Since the winning league in the All-Star Game has also been the winning league in the World Series over the past five years, there is value in attempting to win the game if you are on a team with postseason potential. Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz were in the starting lineup with a view toward accomplishing that very goal with hopes that the Orioles will be the team in October benefitting from home field advantage. (Matt Wieters was at the game as well.)
If the Orioles are to be the beneficiaries of this All-Star Game prize, it will not be because of their personal contributions. Between the two of them, they were 0-for-4.
But with the 5-3 American League victory over the National League, some AL team will indeed inherit this advantage when the final two MLB teams battle it out in the World Series this year.
Nelson Cruz At-bats (6th in starting lineup)
After the American League scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning off Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals, Cruz grounded out to shortstop for the final out.
Cruz struck out against Zack Greinke in the fourth inning. I am getting very concerned about the at-bats that I am seeing from Cruz. His head is flying out before the ball gets to the plate, and he is chasing pitches that are moving down, or down and away.
Adam Jones At-bats (7th in starting lineup)
Jones led off the bottom of the second inning against the very tough Clayton Kershaw, and he hit a 1-0 pitch as a foul pop-out to the third baseman.
Like Cruz, Jones came to bat and immediately followed with a strikeout, chasing a low pitch.
The ratings for baseball’s All-Star Game have been largely on the decline for a variety of reasons. Here on the East Coast, it is 10:45 in the evening and the seventh inning is just now beginning. Like many people, I am on vacation and writing this from a hotel room. Would I be watching if I did not need to be doing this column? Maybe, but not certainly.
I enjoyed and looked forward to the All-Star Game as a kid, enjoying the chance to see all the stars of MLB in a single game at the same time. And there is still a positive to that element, I suppose. There is also something to be said for it being an exhibition of talent, however, there were more than a few shaky plays and wild throws … players out of position defensively for cutoffs, etc.
The Game has always happened (in fact, WAY back, there were two in a season), and it always will happen. It provides a break for the majority of players in the middle of the season and a fun experience for those who participate. But honestly, I’m always glad to see the thing come and go.
The Orioles have a HUGE road trip coming up on the West Coast. It is critical for the season, and I’ll be writing a bit on this theme in coming days.