The Schmuck Stops Here Peter Schmuck's musings on the local and national sports scene

Schoop delivers a bunch of firsts in his first All-Star Game

The Baltimore Sun
Jonathan Schoop was the first player introduced at the All-Star Game.

Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop was the first player introduced at the All-Star Game on Tuesday night and that wasn't the only first he enjoyed during his first appearance in the midsummer classic.

Schoop, the Orioles' only representative this year, entered the game as a defensive replacement in the fourth inning and doubled in his first at-bat in the top of the fifth -- fighting back from an 0-2 count against Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood.

He also had a big first for the American League team, scoring the first run of the game in that inning on a bloop single to right by Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano.

It didn't hold up. The National League tied the game on a home run by Yadier Molina in the sixth and Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano homered in the 10th inning to give the American League a 2-1 victory.

Schoop also handled several defensive chances flawlessly at second base during the three innings he was in the game, then was replaced by Cano in the seventh.

He also made a nice tag to convert an outfield assist by Boston Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts in the fourth inning, which could mean only one thing. Somewhere, Orioles manager Buck Showalter was telling someone that Schoop is a "great tagger" and crediting J.J. Hardy with helping him develop into fundamentally strong second baseman. 

Should have been here: Major League Baseball put on quite a show in Miami this week, but the case could be made that this was supposed to be the Orioles' All-Star Game. Draw your own conclusions from the fact that MLB has stacked up a bunch of National League cities and was forced to play this one under American League rules, but the 25th anniversary season of "the ballpark that changed baseball" seemed like an obvious choice for 2017.

Scherzer maxes out: National League starter Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals wasn't buying into the Aaron Judge hype. He fed the New York Yankees' instant legend a steady diet of breaking stuff outside the strike zone and struck him out in the first. Scherzer, who could be heard grunting Wimbledon style when he let go the ball, has been one of the most effective All-Star pitchers ever. He has been an All-Star six times and has allowed just two hits in four shutout innings.

Nationals shine: The Nats All-Stars were all over the place in the early innings. Bryce Harper had the first hit off Red Sox ace Chris Sale and Daniel Murphy had the second. Harper also made a diving catch to rob the Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez of a hit in the second inning. Ryan Zimmerman, however, grounded into a double play to water down an early NL threat.

Judge doesn't rule: The first two pitchers Judge faced throw their fastballs at upwards of 98 mph, but neither Scherzer nor St. Louis Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez challenged him in the middle of the strike zone. Scherzer struck him out on a breaking pitch and Martinez worked the lower reaches of Judge's large strike zone to coax a groundout to short. Judge also flied out to center field in his third at-bat.

It's just an exhibition: Fox celebrated the fact that the All-Star Game no longer determines home-field advantage for the World Series by adding some unprecedented features to the game broadcast, including walkup interviews with the two leadoff hitters at the start of each half of the first inning, an on-the-infield interview by Alex Rodriguez and in-game interviews with wired-up outfielders. 

The interview with Harper in right field in the lasted almost the entire top half of the fourth inning. It was an unprecedented intrusion into the game action, but it did spice up the early-inning pitching duel.

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