Amazingly, we have already embarked on the second half of the season. In a season which has flown by at the speed of light, the MLB All-Star game and Home Run Derby were a welcomed break. For me, anyway. With that in mind, it’s time to recap the events that took place at beautiful Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
The 2018 Home Run Derby
Home-town hero, Bryce Harper, stole the show at the greatest show of all, by emerging as the 2018 MLB Home Run Derby Champion.
In a demonstration of pure power, Bryce Harper put his poor start to the season to rest, smashing 45 home runs. Here is exactly how he did it.
In the first round, Harper faced a divisional rival in the shape of Atlanta Braves’ hard-hitting first baseman, Freddie Freeman. With 26 seconds to spare, Bryce emerged victorious with a score of 13-12. Yet, this early display was just the beginning.
In the second round, Max Muncy was challenged with the task of taking on Bryce. Muncy’s reputation as a power hitter did not elevate him to victory, however. Once again, Harper won 13-12, this time with an outstanding 1.12 minutes left.
In the final round, Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs nailed 18 Home Runs which made victory almost certain. Even more so, when at the 2.38 minute mark, Harper trailed by 14 homers. Leaving it late, the Nationals star nailed nine home runs in just 1 minute 30 seconds tying the score right at the end. Finally, with the added 30 seconds earned previously, he nailed a homer with his second hit at the plate in overtime.
Although many fans may deem the victory small, for the Nats it truly isn’t. With no World Series appearances for Bryce, this event has been the most the fans have cheered for the six-time All-Star. More importantly, the mighty victory should act as a catalyst for a change in the fortunes for one of the league’s most exciting stars and his struggling team.
The 2018 MLB All-Star Game
On 17th July 2018, the baseball world witnessed one of the great All-Star games.
Once again, the American League were rampant. Aaron Judge and Mike Trout, two of the league’s biggest stars, scored two runs in the top of the second and third innings.
The National League’s Wilson Contreras enjoyed a memorable All-Star game in his first trip to the event. Contreras has had a remarkable journey to the show. Leaving his home, Venezuela in 2010, the Cubs’ catcher learned English and struggled his way to the top, proving to be the ultimate underdog. He nailed a home run in the bottom of the third which saw the NL trail by one.
In the seventh inning, Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies tied the game up at 2-2. In the bottom of the eighth, Christian Yelich helped the NL team take the lead with a stunning home run.
In spite of the promising play by the NL, two-time All-Star Jean Segura halted the dreams of the opposition, crushing a three-run home run.
The Reds’ second baseman, Scooter Gennett, then tied the score at 5-5 with a two-run homer.
However, the game was polished off by the American League team.
Astros hitters, George Springer and Alex Bregman, smashed two home runs at the expense of Dodgers pitcher, Ross Stripling. Additionally, Segura scored another run off of Michael Brantley’s sacrifice fly. Joey Votto scored a consolation home run, with the score ending at 8-6, in what was be the American League’s sixth consecutive victory at the All-Star Game.
Sale and Bregman get the plaudits
The All-Star Game once more demonstrated exactly why Red Sox pitcher, Chris Sale, is the best pitcher in the league. Despite only featuring in one inning before being replaced by Luis Severino, Sale pitched a scoreless inning against the National League’s biggest hitters. Further enhancing his claim to this years Cy Young Award.
In addition, Alex Bregman proved exactly why he is a force to be reckoned with. The All-Star infielder, who is enjoying just his second year in the league, grabbed the 2018 All-Star Game MVP Award for his go-ahead home run. This feat only adds to his collection of clutch plays, considering the pivotal role he played in last season’s World Series.
Finally, the baseball world was forcefully reminded that Bryce Harper is still a monster at the plate. His .214 BA suggests otherwise, however, a storybook performance at the MLB Home Run Derby will hopefully be the momentum shift in his poor start to the season.