The standouts and stars of the future have played. The home runs have been hit, and the celebrities have a weird notion that they belong in uniform on a baseball field. Now, the focus shifts to the main event—Tuesday night’s All-Star Game from CitiField in Queens, New York’s Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
As always, the managers for the Midsummer Classic represent the previous year’s World Series participants, meaning we have Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers and Bruce Bochy from the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
In their Monday press conference, it was announced that the starting pitchers for both clubs were the Tigers’ Max Scherzer and the Mets’ Matt Harvey. Scherzer recently was undefeated for the season with a 13-0 record before the division rival Cleveland Indians put him in the loss column for the first time in 2013. Harvey has been one of the surprises of the 2013 regular season with a 7-2 record as well as a 2.35 earned run average.
The decision to have Harvey start for the Senior Circuit is not motivated by the fact that Harvey would be pitching in his own stadium, at least if you ask the National League’s skipper. The Los Angeles’ Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw doesn’t believe it. He said to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that he does think Harvey is starting because of the fact that the game is in his home stadium and that it hurt him.
Kershaw is 8-6 with an earned run average of less than two. He is also closing in on 140 strikeouts for the season and less than 40 walks. One has to think that even with Dodgers and Giants still on the same team, the rivalry still continues to an extent.
With the starters themselves being announced recently, the starting lineups for the All-Star Game were also announced in the Monday press conference.
They are, for the “visiting” American League…
- Mike Trout (CF—Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
- Robinson Cano (2B—New York Yankees)
- Miguel Cabrera (3B—Detroit Tigers)
- Chris Davis (1B—Baltimore Orioles)
- Jose Bautista (LF—Toronto Blue Jays)
- David Ortiz (DH—Boston Red Sox)
- Adam Jones (RF—Baltimore Orioles)
- Joe Mauer (C—Minnesota Twins)
- J.J. Hardy (SS—Baltimore Orioles)
And for the “home” National League….
- Brandon Phillips (2B—Cincinnati Reds)
- Carlos Beltran (RF—St. Louis Cardinals)
- Joey Votto (1B—Cincinnati Reds)
- David Wright (3B—New York Mets)
- Carlos Gonzalez (LF—Colorado Rockies)
- Yadier Molina (C—St. Louis Cardinals)
- Troy Tulowitzki (SS—Colorado Rockies)
- Michael Cuddyer (DH—Colorado Rockies)
- Bryce Harper (SS—Washington Nationals)
A traditionalist baseball fan who may not have been following the news very closely over the past few years is asking one burning question about the lineups: Why is there a designated hitter in both lineups, despite the fact that the All-Star Game this year is in a National League Stadium?
It turns out that Major League Baseball decided to go full-time with the designated hitter in the All-Star Game starting in 2010. Ironically, that year, the All-Star Game emanated from an American League park—Angels Stadium in Anaheim. Ever since then, now that interleague play is now year-round as opposed to simply being something relegated to the months of June and July, the topic of the designated hitter being extended full time into the National League has become one of hot debate.
It looks as though these games recently have been low scoring and dominated by pitching. This is only fitting since we’re in an era of Major League Baseball where pitching has obtained the upper hand over the hitters. How that has happened is anyone’s guess and is always up for debate. With this year’s matchup taking place from the Pitchers’ Paradise known as Citi Field, This year will likely be no different.
Traditionally, All-Star Games have featured periods in time where one league has experienced a streak of extended success over the other. From 1933 to 1949, the American League were victorious in 12 of the 16 Midsummer Classics held. In 1945, the All-Star Game was not held due to World War II and the fact that several players had enlisted.
From 1950 all the way until 1987, the All-Star Game might as well have adopted the nickname “Senior Circuit Invitational”. The National League won 29 of the 38 All-Star Games that took place in that period and only tied in one—in 1961 when the game was at Fenway Park. This also includes a period from 1963 until 1982 where they won 19 of 20 Games.
Since 1987, the American League would win the next six straight games before they fell 8-7 in 10 innings in 1994 when the game took place in Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium. That season, of course, turned out to be strike shortened with no World Series being played.
From 1997 until 2009, the American League got “streaky” themselves again. 12 of the 13 All-Star Games played from ’97 in Cleveland’s Jacobs/Progressive Field to ’09 in St. Louis’ New Busch Stadium were won by the Senior Circuit. The exception to this was, of course, the 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee’s Miller Park which ended in a 7-7 tie when both managers (the AL’s Joe Torre and the NL’s Bob Brenly) ran out of players. This then led to the questionable idea of the All-Star Game counting for home field advantage.
The National League broke their streak of losses in 2010 in Anaheim and have won the last two All-Star Games since—in 2011 in Phoenix and 2012 in Kansas City.
Since these things seem to have a similar theme to them, I shall stick with the National League continuing their growing trend of All-Star supremacy and winning tonight. It’ll likely be low scoring in a low scoring park which undoubtedly favors the Senior Circuit even though they’re playing under American League rules with the DH.
MVP—the Cincinnati Reds’ Brandon Phillips.
See you back here tonight on Section 215 for a full recap and breakdown of the 2013 All-Star Game!
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