Astros at the All-Star Game: Valdez Dazzles, Tucker Gets At-Bats


Two Houston Astros players (Framber Valdez, Kyle Tucker) got the chance to participate in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night in Los Angeles as the American League defeated the National League, 3-2, for their 9th straight all-star victory.

Framber Valdez pitched the 3rd inning and became the first Astro to ever earn a winning decision at the All-Star Game, while Kyle Tucker came in as a defensive replacement for Aaron Judge in the 4th inning, playing right field and batting 2nd in the order. Judge started the game for the AL.

They were inserted into the game by their very own manager, Dusty Baker, who got to coach the AL squad by virtue of the Astros winning the AL pennant last season. Valdez pitched a perfect 3rd inning, retiring Juan Soto, Manny Machado, and Freddie Freeman in order. He got all 3 outs via the ground ball and needed just 11 pitches to get the job done. Valdez was more than deserving of his all-star appearance this season, as he owns a 2.66 ERA and 3.32 FIP through 18 starts and 115 innings so far.

Tucker came in as a defensive replacement but didn’t get any action in the field. He came to the plate twice, first in the 5th and again in the 7th. Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo (a possible trade target for Houston) struck Tucker out looking in his first at-bat, and he popped out to foul territory against Devin Williams his next time up on a 2-1 count.

Dusty Baker did a good job managing the pitching staff. Starting pitcher Shane McClanahan allowed both NL runs to score in the 1st inning, but 10 pitchers combined to shut out the NL the rest of the way. In fact, a combination of 7 of them (Manoah, Valdez, Blackburn, Perez, Cortes, Lopez, Soto) helped to reduce the National League hitters to an 0-20 drought from the 2nd to the 8th inning.

Despite Baker’s best wishes, the Astros’ participants were booed by Dodger fans during the introductions, including Baker himself despite the fact that he used to manage the Dodgers. This may seem confusing, since Valdez and Tucker weren’t even part of the 2017 team that illegally stole signs from their opponents. Justin Verlander was the lone participant that was, but he voluntarily did not pitch in the game.

In addition to Valdez, Tucker, and Verlander, Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez were voted onto the all-star rosters, but they were not present at the festivities due to injury. The Astros kick off the second half against the 64-28 Yankees at home on Thursday.

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