The best of the best are gathered in San Diego this week for the 87th All-Star Game on Tuesday. The American League has dominated the annual event of late with wins in three straight and 15 of the last 19, but still trails the all-time series 43-41-2.
The AL squad is led by six members of the Boston Red Sox, including designated hitter David Ortiz – who is making his 10th and final appearance in the Midsummer Classic before retiring at the end of the season. Ortiz was voted as a starter and is not closing down his career quietly while surging into the break hitting .332 with 22 home runs and 72 RBIs to anchor a roster that features former MVPs Miguel Cabrera and Josh Donaldson along with the major’s home run leader (Baltimore’s Mark Trumbo, 28) all coming off the bench. Ortiz is one of five Boston players in the game originally signed or drafted by former general manager Theo Epstein, whose imprint is all over both rosters with seven members of his current club, the Chicago Cubs, making the trip to San Diego. The Cubs are the first team since the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals to have all four of their starting infielders – third baseman Kris Bryant, shortstop Addison Russell, second baseman Ben Zobrist and first baseman Anthony Rizzo – voted in by the fans as starters.READ MORE: UPDATE: Barricade Situation In Prince George's County Resolved Safely
PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants RH Johnny Cueto (13-1, 2.47 ERA) vs. White Sox LH Chris Sale (14-3, 3.38)
Cueto gets the nod for the National League with ERA leader Clayton Kershaw (1.79) out with a back injury, Stephen Strasburg (12-0) electing to rest and Madison Bumgarner (10-4, 1.94 ERA) unavailable after coming within five outs of a no-hitter on Sunday. Cueto won his last 10 decisions and is a big reason San Francisco is rolling into the break with the best record in the majors. NL manager Terry Collins lost the option of using his own guy, flamethrower Noah Syndergaard, when he went down with arm fatigue on Friday but will have ageless wonder Bartolo Colon and closer Jeurys Familia available from the New York staff.
Sale leads the majors in wins but was ripped for eight runs in a loss to Atlanta on Friday and only figures to go two innings, leaving a roster packed with hard-throwing relievers to close out the contest. Kansas City manager Ned Yost has starters Cole Hamels, Steven Wright, Corey Kluber and Jose Quintana available but can shorten any game with shutdown arms like New York’s Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, Baltimore’s Brad Brach and Zach Britton, Tampa Bay’s Alex Colome, Houston’s Will Harris or his own Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera.
WALK-OFFSREAD MORE: Surveillance Video Shows Response After Four Children Shot In East Baltimore; Governor Criticizes Justice System As ‘Broken’ Amid Spike In Violence
1. Marlins OF Marcell Ozuna and Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez will replace Chicago’s Dexter Fowler (hamstring) and New York’s Yoenis Cespedes (quad) in the NL starting outfield.
2. Toronto OF Michael Saunders and San Francisco 1B Brandon Belt were voted in by the fans on the Final Vote.
3. Ortiz has one career home run in All-Star Game play – in his first appearance in 2004.
PREDICTION: American League 6, National League 2MORE NEWS: For The Third Day In A Row, Some Baltimore City Schools Were Forced To Dismiss Early Due To Lack Of Air Conditioning
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FOX