After a run of dominance by the American League in the MLB All-Star Game, the National League is back in charge. Still, AL fans should not be worried.
The NL truly dominated its opponent Tuesday night to the tune of an 8-0 victory. The star-studded lineup for the junior circuit only managed six hits, and the reigning MVP gave up five runs in the first inning.
Still, there is no question which side is best overall.
The game itself proves very little. One bad game by arguably the best pitcher in baseball cost the AL five runs and likely the game. Justin Verlander leads the league in strikeouts and is near the top in ERA and WHIP. He easily won the Cy Young award last season and is one of the top contenders to win again.
Matt Harrison, who gave up the other three runs, had not given up that many in over a month. There is little doubt that either of these pitchers will be able to shake off this performance and return to their dominant selves.
The hitters will also be just fine in the second half, as it is easy to move on from a hitless day with only one or two at-bats.
Outside of the All-Star game, the American League has been much more impressive.
The league finished with more wins in interleague play for the ninth straight season, this time winning 142 of 252 games. Regardless of how bad some of the teams are, no one in the American League finished with an interleague record worse than 8-10.
The AL has better teams at the top (the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers lead all teams with 52 wins) and fewer teams at the bottom (the Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs each have only 33 wins). With every team at least .500, the AL East has a claim as the toughest division in baseball.
If you are a fan of the Yankees or Rangers or Angels, the All-Star game was only a small bump in the road. The NL earned home-field advantage in the World Series, but these teams should still be favorites from now until then.
And hopefully for Tigers fans, Verlander got all of the runs out of his system.