July 12, 2016 [LINK / comment]

ASG: American League wins again

For the fourth year in a row, the American League has won the All Star Game (the score was 4-2), this time in the beautiful and sunny Petco Park in San Diego. If the past is any indication, that will make it very hard for the National League pennant winner to win the World Series. In nine of the thirteen years since they gave World Series home field advantage to the league that won the All Star Game, the same league won in both contests. See the Chronology annual page.

In general, the game was well-played, and pretty exciting. The Cubs' Kris Bryant hit a solo homer in the first inning, but the AL came back with three runs in the bottom of the second, with homers by Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez. Hosmer got another RBI one inning later, and was named the MVP of the 2016 All Star Game. All four AL RBIs came from Royals players! The National League got more hits (10) than the American League (8), but kept leaving men on base. Johnny Cueto (the former Red, former Royal who plays for the Giants this year) took the loss after giving up the runs in the second inning.

The Nationals All Stars fared better than in past years: Bryce Harper went one for two with a double, while Daniel Murphy reached base on an error and then got two singles. On the other hand, Wilson Ramos struck out with the bases loaded in his only at-bat. Max Scherzer retired all three batters in the one inning he pitched, with a strikeout. Stephen Strasburg was introduced as part of the lineup at the beginning of the game, a special treat for the fans in San Diego, where he grew up, but he chose not to play because of physical issues.

Even though the game was played in a National League park this year, the American League was considered the home team, since the National League had home field advantage last year. For this game, that meant that the designated hitter rule was in effect. The 2017 All Star Game will be played in Marlins Park and in 2018 it will be played in Nationals Park -- presumably under American League rules?

Before the game began, it was announced that from now on, the annual awards for the highest batting average will be named for (respectively) Rod Carew in the American League and Tony Gwynn in the National League. That was a nice gesture to San Diego fans, since Gwynn played his entire career with the Padres.

Rogers Centre photos

Thanks to Mario Vara for sending some great photos of Rogers Centre showing the brand new "normal-dirt" infield, which he took in Toronto on July 2. The Blue Jays beat the red-hot Indians, 9-6 that day, thereby breaking Cleveland's 14-game winning streak. This panorama and one other photo have already been posted on that page:

Rogers Centre panorama 2016

Panorama of Rogers Centre on July 2, 2016, courtesy of Mario Vara. (Click on the image to see it full-size.)