Musgrove K's Judge at ASG, thanks to ... Cronenworth?

July 20th, 2022

LOS ANGELES -- You knew it was coming.

"Batting third, the third baseman from the San ..."

And that's about all that was audible over the Dodger Stadium P.A. system. The boos for Manny Machado drowned out the rest.

"They love me," the Padres third baseman would say afterward with a wry grin. "They love me; it was great."

Among the three Padres who made the trip north for All-Star Week in Los Angeles, Machado was booed loudest. But the Dodger Stadium crowd made their voices heard for Jake Cronenworth and Joe Musgrove as well. That clearly didn't detract from the moment for any of those three on Tuesday night.

“To have three come here and to represent San Diego, it just makes it that much better,” said Machado, who went 0-for-2, as he made his sixth All-Star appearance and his second as a Padre.

Machado was robbed of a first-inning single on a brilliant play at second base by Cleveland's Andrés Giménez. Machado hit a 105 mph rocket, and Giménez spun and started an impressive double play with Chicago’s Tim Anderson. Cronenworth would also finish the night 0-for-2.

It was Musgrove who shone brightest on Tuesday. He pitched a scoreless, hitless third inning, showcasing his dizzying blend of breaking pitches in his first All-Star appearance.

"It was a blast, man," Musgrove said. "I got the shakes a little bit coming out of the bullpen. It's been a while since I've had that. … But I just went out there and tried to throw as hard as I could."

Good strategy. Musgrove punched out Giménez on three pitches to start the frame, then got Alejandro Kirk to float one harmlessly to second base.

That brought the big bats at the top of the lineup -- Shohei Ohtani and Aaron Judge, two of the American League's preeminent MVP favorites. Musgrove walked Ohtani. But he bounced back by punching out Judge with a slider that darted down and away from the hulking slugger.

"I'm glad I got the chance to face some of the bigger names," Musgrove said. “Ohtani and Judge -- that was exciting for me."

Cronenworth finished the night hitless, and his ninth-inning strikeout put the finishing touches on a 3-2 American League victory. But his biggest contribution might've come before he entered the game.

If you watch the replay of the moments leading up to Musgrove's 0-2 slider to Judge, you'll notice Musgrove looking into the home dugout. A smile creeps across Musgrove’s face, and he nods -- not in the direction of his catcher, mind you.

"He's looking into the dugout," Cronenworth said. "I was telling him to throw a slider. So he threw a slider and struck him out."

Jake Cronenworth, master pitch caller. Who knew?

“He called for the slider,” Musgrove said. “So I threw it.”

Of course, calling for a Joe Musgrove slider is usually a pretty good idea, no matter the situation.

Cronenworth wouldn't enter until the sixth inning, and he made a couple plays at second base. It was his first All-Star appearance there, after he'd made his All-Star debut as a first baseman last year. On the whole, Cronenworth said he was able to enjoy his experience a bit more this time around.

"This year was a lot less trying to figure out where I’m going, what I've got to do, and I just get to enjoy it with the guys, with Joe and Manny and everyone else in the clubhouse," Cronenworth said. "It's pretty special."

That’s true, regardless of the hostile reaction from the Dodger Stadium crowd. In Machado’s eyes, that reaction might’ve made it even more special.

“You come to a city that is a rival right up the street, and that's just the beauty of baseball,” Machado said. “That's why we love this game. That's why we play this game. That's what you get when you're an away team. But it's just great. It's fun to watch, fun to play, and it's a great stadium to play at."

Boos and all.