National League at American League (-131, 8.5)
The busiest guys in the building at the MLB Midsummer Classic might just be the play-by-play announcers.
Forget for a moment that the game decides home-field advantage in the World Series, because the two managers are often more concerned about getting everybody in the game than anything else. Still, most starters usually stick around for the first few innings before all the double and triple switches begin.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at both starting lineups to see who has the edge.
AL – Mike Napoli, Texas Rangers
NL – Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
No contest here. Napoli is hitting just .233 with 12 homers and 30 RBIs and only got a spot on the team because everyone hates A.J. Pierzynski. Posey is having a great bounce-back year with a .295 average, 10 homers and 43 RBIs.
AL – Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers
NL – Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Votto’s nursing a sore knee and may not be able to start, but if he does, that gives the NL the edge. He’s hitting .345 with 14 homers and 50 RBI, although Fielder’s .298 batting average and 58 RBI are pretty solid.
Edge: NLSecond base:
AL – Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
NL – Dan Uggla, Atlanta Braves
Cano carried the Yanks for the entire month of June and is hitting .316 with 20 homers and 50 RBIs. Meanwhile, Uggla’s batting just .225.
AL – Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
NL – Rafael Furcal, St. Louis Cardinals
Hard to argue against Jeter. He just passed Cal Ripken on the all-time hits list for a shortstop and is hitting over .300 with seven homers at 38 years of age.
Edge: ALThird base:
AL – Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers
NL – Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants
Let’s get past the fact that David Wright and not Kung Fu Panda should be starting for the NL – it’s a popularity contest after all. Beltre’s having a heck of a year with 14 homers, 53 RBIs and a .325 batting average.
AL – Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers, Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees, Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays.
NL – Melky Cabrera, San Francisco Giants, Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals, Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
Even if Matt Kemp was healthy after being voted a starter, the AL still has the edge with all that power. The NL will likely put Braun or possibly Carlos Gonzalez in the outfield to fill Kemp’s spot.
Edge: ALStarting pitching:
The managers haven’t announced their starters yet, but it this already looks too close to call. Jered Weaver seems like the best bet to start for the AL, but the NL could go with knuckler R.A. Dickey, Stephen Strasburg or Matt Cain.
Again, a lot of guesswork here since most of these guys won’t seem more than an inning of work. Based on the overall quality and experience, you might lean slightly to the AL. Justin Verlander, Yu Darvish, Felix Hernadez and David Price are hard to argue against in the mid-innings.
Edge: ALReserve position players:
I love that Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout both made the AL squad, but I’m leaning toward a bit of an edge to the NL’s bench. With Gonzalez, Wright, Jay Bruce and the only two kids on the Cubs worth watching, they have a nice mix of experience and raw talent. Slight edge to the NL.
NLOverall Edge: AL