Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports
It might have been Mariano Rivera’s emotional going-away party, but after getting a first-hand glimpse of the dismal state of offense at Tuesday’s All-Star Game, he may want to delay those retirement plans.
The American League suffocated the National League’s offense in their 3-0 victory at Citi Field, giving up just three hits, the fewest since 2001, while ending its three-year losing streak, giving the AL home-field advantage in the World Series.
“They call it the year of the K for a reason,” Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis said of the record-setting strikeout total in the first half, with 15 strikeouts Tuesday. “There’s a reason for that. There’s good pitching. It’s good for baseball.”
As he departed Citi Field’s visiting bullpen, Metallica’s Enter Sandman rumbled through the stadium sound system to the delight of the crowd — and every All-Star.
“That’s why I’m here,” said Rivera, the last man who will ever wear Jackie Robinson’s No.42 in an All-Star Game. “That’s what I love to do.”
He came out of the bullpen gate with his entrance song blaring on the speakers and stood on the mound alone. It was nearly a minute before anyone even came onto the field, with players from both teams standing on the dugout rail.
Yes, after four All-Star saves, he got his first hold in 11 years.
“Hey, I’m still not sold it’s his last year,” Boston Red Sox All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “He’s dealing.”