There’s some added excitement in the air for ball fans with the 82nd annual Major League Baseball all-star game, known as the Midsummer Classic, is set for Chase Filed in Phoenix, Arizona on July 12th. The American League squad will be managed by Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers while the National Leaguers will be skippered by Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants
There are 34 players making their first appearance in an all-star game this year, so we could see some of them trying to impress their fellow players and the fans. The game actually means something as well since the winning league will get the home-field advantage in this fall’s World Series.
There’s a new twist to the game this summer as AL captain David Ortiz and NL captain Prince Fielder chose the rest of their teammates after the fan voting had been completed. Fielder chose Rickie Weeks, his teammate with Milwaukee as well as Matt Holliday of St. Louis and Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ortiz selected his Boston Red Sox teammate Adrian Gonzalez as well as The Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista and Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees.
The NL has Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay (11-3, 2.25 ERA), last year’s Cy Young winner, pitching for them while fellow right-hander Jered Weaver (11-4, 1.86 ERA) of the Los Angeles Angels will get the start for the AL.
The NL won 3-1 last year, their first win since back in 2002 when the game ended in a 7-7 tie. The rules were changed after that, giving the winner of the all-star game home advantage in the playoffs. But in reality, it was their first win since 1997 and the NL is 2-17-2 over the past 20 all-star games.
While the AL has been dominating in the win column, the scores have been pretty close in the last six years with all games being won by two runs or less. The overall record is 41 wins for the NL, 38 for the AL and two ties.
As usual several players pulled out of the game on both sides. However, the AL might have suffered more. Jose Reyes, Ryan Braun, and Shane Victorino were no-shows for the NL with pitchers Felix Hernandez, David Price, C.C. Sabathia, James Shields, and Justin Verlander all skipping the game for the AL. Michael Pineda, Ricky Romero, and Alexi Ogando were all added as late replacement pitchers for the AL.
The NL still has some power with Joey Votto, Troy Tulowitzki, and Fielder in the lineup while the AL boasts Toronto’s Bautista who leads MLB with 31 home runs at the all-star break. Along with Halladay, the NL also has some excellent pitchers in Cliff Lee, Clayton Kershaw, and Tim Lincecum.
This all-star series is about as close as it gets in both wins and total runs scored. Sportsbook 5Dimes.com has the NL as favourites at -114 and the AL at +104, while the run line is set at NL (-1.5) +175, AL (+1.5) -210. Run line betting is very similar to spread betting in other sports. Learn about spread betting and you should understand run line betting as well.
The NL has more experienced players this time around, especially pitchers and with most of the AL’s starting rotation pulling out, look for the NL team to make it two wins in a row.
Pick: National League -114