Thanks to some seriously sketchy managing by Joe Girardi (why on earth did he leave Alex Rodriguez on the bench in the ninth inning?), the National League won its first All-Star Game since 1996, defeating the American League by a score of 3-1. The win means the NL's representative in the World Series will have home-field advantage for the first time since one of the worst rules in sports was implemented. Oh well, hopefully the Tigers will give us a reason to complain about the rule come October.
Although the game itself didn't go well for the AL, the three Tigers players involved played pretty well, especially Papa Grande.
Miguel Cabrera had two at bats during the game and had one hit, singling during his first appearance. This was the first time he got to start in an All-Star Game and he did so playing at first base.
Justin Verlander pitched one inning of scoreless baseball. He did allow two hits, but he also struck out two batters and was in position to get the win before Phil Hughes and Matt Thornton blew the game.
As for Jose Valverde, he was just plain nasty. He came into the game in the top of the ninth inning and struck out the side in three up, three down fashion. His pitches were just unhittable, and he definitely had a reason to do some dancing on the mound after striking out all three batters he faced. I'm sure somewhere Rod Allen could be heard yelling "Easy, big fella!" at his TV a few times during the top of the ninth.
With the All-Star Game in the books, the Tigers involved in the game will get a couple days off before rejoining their teammates in Cleveland for a four-game series that opens on Friday. There is a day-night double header on Saturday before the series wraps up on Sunday, so the Tigers will have a great chance to turn things around on the road from the very beginning of the second half of the season. Their awesome home record has kept them in contention, but if they want to actually win the AL Central, road wins are needed. Here's to hoping we see at least a few in Cleveland this weekend.