The American League will be looking to win its fourth straight All-Star Game when it faces the National League at Petco Park on Tuesday.
The All-Star Game will be played in San Diego on Tuesday night and the winner of this game will secure home field advantage for the team that represents it in the World Series.
For the past three seasons, the American League has been the team that has earned the right to play the extra game at home. The AL won 3-0 in 2013, 5-3 in 2014 and 6-3 at Great American Ball Park last year.
Mike Trout was the guy that ended up taking home the MVP honors and it was his second year in a row earning that award. It’s also worth noting that David Price was the winning pitcher for the American League last year, but he will not be playing in this year’s game.
While the AL has won this game three years in a row, it is worth noting that the NL won three years in a row before that. The series has been pretty even in its history, as the National League has won this game 43 times and the American League has won the game 41 times.
One last thing worth noting is that last year’s game was the first time the All-Star Game went OVER in the past 10 years. It will be interesting to see if that will happen two years in a row, but clearly it is unlikely with the way these games have gone in the past.
The American League will be hoping to make it four straight All-Star Game victories on Tuesday and should have an excellent chance at doing so.
The starter to keep an eye on for the AL in this game is LHP Chris Sale (14-3, 3.38 ERA, 123 K). Sale is one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, but he has struggled a bit coming into this thing. He has allowed four or more earned runs in five of his past nine starts and will need to be better for his team on Tuesday. He will be facing some of the best hitters in the world, but won’t need to pitch that many innings.
The All-Star Game usually sees a ton of different relievers coming in to get some outs and the AL has guys like LHP Andrew Miller (5-1, 1.37 ERA, 69 K, 7 SV) and RHP Dellin Betances (2-4, 2.66 ERA, 78 K) to do just that. Both guys will be ready to pitch an inning or two in this one and if their seasons show anything, it’s that they won’t be letting their opponents do much hitting on Tuesday.
Offensively, it’s hard not to start off with OF Mike Trout (.322, 18 HR, 58 RBI). Trout has won the past two All-Star Game MVP awards and has been his usual dominant self all season. He’ll be hoping to drive in some runs in this one.
The team also features 2B Jose Altuve (.341, 14 HR, 51 RBI), DH Edwin Encarnacion (.267, 23 HR, 80 RBI), DH David Ortiz (.332, 22 HR, 72 RBI), SS Xander Bogaerts (.329, 10 HR, 56 RBI), 3B Miguel Cabrera (.293, 18 HR, 53 RBI), OF Mark Trumbo (.288, 28 HR, 68 RBI) and 1B Eric Hosmer (.299, 13 HR, 49 RBI). Every guy you’ll find in the lineups for this game can hit, but these players have been exceptional this year.
The National League will be banking on its pitching to win this matchup, as the team has guys like RHP Jake Arrieta (12-4, 2.68 ERA, 121 K), RHP Johnny Cueto (13-1, 2.47 ERA, 115 K) and RHP Jose Fernandez (11-4, 2.52 ERA, 154 K) on the roster.
All of these guys have been pitching extremely well this season and would be considered Cy Young candidates if Kershaw wasn’t around. They’ll only need to pitch an inning or two each in this one, so they should have their best stuff and be tough to hit.
Offensively, the National League will need a lot from guys like 3B Nolan Arenado (.287, 23 HR, 70 RBI), C Buster Posey (.293, 11 HR, 42 RBI), 3B Kris Bryant (.286, 25 HR, 65 RBI), 2B Daniel Murphy (.348, 17 HR, 66 RBI) and OF Bryce Harper (.256, 19 HR, 52 RBI). This lineup has a nice mix of guys that hit for power and guys that can get on base, but they likely won’t need to do as much as the AL lineup.
The NL team has far superior starting pitching and likely will not need too much run support in this one. But that could change if Arrieta does not pitch like he is capable of on Tuesday.