The American League and National League meet up in the 82nd Major League All-Star Game Tuesday night at Chase Field
American League vs National League
The American League had its 12-game win streak in the Midsummer Classic snapped last season in a 3-1 defeat at Angel Stadium. It marked the first time that the Senior Circuit enjoyed home-field advantage in the World Series since the start of determining the Fall Classic host in 2003. “Home field can be a very important component in winning the world championship,” commented Angels starter Jered Weaver. “So I think it’s a great thing for the best players in the world to go out there and compete.” The AL squad definitely has some new faces to acclimate to the pressure of the contest, as 18 players are getting their first experience of All-Star action. Power is plentiful up and down this lineup, as Home Run Derby champ Robinson Cano from the Yankees is batting eighth.
Weaver gets the starting nod for the Junior Circuit by finishing the first half of the season with a dominating 11-4 record and 1.86 ERA. The right-hander comes in off consecutive home victories over the Dodgers and Mariners, giving up just two runs and 10 hits over 17 innings in that span. “I’ve never competed against a more competitive pitcher and a pitcher who will do anything it takes to make sure that he keeps his team in a ball game,” said American League manager Ron Washington. Weaver began the season with a 0.99 ERA in his first six starts and enters with a 5-0 record and 1.27 ERA in his last nine outings.
The National League is loaded with quality arms and will likely capture this contest due to Major League games averaging just 8.4 runs per game prior to the break. “The pitchers in the National League – it’s crazy,” said Giants infielder Pablo Sandoval. The team will have 16 players getting its first taste of playing in the Midsummer Classic, but the importance of the game will be well-known in the clubhouse with Giants manager Bruce Bochy in charge. After all, San Francisco benefited from home-field advantage last year to capture the World Series over Texas.
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay will toe the rubber first for the National League, entering with an 11-3 mark and 2.45 ERA. The right-hander has plenty of confidence due to leading his own club to 10 consecutive victories. “It’s always a great experience to come and play here and get a chance to go out and compete against the best players is something you look forward to,” Halladay commented. “It’s a tremendous honor for me.” Halladay has tallied a 6-0 record and 2.65 ERA since May 20. He will be making his second start in the All-Star Game, allowing three runs while pitching for the American League in 2009.
Bettors will likely back the National League due to a tremendous pitching staff and a manager that normally pushes all the right buttons