It’s an All-Star game, so obviously it’s tough to get a perfect read on what’s going to happen. Some people are saying the American League roster is way more impressive than that of the National League, and some think the pitching is better in the AL as well. Maybe – but I’m looking for a reason to make a pick in this game, and I think I’ve found a couple. It’s easy to just pick the AL with the old back-up – THEY HAVEN’T LOST IN 13 YEARS!!! But that’s too easy – here’s what I see in the match-ups.
Hanley Ramirez, SS Ichiro Suzuki, RF Martin Prado, 2B Derek Jeter, SS Albert Pujols, 1B Miquel Cabrera, 1B Ryan Howard, DH Josh Hamilton, CF David Wright, 3B Vladamir Guerrero, DH Ryan Braun, LF Evan Longoria, 3B Andre Ethier, CF Joe Mauer, C Corey Hart, RF Robinson Cano, 2B Yadier Molina, C Carl Crawford, LF
I have to admit, the National League has some awesome players in their order, and power roaring throughout, however, the American League line-up could start either way, from Ichiro to Crawfor or Crawford to Ichiro, and it wouldn’t lose much luster. I mean, Crawford, Cano, Mauer, Longoria is a filthy 1,2,3,4 start. But then again, so is Ichiro, Jeter, Cabrera, and Hamilton. This line-up is absolutely loaded. Coming off the bench the AL has guys who are very hot of late, like Paul Konerko, Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, Tori Hunter, and David Ortiz – to name a few. Alex Rodriguez and Vernon Wells will also get a chance to hit for the AL. I like Joey Votto, McCann, Scott Rolen, and Matt Holliday coming off the NL’s bench, but the advantage here goes to the AL.
Starting Pitching: I would say “starting pitching” but let’s be honest, it would be surprising if either starter pitched to more than 6 batters. But that being said, you have David Price starting for the AL (really good lefty) and Ubaldo Jimenez on the bump for the NL. Price kills lefties, giving up a .194 average on no home-runs in 108 chances against lefties. He’s still a stud against righties, but better against lefties. 5 of the first 6 guys he’ll face are righties, and very good ones at that. Ubaldo has been dominant against just about everyone, hence his 15-1 record, 1.05 WHIP and 2.2 ERA. However, he’s been just a little better against righties. 4 of the first 6 guys in the AL line-up are righties. It may be little, but advantage NL in the starting pitcher match-up.
Reserve Pitching: The AL has an impressive staff with CC Sabathia (though he won’t pitch), Phil Hughes, Cliff Lee, and Jon Lester (and a gaggle of very good closer types), but the NL has to get the nod here. They have a chance to throw Tim Lincecum, Adam Wainright, Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay, Yovani Gallardo, and Chris Carpenter at the AL. Every single one of those guys is absolutely lights out. The AL does have a better situation with very good righties and lefties while the NL has just two lefties on the team, both middle relievers. So maybe this one’s a toss up after all. Better names, but against the solid AL lefties (Crawford, Mauer, Ichiro, Hamilton, and Cano to name a few) might give the NL relievers trouble…
Luck: Obviously the AL has a nice lucky streak going. The NL hasn’t won in 13 straight All-Star games, and most of them have been close. In a game that is very much mental, you have to give that one to the AL!
While the NL isn’t getting near enough credit, I still have to bet against them. The fact that the NL has just two lefty pitchers is too much for me to ignore, and that alone makes me give the AL the nod.
TAKE THE AMERICAN LEAGUE!!!