So why is it that at the end of the day, it's the hitters who people remember most? Walking out of Veterans Field at last night's All-Star Game, a young fan asked his dad who had hit the winning homerun. "Grant Green," another fan responded immediately. In fact it was Mark Fleury who hit the winning home run. Green hit the tying homerun. But I am sure neither name was known to casual fans before last night.
This morning's Cape Cod Times also pays tribute to the hitters. The pitching was great, "but in the end, it was the big bats that bucked expectations which stole the night."
Throughout the night, I was impressed and then depressed by the pitching. And that remains with me this morning.
The West's pitchers, Bryce Stowell, Brandon Workman, Andrew Carraway and Nick McCully combined to pitch 4 scoreless inning before Eric Pettis gave up a solo homerun in the 5th. The West didn't even give up a hit until the 5th. By the 6th the West was winning 6-1.
Likewise, the East was extremely stingy with its pitching. Matt Thomson, Adam Wilk, J.J. Hoover, Sammy Solis and Brian Dupra combined to give up just one run and 5 hits through the 5th.
With the ecstasy comes a little agony. both teams had disastrous innings. The East's inning terriblus was the 6th. Martin Viramontes gave up 5 runs and 5 hits and had to be relieved of duty. The West fell apart in the 8th with Seth Blair on the mound. He gave up 7 runs, including twin two-run homers. (I haven't heard a Cape crowd as loud as the one I heard last night when those two homers were hit.)
The starting pitchers, Stowell and Thomson were topping out in the low 90's (Stowell a little faster at 93). Workman had a nice curve working as did Carraway. Wilk, the lefty, threw a little softer but had a nice pitch that breaks in on righties and away on lefties. Brad Boxberger (Chatham/USC) got the save for the East with a dominant performance in the 9th. He has pitched 8 saves for Chatham.
Another sign of great pitching last night: there wasn't a walk for either team (according to my scorebook) until the 6th inning.
I had a stopwatch last night and clocked Solis as being about 1.6 to the plate compared with a Dupra who was about 1.3. I didn't clock a lot of the pitchers but as I think about it I can't recall if there was a single stolen base last night.
Next: I will write some sights and sounds in the next post.