Match-Up: MLB All-Star Game

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Ah, the Major League All-Star Game is here. One of my favorite past times and the staple of Summer time sports. At least in my little world, it is.

The American League will look to extend its 13 year dominance over the National League in Anaheim. As I’m sure all of you know, the winner of the All-Star Game will grab home field advantage for the 2010 World Series. The American League’s victory last year proved to be pivot as the Yankees defeated the Phillies in six games, closing it out at home.

The managers from both defending league champions, Joe Girardi (Yankees) and Charlie Manuel (Phillies) definitely know the importance of this game. Without further a due, here’s my breakdown of the game.

Starting Pitching Edge: National League

If you are rooting for the National League, you have to feel good with your starting pitching. Colorado ace, Ubaldo Jimenez will start the game for the NL. Jimenez has been the game’s best pitcher this year, posting a 15-1 record with a 2.20 ERA. Jimenez will be back up by National League strikeout leader, Tim Lincecum and ERA leader, Josh Johnson. Roy Halladay threw a complete game on Saturday night, so I doubt he pitches in this game. Cardinals ace, Adam Wainwright rounds out this impressive starting group for the NL. Wainwright has quietly racked up 13 wins with a microscopic 2.20 ERA. I’m feeling pretty good if I’m Charlie Manuel.

The American League isn’t exactly inept at pitching. Rays lefty, David Price (12-2, 2.42 ERA) will throw the first pitch of the game. Price will be backed up by the Yankees crafty lefty, Andy Pettitte and fire baller, Justin Verlander. Jon Lester of the Red Sox will see action, as well. Alike the National League, the AL will not have one its best as CC Sabathia will sit this one out after pitching on Sunday.

Bullpen Edge: American League

The American League’s edge in the bullpen is very, very slight. The bullpen will be comprised of right-handed flame throwers. Jonathan Papelbon (Red Sox), Jose Valverde (Tigers), Joakim Sora (Royals), and lefty Neftali Feliz (Rangers) will keep hitters off-balance. However, the American League will be without the best reliever of all-time. Mariano Rivera will miss his first All-Star game in order to rest up for the second half.

The National League bullpen will also turn up the heat with NL West fire ballers Jonathan Broxton (Dodgers), Heath Bell (Padres), and Brian Wilson (Giants).

Starting Lineup: American League

When the AL’s 7,8,9 hitters are all MVP candidates, you know they are stacked. Joe Mauer (seventh), Robinson Cano (eighth), and Carl Crawford (ninth) will take their hacks against the NL’s best. The rest starting lineup consists of Ichiro Suzuki, Derek Jeter, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, and Evan Longoria. Watch. Out.

The National League will look to pack some punch in the middle of the order with perennial home run champs, Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard.

Prediction: I’m picking the American League to win, 4-3. The National League pitching is lights-out, but their lineup lacks punch outside of Pujols and Howard. Hanley Ramirez (look at my man’s cleats below), David Wright, and Ryan Braun will look to get things going, but my god, the AL lineup is scarrrrrrry.

I’m picking Miguel Cabrera to take home MVP honors.

Who do you think will win? MVP Pick?

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July Record: 5-7

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