The story of the primary half of the 2017 baseball season revolves round residence runs, and the subject captivated the gamers and spectators assembled at Marlins Park for this yr’s All-Star festivities.

On Monday, New York Yankees rookie Aaron Decide gained the Residence Run Derby with a ferocious show of energy. A day later, Commissioner Rob Manfred defended the composition of the baseballs, which some gamers believed are juiced, whereas reaching an settlement with MLBPA chief Tony Clark: Residence runs are good for the sport.

Until, in fact, you’re a pitcher. Contemplate the case of Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Whereas sustaining a 2.18 earned-run common, he has given up 18 homers — two greater than his earlier profession excessive for a season.

“Everyone was asking yesterday: ‘Are the balls juiced? Is it the period? Are you simply going to surrender residence runs?’ ” Kershaw stated Tuesday. “However there’s lots of guys nonetheless not giving up house runs. There’s a whole lot of guys pitching rather well.

“To me, it’s not that massive a deal. Offense is essential. It’s what individuals wish to see. It’s thrilling. However I feel good pitching will nonetheless win out, in the long run.”

Kershaw downplayed the concept hitters have been capable of do injury on pitches they as soon as couldn’t. He stated he couldn’t recall an event this season during which he felt he executed a pitch correctly, solely to see the ball depart the park.

“I feel I’ve given up 18 homers, so I can’t keep in mind all of them,” Kershaw stated. “However I might enterprise to say none of them have been superb pitches. That’s in all probability my guess.”

Flaw uncovered

Cody Bellinger credited Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward and assistant hitting coach Shawn Wooten with discovering a mechanical glitch that contributed to his chilly spell earlier than the ultimate weekend of the primary half.

From June 25 to July 7, Bellinger went eleven video games with out hitting a house run and batted .167.

He felt his swing clicked again into place July eight, when he hit a recreation-tying homer towards the Kansas Metropolis Royals, along with contributing a double and a walkoff stroll.

“Whenever you’re not absolutely on towards main league pitching it’s fairly exhausting,” Bellinger stated. “Typically whenever you watch video, it’s onerous to level out. Our hitting coaches observed one thing. In case your palms or your ft are slightly off, it throws off your entire rhythm. I discovered slightly one thing, and type of acquired my rhythm again.”

Seeing Purple

The beginning lineup for the Nationwide League included Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart. Though Dodgers nearer Kenley Jansen blamed the group’s followers for not electing Corey Seager because the beginning shortstop, Reds first baseman Joey Votto stated Cozart completely was deserving.

“He’s definitely performed in addition to Corey this yr,” Votto stated. “I’m cautious of evaluating gamers, particularly ones which are on my group, as a result of I’m clearly biased.

“However Corey is one in every of my favourite gamers in baseball. You possibly can’t get me to say a nasty factor about him. I really like his recreation. He’s acquired an extended, lengthy future. He’s received an opportunity to return to 10 or 15 of those [All-Star games].”

Votto stated he was not stunned that a shortstop from Los Angeles might lose the voting to a shortstop from Cincinnati.

“At that time, he was the most effective offensive shortstop in baseball,” Votto stated. “Baseball followers are savvy. We’re in a small market, however the common fan can inform, and Reds followers can inform. I’ll say, I’ve began two of those All-Star video games once I ought to have began two of them, and that was a byproduct of the Reds’ fan base displaying up and supporting me.”

Hazard indicators

The rise in velocity amongst pitchers and exit velocity amongst hitters displays how the artwork of pitching has shifted from getting batters to mis-hit the ball to getting them to overlook it totally.

Once they hit it, the danger has elevated that a line drive might injure a pitcher.

“I don’t put a variety of thought into it,” Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer stated.

“It’s harmful. Loads of issues in life are harmful. Touring in a automotive is harmful. Letting Mookie Betts function a aircraft is harmful. A part of the enjoyable is the danger issue.”

Betts, the Boston Pink Sox outfielder, and Archer flew to the All-Star recreation in a personal aircraft. Betts was the pilot.

Comply with Invoice Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin

Comply with Andy McCullough on Twitter @McCulloughTimes