MLB All-Star Game 2014: Roster, Lineup and Pitching Breakdown

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MLB All-Star Game 2014: Roster, Lineup and Pitching Breakdown
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The world's largest all-star tournament has just come to a close, as the World Cup ended Sunday. And wouldn't you know it? They wrapped up things just in time for another spectacle of stars, the MLB All-Star break. 

The beautiful game passes the torch to America's pastime, and we're going to take a look at the updated rosters and break down some of the more intriguing aspects of the National and American league teams. 

MLB All-Star Game Rosters
National League Starters American League Starters
C: Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers C: Salvador Perez, Royals
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-Backs 1B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2B: Chase Utley, Phillies 2B: Robinson Cano, Mariners
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies SS: Derek Jeter, Yankees
3B: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers 3B: Josh Donaldson, A's
OF: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
OF: Carlos Gomez, Brewers OF: Mike Trout, Angels
OF: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers OF: Adam Jones, Orioles
- DH: Nelson Cruz, Orioles
National League Pitchers American League Pitchers
LHP: Madison Bumgarner, Giants RHP: Dellin Betances, Yankees
LHP: Aroldis Chapman, Reds LHP: Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays
RHP: Tyler Clippard, Nationals RHP: Yu Darvish, Rangers
RHP: Zack Greinke, Dodgers LHP: Sean Doolittle, A's
LHP: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers RHP: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
RHP: Craig Kimbrel, Braves RHP: Greg Holland, Royals
RHP: Pat Neshek, Cardinals LHP: Scott Kazmir, A's
RHP: Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers LHP: Jon Lester, Red Sox
RHP: Tyson Ross, Padres LHP: Glen Perkins, Twins
RHP: Julio Teheran, Braves LHP: Chris Sale, White Sox
RHP: Adam Wainwright, Cardinals RHP: Max Scherzer, Tigers
LHP: Tony Watson, Pirates RHP: Fernando Rodney, Mariners
RHP: Henderson Alvarez, Marlins RHP: Koji Uehara, Red Sox
National League Reserves American League Reserves
C: Miguel Montero, D-Backs C: Derek Norris, A's
C: Devin Mesoraco, Reds C: Kurt Suzuki, Twins
1B: Freddie Freeman, Braves 1B: Jose Abreu, White Sox
1B: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs 1B: Brandon Moss, A's
2B: Dee Gordon, Dodgers 2B: Jose Altuve, Astros
2B: Daniel Murphy, Mets 3B: Kyle Seager, Mariners
SS: Starlin Castro, Cubs 3B: Adrian Beltre, Rangers
3B: Matt Carpenter, Cardinals SS: Erick Aybar, Angels
3B: Todd Frazier, Reds SS: Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
OF: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies OF: Michael Brantley, Indians
OF: Josh Harrison, Pirates OF: Yoenis Cespedes, A's
OF: Hunter Pence, Giants 2B: Ian Kinsler, Tigers
OF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins -

MLB.com

While a slew of injuries have deprived fans of some of the game's top stars—you could make a strong argument that the best All-Star team out there is the one comprised of injured players or players who pulled out of the game—a number of intriguing potential matchups and top-notch talent will be on display.

I mean, who doesn't want to see Clayton Kershaw face Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera? Who doesn't want to see what type of show Yasiel Puig will put on? Who isn't excited to see Derek Jeter in his final All-Star Game?

Because you knowyou just knowJeter will do something special. If there is one thing Jeter has proved in his career, it's that he knows how to rise to the occasion. 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The AL lineup is stacked. Among the starters, Trout, Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista, Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz can all hit the cover off the ball.

And the bench players are hardly shabby. Jose Altuve was probably the biggest snub when it came to the fan vote, as the speedy, for-average hitter has been excellent this year. Perhaps Altuve's size had something to do with it. As Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports humorously noted, neither one of them is particularly tall:

Jose Abreu coming off the bench is one of the league's best power hitters this season. 

Just how good is Abreu? Check out this tidbit passed along by ESPN Stats & Information on Sunday:

So yes, the American League can really rake. The National League has plenty of dangerous bats as well, but the real strength of the team is its pitching. Clayton Kershaw, for one, has basically been unbeatable, and he comes into the game on the hottest of all hot streaks:

Were it not for Kershaw's brilliant start, Adam Wainwright would probably be the favorite for the National League Cy Young. Late additions such as Henderson Alvarez and Alfredo Simon have been excellent. Zack Greinke is that other ace in Los Angeles. Craig Kimbrel is the best closer in baseball. 

In particular, Alvarez is an intriguing inclusion. The 24-year-old leads baseball with three shutouts, and he stepped in and became the ace for the Miami Marlins after Jose Fernandez went down to injury, as Miami's manager, Mike Redmond, told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.

"We talked about a guy stepping up and stepping in [for Fernandez], and Henderson definitely has done that," Redmond said. "Last year, everybody talked about Jose, and rightfully so. He was amazing. But it's great to see guys step up and get recognized for their work. It's been fun to watch Henderson develop."

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

So, will this be a classic case of strong pitching against strong hitting? Well, that seems to be a bit of a generalization. The NL stars can really hit too, while the AL side has plenty of nasty pitchers. 

But one would guess that if an offensive game breaks out, the AL will win, and if pitching and defense rule the day, the NL will take it. All-Star games are always tough to predict, of course, but with home-field advantage on the line in the World Series, both teams will be bringing it. 

Look for the NL to win a tight battle, 4-3. 

 

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