While there was no way this year’s Home Run Derby was going to match the magic of last year’s performance by Josh Hamilton (and won by Justin Morneau, no seriously), there were some interesting story lines.
- Brandon Inge going from a .205 average last year to the 2009 Home Run Derby
- Hometown hero Albery Pujols slugging in front of the Cardinals faithful
- The underrated Carlos Pena getting to strut his stuff in front of more than the usual 23,000 at Tropicana Field
- 29 year old Nelson Cruz finally showing why he belongs in the big leagues
After eleven home runs apiece by Prince Fielder and Nelson Cruz to begin the first round, it was rather boring. Inge and Adrian Gonzalez were eliminated with zero and two home runs respectively, while Pujols knocked off Joe Mauer and Pena in a five swing “bat off”.
However, the finals looked pre-determined, with Cruz and Fielder holding a healthy four home run advantage over Ryan Howard. While Howard did win the second round with a big comeback and eight home runs, it was not enough to catch the two front-runners.
After Cruz hit five home runs in the finals, it only took Fielder seven outs to take home the trophy as he blasted six home runs to surpass Cruz. I guess that vegetarian diet is working.
A couple of things to note:
- Fielder hit the furthest home run at 503 feet.
- I think Pena was trying to work on his OBP. The man would not take the bat off his shoulder.
- I have never seen a pitcher so excited to get a home run hit off him as when Pujols hit his fifth in the first round to tie Mauer and Pena.
- Just a personal opinion, but other than Hamilton’s first round performance last year, the Derby never seems to live up to the hype.