Usually good pitching wins the All Star Game, but with so many pitchers on the rosters, who should we expect to see on the mound, and how will this effect the outcome.
To say the American League has ‘owned’
the mid-summer classic would rank right up there with history’s classic
understatements. MLB Statistics show that they had won 13 straight games before losing to the National
League 3-1 in Anaheim.
The AL All-Stars are favored again in this year's MLB All-Star Game this
year drawing an opening number of -120 with the total at 8 on the MLB odds boards. Pregame coverage
begins at 8:00 PM ET on Fox with first-pitch scheduled for the 8:30.
Who do you like?
There’s a strong case to be made for the
American League which has got the superior offense lead by major league home
run leader Jose Bautista who has 28 home runs. Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz,
Josh Hamilton and Curtis Granderson can all mash. Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre
and Michael Young are all capable reserves.
Jose Bautista also is the current betting odds favorite in this year's Home Run Derby, listed at 3/1 with Bodog.
No matter how talented the AL hitters
are, it’s going to be a chore trying to get much going against an NL pitching
staff headed Roy Halladay, MLB strikeout leader Clayton Kershaw, 12-game winner
Jair Jurrjens, and Tim Lincecum.
The safe play in recent years has been
the ‘under’ which is 4-0-1 in the past five years and that’s still my preferred
choice. While the NL rates a slight edge on the hill, the AL staff can more
than hold its own with the likes of CC Sabathia, Jerod Weaver and Justin
Verlander throwing them down.
The All-Star game has become known for
its last minute replacements making it even tougher to handicap. Some players
have legitimate injuries that keep them out of the game while others simply
would prefer the time off to another game and all that goes with it.
The Yankees Derek Jeter is a prime
example of a player who is just worn out. The pressure of chasing 3,000 and all
of the stuff that surrounds including the immense media coverage has taken its
toll on the Yankees captain who decided to skip the game. In his case he
deserves a pass.
In case you missed it the first time
around here are the respective starting lineups. The asterisk indicates a
player who will be out due to injury or illness.
C- Alex Avilla, Detroit Tigers
1B- Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox
2B- Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
SS- *Derek Jeter, New York
3B- *Alex Rodriguez, New York
OF- Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
OF- Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees
OF- Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
DH- David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
With both Jeter and A-Rod (knee) opting
to rest, it appears that Asdrubal Cabrera (Indians) and Adrian Beltre (Rangers)
will take their spots in the lineup.
C- Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves
1B- Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
2B- Richie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers
SS- *Jose Reyes, New York Mets
3B- Placido Polanco, Philadelphia
OF- Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
OF- Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals
OF- Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
Either Cubs rookie Starlin Castro or
Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies will replace Reyes.
Following the embarrassing tie game in
2002 when both teams ran out of pitchers, baseball has swung back the other way
and now has too many pitchers. Half the guys on each roster won’t play and most
will never see the bullpen but at least they’re on hand if needed.
The best way to gauge which pitchers
you’ll see in action on Tuesday is actually pretty simple. If they pitched on
Thursday you’ll probably see them for an inning or two. If they worked any
later in the week the chances grow slimmer that they’ll even warm-up. With five
All-Star starting pitchers scheduled to work Sunday that means five additional
pitchers will be named. Any pitcher who works on Sunday is ineligible to play
in the game.
Let me count the ways
The way the rosters are assembled has
also become a watered down process. There’s the fan vote, the players vote, the
coaches vote and if you still haven’t made the team, there’s the ever popular
internet vote to determine the final roster spot. This year Paul Konerko won
point and click honors for the AL with Shane Victorino in the NL. However
Victorino was placed on the disabled list Friday and will be replaced on the NL
squad by Phoenix native Andre Ethier of the Dodgers.
I’ve got two solid
arguments to make for both teams starting with the American League offense and
the National League pitching. Usually good pitching wins out and if that axiom
holds true this year, the NL could make it back-to-back wins.