Previewing 2018 MLB All Star Game

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Tonight in Washington, D.C. will be the 89th MLB All-Star Game being held at Nationals Park. With both the American League and National League tied at 43 wins and two ties each, this game will be a tiebreaker of sorts. Let’s preview each team’s roster:

National League

Starting Lineup

  1. Javier Baez-2B, Chicago Cubs
  2. Nolan Arenado-3B, Colorado Rockies
  3. Paul Goldschmidt-DH, Arizona Diamondbacks
  4. Freddie Freeman-1B, Atlanta Braves
  5. Matt Kemp-LF, Los Angeles Dodgers
  6. Bryce Harper-CF, Washington Nationals
  7. Nick Markakis-RF, Atlanta Braves
  8. Brandon Crawford-SS, San Francisco Giants
  9. Willson Contreras-C, Chicago Cubs

SP: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

This is a very good lineup as there is power from every hole, but the hardest part will be facing the very top of the lineup as Baez, Arenado, and Goldschmidt are very powerful and have the advantage over Chris Sale (the American League starting pitcher). The middle part with Freeman, Kemp, and Harper is very difficult, but with Chris Sale on the mound for the AL, the AL holds that advantage. The bottom part with Markakis, Crawford, and Contreras is at a disadvantage if they face Sale as well, but Contreras might be the hardest batter to face in that part of the lineup. Expect Scherzer to throw a lot of gas especially in front of his home crowd.

Reserves

Position Players

Yadier Molina-C, St. Louis Cardinals

Buster Posey-C, San Francisco Giants

J.T. Realmuto-C, Miami Marlins

Jesus Aguilar-1B, Milwaukee Brewers

Joey Votto-1B, Cincinnati Reds

Ozzie Albies-2B, Atlanta Braves

Scooter Gennett-2B, Cincinnati Reds

Eugenio Suarez-3B, Cincinnati Reds

Trevor Story-SS, Colorado Rockies

Charlie Blackmon-OF, Colorado Rockies

Lorenzo Cain-OF, Milwaukee Brewers

Christian Yelich-OF, Milwaukee Brewers

A lot of first time players here, but this is also a very stacked bench. The three catchers are in the top five of the best in the entire MLB. The Reds also sent three of their most productive bats in Gennett, Votto, and Suarez and you can see them being used strategically (Suarez especially as he could be used as a pinch hitter with runners in scoring position). Cain and Yelich could be used as late defensive replacements, but if the game goes into extra innings, they are productive bats. Aguilar, Blackmon, and Story will like be early replacements in the game and Albies could be used as a pinch runner.

Pitchers

Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks

Jacob deGrom, New York Mets

Sean Doolittle, Washington Nationals

Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta Braves

Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks

Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers

Brad Hand, San Diego Padres

Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers

Jeremy Jeffress, Milwaukee Brewers

Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs

Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals

Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies

Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers

Felipe Vazquez, Pittsburgh Pirates

The bullpen for this squad is very good, but there are a lot of underrated players in here like Ross Stripling and Mike Foltynewicz. Nola and Mikolas have come out of nowhere and have been very good. Josh Hader has been the talk of baseball as he has been practically unhittable. Kenley Jansen is no doubt the best closer in baseball, but he will have some help from Brad Hand, Sean Doolittle, and Jeremy Jeffress. The rest of the pitchers are having outstanding seasons, but expect Lester to come in either early or late in the contest. Greinke could come in after Scherzer so look out for that.

 

American League

Starting Lineup

  1. Mookie Betts-RF, Boston Red Sox
  2. Jose Altuve-2B, Houston Astros
  3. Mike Trout-CF, Los Angeles Angels
  4. J.D. Martinez-DH, Boston Red Sox
  5. Jose Ramirez-3B, Cleveland Indians
  6. Aaron Judge-LF, New York Yankees
  7. Manny Machado-SS, Baltimore Orioles
  8. Jose Abreu-1B, Chicago White Sox
  9. Salvador Perez-C, Kansas City Royals (playing in place of injured Tampa Bay Rays’ Wilson Ramos)

SP: Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

This lineup is absolutely scary. There are no easy outs here, but a lack of a left handed bat could be troublesome. Ramirez can hit from the left side as he is a switch hitter, but the rest are right handed hitters. However, this lineup is so good that Jose Abreu, normally a third hole or cleanup hitter, is hitting eighth. Sale is undoubtedly the best pitcher in the AL, but with such a violent delivery, a lot of the NL’s lineup will be on their toes even if they have the advantage with their first three hitters of the game.

Reserves

Position Players

Yan Gomes-C, Cleveland Indians

Mitch Moreland-1B, Boston Red Sox

Jed Lowrie-2B, Oakland Athletics

Gleyber Torres-2B New York Yankees

Alex Bregman-3B, Houston Astros

Francisco Lindor-SS, Cleveland Indians

Jean Segura-SS, Seattle Mariners

Michael Brantley-OF, Cleveland Indians

Shin-Soo Choo-OF, Texas Rangers

Mitch Haniger-OF, Seattle Mariners

George Springer-OF, Houston Astros

Nelson Cruz-DH, Seattle Mariners

This will be an interesting bench for the AL as they only have one back up catcher (Gomes) and one backup first baseman (Moreland). The infield is pretty versatile like Jed Lowrie and plus they have a lot of good bats who are outfielders, but the lack of another first baseman or catcher could be concerning. Expect Nelson Cruz to be used as a pinch hitter if the AL is down or tied.

Pitchers

Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians

Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees

Gerritt Cole, Houston Astros

Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners

J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays

Joe Jimenez, Detroit Tigers

Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox

Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians

Charlie Morton, Houston Astros

Luis Severino, New York Yankees

Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays

Blake Treinen, Oakland Athletics

Justin Verlander, Houston Astros

This is where the AL has the biggest advantage as their bullpen is exceptional. Even though it’s mostly comprised of starting pitchers, they can come in and be lights out. Heck, Morton has had experience coming out of the bullpen as if the game goes into extras, he can be used for many innings. Edwin Diaz and Aroldis Chapman will likely be the setup and close for this team respectively as they throw absolute gas and are hard to keep up with, but Treinen is a crafty pitcher himself and could be used strategically too. Also expect Corey Kluber to come out of the bullpen after Chris Sale is done.

Predictions

James Rowe: American League victory. While the game does not count, this should be a fun one to watch.

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