After Yoenis Cespedes retained his Home Run Derby title on Monday night, the best of the National and American Leagues are ready to square off with home field advantage in the World Series on the line in the 85th MLB All-Star Game.
Although the Chicago Cubs in all likelihood won’t be taking part in the Fall Classic this season, the team’s two representatives, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo are geared up for tonight’s festivities. Castro, a third-time All-Star, has improved, Rizzo told MLB.com recently.
“A lot of people write you off so quick in this game, which is, it’s not unfair, but it is what it is,” Rizzo said. “Castro, I’m really happy for him. He’s gotten a lot better at shortstop, too, which is a big key to make our team a lot better. We’re happy to be here.”
Neither the Chicago first baseman nor Chicago shortstop are in manager Mike Matheny’s starting lineup, but Castro said that he’s learned a lot from his own manager, Ricky Renteria, who is in his first year as the Cubs’ skipper.
“We talk,” Castro said. “We talk a lot. He has the confidence in us. They trust us. They’re letting us play baseball, that’s the kind of [situation] you want. You have your talent. You know who you can be. You know you can be good. That’s all you need — people who trust you and let you play.”
Castro, who is making big statements a year after a disappointing season led many to call for his trade, has been a staple for Chicago offensively, already surpassing his 2013 totals in both home runs and RBIs – in just half as many games.
Rizzo, a first-time All-Star, made the team by winning the National League Final Vote, joining Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale as the final additions to the teams’ respective rosters. The 24-year-old infielder is batting .275/.381/.499 this season with 20 home runs and 49 RBIs. He went on a power tear to close the first half and now sits just three home runs shy of his total from 2013.
Whether it is an at-bat or an inning in the field, having two position players (plus the traded Jeff Samardzija) on the All-Star team this season shows that steps are being made by the organization. Now, it’s up to us to take it all in as fans as Derek Jeter plays in his final All-Star Game beneath the lights in Minneapolis tonight.
See Castro and Rizzo play in the second half by grabbing Cubs tix from ScoreBig!