What’s Happening in Baseball Today

The First Pitch: July 17, 2024

The Red Sox’ Jarren Duran, subbing in for AL All-Star starter Aaron Judge, breaks a 3-3 tie in the fifth with a two-run shot, resulting in the ultimate game-winning runs for the Junior Circuit over the NL at the 94th All-Star Game in Arlington, Texas. The 5-3 triumph is the 10th for the AL in its last 11 games, and 22nd over the last 27; it extends its edge over the NL in All-Star play with a 48-44-2 record. 

All five AL runs come after the NL notch their three, all courtesy of Shohei Ohtani’s three-run blast in the third. A three-run rebuttal in the bottom half of the third, which includes a two-run Juan Soto homer, quickly ties the game before Duran’s go-ahead shot. 

The winning pitcher is Oakland reliever Mason Miller, who throws seven pitches over 100 MPH—including a pair at 103. Fifteen other pitches are thrown over 100 on the night, including two from NL starter Paul Skenes—who wins a much-anticipated battle with Judge in his one inning of work, inducing a ground out from the mega-slugger. Eight other 100-MPH deliveries are thrown by Cleveland’s Emmanuel Clase, closing out the NL in the ninth. 

Miller is the first rookie to win an All-Star Game since Dean Stone in 1954

Bruce Bochy, managing the AL, becomes the second manager after Tony La Russa to win an All-Star Game for each league. 

Ohtani’s home run makes him the first major leaguer to have both a pitching win and homer in his All-Star Game career. 

Played on the Rangers’ home turf at Globe Life Park, this is the first All-Star Game since 1939 to be hosted by a defending World Series champion. That contest was played at the original Yankee Stadium and was also won by the AL, 3-1. 

In his annual All-Star pregame chat with reporters, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred touches on a number of subjects. On automated strike zones, he hopes to test drive it during Spring Training next year, with the hope of instituting it for the 2026 regular season—but also warns that the system is far from perfected, which could push the target date back. On the topic of gambling, Manfred worries about the proliferation of threats directed at players who aren’t ‘winning money’ for bettors as legal gambling continues to increase. During the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, he’s looking at an extended break—resulting perhaps in a shorter regular season schedule for MLB so top stars can perform for their countries. And finally, after so much criticism of the 2024 All-Star jerseys, Manfred is considering going back to basics, doing the right thing and allowing ASG players to wear the uniforms of their teams—something we recently implored the commish to do.

Congrats, Your First-Half Stat Line Was the Best (Hitters Edition)

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
.306 batting average, 73 runs, 24 doubles, 34 home runs, 85 RBIs, 72 walks
Beware a healthy Judge; when he’s in session and pain-free, there’s little you can do to stop him. He’s on pace for 40 doubles and 56 home runs; only one other Yankee accrued those numbers, and his name was Babe Ruth. All this, mind you, after a poor start in April which led to catcalls from the Yankee Stadium fans. Needless to say, the Yankees are getting their money’s worth out of the guy.

Congrats, Your First-Half Stat Line Was the Best (Pitchers Edition)

Reynaldo Lopez, Atlanta
7-3 record, 1.88 ERA, 95.2 innings, 34 walks, 95 strikeouts
There may be others picking their first-half best here and trying hard to find someone else other than Lopez, because they want to; after all, how do you embrace a guy who’s wielded common-player numbers throughout his career and is on his fourth team in less than two years? But Lopez’s 2024 numbers to date simply do not lie; his 1.88 ERA is well ahead of second-place Tarik Skubal (2.41), and he’s proved highly valuable to a Braves team missing Spencer Strider for virtually the whole season.

It Was Whatever-Something Years Ago Today

1902: The AL’s Baltimore Orioles, gutted out in a hostile takeover by new ‘owner’ John Brush (who also owns the Reds in the rival NL), is forced to forfeit a scheduled game against the St. Louis Browns when they don’t have enough players to take the field. AL czar Ban Johnson will rush to save the club by hitting up the other seven league clubs to donate players and cash to keep the team afloat; the ballclub will be reborn in 1903 at New York and eventually become known as the Yankees. 

1914: To say that Pittsburgh fans get their money’s worth during a game between the Pirates and Giants is an understatement. Those hanging around to watch all 21 innings of the Giants’ 3-1 victory have plenty to witness. Both starting pitchers—the Giants’ Rube Marquard and Pirates’ Babe Adams—go the distance, with Adams allowing no walks—setting the mark for the most innings pitched in a game without one. There’s a bizarre sixth-inning play where an attempted throw to nail Honus Wagner at third base eludes the Giants’ Milt Stock, who can’t find it—until it’s discovered that the ball has gone up Wagner’s sleeve as he runs for home (Wagner is called out on “interference”). And New York outfielder Red Murray, after making the final out of the long affair, is knocked unconscious by a bolt of lightning. Murray will recover to play the next day, but the game will have long-term consequences for Marquard and Adams, both of whom descend into mid-career funks before finding revival in later years. 

1941: Joe DiMaggio’s legendary 56-game hit streak comes to an end as he goes hitless in four at-bats against Cleveland and third baseman Ken Keltner, who makes several excellent plays on DiMaggio grounders to keep him off base. 

1974: The Cardinals’ Bob Gibson becomes the second pitcher in MLB history to reach 3,000 strikeouts, passing the milestone in a 6-4, 12-inning loss to the visiting Reds. 

2017: The longest sellout streak in National League history comes to an end when the Giants, in the midst of a lousy (64-98) season, fail to fill up AT&T Park for the first time in 530 games as they bow to Cleveland, 5-3.

You Say It’s Your Birthday

Slugger of 200 home runs Adam Lind is 41; closer of 57 saves in 1990 Bobby Thigpen is 61; six-time All-Star shortstop Don Kessinger is 82. Born on this date is MLB RBI leader from 1965 Deron Johnson (1938), 16-year shortstop Roy McMillan (1929) and Hall-of-Fame shortstop/manager Lou Boudreau (1917).

Shameless Link of the Day

Take a look back at the 1989 campaign, where things just didn’t go as planned from start to finish.

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Ed Attanasio, 1958-2023
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