July 17, 2015
All in all, it was a pretty good All-Star Game in Cincinnati on Tuesday night. The very first batter for the American League, Mike Trout of the L.A. Angels, hit a line drive that just cleared the right-field wall for a home run. In most other ballparks, it would have been just a double. The National League tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the second, but the [American Leaguers] scored twice in the top of the fifth, and stayed ahead, winning 6-3. Andrew McCutcheon (of the Pirates) and Brian Dozier (of the Twins) also had solo homers. And so, the AL pulled off a "three-peat" that [once again] gives them home field advantage in this year's World Series.
For the second year in a row, Mike Trout was named All-Star MVP. No other player had ever been so honored in consecutive years. Trout's runner-up rival in the 2012 Rookie of the Year contest, Bryce Harper, went 0 for 3, including two strikeouts.
Most people seem to agree that the new rules used in the 2015 Home Run Derby were a big success, creating more competitive tension with a clock and a head-to-head bracket system. Of the eight players, Cincinnati's Todd Frazier and the L.A. Dodgers' Joc Pederson
[Texas Rangers' Prince Fielder*] made it to the final round, and Frazier emerged as the champion. The home crowd was very pleased.
* CORRECTION: Fielder went up against Frazier in the first round, hence the confusion.
On the weekend before the All-Star break, the Nationals faced a big psychological test in Baltimore, and they passed it. After losing to the Orioles, on Friday night, they regrouped and beat the host team twice. On Saturday, Jordan Zimmermann gave up four runs in five innings on the mound, but still ended up with the win, thanks to some clutch RBIs including home runs by Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa. Final score: 7-4. In the first inning on Sunday, Max Scherzer gave up a solo home run to Adam Jones. The Nationals' only runs came in the fifth inning, when Dan Uggla hit an RBI single and Tyler Moore hit a two-run double. Adam Jones hit another solo homer in the ninth inning, forcing Scherzer out of the game, but Drew Storen quickly got the final out, and the save. Final score: 3-2.
So, the Nationals entered the All-Star break in first place, two games ahead of the Mets. Once they get Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, and Jayson Werth back in the lineup, their path to October should become much smoother.
The Nationals welcomed the L.A. Dodgers to Our Nation's Capital this evening, but the game was suspended after the fifth inning because one bank of lights went out for a third time. After enduring delays totalling over two hours, "No más!" Fortunately, the Nats had just pulled ahead of the Dodgers 3-2, thanks to a two-run homer by Yunel Escobar. The game will resume at 2:05 tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon, immediately followed by the scheduled 4:00 game. That seems awkward; will they clear the stands between games?
So whose fault was the blackout? Some say the two concerts by Taylor Swift at Nationals Park during the All-Star break may have overloaded the stadium's electrical system, but that's mere conjecture.
It's barely significant enough to call an "update," but after watching the All-Star Game I did make a few detailed changes to the Great American Ballpark diagrams. I realized that the "moat" behind the eighth row of seats between the dugouts is wider than I thought, and is also very deep, with downward staircases. So I made the appropriate corrections and enhancements (dark shading for stairs) in that general area, as well as the entry portals in the upper deck (wider, with a small staircase on each side), and the bullpens. (The bends in the grandstand are now shown, as well.) The left field upper deck bleachers are about eight feet shorter than before, but otherwise, as far as the grandstand and playing field, almost nothing changed.