Monday night’s home run derby was all you could have wanted and more. And although Joc Pederson didn’t end up winning, he was involved in a thrilling semi-final that featured a 1-minute tie-breaker and two 3-swing swing-offs. When the dust settled, Joc had 39 homers and Vladimir Guerro Jr. had 40 home runs.
Pederson, the number 5 seed, had an impressive first round against Houston Astros’ slugger, Alex Bregman. Pederson hit 21 homers, far more than the 15 that is usually needed to win the first round. And when Bregman could only hit 16 homers, Pederson easily moved on to the semi-finals.
In the next match of the first round, Vlad Jr. went up against Matt Chapman, who was filling in for a hurt Christian Yelich. Vlad Jr. went first and crushed 29 longballs and left Chapman in the dust.
With a combined 50 homers in just the first round, Pederson and Guerrero faced off in the semi final. Vlad had his heart set on becoming the first player to 30 homers in a round, but he finished at just 29. It seemed like a tall order for Pederson, but pulled it off and tied him.
This sent it into a one-minute playoff where each player hit 8 homers. With the round tied at 37 homers a piece, they advanced to a 3-swing swing-off where the winner would advance. But once again, they tied, forcing yet another swing-off where Vlad hit 2 homers and Joc hit just 1.
Vlad advanced to the final where his exhaustion showed as he manged to hit “just” 22 homers. But compared to 29 in regulation of his previous two rounds, it was small.
But Vlad’s opponent, Pete Alonso, was better rested and had an easy time hitting 23 homers and winning the 2019 home run derby.
It’s time for the All-Stars to face off at 4:30 pm on Tuesday night. The American League team is the home team and will be managed by Red Sox’s manager, Alex Cora. Dave Roberts will manage the National League team.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, who owns a Major-League best 1.73 ERA, will start for the visiting NL. On the AL side of the ball, Justin Verlander (2.98 ERA) will be the starter.