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HumpLinks: AL Continues to Rule All-Star Game

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The DH League wins 7th straight as Halos have a quiet and relaxing night

2019 MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The American League won the 2019 All-Star Game 4-3, in a rather quiet contest. It was especially quiet evening for the Halos. Tommy La Stella didn’t play at all, of course. And Mike Trout did very little, going 0 for 2 with an infield ground out and infield pop out. Mike did get to shag a Nolan Arenado fly ball in the second inning, but that was it for LAA.

Because only a few guys did anything, and that anything was a one-and-done, and the voters had to give an MVP Award and a car to somebody, the MVP was home-town hero Shane Bieber, who struck out the side in the middle of the game.

There were some highlights, but the real story is 23 total strikeouts, only 4 walks, and 29% of the runs scored by home run. Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees was declared game winning pitcher because he happened to pitch the top half of the 2nd inning and left with the game scoreless, when the AL would score a run in the bottom frame before Jose Berrios took over in the 3rd inning. Since the NL would never catch up over the final 7 frames, Tanaka was the hero. For the same reason, the NL’s 2nd inning pitcher - Clayton Kershaw - was declared the losing pitcher. That’s how uneventful things went, as everybody kinda wanted to trade Tuesday night for Monday night’s Home Run Derby, which clearly out-shined the game itself.

Checking with PITCHF/x I count only 6 pitches that plate umpire Mark Wegner missed. There were 256 total pitches in the game, which is a 98% accuracy rate. Or, better stated, Wegner and PITCHF/x were agreement 98% of the time. That’s pretty damned good.

The American League has now won 19 of the last 23 games, with one Bud Selig Shrug tie back in 2002.

This was the 3rd ASG that Cleveland has hosted since 1968 (going back about 50 years for no particular reason). In that time, the Padres, Reds, Pirates and Astros have also hosted 3. The 2020 ASG will be in Dodger Stadium, which hasn’t hosted since 1980 (39 years now). The Rays have never hosted an ASG, but they have only been around for 22 seasons and MLB doesn’t want to do anything that might seem some kind of endorsement of The Trop. MLB has not brought their party to the dump in Oakland for 32 years, and they have neglected Wrigley Field for 29 years. Other spinsters would be Rogers Centre (28 years), Camden Yards (26), and Arlington (24). The Braves have their shiny new stadium now open and they haven’t hosted for 19 years, so they will get the 2021 event. Arlington will get one shortly after with their own new shiny ballpark, but in between MLB should be thinking about sandwiching the above named now-dusty locales. And maybe Coors Field (21) or Fenway (20), too.

Have a metric ton of Off-Day-All-Star-Break-HaloLinks:

(What? You seriously thought I wouldn’t be able to find much news with only 1 baseball game in the entire country? Foolish mortal...)


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Thanks for Tommy, Billy!...........(I was wrong. I was wrong. I was wrong.)..........But then, Billy, you win some and you lose some..........

Before the game last night MLB posted this piece on a position-by-position breakdown as to which side had the advantage. I used to enjoy those because I would rush to see what they might do to rank my Halo. Now they are a waste of time, because we don’t even have to click to know what they say about center field. Mike Trout is so great that he has destroyed silly subjective fluff pieces..........

Astros players see Jake Marisnick steamroll Jonathan Lucroy and think “what a great guy, trying to hard so avoid contact and not hurt the poor, defenseless catcher!” Angels players see the same play and think that future Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina is the right third-party observer to be rendering the verdict...........

A half a billion dollar regular guy, is our Mike Trout..........

As I wrote about a week ago, this is the moment in Mike Trout’s career that he grows into his eventual role as MLB leader...........Not just for the Angels, but for all of MLB, which shows up in particular during the All-Star week...........

Trout Porn Roundup: Hey, MLB All-Star and among the best in baseball, if you could be as good as Mike Trout in something, what would it be? “Uh, everything?”.........They don’t make celebrity carpets in Halo red by accident, folks...........And Mike knows now how to style that carpet.........Trout’s signature Nike cleat is actually pretty cool looking. I am pretty sure that it would do serious damage to the hardwoods here in my office, though..........It’s rare that an MLB player so young sees as much ASG action. Very rare.........And when Trout sees action, his action levels are historic.....And historic.....And historic.....And historic..........But Mike remains a much better ambassador of the game that does whoever it is that is commissioner..........Mike Trout’s body strength is clearly improving. Dayum..........Remembering Skaggs............

Jeremiah Jackson on a power surge..........

Keynan Middleton getting closer..........And listen to Middleton project his return path...........

Tim Salmon signing at Pechanga coming up..........


Everywhere In Baseball

We already linked yesterday to Justin Whinelander bitching about how juicy are the baseballs he is surrendering for home runs at alarming rates this year. Rob Manfred responds with his usual dissembling expertise. The guy shoulda been a lawyer.....Max Scherzer steps in and agrees with me. Whinelander should shut it........

While lying through his teeth on his State of the Baseball Union presser, Manfred took the opportunity of a willing and gleeful press corp to slip in the additional whopper that granting Cleveland the All-Star game had nothing to do with Cleveland dropping Chief Wahoo. Nope, nothing at all. totally unrelated. Because Cleveland in July is such a lovely experience, don’t you know? It’s practically a summertime tourist mecca..........

Carlos Correa is eligible for Free Agency in 2022, and he enters arbitration for the first time after this season. He probably does not like the notion that owner negotiators are stockpiling Whinelander fuel about juiced baseballs and not giving Correa credit for his success on his actual athletic skill............JD Martinez agrees more with Correa. Position players are doing a much better job..........

Whinelander also has a trick for performance enhancement: 10 hours of sleep a night. Let us not forget that only Whinelander gets to lay next to Kate Upton for those 10 hours every night. Your mileage may vary..........

Ozzie Albies shows that there is a danger to the Players Union when the players are free to sign. Sometimes they are free to sign well below their true value, for reasons of their own. And the comp system (especially as used in the arbitration process) can take that under-valued contract and punish others...........

Tony Clark wants meaningful Free Agency again. Like the old days, when owners spent their money gleefully on their franchise toys..........Clark also wants to end the draft (and replace it with what??), right when we are on the verge of imposing a draft on international players. I am not sure that he is paying attention. Just observe how fast Rob Manfred hits back with a salary cap........

Each year we hear a lot about ASG snubs. But we rarely, if ever, read about the guys who were shitty All-Star picks. Until now..........They do make an interesting observation about how these young studs in the Home Run Derby reflect poorly upon service time manipulation...........

CBS Sports must not want an old guy such as Mike Trout participating in the Home run Derby, unless by exception.........

Bud Selig was the most miserable man in America the year that Barry Bonds chased down the career home run record of Hank Aaron. He is still pretty bitter about it. Keep in mind that Bud Selig is probably Hank Aaron’s biggest booster ever among MLB owners and officials..........When Selig declares that “baseball’s steroid era ultimately didn’t harm the long-term growth”, what are we supposed to be revising here? Baseball (Selig, at the spearhead) was, after all, riding the PEDs era hard to restore baseball popularity in the first place..........

Some guys truly are not made for the boiler room of New York City. This is where data-driven decision-making can let a team down. Sonny Gray would have been a great addition if a team had merely overlooked his MFY stats and considered his human factors. He is currently having his best season since 2015.............

Who would have guessed that an MLB franchise owner, member of a tiny population of billionaires who lean heavily on the public coffers to subsidize their particular enterprise, would be a tax cheat? Anyone?..........

If you want to read one amazing article today, read this one about MLB’er turned WWII crazy man Carl Eifler............

Baseball stadiums used to be cute and cozy little enclaves of wood. Concrete and steel came to the rescue, and created the global power that MLB is today...........

AT&T is looking to get out of the Regional Sports Network business, too............


The Duffle Bag

When Minor League promotions get as dumb as possible............Joc Pederson has been taking over by Invaders from Mars (you need to watch the movie)..........This is the wrong season for Tony Clark to be upset about MLB failing to market Boston Red Sox Mookie Betts............Tommy La Stella will long remember this All-Star appearance, but he will also always remember what a pain in the ass it was..........The response to this is no. I went to the team store yesterday for the very intention of buying a Skaggs pin (or patch). Nope. (This would be the pin in question.)..........I love the Korean Baseball skills contest, but wouldn’t it be more fair if they used a pitching machine?..........Other ASG red carpet looks..........