Year In Review: All Star Break

The All Star Break put the first half of the season behind, moving onto the second half. Although just 2 Phillies participated in the mid-summer classic, the All Star Break had a lot of significance for the Phillies.

Chase Utley participated in the 2008 Home Run Derby, hoping to follow Bobby Abreu and Ryan Howard's footsteps. Utley finished with just 5 home runs, not moving past the first round.

It was Josh Hamilton who stole the show at Yankee Stadium as fans cheered his name. Hamilton, a feel good story, bouncing back from a drug problem, returned to MLB, and broke Bobby Abreu's HR Derby record.

Abreu set a record hitting 24 home runs in round one of the 2005 Home Run Derby, totaling 41 HR bringing home the victory. Hamilton broke Abreu's record clobbering 28 home runs in one round.

Unlike Abreu, Hamilton did not come home with the victory despite hitting the most home runs during the derby with 35. Justin Morneau won the HR Derby as the number of home runs cleared for the third round.

Hamilton decided to keep hitting in the 2nd round, which may of cost him, tiring himself out. Hamilton's 3 HR in the 3rd round was short to Morneau's 5 in the last round. If remembered, Morneau will be known for the victory, but Hamilton will be known for stealing the show.

The All Star Game followed the Home Run Derby. Chase Utley started at second base for the National League for the third straight year. Utley received the most votes in the National League with over 3 million. Utley just fell short to Alex Rodriguez for most in MLB. Brad Lidge also made the team, however a deserving Pat Burrell didn't make the team, losing the Final Vote.

Utley was 1-3 in his 2008 All Star appearance. Also, during the HR Derby, Utley cured on live television for the first time after being booed by the New York faithful.

The game was back and forth, with the NL getting on the board first. Down 2 in the 7th, J.D. Drew homered to tie the game at 2. The NL gained the lead, but gave it right back up in the 8th. Nate McClouth threw out Dioner Navarro in the 11th inning to prevent the AL from winning. The game went as long as 15 innings, when Michael Young hit a sacrifice fly to end the game.

Young hit the sac fly off the Phillies pitcher, Brad Lidge, his only loss of the season. Lidge was very much tired out at the time of his appearance, throwing over 100 pitches in the bullpen, very unusual for a reliever. Instead of pitching him earlier, Clint Hurdle, the NL manager, decided to wait to pitch him. Many pitchers were used, and Lidge appeared in the 15th inning, receiving the loss.

It did not factor into his regular season stats, although it cost the National League home field advantage for the World Series with the loss. Or did it? The Phillies wound up making the World Series, and after 2 games in Tampa Bay, the Phillies had 3 games in a row at Citizen's Bank Park, which was enough for the home field advantage. Ironic indeed. I'd say the All Star Game loss ended up turning into a save for Lidge.

In 2009 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Charlie Manuel will be managing that All Star Team.


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