After years of the MLB All-Star game being dominated by pitching we could see a turning of the tide Tuesday night at Chase Field in Phoenix. At least that’s what the numbers say.
The American League
starting lineup alone has combined for over 150 home runs this season while
three of the top five run producers in the majors will be in the National
League starting lineup. Every starter on both teams except one has reached
double digits in round-trippers this season.
You’ve got players
with awesome power like Jose Bautista and players with power and speed like Matt Kemp. There is for
the first time in several years an equal amount of offensive firepower on both
teams in the MLB All Star game . With all due respect to any and all MLB pitchers who toe the rubber in
Phoenix Tuesday night, this is the year the hitters get their revenge.
Led by Toronto’s
Jose Bautista, this is one of the most powerful AL teams ever assembled.
Bautista has become
one of the most feared hitters in the game. He hit 54 home runs in 2010 and had
31 entering Sunday’s action. He’s also hitting .332 with 62 runs batted in.
Joining Bautista in
the starting outfield are the Yankees Curtis Granderson and Josh Hamilton of
the Rangers. On a New York team laden with big names, Granderson has been among
the biggest Bronx Bombers hitting 25 home runs while driving in 63 runs.
Hamilton has been a force since returning from a broken arm hitting .304 with
11 home runs and 49 RBI’s. The three players have a combined 67 homers and 174
runs batted in this season.
The AL infield
is one of the best in recent memory.
Gonzalez has been better than advertised since coming over from San Diego. The
Red Sox first baseman leads the league in hitting (.354) and RBI’s (77) and is
second on the team in home runs with 17. NY second baseman Robinson Cano who
like Granderson is overshadowed by Derek Jeter and A-Rod, has hit 15 homers and
knocked in 56 runs. Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera has 14 homers and 51 RBI’s and is an upgrade
offensively from Jeter while Adrian Beltre of the Rangers who will replace Alex
Rodriguez at third base has 18 homers and 69
DH David Ortiz is
batting .304 with 19 homers and 52 runs batted in while starting catcher Alex Avila has 10 homeruns.
The Senior Circuit
suffered an offensive hit with the announcement that Ryan Braun of the Brewers
would miss the game with a leg injury. Braun is hitting .320 with 16 home runs
and 62 runs batted in and will be replaced by the Pirates Andrew McCutchen.
The remainder of the NL starting squad
should have no problem picking up the slack in Braun’s absence.
NL infield: First baseman Prince Fielder is fourth in baseball
with 22 home runs and second in RBI’s with 72. It’s just my opinion and nothing
more but I believe Fielder has passed Albert Pujols as the top 1B in the
league. Fielder’s home run derby partner and Milwaukee second baseman Richie
Weeks has 17 HR’s and 65 RBI’s, Colorado SS Troy Tulowitzki has 17 and 44 while
Phillies 3B Placido Polanco with 4 homers and 39 runs batted in. For the most
part the fans did a nice job with the All-Star voting this year but struck out
big time with the Polanco selection.
NL Outfield: Matt Kemp, aka “The Bison” is a first-time All-Star
and could be the surprise MVP. Kemp is hitting .317 with 22 homers, 26 stolen
bases and 66 runs batted in all of this while playing on a terrible Dodgers
team. Lance Berkman of the Cards has surprised everyone with 24 home runs and a
Catcher Brian McCann of Atlanta had the
game winning hit last year for the NL team and is having another killer season
for the Braves with a .312 average and 15 home runs.
history shows that the ‘under’ has cashed
to the tune of 4-0-1 in the past five games. But when you look at the offensive
statistics for both of these teams it’s tough to imagine this year’s game not
soaring over the total.