Major League Baseball celebrated its 92nd All-Star game on Tuesday night.
And arguably, no team had a better collective showing than Cleveland.
The Guardians’ three selections each played critical (and flashy) parts in the American League’s 3-2 win over the National League.
Welcome to the Show, Andrés Giménez
In the bottom of the first, San Diego Padres star Manny Machado came to the plate.
And Dodgers stud Mookie Betts was already aboard on first.
Against an 0-2 count, Machado sent a Shane McLanahan chopper back up the middle.
The hit took a weird hop off the mound, sending the ball flying into the air.
It was a surefire single.
Until suddenly, it wasn’t.
Not only wasn’t it a single for Machado, but the “hit” turned into a double play turned by none other than Guardians second baseman Andrés Giménez:
If you don't know that Andrés Giménez is a star, it's not our fault. We've been saying it all year, but this is the first time a lot of you get to see him play.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) July 20, 2022
It was an incredible play and probably the flashiest defensive move by either team all game.
Critically, the double play kept the National League from advancing any runners, always a threat with Betts on base and Machado at the dish.
Thus, not only was it a sick defensive move but a vital one.
Not to be outdone, José Raz proved his own merit in the All-Star game.
Though he wasn’t a starter, he still contributed to the American League victory in a big way.
He made the most of his two plate appearances, recording two hits.
In the fourth inning, Ramirez went aboard and was followed up by Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
With the American League down 0-2, Stanton launched a homer, bringing Ramirez home and tying up the game.
In the same inning, Twins star Byron Buxton clubbed a solo shot that saw the American League take its first lead of the game.
Ramirez’s contributions were a nice comeback after an early exit in the Home Run Derby the night before.
Ramirez smacked 17 homers in the first round but was ultimately eliminated by Washington’s Juan Soto.
With the All-Star game on the line, the American League turned to none other than Emmanuel Clase.
Clase came in in the ninth inning to tie things up and secure home-field advantage for the American League at the World Series.
And he made the most of his opportunity, and then some.
All Clase did was fire off ten straight cutters en route to three strikeouts.
Clase was just one pitch away from an immaculate inning, i.e. when a pitcher fans three batters on three strikes each.
It was a huge evening for the Guardians and fans across the country took note:
I think Clase and Stanton should have won Co-MVPs. Clase was one pitch away from an immaculate inning to close the All-Star Game in a one run game. Absolutely dominated his job! 🔥🔥🔥#ForTheLand
— Ryan Murray (@RMURR11) July 20, 2022
What a moment for Emmanuel Clase in his first ASG.
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) July 20, 2022
So we can all agree that Emmanuel Clase is the best closer in baseball, right?
— Jram4MVP (@Brennan2CLE) July 20, 2022
Everyone: We want a HR derby to determine the winner
Emmanuel Clase: pic.twitter.com/No7tCNitmd
— Charlie Parker (@cmparker999) July 20, 2022
10 pitches. 10 Cutters. 3 K.
Emmanuel Clase is the most dominant Reliever in baseball.
— Austin Hedges Truther (@mlbfeeelit) July 20, 2022
Emmanuel Clase is the best closer in MLB. #ForTheLand
— gabb goudy (@gabbgoudy) July 20, 2022
What an All-Star debut for Andres Gimenez. pic.twitter.com/0ALrxcsb8l
— Josh Poloha (@JorshP) July 20, 2022
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) July 20, 2022
Andrés Giménez with the highlight of the night, flipping behind the back to second base. What a play.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) July 20, 2022
Shouts out to Andrés Giménez, the most anonymous dude in the All-Star starting lineup, for the coolest play of the evening
— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) July 20, 2022
Jose Ramirez goes 2-2
Andres Giminez has the defensive play of the game
Clase strikes out the side for the save
decent All-Star showing for the Guardians
— Jordan Zirm (@JordanZirm) July 20, 2022
Jose Ramirez is 2-for-2 with singles in the 4th and 5th inning. He's 4-for-7 in All-Star Games. Maybe the AL should just keep bringing him back to the Mid-Summer Classic.
— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) July 20, 2022
Jose Ramirez singles and trots home on Giancarlo Stanton's 2-run HR to tie the game, 2-2.
— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) July 20, 2022
While Ramirez is a repeat All-Star and MVP candidate, the All-Star game was a major coming-out party for Giménez and Clase.
The two players don’t get the same love and attention on the national stage as some of their larger-market opponents.
But they put themselves squarely on MLB’s radar on Tuesday.
And all three proved their worth as All-Stars.
Let’s hope they can carry this momentum back to Cleveland for the second-half stretch.