The 2018 MLB All-Star game takes place Tuesday night in Washington D.C with the San Diego Padres sending one representative.
On Monday afternoon, MLB All-Stars fielded questions from the media, about 24 hours before they take the field for the 2018 All-Star game at Nationals Park. In obvious news, the Manny Machado trade rumors were the focus of the afternoon. While the back-and-forth goes on and the inevitable fumbling of a deal by the Orioles hangs overhead, there’s an exciting baseball game to be played, with the San Diego Padres sending a key bullpen piece to participate.
The lineups and starting pitchers were released with the American League featuring a deadly lineup of stars like Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, and Machado. Don’t sleep on the National League, though. Few hitters are hotter than Paul Goldschmidt and there’s a lot of familiarity with the ballpark, playing at Nationals Park. Other than the hometown boy, Bryce Harper, Nick Markakis is sure to draw the support of the crowd, but more on that later.
Three things to watch for in this year’s All-Star game.
Continuing with the theme of Sunday’s Futures game, there’s a lot of young talent that will take the field Tuesday night. Baseball is a regional game, with fan bases across the country getting limited exposure to many of the best players in the sport. The All-Star game is a chance for many to get a rare look at some of these younger players.
For the American League, keep an eye out for Mitch Haniger. Haniger isn’t a really young guy (27) but he hasn’t been in the majors for very long and is having an outstanding season. The Seattle Mariners outfielder has 18 home runs already, with a .847 OPS on the year. There’s also Alex Bregman, who we were introduced to in last year’s World Series. Bregman hit 39 doubles and 19 home runs last season. He’s already reached 31 doubles and 20 home runs in 2018.
Minnesota Twins pitcher Jose Berrios would be another name to throw up here, however, he just pitched on the 14th.
For the National League, Ozzie Albies is front and center. The 21-year-old has 29 doubles, 20 home runs, and is hitting .281. While it’s harder to cheer for a lot of the NL talent, if you’re a Padres fan, the youth movement brings nothing but good things to the game of baseball.
First ever All-Star nod for Nick Markakis.
Growing up outside of Baltimore, Nick Markakis was one of my favorite baseball players. Even after moving away, Markakis remained a player I have always watched closely. An outstanding ambassador to the game, Markakis has played in over 1,900 games (across 13 seasons), slashing .289/.359/.426 with 2,172 hits, 460 doubles, and 175 home runs.
He’s always been consistently good but has never put up the eye-popping numbers to draw in the All-Star votes from fans outside of Baltimore and Atlanta. Now, the 34-year-old and two-time Gold Glove winner can add MLB All-Star to his resume. The most notable line on his resume? He has appeared in at least 155 games in 10 of his 12 seasons (2018 not included).
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San Diego Padres Brad Hand is an All-Star.
For the second straight year, Brad Hand is the lone representative of the Padres at the Mid-Summer Classic. After the 2018 rosters were released, many fans made valid arguments for Kirby Yates to be the Padres All-Star, however, anyone can easily make a case as to why Hand is the only choice. One of the few things all Padres fans can agree on is the fact that no one on the offensive side of things earned themselves an All-Star nod, after a disastrous first-half to the season.
Hand pitched the 7th inning of last year’s game, which the American League won, 2-1. He shut down Gary Sanchez, Avisail Garcia, and Robinson Cano in order with a groundball out, lineout to left field, and a strikeout.
Tune in to FOX or MLB.TV at 7:30 pm EST to catch the 2018 MLB All-Star game and see San Diego Padres closer Brad Hand take on the top hitters in the American League.