Who will win the MLB All-Star game and who will be MVP? [Poll] [Updated]
Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss Major League Baseball's All-Star game, which takes place Tuesday in Phoenix. Check back throughout the day for more responses and participate in the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
You have to go back to 1986-88 to find the last three All-Star Games with alternating winners. For whatever reason, the leagues tend to get on rolls. The NL last year snapped the AL’s 13-game unbeaten streak, so let’s figure it’s due to go on a run of its own and win back-to-back games for the first time since 1994-96.
As to who might prominently figure in the outcome, the starters generally are out well before the game is decided. Any number of reserves could determine the World Series home-field advantage. With the exception of the pitcher, who is in a better position to impact the game than the catcher?
My MVP pick is Arizona's Miguel Montero, a late addition for the injured Shane Victorino. Look for the strong-armed Montero in his first All-Star game to throw out a would-be base-stealer and deliver the game’s key hit.
Don't blink, or you might miss the All-Star Game. Two prevailing trends suggest a 3-1 victory by the National League in this, the Year of the Pitcher II. Scoring is down across the board, which is likely to eliminate the big inning. And the talent drain of the game has been extreme, with 17 players eliminated either through the game's pitching rules, injuries or indifference (see Ramirez, Aramis).
I'm picking my winner based on the league that has suffered the heaviest losses. That's the AL, specifically its pitching staff, which is minus Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez, Jon Lester, David Price, James Shields and Mariano Rivera. The NL has all its pitchers except Matt Cain and Cole Hamels, and that's a big advantage for Bruce Bochy over Ron Washington, who will be nagged all night by the question of why he picked Aaron Crow for his team.
[Updated at 9:54 a.m.:
Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times
Tuesday’s All-Star Game will be unique in the fact that it won’t be a test of which league is the strongest so much as it will determine which league is the deepest.
At last count 16 players selected to the American and National league rosters won’t be in Phoenix. And some of those who will be there are replacements for replacements. So it’s any guess how this will play out when -– or if -– the dust eventually settles.
But while both teams have some excellent pitchers left, this is generally a hitters’ game and the bulk of the power remaining is on the American League side. So I like the AL to win, with fan favorite Jose Bautista leading the way.]
[Updated at 11:55 a.m.:
Tom Housenick, Allentown Morning Call
Let me get this right: CC Sabathia makes the American League All-Star team Sunday, but is replaced because of MLB rules for pitchers who throw on Sunday. Jon Lester makes the AL All-Star team Sunday, but he's on the disabled list, so he is replaced. No Derek Jeter. No A-Rod. No Albert Pujols. No Ichiro. No Cole Hamels. No Justin Verlander. No King Felix.
And I'm supposed to care who wins Tuesday’s All-Star Game?
Sadly, World Series home-field advantage may come down to a battle between Kevin Correia and Jhonny Peralta. Baseball's midsummer classic needs revamping, including reducing the fans' input, eliminating the game's value (winning league gets World Series home-field advantage) and shrinking the rosters.
Remember how embarrassing the tie game was in 2002? This year's game is a joke and it hasn’t been played yet.
Winner: National League.
MVP: Matt Kemp.
But, don't wake me to tell me.]
Photo: Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire