Tag Archives: Mike Moustakas

Mike Trout shows the future is now as MLB delivers at Midsummer Classic

As the most-watched All-Star event in professional sports, Major League Baseball has a duty to put on a spectacular show each year, even more so in an era where interest – particularly among the youth – is apparently on the decline.

And as eyes descended on the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, it’s fair to say baseball delivered.  The revamped Home Run Derby brought with it new excitement, while the continued emergence of Mike Trout as the sport’s brightest young star was welcome, even if the MLB does do everything possible to shoehorn him into the limelight – no, “hitting for the cycle” doesn’t count if it takes you four games.

The showpiece All-Star Game saw the American League secured home advantage for this year’s World Series with a 6-3 victory over the National League – their 15th triumph in the last 19 Midsummer Classics. Trout homered off the fourth pitch of the game; Brian Dozier sent his first at-bat as an All-Star into the crowd as well, while Aroldis Chapman’s superhuman arm fired 12 out of 14 pitches over 100mph, striking out Brock Holt, Mike Moustakas and Mark Teixeira.

Dispelling the myth that a mass invasion of Kansas City Royals into the game would threaten the American League’s chances, their three eventual starters – Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez – went 3-8 and Perez also reached first base after being struck out, courtesy of Madison Bumgarner’s wild pitch, in a painful rematch of the final out from last year’s World Series (if only that had happened in Game 7 at Kauffman Stadium). Wade Davis threw a typically filthy eighth inning, retiring two, while the other Royals pitcher, Kelvin Herrera, did not get on the mound.

Trout was MVP for the second year running – the first time that has happened in All-Star Game history – but the award perhaps should have gone to Cain who was the only player with two hits, which he complimented with an RBI and a stolen base. The MLB’s desperation to find the “face of baseball” is an understandable one however, and it’s a decision that is hard to take too much umbrage with.

Derby Delights

In Monday’s Derby, hometown kid Todd Frazier saw off the impressive challenge of the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson.  The competition still managed to thrive despite being bereft of Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper and Trout, who were unable to take part due to a broken left hand, a father not well enough to pitch and a humble 23-year-old who wanted to allow his Angels teammate Albert Pujols a chance for glory. No complaints there.

The new time format sped up the contest and made for an exciting couple of hours, even if the repeated “back-back-back-back-back” line from Chris Berman in the commentary box became slightly tiresome.

Pederson showcased his big-time talent in his first full season as a Dodger and his match with Pujols made for the most touching moment of Monday evening when the latter hugged Pederson’s brother, Champ. The two met for the first time earlier this year and Champ, who suffers with Down’s syndrome like Pujols’ older daughter Isabella, struck a chord, with Albert signing a jersey for him.

Champ said that Pujols was his favourite player at the time although was supporting his brother when the two faced off – the family bond is pretty unbreakable, especially in baseball.  It was one that tugged the heartstrings.

Viewing figures were reportedly down once again, which was in part due to the “Derek Jeter” effect. New York tuned in en masse in 2014 for the Yankee shortstop’s final All-Star Game and their interest in this year would have been muted further since there were no Bronx Bombers starting. An absence of Red Sox starters too marked the first time in All-Star Game history that there were no starters from either the Yankees or Boston. However, in comparison to other All-Star Games, baseball still towers above its competitors.

There were plenty of concerns ahead of the 2015 Midsummer Classic, the fan voting, the injuries – losing Miguel Cabrera, Alex Gordon and Stanton to name a trio were big blows – and the new Derby format. But by and large it worked, and in Trout, baseball is in possession of American sport’s hottest young property. The future may yet be bright.

 

Guthrie pitches six scoreless to give Kansas City Royals best ever 40-game start

Jeremy Guthrie (4-2) pitched six scoreless innings, struck out three, and walked two as the Kansas City Royals cruised to a 7-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds in front of over 30,000 at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The win ensured the Royals moved to 26-14 on the season – a franchise record after 40 games – and cemented their lead at the top of the American League Central, courtesy of victory in both Interleague matches against the Reds.

Guthrie’s efforts also aided the Royals to tie another franchise best with 24 consecutive scoreless innings, a streak stretching back to the beginning of Sunday’s game with the New York Yankees.

Jason Marquis (3-4) opened proceedings for the Reds but was replaced after conceding four runs inside the first four innings.

A 10th double of the year for Eric Hosmer helped the Royals take the lead in the second and a grounder in the fourth allowed Mike Moustakas to score – marking Hosmer’s 30th RBI of 2015. Kendrys Morales’ sacrifice fly also meant Hosmer could reach home in the same inning.

Moustakas continued his hot run with the bat, going 3-for-4 with three singles, taking his season tally to 51 hits and his batting average to .342.

Alex Gordon’s sacrifice fly scored Homer in the second but his night will be remembered for his catch on Todd Frazier in the fifth which saw him crash into the left field wall.

The Royals added further pain with two more runs off of Raisel Iglesias in the eighth inning, but by then the Reds looked a spent force, as they slipped to 18-22 on the year.

After a day off tomorrow, the Royals will return to action on Friday evening when they open a three-game I-70 series against the St Louis Cardinals. Chris Young (3-0) will be on the mound, fresh from a win over the Yankees last Friday.

The Reds also have a break and will be back on the diamond on the Friday evening, as they take the trip to play the Cleveland Indians.