Wednesday, July 17, 2013
A Tale of Two New York Pitchers
Matt Harvey started for the National League. Now, it made a little bit of sense: A Met pitcher, having a good year, when the game is held in the Mets' park, starting the game.
However, the last time a Met pitcher, or a pitcher as young as Harvey, started the All-Star Game, was in 1988, Dwight Gooden. The game was at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. And Gooden turned out to be the losing pitcher. Because he gave up an opposite-field home run. To Terry Steinbach. Steinbach, of the Oakland Athletics, was a good catcher, but not much of a power hitter. This was embarrassing.
Harvey pitched 2 scoreless innings. But not without controversy: He hit a batter. On the knee.
The batter was Robinson Cano of the Yankees.
Yankee Fans had a collective conniption. Another one of our players hurt? And hit by a Met! ("George Carlin words" abounded.)
Tom Seaver threw out the game's ceremonial first ball, as he did at Citi Field's opening and Shea Stadium's closing. (It was well outside, but at least he got it there on the fly. He's 68 years old.) Apparently, however, Harvey decided to become a "Met Legend" the same way Shawn Estes did. Except, unlike Estes, Harvey actually hit his target.
No, no, it wasn't on purpose. Harvey apologized to Cano, and Cano accepted:
I said, "No problem. I know he didn't want to hit anybody. It's part of the game."
Cano also said that if it had been a regular game, he would have stayed in. But it was an exhibition, so no reason to take any chances.
The highlights of game play were few and far between. Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers, all 5-foot-11, 275 pounds (officially) of him, hit a triple in the 9th inning. Actually, it was more like a single, and a botched play by right fielder Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers, allowing the roly-poly slugger to trudge around the bases.
By that point, the final score of 3-0 was already in place, with the American League victorious. In the top of the 4th, Patrick Corbin of the Arizona Diamondacks was on the mound for the National League, and Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, the reigning AL Most Valuable Player and Triple Crown winner, greeted him with a double. Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles singled to right, but it was too short to score Cabrera. No problem: Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays got him home with a sacrifice fly to center.
In the top of the 5th, The Great Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies (some say he's even greater than The Great Johan Santana of the Mets) allowed a leadoff double to Adam Jones of the Orioles, a single to Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins, and a force-play groundout to 2nd by J.J. Hardy of the Orioles. That made it 2-0.
And in the top of the 8th, Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves was pitching for the NL. He allowed singles to Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals and Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers. He got Torii Hunter to ground into a double play, eliminating Peralta and Hunter, but advancing Perez to 3rd. And Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians hit a ground-rule double to left, scoring Perez and making the 3-0 final score.
The big story was in the bottom of the 8th: AL manager Jim Leyland chose not to bring Mariano Rivera in for the 9th. Instead, he refused to let his players take the field, and let Mo do his run in from the bullpen and take the field alone. Whoever's in charge of music at City Field showed a lot of class by playing Mo's entry song, "Enter Sandman."
Those of you over the age of 40, did you ever think that playing a Metallica song would be consider a mark of class?
Mo faced 3rd batters. He got Jean Segura of the Brewers to ground to 2nd. He got Allen Craig of the St. Louis Cardinals to line out to left. And he got the aforementioned Carlos Gomez to ground to short.
For this, Mo was named ASG MVP. The prize was a crystal bat. Can you imagine that? The greatest relief pitcher who ever lived, and his prize is a bat. The king of broken bats, and his prize is the most breakable bat in history.
I think we can trust him to keep it safe.
Anyway, the man Leyland brought in as closer was Joe Nathan of the Minnesota Twins. He got the first 2 outs in the 9th before allowing a double, and then getting a popup to end it.
WP: Chris Sale, a 24-year-old lefthander from the Tampa Bay area, who pitches for the Chicago White Sox. He had been the AL pitcher before the 1st run was scored. LP: Corbin. Attendance: 45,186. Biggest crowd at a Mets ballpark since the Flushing Toilet closed on September 28, 2008. And, unlike a lot of games played at Pity Field, I'm pretty sure that figure is not inflated.
Regular-season baseball resumes on Friday. The Yankees will be in Boston to play the old enemy.
Speaking of which, this win gives the AL Pennant-winner home-field advantage in the World Series. Works for me.
By the way: Only one other Yankee has ever been named MVP of the All-Star Game. That was in 2000. It was Derek Jeter. He went on to be named MVP of the World Series as well.
We are the Yankees. We don't care what kind of injuries we have: We're coming, and we're bringing the ghosts with us.