By Sam McPherson
The 87th edition of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game came and went last week, and here is what you may have missed if you were on summer vacation.
Giancarlo Stanton reminds everyone why he is called Bigfoot
The Miami Marlins are last in attendance among National League teams, but they have a bright jewel in outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. He won his first All-Star Home Run Derby with an impressive display of power last Monday night, slugging 61 home runs in the contest to set a new record. We have noted the significance of that number, too, by the way.
Stanton defeated last year’s HR Derby champion, Chicago White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, in the finals. Frazier’s 42 total dingers in the contest was the second-highest total ever in the competition. Stanton also knocked off Baltimore Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo, the majors’ leading HR hitter right now, in the semifinals, thus proving to everyone he is the Bigfoot of home-run hitters in MLB today.
The Royals remind everyone why they’re the defending champs
Kansas City may be scuffling along in the American League Central Division right now, but during Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, the Royals didn’t let anyone forget they were the defending World Series champions. Kansas City fans voted both first baseman Eric Hosmer and catcher Salvador Perez to starting positions on the AL All-Star squad, and the two Royals accounted for all four runs the team scored in a 4-2 victory that secures home-field advantage for the league in the Fall Classic. Hosmer hit a HR off former teammate Johnny Cueto—now pitching for the San Francisco Giants—in the second inning, and Perez added a two-run HR two batters later. Yes, the Royals still are fighting for the chance to defend their crown.
Padres rise up to get some revenge
Prior to the All-Star break, the San Diego Padres were 0-9 against the Giants this season, including two walk-off losses. That 9-0 record against its NL West Division rivals was a primary reason San Francisco had the best record in baseball last week. But in a three-game series in Petco Park—site of the All-Star Game this year—the Padres stepped up to demonstrate they weren’t just the Giants’ play things.
Not only did San Diego win games against San Francisco’s best three starting pitchers in the home sweep, but the Padres also won on Saturday night in classic fashion: a walk-off balk. MLB fans don’t see that very often, and combined with Cueto’s loss in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, the Giants started off the second part of the season in the worst imaginable way.
White Sox go down with a whimper against the Angels
Coming out of the break last week, the Chicago White Sox continued to slide in the AL Central. After a 23-10 start to the season, the Pale Hose have gone just 22-37 since then to fall into fourth place in the division. The team bottomed out last weekend against the Los Angeles Angels, scoring just one run in a three-game set against the Halos in Anaheim. Meanwhile, Chicago pitchers gave up 16 runs in the process. HR Derby runner-up Todd Frazier went just 2-for-12 in the three contests as the L.A. pitchers registered 24 Ks for the series.
Oakland upstages Donaldson’s return to the Coliseum
When 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson returns to the Oakland Coliseum, the Athletics fans always give him full applause as they remember how much he mattered to three straight postseason appearances for Oakland from 2012-2014. However, the current A’s roster didn’t extend Donaldson the same courtesy, as they handed the Toronto Blue Jays two losses over the weekend.
On Friday night, the A’s overcame a 7-3 deficit to win 8-7, and on Saturday, Oakland repeated the feat with a 5-4 victory. The A’s may be going nowhere fast in 2016, but they didn’t roll out the red carpet for Donaldson and his teammates, as Toronto is trying to return to the postseason after losing the AL Championship Series in 2015.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf and fantasy sports for CBS Local. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach. Follow him on Twitter @sxmcp, because he’s quite prolific despite also being a college English professor and a certified copy editor.