MLBs 88th All-Star extravaganza concludes tonight with a battle between the best players from two talent-laden leagues. Everybody is riding the high of Aaron Judges historic Home Run Derby performance and big boppers have stolen the headlines so far.
Tonight, however, we will see the top pitchers in the game get to work as they attempt to tame a lineup full of blast masters and celebrity power packers.
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Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer will be making his second All-Star start. In 2013, with Detroit, he pitched a perfect inning at New York’s Citi Field. Scherzer, a two-time Cy Young award winner and will be the fifth pitcher to start All-Star Games for both leagues, following Vida Blue, Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay and Randy Johnson.
This season, hes beasting the NL again with a 10-5 record, 2.10 ERA and 173 strikeouts for the NL East-leading Nats. NL manager Joe Maddon, who led the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series since 1908 last season picked Scherzer to start the game.
Ive seen him in the past, Maddon said at the All-star Game press conference at Marlins Park. This is my first chance to meet Max personally. Been a big fan for a long time; we all have.
Beyond all of the big numbers that you see on the scoreboard, regarding his velocity, this guy is old school in a lot of ways. The delivery, the deception, how he intimidates the hitter. To me, it is very impressive…has a throwback delivery that I really respect and enjoy. I think its a big part of his success.
Scherzer is ready to grab the ball and oppose Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale, who will be a formidable adversary.
Im kicking at the dirt to be able to go out there and pitch, Scherzer said.
Highlights of every strikeout of the first 4 starts for Chris Sale in a Red Sox uniform, 42 to be exact!
So is Sale, who is no stranger to All-Star work and is making his sixth check-in. The lethal golden arm is the first American League hurler since Toronto Blue Jays ace David Steib in 83 and 84 to start back-to-back All-Star games. As a native Floridian (Lakeland), Sale told reporters at All-Star media day that he is stoked to be close to home.
Im very appreciative, said Sale, who will become the first pitcher to make consecutive All-star starts for different teams. All of my family lives here, brothers, sisters, in-laws, parents, even my aunts and uncles and cousins. So to be able to be here not too far from where I live now is nice. I can have my family, extended family come down and experience this with me. At the end of the day this is something Ill never forget. This is something Ill be hopefully sitting in a rocking chair when Im 80 years old telling my grand kids and great grand kids and things like that.
Then with the Chicago White Sox, Sale pitched the first inning of last year’s game at San Diego and allowed a two-out home run to Kris Bryant, before being traded to Boston in December for some top prospects.
Kris Bryant hits a solo hone run off of pitcher Chris Sale in the 2016 MLB All-Star game in San Diego.
Sale has been a shutdown hurler for Al-East leading Boston and is 11-4 with a 2.75 ERA and a Major League-leading 178 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings this season. He is most definitely looking for some get back.
With MLBs No. 1 moundsman Clayton Kershaw inactive for tonights game, the early faceoff between the two Cy Young candidates will be must see TV tonight. The offensive barrage of the Home Run Derby will inevitably give way to the multi-pitch arsenals of two of the best pitchers baseball has ever seen.