LOS ANGELES — The All-Star break got here later than usual this summer, deep enough within the schedule to see October off in the space. Because the game’s top players scattered back to their home cities late Tuesday night, after the American League’s 3-2 victory over the National League, the majors’ best team could guess where its path might lead.
At 64-28, the Yankees have the majors’ best record. The subsequent best belongs to the Dodgers, at 60-30. After the primary All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium since 1980, this might finally be the 12 months for one more relic of the early ’80s: a Yankees-Dodgers World Series.
“Do I ever give it some thought? Absolutely,” said the Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton, whose two-run, 457-foot homer off the Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin earned him the sport’s Most worthy player award.
“Obviously, on paper it’s lined up that way for a number of years, so now each side must handle business and get it done. If that’s the way it finally ends up, cool. But you’re not coming in here just having fun with playing here, if that’s the case. We’re going to attempt to win.”
Stanton did each on Tuesday, having fun with himself and winning at a ballpark only 12 miles from his alma mater, Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks. His home run — deep into the bleachers in left-center field — tied the rating within the fourth inning, and Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins followed with a go-ahead shot into the left-field corner.
No person scored after that, with 10 A.L. pitchers holding the N.L. to at least one hit after the primary inning. Emmanuel Clase, the closer for the Cleveland Guardians, finished the ability parade with three strikeouts on 10 pitches, all cutters that traveled between 97 to 100 miles per hour.
“I don’t think that’s been seen before,” said Houston’s Dusty Baker, the A.L. manager. “We were coming out of there with some gas within the bullpen, and so they were coming out of there with some gas. You figured that the sport was going to return right down to the house runs, as big a showmen as these guys are.”
For Stanton, 32, the show had deep personal resonance. Growing up, he would go to fifteen or so Dodgers games every 12 months, enthralled by stars like Raul Mondesi, Mike Piazza and Hideo Nomo. When the league’s top sluggers got here to town — Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa — Stanton felt a pull to Chavez Ravine.
“Even for 2 at-bats,” he said, “just attempt to drive down here, get a ticket off the road and are available attempt to see what they will do.”
If he got there in time for batting practice, Stanton and his father, Mike, would station themselves at either corner of the left field bleachers, for optimum coverage of incoming treasures. His All-Star teammates could tell how much it meant to Stanton to start out in left field on Tuesday.
“Just him talking about it a bit bit, he was like, ‘I sat a number of rows from that spot,’ when he was little,” said Buxton, who began in center. “It’s certainly one of those stuff you couldn’t be happier for him, just with the ability to do what he did.”
The Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who began in right field, said Stanton told him on their flight to Los Angeles that he would go deep on Tuesday. The 2 former Home Run Derby champions staged a friendly duel in batting practice here, and Stanton won.
“Pretty fun,” Judge said. “That’s why he type of pointed within the dugout and was laughing a bit bit.”
Judge struck out twice on Tuesday, against the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Joe Musgrove of the San Diego Padres. Kershaw, 34, finally began the All-Star Game after three Cy Young Awards, an M.V.P. and 192 profession victories. He joked about protecting his “old-man back” and took a moment before the primary pitch to go searching his home park from the mound, which he said he never does.
Kershaw was moved, he said, greater than he expected to be. He’s having one other sterling season, though he missed a month with an injury and was a bit sheepish about getting the beginning.
“Sandy had an incredible first half and he deserves it,” Kershaw said, referring to Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins, who struck out Stanton and Buxton within the second inning. “I’m glad he got to pitch and I’m glad he did an important job. Everyone knows that he’s the perfect pitcher on the planet immediately.”
Kershaw — with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander — has been the perfect of his generation, and two years ago he won his first championship ring. He might need had one sooner, however the Dodgers lost the 2017 World Series to the Astros, who were later found to have illegally stolen opponents’ signs.
Fans here haven’t forgotten, and a few Astros All-Stars avoided their wrath: second baseman Jose Altuve declined the invitation, and so did Toronto’s George Springer, the previous Houston outfielder. (Each cited minor injuries for not attending.) Even Orbit, the green prankster who scampers across the Astros’ ballpark, stayed home; every other team with a mascot sent its character to the All-Star Game.
The fans still booed Baker, despite the fact that he didn’t manage the 2017 Astros and was, in actual fact, a two-time All-Star for the Dodgers. The primary of his All-Star appearances for Los Angeles got here in 1981, which was the 12 months the Dodgers beat the Yankees in a six-game World Series, the eleventh matchup between the teams.
The Dodgers and the Yankees met within the World Series no less than once a decade from the Nineteen Forties through the Eighties; sharing the stage in October lent an additional type of majesty to the event. Since then, the old rivals have reached the playoffs in the identical season 11 times, but never reconnected at the tip.
A Dodgers-Yankees World Series can be a dream for Fox, even without putting live microphones on pitchers, as they did on Tuesday when the Yankees’ Nestor Cortes livened the published by talking on to the booth as he worked.
(The Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah did, too, taking the analyst John Smoltz’s advice to try a back-foot sinker against the Mets’ Jeff McNeil. It hit McNeil’s shoe. “That was a front-foot slider,” Manoah said. “My bad.”)
The remaining of the league, after all, has no reason to care a couple of potential rankings bonanza for a network. Many great teams have been felled by the randomness of the postseason, and before the Yankees can contemplate a return trip here, they might must get past a rather more familiar rival.
The Astros, who’ve eliminated the Yankees from the playoffs 3 times since 2015, have baseball’s third-best record, at 59-32. They’ve beaten the Yankees in three of 5 games this season, and are set to face them again right after the All-Star break.
If Stanton homers then, it’s going to be against Baker’s team, not for it.
“The way in which he’s looking, the best way he’s built, he ought to be around for an awful very long time,” Baker said. “I just regret that we now have to play him in a doubleheader on Thursday.”
James Wagner contributed reporting.