All-Star Game Preview
July 15, 2014
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Matchup: 2014 MLB All-Star Game
Venue: Target Field
Location: Minneapolis, MN
First pitch: Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Game Line: American League -110, National League +100
Total: Over 7.5 (+105), Under 7.5 (-125)
The top talent in Major League Baseball will head to Target Field this week for the 85th installment of the mid-summer classic. The American League halted a skid of three straight losses last year with a 3-0 victory and has now won in 13 of the past 17 years. There has been plenty more importance put on this game since 2003 when it started deciding home-field advantage for the World Series, yet even though the AL has had the advantage in eight of the 11 years, they are just 5-6 in the championship over that time.
The Over/Under for the All-Star game has been easy to predict in recent years as pitching has taken over the game and the Under has gone 6-0 since 2008. In each of the past four years, one team has scored one or fewer runs and it has shown that since the big steroid era, there are just much better pitchers and fewer batters that can hit them. So far on the year, Target Field is yielding the fourth-fewest number of home runs (1.63 HR per game) in the AL, but is considered more-or-less a neutral field due to its space in the outfield; leaving room for plenty of extra-base hits. While the Under streak will end eventually, this is not the year with some of the impressive pitching that will be on display Tuesday night.
As usual, the pitching for this game is amazing, but when looking at the rosters, the National League seems to have more firepower coming from their arms. The starters will be led by stud LHP Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 1.78 ERA) who has allowed just one run over his past five starts, spanning 41 innings. Joining him will be Tuesday's starter Adam Wainwright (12 wins, 1.83 ERA), fellow Dodger Zack Greinke, Alfredo Simon (12 wins), Henderson Alvarez and Tim Hudson. Unfortunately, Jordan Zimmermann will be out with an injury while Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Julio Teheran are all not pitching because they started on Sunday.
Aroldis Chapman (21 saves, 18.2 K/9) and Craig Kimbrel (29 saves, 14.8 K/9) lead a group of relievers that also includes Huston Street, Pat Neshek, Francisco Rodriguez, Tyler Clippard and Tony Watson. The AL took a big blow with the losses of Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) and David Price (inactive), but will still have tremendous starters including Tuesday starter Felix Hernandez (11 wins, 2.12 ERA), Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir, Mark Buehrle and final vote winner Chris Sale. Joining them out of the bullpen will be Greg Holland (25 saves), Sean Doolittle, Glen Perkins, Fernando Rodney, Dellin Betances and Koji Uehara, who replaced Tanaka on the roster. Overall the NL has more top-line pitchers and they have the advantage in that regard for this contest.
The AL’s offense is led by arguably the two best hitters in the world, OF Mike Trout and 3B Miguel Cabrera, who have gone one-two in MVP voting in each of the past two seasons. Trout (.310 BA) ranks fourth in the league in home runs (22) while putting up an impressive 73 RBI (T-3rd in MLB) and the second-best OPS (1.005) among all players. Cabrera (.306 BA) currently leads the majors with 75 RBI and has the most doubles (34) in the AL, but has not enjoyed as many homers with only 14 on the year.
Joining them in the starting lineup is one of the hottest hitters in the league this season, OF Nelson Cruz, who is currently second in MLB with 28 homers and 74 RBI. Robinson Cano will once again be starting at the second-base position and has made a seamless transition to the Mariners as he has put up the fourth-best average (.334 BA) in baseball while coming into this game on an eight-game hitting streak where he has gone 14-for-28 with a homer and 6 RBI. SS Derek Jeter will be playing in his 14th All-Star game and has gone 11-for-25 (.440) with a homer and 3 RBI in that time.
The reserves for the AL are stacked as well with 1B Jose Abreu (MLB-high 29 HR), 2B Jose Altuve (league-leading 130 hits) and OF Michael Brantley (.322, 15 HR, 63 RBI) as the big highlights.
The NL will be led by reigning National League MVP OF Andrew McCutchen and power-hitting SS Troy Tulowitzki. McCutchen is extremely impressive on offense and ranks in the top-10 of the league in hits (115), doubles (28) and batting average (.324) while adding both power (17 HR) and speed (15 SB). Tulo has the top average in baseball (.345 BA) and ranks first among all shortstops with 21 homers. 1B Paul Goldschmidt (.308 BA) is having another tremendous year as he leads the league with 36 two-baggers, and he will be joined in the infield by 2B Chase Utley (.293 BA) who has the most All-Star appearances on the NL club with six.
Joining McCutchen in the outfield will be two of the game's most exciting young players in Yasiel Puig (.309 BA, 12 HR, 52 RBI) and Carlos Gomez (.304 BA, 14 HR, 48 RBI). Missing from the roster will be veteran C Yadier Molina (thumb), who will be replaced by Jonathan Lucroy (.315 BA). Eight of the 13 reserves for the NL are first-time participants in this game, and the inexperience may cause some problems as the game goes on.
2014 MLB All-Star Game Rosters
American League Starters
C Matt Wieters - I Baltimore Orioles
1B Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers
2B Robinson Cano Seattle Mariners
SS Derek Jeter New York Yankees
3B Josh Donaldson Oakland Athletics
DH Nelson Cruz Baltimore Orioles
OF Adam Jones Baltimore Orioles
OF Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels
OF Jose Bautista Toronto Blue Jays
C Derek Norris Oakland Athletics
C Kurt Suzuki Minnesota Twins
C Salvador Perez Kansas City Royals
1B Jose Abreu Chicago White Sox
1B Edwin Encarnacion - I Toronto Blue Jays
1B Brandon Moss Oakland Athletics
2B Jose Altuve Houston Astros
3B Adrian Beltre Texas Rangers
SS Alexei Ramirez Chicago White Sox
OF Alex Gordon - I Kansas City Royals
OF Michael Brantley Cleveland Indians
OF Yoenis Cespedes Oakland Athletics
DH Victor Martinez Detroit Tigers
SS Erick Aybar Los Angeles Angels
3B Kyle Seager Seattle Mariners
SP Mark Buehrle Toronto Blue Jays
SP Yu Darvish Texas Rangers
SP Felix Hernandez Seattle Mariners
SP Scott Kazmir Oakland Athletics
SP Jon Lester Boston Red Sox
SP David Price Tampa Bay Rays
SP Max Scherzer Detroit Tigers
SP Masahiro Tanaka - I New York Yankees
RP Dellin Betances New York Yankees
RP Sean Doolittle Oakland Athletics
RP Greg Holland Kansas City Royals
RP Glen Perkins Minnesota Twins
RP Koji Uehara Boston Red Sox
SP Chris Sale Chicago White Sox
National League Starters
C Jonathan Lucroy Milwaukee Brewers
C Yadier Molina - I St. Louis Cardinals
1B Paul Goldschmidt Arizona Diamondbacks
2B Chase Utley Philadelphia Phillies
SS Troy Tulowitzki Colorado Rockies
3B Aramis Ramirez Milwaukee Brewers
OF Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates
OF Carlos Gomez Milwaukee Brewers
OF Yasiel Puig Los Angeles Dodgers
C Miguel Montero Arizona Diamondbacks
C Devin Mesoraco Cincinnati Reds
1B Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves
2B Dee Gordon Los Angeles Dodgers
2B Daniel Murphy New York Mets
SS Starlin Castro Chicago Cubs
3B Matt Carpenter St. Louis Cardinals
3B Todd Frazier Cincinnati Reds
OF Charlie Blackmon Colorado Rockies
OF Josh Harrison Pittsburgh Pirates
OF Hunter Pence San Francisco Giants
OF Giancarlo Stanton Miami Marlins
1B Anthony Rizzo Chicago Cubs
SP Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants
SP Johnny Cueto Cincinnati Reds
SP Zack Greinke Los Angeles Dodgers
SP Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers
SP Tyson Ross San Diego Padres
SP NP-Jeff Samardzija Chicago Cubs/Oakland
SP Julio Teheran Atlanta Braves
SP Adam Wainwright St. Louis Cardinals
SP Jordan Zimmerman Washington Nationals
RP Aroldis Chapman Cincinnati Reds
RP Craig Kimbrel Atlanta Braves
RP Pat Neshek St. Louis Cardinals
RP Francisco Rodriguez Milwaukee Brewers
RP Tony Watson Pittsburgh Pirates
NP - Will not pitch in All-Star game
I - Injured and will not play
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