Right-hander Max Scherzer gets the start in tonight's 89th All-Star Game. National League outfielder Christian Yelich, who now plays for the Brewers, is making his initial All-Star appearance. Yelich played five seasons for the Marlins, an NL East team that faced the Nationals 19 times a season.
Yelich is very familiar with Scherzer and is excited he gets to play on the same team with the Cy Young winner.
"It's nice to have him on the same team for a night, I guess you could say," Yelich said with a smile. "I always liked competing against him. Obviously, you know how good a pitcher he is. It speaks for itself. Nothing I say going to make any difference from anything he has already accomplished in this game. But I always really liked facing him because you want to see how you stack up against the best. It's fun going out there and competing for those three or four at-bats, however many you get that night."
Yelich remembers those battles in the NL East. In his career against Scherzer, Yelich is hitting .385 (10-for-26) with one double, one triple, three homers and five RBIs. The .385 average is his best against any current Nats pitcher with 25 or more plate appearances.
"I really enjoyed being in the same division against him because you match up three or four times a year," Yelich said. "There's something a little extra ... it's nice when you know you are going to face a guy like that and you are coming to the ballpark knowing that when the game starts that's who you got to face. Sometimes it works out for you, sometimes it doesn't. But that's the fun of it. Look back on it when it's all said and done and you say you competed against one of the best. I really enjoyed it. It's going to be fun to watch him and I'm definitely looking forward to it."
The pair will get a chance to faceoff very soon after the break concludes. Yelich and his Brewers tangle with the Nats from July 23-25 for three games in Miller Park.
This weekend, the Braves and Nats go at it at Nats Park starting Friday night. Atlanta second baseman Ozzie Albies understands it's always a challenge when he steps in against Scherzer.
"Against Max? I mean I always play against him so ... he's a good pitcher," Albies said. "I'm trying to do good against him, but he is a tough pitcher for the batter."
Mets ace Jacob deGrom was a candidate to start the All-Star Game for NL manager Dave Roberts. But deGrom understood in the end why the Dodgers skipper selected Scherzer.
"When they announced Max was going to start, I thought that was the right thing to do," deGrom said. "This is his ballpark. I'm just looking forward to when I get in."
DeGrom said he got to spend a few moments with Scherzer during Monday's workout.
"We played catch yesterday and talked a little in the outfield," deGrom said. "Talked some baseball stuff. Like I said, it's just about having fun, so we were just enjoying the company with other people."
Update: Scherzer pitched two innings, allowing one run on two hits with one walk and four strikeouts. He threw 32 pitches, 25 for strikes. Aaron Judge hit a solo homer over the left-center field wall in the second for a 1-0 American League lead. Jacob deGrom took over in the third inning for the NL and allowed a solo homer to Mike Trout over the left field wall.
Mid-third, the AL leads the NL 2-0.
Update II: Willson Contreras got the NL on the board with a solo homer off of Blake Snell in the third.
After three innings, the AL leads the NL 2-1.
Update III: Bryce Harper left after five innings, and was replaced by Charlie Blackmon. Harper went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts. The teams have combined for seven hits through six innings.
After six, the AL leads the NL 2-1.
Update IV: Trevor Story crushed a line drive solo homer over the left field wall off of Charlie Morton in the seventh.
After seven innings, the game is tied at 2-2.
Update V: In the eighth, pinch-hitter Jean Segura hit a three-run shot off of Josh Hader. Earlier in the at-bat, Joey Votto dropped a pop up in foul territory near the NL dugout. After the Segura homer, it was ruled an error. Christian Yelich hit a solo shot off of Morton in the bottom of the frame.
After eight innings, the AL leads the NL 5-3.
Update VI: Pinch-hitter Scooter Gennett slammed a to-wrun shot in the bottom of the ninth off of Edwin Diaz. The seven combined home runs are a new All-Star Game record.
After nine innings, the NL and AL are even again, 5-5.
Update VII: In the 10th, Alex Bregman and George Springer hit back-to-back homers and Michael Brantley added a sacrifice fly RBI, all off Ross Stripling.
Votto homered off of J.A. Happ in the bottom of the 10th. Bur Happ retired the next three hitters to end the game. The 10 combined homers are a new All-Star Game record.
Final score: AL 8, NL 6 in 10 innings.