In Gio Gonzalez's first ASG appearance last season the A's starter faced one batter, striking the Reds' Jay Bruce out for the final out of the eighth inning of a game the National League led 5-1. Acquired by the Nats along with right-hander Robert Gilliam in a December 23rd trade that sent four prospects to the Oakland A's, Gonzalez entered the All-Star break in his first season with Washington with a (12-3) record in 17 starts, having posted a 2.92 ERA, 2.52 FIP, 42 walks (3.72 BB/9), 118 K's (10.45 K/9) and a 1.11 WHIP in 101.2 IP, over which he's been worth +3.1 fWAR. The 26-year-old left-hander made his second career All-Star appearance tonight in the third inning of the 2012 MLB All-Star Game.
It was 5-0 NL in Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium when Gonzalez entered the game in the home-half of the frame with Rangers' catcher Mike Napoli at the plate. The Texas' backstop had no chance when Gio dropped a 1-2 curve on him and got a swinging strike three. Yankees' outfielder Curtis Granderson popped a 95 mph 2-1 heater to Ryan Braun in left for out no.2 and the Nats' Gio got a groundout to second from Derek Jeter to end an 11-pitch, seven-strike, 1-2-3 inning.
Washington Nationals' 23-year-old right-hander Stephen Strasburg told MLB Network Radio hosts Casey Stern, Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette that it was a "blessing and a huge honor," to be part of the 2012 MLB All-Star Game for the first time. The Nats' no. 1 starter entered the All-Star Break with a (9-4) record in 17 starts and 99.0 IP over which he's posted a 2.82 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 28 walks (2.55 BB/9), 128 K's (11.64 K/9) and a 1.01 WHIP. The Nationals' no. 1 overall pick has been worth +3.1 fWAR so far this season in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery. Strasburg was making his first All-Star appearance when he took the mound in the bottom of the fourth...
Robinson Cano got ahead 3-1, and got a fastball, but Strasburg threw a 95 mph one right by him to get a full count before the Yankees' second baseman sent a low-liner back up the middle of the infield for a leadoff single. Josh Hamilton sent a 1-1 pitch to Rafael Furcal at short for an easy 6-3 DP that erased the Yankee and AL runner. Jose Bautista too worked the count full against Strasburg, and took a 3-2 bender that should have been called strike three for ball four. Home plate ump Gerry Davis must have been fooled by it too. An All-Star walk was followed by a fly to left off Prince Fielder's bat on which Fielder's former teammate Ryan Braun made a leaping, inning-ending catch. 8-0 NL after four. 17-pitch, 8-strike inning for Strasburg. That's it for the Nats' pitchers...
• Note: Before the game, the Nationals' right-hander was asked by MLB Network Radio host (and former Nats' GM) Jim Bowden if he'd be available to pitch game one of the World Series if Washington was to make it this season, and the pitcher who's been asked the question in every interview he's done this last week was ready with an answer, telling Bowden, "Well, they're going to have to rip the ball out of my hands, that's all I can say."
.@Stras37, @Nationals pitcher talks about the #ASG experience and whether he'll keep pitching after 160 innings bit.ly/RZKcsa— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) July 10, 2012
• Harper's First All-Star AB: 19-year-old rookie outfielder Bryce Harper had a 282/.354/.472 line, a 330 BABIP, 15 doubles, four triples, eight HR's, 25 RBI's and 10 SB in 63 games and 277 PA's after he made his MLB debut in LA in late April, and he's been worth +1.7 fWAR so far this season. In his first career ASG AB in the bottom of the 5th, Harper walked. Angels' right-hander Jared Weaver put the Nats' rookie pitcher on. The Nats' 2010 no.1 overall pick moved himself into scoring position, tagging and taking second on a fly to left by Buster Posey, but he got caught off second for out no. 2 of the 5th on a grounder back to the mound by David Wright on which Weaver made a nice play. 8-0 NL after four and a half...
Harper lost a fly ball to left off Mike Napoli's bat in the lights and let it drop in over his head for the second-straight single to start the American League's fifth, but Clayton Kershaw recovered and in spite of a two-out walk that loaded the bases, completed a scoreless inning on a fly to left by Ian Kisler that Harper caught. 8-0 NL after five.
In the top of the seventh, Harper stepped in for the second time tonight, this time against A's right-hander Ryan Cook. Harper took a 1-2 fastball inside for a called strike three. 0 for 2 for Harper. The top of the ninth ended with Harper on deck, so that was it for the Nationals' rookie's All-Star debut.
NL wins their third straight. 8-0 final. Home field secured for the NL.