Preview: MLB All-Star Game

David Banks

The National League has won the last three All-Star Games, ending a long run of American League dominance. Who will prevail in the 84th encounter, at Citi Field tonight? First pitch is scheduled for 5pm Arizona, though I'd say that's more a rough guideline...

al_medium

Max Scherzer
RHP, 13-1, 3.19
nl_medium

Matt Harvey
RHP, 7-2, 2.35

NL Starting Lineup

  1. 2B, Brandon Phillips (CIN)
  2. RF, Carlos Beltran (STL)
  3. 1B, Joey Votto (CIN)
  4. 3B, David Wright (NYM)
  5. LF, Carlos Gonzalez (COL)
  6. C, Yadier Molina (STL)
  7. SS, Troy Tulowitzki (COL)
  8. DH, Michael Cuddyer (COL)
  9. CF, Bryce Harper (WAS)

So, somehow, a third-place team gets to provide a full one-third of the starting position players for the National League. I guess the Coors Field effect, though it may (rightly) keep people out of the Hall of Fame, does not have any such impact on the All-Star Game. Nice they also voted in someone who has missed roughly 60% of the games since the last All-Star contest, in Troy-boy. Hmm, here's an idea: never mind at least one player per team, why not limit it to one player per team in the starting line-up? Particularly applied, when it comes to franchises that are four games below .500.

Harvey gets the start for the National League, on his home mound, becoming the first pitcher to do that since Roger Clemens in 2004, when he was with the Astros. Perhaps more impressively, he will be the youngest All-Star starting pitcher in quarter of a century: Dwight Gooden, also of the Mets, was 23 when he got the honor in 1988. Of course, we'll probably been more interested to see when Patrick Corbin and Paul Goldschmidt get into the game, and how they perform.

AL Starting Lineup

  1. LF, Mike Trout (LAA)
  2. 2B, Robinson Cano (NYY)
  3. 3B, Miguel Cabrera (DET)
  4. 1B, Chris Davis (BAL)
  5. RF, Jose Bautista (TOR)
  6. DH, David Ortiz (BOS)
  7. CF, Adam Jones (BAL)
  8. C, Joe Mauer (MIN)
  9. SS, J.J. Hardy.(BAL)

Interestingly, the third-placed Orioles also get to supply one-third of the AL starting position players: but the difference is, Baltimore are ten games above .500, with a record that would be good enough for first in the NL West, by 2.5 games. Have to say, that's a scary looking line-up: frankly, you could have rolled the top eight out in the Home Run Derby last night, and they'd quite possibly have done better than the actual participants. I think the rule change which includes a DH even in National League parks probably favors them, as they can pick a "genuine" designated hitter, rather than including a modified player from another position.

Be nice to see Max Scherzer again, and I'm glad to see the kid doing well. I remember the SnakePit being enthralled by Scherzer when he first arrived, and his debut still remains one of the most unforgettable relief outings in team history. Then there's the whole dual-color eyes thing, which remains insanely cool: pretty sure he's the first All-Star starting pitcher to have differently-colored irises.

I've got a feeling that the NL pitching staff is going to struggle to keep that AL offense in check, and I think the National League's streak of success will probably come to an end, with the American League taking it be a four-run margin, something like 6-2. I predict a scoreless inning for Cobin, and Goldschmidt will get a hit, however. Be nice if Paul became the first Diamondback ever to homer in the contest, but I'm not quite calling that!

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