There has been a certain trend in the last few years in the game of baseball. That trend has seen the game make a drastic move from emphasis on contact to pure power. This shift has seen the number of home runs go up, while batting average has taken a nosedive. The fact, then, that the 2018 MLB All-Star Game ended on Tuesday night with ten home runs in the ten innings played should come as absolutely no surprise whatsoever. This is the game we have now, for better or worse. But at least the players put on a fantastic show for the fans while breaking records.
Some years, the All-Star Game is just an exhibition that doesn’t say much about the season as a whole. This year’s edition was not like that. This game mirrored what the entire season has looked like. Ten home runs were hit, but 25 strikeouts were also recorded. That’s the state of the game, and there are more than a few people angry with that. It can be argued, of course, that these are the best pitchers on offer, so they should have more strikeouts than the average pitcher. Fair enough. But these are also the game’s best hitters, so this issue has caused more than it’s share of talking points so far.
Another thing that the game also did was show that the Houston Astros continue to be the team to beat. Yes, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are taking nearly all the headlines and are having fantastic seasons. No doubt about that. But the Astros are defending World Series champions, and they went out and showed a glimpse of that last night. With their own manager A.J. Hinch leading them, ‘Stros players Alex Bregman and George Springer each hit home runs in the tenth inning to win the game for the American League.
And it should come as no shock, either. This is one of the best, deepest teams in the game of baseball, and they continue to show they will be very tough. Until they are beaten come October, they are the favorite at this moment. The other thing that happened is that they each hit their home runs off a Los Angeles Dodger, hearkening back to last season’s World Series. For his performance, Alex Bregman, who was eliminated in the first round of the Home Run Derby on Monday, won MVP Honors and won a Camaro that he will give to his mother.
This game had a lot in it. Big names had their moments, with the likes of Aaron Judge and Mike Trout hitting homers early on. Pitching was especially tough in the middle innings. One of the highlights was Francisco Lindor on a mic throughout an entire half inning at shortstop. We didn’t see much great defense, with the ball sailing over everyone’s head. But the consensus of the players is that they gave the fans a great show. The parting shot is that this was the sixth consecutive AL victory, putting them one behind the record for AL wins but still five off the overall record held by the National League between 1972 and 1982.