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MLB All-Star Game 2009 Report Card

MLB All-Star Game Report Card
American League
 
A
Joe Mauer, C
1-3, R, RBI
Mauer's two-out game-tying double off Chad Billingsley in the fifth was the second-biggest hit in the game. As a runner on first base in the top of the first, he screened Albert Pujols on Mark Teixeira's grounder, perhaps helping cause a run-scoring error.
C-
Mark Teixeira, 1B
0-3
Teixeira made a nice ranging play on Pujols in the third, but beat the ball into the ground in all three at-bats.
C-
Aaron Hill, 2B
0-3
Hill's night consisted of two groundouts and a fly out, in that order. The first and last led off innings. The middle out came with a man on base and two outs.
C-
Michael Young, 3B
1-3, DP
Young ended the AL's rally in the top of the first by grounding out with runners on the corners and prevented a rally from building in the top of the sixth by hitting into an inning-ending double play. He did single in between and make a nice pick of a hard Pujols grounder in the first, but those rally-killing at-bats could have cost the AL the game.
B-
Derek Jeter, SS
0-2, HBP, 2 R
Jeter was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat and robbed of a single by Albert Pujols on a fine stop on a hard grounder in his last (reaching on a fielder's choice instead). He scored both times he was on base, but was something of an accidental tourist.
B+
Jason Bay, LF
1-2
Bay's single in the first with two men on was one of just two hits off Lincecum and loaded the bases for Hamilton. His second at-bat came with the bases empty.
B-
Josh Hamilton, CF
1-3, RBI, E
Hamilton's hustle on his would-be inning-ending double-play ball in the first inning beat Tim Lincecum to the bag and allowed the second AL run to score. His throwing error in the bottom of the second was on the mark, but hit Shane Victorino as he slid into third.
B-
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
1-3
Ichiro led off the game with a single, which was his primary charge, and was victimized by an impressive ranging play by Chase Utley in his final at-bat. Prior to that, however, he fouled off a pitch when Carl Crawford had second base stolen. Had he not done that, Crawford would have moved to third on Utley's play rather than getting thrown out at second.
C-
Roy Halladay, SP
2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Halladay cruised through the first five men in the NL order, then coughed up a 2-0 lead by giving up three runs on four straight hits before finally getting the sixth out.
A
Bench
3-11, 3B, IBB, Sac Fly, 2 Ks
Carl Crawford's game-saving catch in the bottom of the seventh, robbing Brad Hawpe of a tie-breaking homer at the wall in left, earned him the game's MVP award, though it could just as easily have gone to Curtis Granderson for his one-out triple off Heath Bell in the following half inning. Granderson's hit wasn't a clear triple, but he hustled it into one. He was then plated on a sac fly to deep left by Adam Jones with what proved to be the winning run. Victor Martinez also provided an important defensive play by blocking strike three against Ryan Howard to complete the punchout in the game's pivotal at-bat.
A+
Bullpen
7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K
The AL bullpen -- Mark Buehrle, Zack Greinke, Edwin Jackson, Felix Hernandez, Jonathan Papelbon and Joe Nathan -- retired the first 18 batters it faced, two short of the All-Star Game record set by the NL in 1968, on just 46 pitches. Nathan broke that streak by giving up a walk and a single to put the game-tying run 90 feet away with two outs in the eighth, but he rallied to strikeout pinch-hitter Ryan Howard, and Mariano Rivera was again perfect in the ninth. In that 18-batter streak, Carl Crawford's catch of Hawpe's drive off Papelbon was the only exceptional defensive play.
B
Joe Maddon, Manager
Maddon didn't do anything wrong, but didn't have much opportunity for strategy beyond the usual run of substitutions. He did shift his defense on Howard in that crucial at-bat in the eighth, but it proved moot as Howard struck out. The only three position players he didn't use were the three selected as injury replacements (Chone Figgins, Nelson Cruz and his own Carlos Peña). He had five pitchers, three starters and two relievers, left when the game ended.
 
National League
 
B+
Yadier Molina, C
1-2, RBI, R
Molina singled home the first NL run and made a nice play on a Joe Mauer chopper at the plate in the top of the first, throwing out lead-runner Ichiro Suzuki at third base.
C
Albert Pujols, 1B
0-3, E
Hometown hero Pujols booted a groundball in the first, allowing the first AL run to score, and went hitless on the night, but two of his outs were hit well (a hard hopper corralled by Michael Young in the first and a shot to the second-base hole smothered by Mark Teixeira in the third), and he never came up with runners on. He also made two fine defensive plays of his own in the fifth, snagging a hard grounder by Derek Jeter and throwing out lead-runner Ichiro Suzuki at second, then turning the tables on Teixeira to strand Mauer at second base. Still, it was a disappointing night from the best player in the game, playing in his home park.
C+
Chase Utley, 2B
0-2
Utley made two outs with the bases empty, but also made a great play ranging to his right on a ball hit by Ichiro Suzuki in the fifth, getting lead-runner Carl Crawford at second base. He also recovered from a minor bobble to start a 4-6-3 double play on a ball hit by Michael Young in the sixth.
B
David Wright, 3B
1-2, R, K
Wright got the NL's two-out rally going in the bottom of the second with a single off the until-then perfect Roy Halladay and came around to score the Senior Circuit's first run.
C-
Hanley Ramirez, SS
0-3
Just one of Ramirez's three groundouts came with men on base, but that one ended the NL's second-inning rally.
C
Raul Ibanez, LF
0-2
Making his All-Star Game debut at age 37 -- the oldest position player to do so since Babe Ruth in the very first All-Star Game in 1933 -- Ibañez was a non-factor, grounding out and fouling out in two at-bats with the bases empty.
B
Shane Victorino, CF
1-2, R, K
Victorino singled after Wright to help build the NL's second-inning rally against Halladay, then came around to score. The threat of his arm also held Mauer at third base on Bay's single in the top of the first.
C
Ryan Braun, RF
0-2
Like Ibañez, a non-factor, flying out and grounding out with the bases empty both times.
D+
Tim Lincecum, SP
2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP
Making his first All-Star Game appearance, Lincecum was overthrowing early, as evidenced by his poor velocity and control, the latter leading to his hitting Jeter. He settled down during his third batter, but Pujols' error, a Bay single, and a late-break to cover first on Hamilton's would-be double play ball cost him two runs. He retired the side in order in the second inning, but the horse was out of the barn.
D
Bench
2-14, RBI, BB, 3 K
Prince Fielder got the NL bench off to a good start with an RBI double to complete their three-run, two-out rally in the bottom of the second. But the bench didn't manage another baserunner until the eighth, when Orlando Hudson followed an Adrian Gonzalez walk with a single only to have pinch-hitter Ryan Howard strike out to strand both runners. Brad Hawpe nearly gave the NL the lead against Jonathan Papelbon, but was robbed of a home run to left by Carl Crawford. Jayson Werth made a nice running catch in center on a deep drive by Morneau in the top of the ninth, but it was ultimately a meaningless play.
D-
Bullpen
7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Handed a 3-2 lead, the NL bullpen coughed it up when Chad Billingsley gave up an RBI double to Mauer in the fourth. With the game still tied at 3-3, Heath Bell gave up a one-out triple to Granderson in the eighth and allowed him to score on a sac fly by Jones. Ryan Franklin, Francisco Cordero and Francisco Rodriguez turned in perfect innings, and Dan Haren and Trevor Hoffman each pitched around a single for a scoreless frame, but while it kept its team in the game, the ultimate truth is that the NL 'pen was handed a lead and blew it.
B
Charlie Manuel, Manager
Manuel's big strategic moves came in the eighth inning. Following Granderson's one-out triple, he had Bell intentionally walk veteran switch-hitter Victor Martinez to set up a potential inning-ending double play and bring 23-year-old right-hander Adam Jones to the plate. It was a smart move, but failed to pay off when Jones lifted a sac fly to right. In the bottom of the eighth, he failed to pinch-run for Adrian Gonzalez, who put the tying run on base with a two-out walk, despite having the comparatively fleet-of-foot Hunter Pence and Freddy Sanchez on his bench, both of whom went unused, and Ryan Howard available to replace Gonzalez at first base. It's doubtful either would have scored on Orlando Hudson's subsequent single, but Manuel couldn't have known that. Manuel did, however, have Hudson steal second with a 0-2 count on pinch-hitter Howard, eliminating the force and putting the go-ahead run in scoring position. Unfortunately, Howard struck out to end the threat. Manuel gave hometown hero Albert Pujols three at-bats and got him an extra ovation by removing him after the NL took the field in the seventh. He used every position player but Pence and Sanchez, including injury replacement Jayson Werth from his own Phillies. Manuel also had five pitchers left over, all of them starters.
 
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