Last year, a win by the National League in the All-Star Game would have been of particular interest to the Phillies.
You know, back when there was a realistic chance that the Phils would be playing in the World Series, and they actually cared which league received homefield advantage.
Ah, those were heady times indeed.
This year, Phillies fans will simply have to revel in the performance of their three All-Stars during last night’s Midsummer Classic in Kansas City, with Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon all pitching in nicely during the Senior Circuit’s 8-0 win.
Carlos Ruiz was the first Phillie to enter the game, joining Mets starter R.A. Dickey in the 6th inning. Ruiz did a terrific job handling the New York knuckleballer, thanks to an over-sized glove that could literally hold five or six puppies at once.
“I told everyone in the bullpen this is my first All-Star Game and I have to catch a knuckleball guy,” Ruiz said after the game. “It’s not easy. At first I was nervous. But it was fun. I’m so happy he pitched well.”
Ruiz also came to the plate once, flying out to left field. The great thing about Ruiz’ at bat was when the producers at Fox decided to have Erin Andrews interview Derek Jeter about absolutely nothing. I think it was about speeches or Chipper Jones or something. As if I didn’t need more reasons to hate Derek Jeter. Thanks for completely dumping all over Carlos’ at bat, guys! As always, Fox rules.
Hamels pitched a scoreless 7th inning, at varying points reaching 96 mph on the radar gun. And it didn’t appear to be a fast gun either, as the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg was also clocked at 95-96 mph. Hamels was clearly pumped to be pitching in front of future manager Ron Washington. What a showoff.
Seriously, Ruben. Sign this guy. Either that, or trade him for Mike Olt, then sign him in the offseason. But do not let this guy pitch for anyone else in 2013.
Amazingly, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver barely mentioned Hamels’ impending free agency, and didn’t say a word about the trade rumors that have been swirling around the ace left-hander. I would have given solid American money that the two greatest baseball broadcasters on TV today would have had a field day with that storyline. And yes, that was sarcasm.
Finally, Phils closer Jonathan Papelbon was brought on to record the final out in the 9th with a runner on 3rd base. Papelbon managed to strand that runner at third, thereby preserving the first shutout for any team in the All-Star Game since 1996′s 6-0 snorefest at the Vet.
In all, the Phils’ three representatives in Kansas City acquitted themselves well last night.
Now, it’s on to the second half, and as Carlos Ruiz said after the game, if anything is going to happen, it must start now.
“We have to push the first half away. We still have the second half. We’ll see what happens.”
Indeed we will.