From 2003 through 2016, the Major League Baseball All Star Game decided home field advantage in the World Series. Logically, it made no sense, the complete "cause and effect" disconnect between the two best teams in baseball playing in October and an All Star game being decided by random backups. But it did give people, especially those in cities with contending baseball teams, a reason to watch.
Now, thankfully for logic's sake, the MLB All Star Game is back to being a relatively meaningless exhibition, which means it only make sense to watch if your favorite team has sent a few representatives to the game. Fortunately, in Houston, we live in the city nowadays that sends the MOST representatives to the All Star Game, and this year that includes the manager and the coaching staff.
To that end, last night, A.J. Hinch managed the American League squad to an 8-6 win over the National League All Stars (take that, AGAIN, Dave Roberts!) at Nationals Field in Washington, D.C. The Astros were front and center in the middle of the extra inning drama. After Seattle closer Edwin Diaz coughed up a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, Alex Bregman and George Springer led off the tenth inning with back to back solo home runs, giving the American League the lead they needed to win and giving America a taste of what they served up last October when they knocked off the Dodgers in the World Series.
With one swing of the bat, Bregman was named the MVP of the All Star Game. It was a good night to be an Astros fan. Here's how the crew of six Astro players fared last night:
In his sixth career All Star game, finally Altuve got his first career base hit in a Midsummer Classic, with single to right field in the top of the fifth. Altuve was long gone by the time the game got crazy, as he was replaced by former Astro Jed Lowrie at second base.
Springer was in the middle of the rally that put the American League ahead in the eighth inning, with a base hti and a run scored, and then he provided the necessary insurance with his solo home run in the tenth. Hopefully, Springer's line of 2-2 with a home run, two runs scored, and an RBI is a harbinger of big things to come in the second half of the season from Springer.
If you had to pick one Astro, and perhaps one player overall in the AL, to get a big hit — a home run! — to lead off the tenth, it would be Bregman, whose star is on a meteoric trajectory right now. He will climb the AL MVP big board in August and September, mark these words.
Morton was super shaky, giving up two home runs and beaning one player in two very wonky innings. Still, he was in line to get the win before Diaz gave up the home run to Scooter Gennett to tie the game. Unfortunately, this performance was a fairly accurate indicator of what Morton has been over his last several starts.
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Did not pitch, although admittedly I was hoping Hinch would bring him in for the save in the tenth.
Did not pitch, but did impregnate Kate Upton fairly recently.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.