:00 p.m. -- Yes, that's Scott Boras standing directly behind the plate, his arm propped up on the railing. Nice to know the super agent tries to lay low and keep himself out of the spotlight.
9:09 p.m. -- Something tells me we're not going to see very much offense in this game. And that's with Stephen Strasburg watching from home in San Diego.
9:35 p.m. -- Gotta believe Cliff Lee is really proud tonight to wear the cap of the Texas Rangers, who he has represented for so long. Oh wait, he's only been a Ranger for five days.
9:42 p.m. -- How did Ryan Braun not break his left wrist on that diving catch? Fantastic play.
9:58 p.m. -- Great chance there for the NL in the top of the fifth, but David Wright wound up stranded on third. Had he been able to advance to third on Joe Mauer's wild throw on the stolen base, he would have scored on Andre Ethier's subsequent single. So it's still scoreless at the halfway point of the game. Only fitting in the Year of the Pitcher.
10:08 p.m. -- And thanks to a horrendous throwing error by Dodgers lefty Hong-Chih Kuo, the AL has taken a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Kuo was the final player added to the NL roster, the replacement actually for injured outfielder Jason Heyward.
10:31 p.m. -- Elvis Andrus overslides second base and gets tagged out by Brandon Phillips in tonight's embarrassing moment of the game. I believe what Andrus just did is also referred to as a "Nyjer."
10:36 p.m. -- Whoa, here comes Matt Capps to face ... David Ortiz? Not exactly the matchup you were expecting.
10:39 p.m. -- Wow, Capps comes up big. Fell behind in the count 2-0, then battled back with three straight strikes, including a nasty two-seamer on the inside corner to catch Big Papi looking. Nicely done, Matt. Somewhere right now, your old man is mighty proud of you.
10:57 p.m. -- What a turn of events. Brian McCann just cleared the bases with a double to right. All of a sudden, the NL leads 3-1 in the seventh and Matt Capps is in line to earn the NL's first victory in 14 years!
11:08 p.m. -- Does the NL bullpen have nine outs in itself tonight? The fate of the free world -- well, at least the fate of the location of Game 1 of the World Series -- hangs in the balance.
11:17 p.m. -- Matt Holliday tried his best to ruin this for the National League by misplaying that fly ball to left. (The scary thing is, that wasn't the worst dropped fly ball of his career. Remember the way he blew that NLDS game at Dodger Stadium last October?) Fortunately, Adam Wainwright was able to channel his old closer mentality and come up big in striking out Torii Hunter to end the seventh. NL still leads 3-1. Capps still in line for the win.
11:31 p.m. -- Perfect eighth for Brian Wilson of the Giants, who I believe was singing "California Girls" as he walked off the mound. (Sorry, bad Beach Boys joke there.) NL now three outs away.
11:40 p.m. -- OK, here we go. The NL takes a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth. It'll be Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton trying to finish it off and preserve the win for Capps.
11:49 p.m. -- There it is! Ballgame over! National League wins! Matt Capps wins! Final score: NL 3, AL 1. The 13-year streak is no more. Game 1 of the World Series could now be at Nationals Park. Yeah, yeah, I know. But it's technically a possibility now. Had the NL lost, it would have been impossible.