Morneau Wins Home Run Derby/All-Star Game Preview

NEW YORK – On Monday night, Minnesota Twins All-Star Justin Morneau hit 5 home runs in the final round of the Home Run Derby to defeat Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers.  But that didn’t keep Hamilton from belting a record 28 home runs in the first round.  Hamilton hit twice as many home runs last night than Otis Nixon hit in his entire 17 year career.  Now granted, the home run distance down the foul line is the equivalent of a Wrigley Field pop-out, and he knew where the pitches were being thrown, but quite a feat for the Texas Ranger.

Back to Morneau.  The last entry into the Home Run Derby, he was not the most likely candidate to come out victorious.  Lance Berkman and Josh Hamilton came out as early favorites.  I always get nervous watching the Home Run Derby because the players appear to slip every disc out of their backs when they swing the bat.  I’m sure it can’t make the managers feel any better to watch their star player potentially get injured in a “fun match”.

This leads me to a preview of the All-Star Game tonight on Fox.  Go back 11 years and you will find the last time that the National League won an All-Star game.  Back then it didn’t count for anything.  But today, we see the importance of winning the All-Star game as the League that wins gets home field advantage in the World Series.  This is especially important because the Boston Red Sox are 36-11 at home while the Chicago Cubs are 37-12 at home.  The National League is 2-1 at Yankee Stadium in the All-Star game since 1933.  Brewer Ben Sheets will start for the NL while Cliff Lee of the Indians will start for the AL.  Here are the starting line-ups:

National League

 

Name

AVG

HR

SS

Hanley Ramirez

.311

23

2B

Chase Utley

.291

25

1B

Lance Berkman

.347

22

DH

Albert Pujols

.350

18

3B

Chipper Jones

.376

18

RF

Matt Holliday

.347

14

LF

Ryan Braun

.286

23

CF

Kosuke Fukudome

.279

7

C

Geovany Soto

.288

16

American League

 

Name

AVG

HR

RF

Ichiro Suzuki

.304

3

SS

Derek Jeter

.284

5

CF

Josh Hamilton

.310

21

3B

Alex Rodruguez

.312

19

LF

Manny Ramirez

.293

18

DH

Milton Bradley

.316

19

1B

Kevin Youkilis

.314

15

C

Joe Mauer

.322

5

2B

Dustin Pedroia

.314

9

 The NL starters have a 50 home run advantage over the AL starters this season, 166-116.  I’m going to say NL will win 8-5 in a thriller.  Check out the All-Star game at 8:00pm on FOX.

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