Since I attended last year’s MLB All-Star Game in Minneapolis, and wrote a preview, I figured I’d keep the tradition going. While I won’t be in Cincinnati for the game, I am writing a preview.
This is always a fun game, with all the star power and excitement behind it. However, it does mean something. The winner gets home-field advantage in the World Series, which is huge, though it didn’t matter last year. I love the idea, and always have. It makes it watchable, in my opinion. If there weren’t the stakes behind it, I wouldn’t write a preview.
Last year, I picked the AL to win, which they did. That experience was unbelievable at Target Field, and I’ll never forget it.
This year, I hope to make that right pick again. Let’s dive into each roster first.
NL Starting Pitcher: Zach Grienke
The NL is loaded with power. Everyone on that roster has the potential to launch a ball. As we saw last night, the ball flies in Great American Ballpark. It’s the best hitting park in the league. The NL will have to rely on the long ball, since they don’t posses many gap guys on the starting lineup. However, off the bench, there’s more situational guys. Guys who can get that double or single that brings in two runs with two outs in an inning.
There’s a lot of strategy that goes into this game. The talent on the bench is just as good as on the field. Some guys will only play one or two innings. No one will play the whole game. The fun part is giving guys chances to play. That’s what this is about. Everyone dreams about playing in the All-Star Game, not just getting voted in.
Zach Grienke has been quietly phenomenal this year, and gets the nod for the NL. However, he’s got a lot of arms behind him, bullpen guys or not. If he’s in trouble, the NL can quickly recover. That though, is an unlikely event.
AL Starting Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel
It’s funny, I like the AL’s bench more than I like their starting lineup.
First, I thought Chris Sale deserved to start. It’s the All-Star Game. He’s the bigger name. No disrespect to Dallas Keuchel. He’s been phenomenal this year, and is budding into a star. The start for him will give his name a very big introduction to the casual fan.
The AL has a good balance of power and basic hitting. The AL once again has the better defensive players, thanks to the heavy presence of Kansas City Royals.
An interesting side note exists in this game, and that’s the park itself. While Great American Ballpark is a already a great place to hit, it favors lefties much more than righties, due to the way the Ohio River sits next to the ballpark. Lefties will hit toward right field, which is where the river is This’ll have an impact, and’ll favor the NL more than the AL, due to their possession of more lefty batters.
I think the AL is gonna have a tough time swinging the bat. However long Zach Greinke pitches might give them an advantage, but the NL’s staff in this game is so good. There’s so many ERA below 2.00 guys. The AL’s best hope in this game is to get in a pitcher’s duel, hope Keuchel was the right choice to start, and rely on their gap hitters. That’s a lot that has to go right.
You get the point. I’m taking the NL in this game. They have so much power, which translates very well at Great American Ballpark. The pitching staff is ridiculous; no matter who they put in will shut the AL down, at least from a power standpoint. The AL has too much against them, offensively and defensively. I hate the lineup, and am not thrilled by Keuchel starting instead of Chris Sale (though he will pitch tonight.).
This game is always fun. I love watching it. It was great in-person last year. Keep in mind, this is for home-field advantage in the World Series. This game is a big deal. Most people aren’t fond of the whole home-field advantage thing. I think it adds an element that no other sports have. It makes it mean something.
Prediction: NL-7 AL-2