MAD MAX BACK IN MIAMI:
Tonight, in the 88th MLB All-Star Game, the 32-year-old grunting and efforting, bad-a$$ right-hander tossed 15 pitches in a quick, 1-2-3 first, working around a one-out single to right by American League/Cleveland Indians’ infielder Jose Ramirez for a scoreless frame by striking out both Aaron Judge and George Springer to end top of the first inning of the Midsummer Classic.
SCHERZER VS JUDGE:
1. Slider for swinging strike, 0-1; 2. 95 mph challenge fastball, fouled off 0-2; 3. 95 mph two-seamer, belt-high outside, 1-2; 4. fastball high/outside at 96, 2-2; 5. slider low and away, 3-2, 6. slider outside, swinging K. ADVANTAGE: Max’s slider.
Y’ALL ACT LIKE YOU NEVER HEARD A PITCHER GRUNTING BEFORE:
BRYCE HARPER ALL-STAR:
Bryce Harper started the night 1 for 8 with a double, a walk, and three Ks in four All-Star Games (all before his 25th birthday). He stepped in for the first time tonight with Red Sox’ starter Chris Sale on the mound, the bases empty, and two out, and hit a 98 mph 3-1 fastball the other way for an opposite field single.
Harper also made a diving catch in right field to end the AL’s second, then let his hair flow go with a flip that had fans jealous of his youthful salad. That sounds weird, stop calling hair “salad” everyone. Thanks.
Second time up, with a runner on and two out against New York Yankees’ reliever Dellin Betances, Harper fell behind 0-2, then spit on four straight pitches out of the zone to work the count full, and walk.
That was it for Harper’s All-Star experience. Oh, but we should mention he did talk pointy-ball when he was mic’d up in right field during the broadcast, thought he talked about the Cowhands, from Texas… or something like that, I don’t watch the pig ball.
ZIM BACK IN THE ASG:
Ryan Zimmerman was 24 the last time he was in an All-Star Game in 2009, going 0 for 2 in an NL loss. Zimmerman, now 32, started a double play in his first All-Star AB in eight years. 0 for 1.
Zim hit a long fly to center his second time up, in the fourth, and for some reason Nolan Arenado tagged at first and tried to take second only to get thrown out by Red Sox’ outfielder Mookie Betts. Not. Even. Close. #TOOTBLAN. 0 for 2 for Zim (4 outs from his two ABs).
Daniel Murphy told A-Rod, in an on-field interview before the top of the second that if he faced Chris Sale in his first at bat of the game, he hoped to get a fastball he could “knuckle up” like Bryce Harper did in Harper’s first-inning single, but was just going to try to get his “A-swing” off when he got up. Classic Murph.
He did just that, taking a 95 mph first-pitch fastball from Sale to left for an opposite field single of his own to start the NL second.
Murphy’s first-half line in 2017 (.342/.393/.572) is shockingly similar to his 2016 line in his first season in D.C. after he signed a 3-year/$37.5M deal (.347/.390/.595).
Murphy talked last week about taking pride in his consistency.
“What I’m most proud of is maybe the consistency,” he said. “This is a really difficult league, and when you’re facing pitchers like Max you feel like on a nightly basis, it’s just very difficult.
“So maybe most proud of the consistency that I feel like I have been able to have.”
Murphy stepped in against Dellin Betances with the bases loaded in the third, but sent a grounder to third to end the threat, 1 for 2.
ALL TOGETHER NATS:
He also took a picture for Nelson Cruz, who wanted a photo with home plate ump Joe West, telling the umpire they were the two oldest guys in the game…