2022 All-Star Game
The 2022 All-Star Game, the 92nd edition of the mid-summer classic, was played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA on July 19, 2022, with the American League winning for the ninth straight time, 3-2. Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees, who hit a key two-run homer, as named the recipient of the Ted Williams Award as the game's most valuable player.
Dodger Stadium was originally scheduled to host the 2020 All-Star Game, but the game was one of numerous events cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 All-Star Game had already been allocated to Atlanta, GA, so L.A. was given the next available slot. Ironically, the 2021 game was then moved from Atlanta to Denver, CO for political reasons. The game was only the second one to be played at the historic ballpark, after the 1980 edition. It had come to the Los Angeles area four other times however, once at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and three times at Anaheim Stadium.
The selection of players took place in three rounds: in the first round, ending on June 30th, the top vote-getter in each league was elected to the team. The top two vote-getters at every other position then went into a run-off vote that took take place from July 5-8, with the winners being elected. The rest of the teams - pitchers and reserves - were to be announced on July 10th - with the exception of veterans Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols who were special selections by the Commissioner in light of their lifetime achivements. Such nominations had taken place in the past - for example in 1983 when both Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski had been named in their final season - but that power had now been formalized in the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement reached in March.
The game was a low-scoring affair, with all five runs being scored in two half innings, and pitching dominating the rest of the contest. The game was preceded by a ceremony honoring Jackie Robinson, featuring actor Denzel Washington, on what was the 100th birthday of his widow, Rachel Robinson. In the top of the 1st, Clayton Kershaw, one of the most accomplished pitchers in baseball but one who had never had the opportunity to start an All-Star Game before today, was designated to pitch in front of his hometown fans. He gave up a lead-off single to DH Shohei Ohtani on his first pitch, but then picked him off first base and struck out RF Aaron Judge before issuing a walk to 3B Rafael Devers. He then forced 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to hit a ground ball to complete the inning. Kershaw's opponent on the mound was second-year man Shane McClanahan of the Tampa Bay Rays, the American League ERA leader and already of veteran of two postseasons. Things did not start off well for him as he allowed an automatic double to the first batter he faced, CF Ronald Acuna, and a single to RF Mookie Betts that made it 1-0. But McClanahan induced 3B Manny Machado to ground into a double play, from 2B Andrés Giménez with a behind-the-back flip to SS Tim Anderson to Guerrero, which turned out to be very important as the next batter, 1B Paul Goldschmidt hit a homer on a line drive to centerfield to double the lead to 2-0. SS Trea Turner then followed with a single to left, but C Willson Contreras struck out to end the inning. The National League had an early 2-0 lead, but would basically do nothing more with the bat after that.
As had now become the practice in All-Star Games, there was a new pitcher to begin each inning, with Sandy Alcantara coming out for the NL, and Alek Manoah for the AL. Both youngsters were excellent, with the only runner being 2B Jeff McNeil who was hit by one of Manoah's pitches with two outs but was left stranded. In the 3rd, it was the turn of Joe Musgrove and Framber Valdez to pitch, and the only runner was Ohtani, who drew a two-out walk as the first substitutions of position players began to take place, with both Juan Soto and Freddie Freeman being used as pinch-hitters.
In the top of the 4th, Tony Gonsolin, 11-0 so far on the season, was given the ball for the NL, and the game turned. He allowed a lead-off single to 3B José Ramírez and after one out, a long homer to LF Giancarlo Stanton, who had been a frequent visitor to Dodger Stadium as a kid growing up in the area, to tie the score at 2-2. The next man up was CF Byron Buxton, and he made it back-to-back jacks with another homer to left, giving the AL a 3-2 lead. And that would be all in terms of scoring for the evening. Gonsolin then gave up a single to Anderson, but he got Giménez on strikes and forced C Alejandro Kirk to hit a ground ball to end the inning. There was a slew of substitutions after the half inning.Paul Blackburn came in to pitch, and while Willson Contreras reached on an error by Ramírez, there were no hits. Veteran Albert Pujols made what was likely the last All-Star appearance of his brilliant career as a pinch-hitter for DH William Contreras, but he flied out to LF Andrew Benintendi.
The top of the 5th saw the other All-Star golden veteran make an appearance, with Miguel Cabrera pinch-hitting for Ohtani against Luis Castillo. Miggy grounded out to short, and while Ramírez hit a two-out single, there was no damage. Martín Pérez then pitched the bottom of the inning and retired the NLers in order. Joe Mantiply, perhaps the most obscure of this year's All-Stars, pitched the 6th for the NL, retiring the side in order, while Nestor Cortes had some control issues the bottom of the inning, walking 1B Pete Alonso with one out and hitting C Travis d'Arnaud with a pitch with two outs, but he struck out pinch-hitter Garrett Cooper to get out of the jam. In the 7th Devin Williams gave up a one-out single to C Jose Trevino, but nothing else, while Jorge López recorded the first two outs for the AL. Manager Dusty Baker wanted to get as many of his players in the game as possible - in the end, only one pitcher, Jordan Romano, was not used - and brought in Gregory Soto to record the final out. He first walked CF Ian Happ, then got RF Soto to ground into a force out. In the 8th, Ryan Helsley came to pitch, flashing some triple-digit heat, reaching as high as 103 mph on two pitches. He gave up a one-out single to 1B Luis Arraez but otherwise recorded two strikeouts and got CF Julio Rodríguez to fly out. Baker once again used two pitchers for the 8th, Clay Holmes who was greeted by a single by 3B Austin Riley, the NL's first hit since the 1st inning - and only one against any of the AL's relievers. However, the senior circuit could not build on this opportunity, as 1B C.J. Cron grounded into a force out, SS Dansby Swanson flied out to CF Rodríguez, and Liam Hendriks got d'Arnaud to do exactly the same thing.
On to the 9th, with the AL holding on to its slim 3-2 lead. Manager Brian Snitker delegated young David Bednar to the mound, and he issued a one-out walk to 2B Santiago Espinal, but all three other batters grounded out for another goose egg. Emmanuel Clase was brought out to save the game, with Romano held in reserve just in case Clase faltered (if there had been a tie, a mini home run derby would have determined the winner, so there was no need to keep someone in case of extra innings). Clase was expedient, though, striking out the side as DH Cooper, LF Kyle Schwarber and 2B Jake Cronenworth all went down. The three strikeout pitches were timed at 99 mph, 100 mph and 99 mph respectively.
|Shohei Ohtani||DH||Los Angeles Angels||1||Ronald Acuna||RF||Atlanta Braves|
|Aaron Judge||RF||New York Yankees||2||Mookie Betts||CF||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Rafael Devers||3B||Boston Red Sox||3||Manny Machado||3B||San Diego Padres|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||1B||Toronto Blue Jays||4||Paul Goldschmidt||1B||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Giancarlo Stanton||LF||New York Yankees||5||Trea Turner||SS||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Byron Buxton||CF||Minnesota Twins||6||Willson Contreras||C||Chicago Cubs|
|Tim Anderson||SS||Chicago White Sox||7||William Contreras||DH||Atlanta Braves|
|Andrés Giménez||2B||Cleveland Guardians||8||Joc Pederson||LF||San Francisco Giants|
|Alejandro Kirk||C||Toronto Blue Jays||9||Jeff McNeil||2B||New York Mets|
|Shane McClanahan||P||Tampa Bay Rays||SP||Clayton Kershaw||P||Los Angeles Dodgers|
American: Shane McClanahan, Alek Manoah, Framber Valdez (W), Paul Blackburn, Martín Pérez, Nestor Cortes, Jorge López, Gregory Soto, Clay Holmes, Liam Hendriks, Emmanuel Clase (SV)
National: Clayton Kershaw, Sandy Alcantara, Joe Musgrove, Tony Gonsolin (L), Luis Castillo, Joe Mantiply, Devin Williams, Ryan Helsley, David Bednar
- David Adler: "The top 12 moments from 92nd All-Star Game", mlb.com, July 20, 2022. 
- David Adler, Henry Palattella and Pat James: "Full All-Star rosters stacked with game-changing talent", mlb.com, July 10, 2022. 
- Anthony Castrovince: "Stars captivate on mic as AL makes it loud and clear: 9 straight wins", mlb.com, July 20, 2022. 
- Mark Feinsand: "Stanton returns home an All-Star, wins MVP: Yankees star grew up attending games at Dodger Stadium: 'I can't explain how special this is'", mlb.com, July 20, 2022. 
- Thomas Harrigan: "All-Star starters are set. Who made the cut?", mlb.com, July 8, 2022. 
- Manny Randhawa: "Judge, Acuña get automatic All-Star starter bids", mlb.com, June 30, 2022. 
- Manny Randhawa: "Pujols, Miggy headed to LA as All-Star legacy picks", mlb.com, July 8, 2022. 
- Juan Toribio: "Dodgers, MLB unveil stacked All-Star Week slate", mlb.com, May 3, 2022.