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

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 10:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on July 10, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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 StartersAmerican League Starters
C: Jonathan Lucroy, BrewersC: Salvador Perez, Royals
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-Backs1B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2B: Chase Utley, Phillies2B: Robinson Cano, Mariners
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, RockiesSS: Derek Jeter, Yankees
3B: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers3B: Josh Donaldson, A's
OF: Andrew McCutchen, PiratesOF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
OF: Carlos Gomez, BrewersOF: Mike Trout, Angels
OF: Yasiel Puig, DodgersOF: Adam Jones, Orioles
-DH: Nelson Cruz, Orioles
National League PitchersAmerican League Pitchers
LHP: Madison Bumgarner, GiantsRHP: Dellin Betances, Yankees
LHP: Aroldis Chapman, RedsLHP: Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays
RHP: Tyler Clippard, NationalsRHP: Yu Darvish, Rangers
RHP: Zack Greinke, DodgersLHP: Sean Doolittle, A's
LHP: Clayton Kershaw, DodgersRHP: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
RHP: Craig Kimbrel, BravesRHP: Greg Holland, Royals
RHP: Pat Neshek, CardinalsLHP: Scott Kazmir, A's
RHP: Francisco Rodriguez, BrewersLHP: Jon Lester, Red Sox
RHP: Tyson Ross, PadresLHP: Glen Perkins, Twins
RHP: Julio Teheran, BravesLHP: Chris Sale, White Sox
RHP: Adam Wainwright, CardinalsRHP: Max Scherzer, Tigers
LHP: Tony Watson, PiratesRHP: Fernando Rodney, Mariners
RHP: Henderson Alvarez, MarlinsRHP: Koji Uehara, Red Sox
National League ReservesAmerican League Reserves
C: Miguel Montero, D-BacksC: Derek Norris, A's
C: Devin Mesoraco, RedsC: Kurt Suzuki, Twins
1B: Freddie Freeman, Braves1B: Jose Abreu, White Sox
1B: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs1B: Brandon Moss, A's
2B: Dee Gordon, Dodgers2B: Jose Altuve, Astros
2B: Daniel Murphy, Mets3B: Kyle Seager, Mariners
SS: Starlin Castro, Cubs3B: Adrian Beltre, Rangers
3B: Matt Carpenter, CardinalsSS: Erick Aybar, Angels
3B: Todd Frazier, RedsSS: Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
OF: Charlie Blackmon, RockiesOF: Michael Brantley, Indians
OF: Josh Harrison, PiratesOF: Yoenis Cespedes, A's
OF: Hunter Pence, Giants2B: 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. 

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees gets a first inning base hit against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on June 27, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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."

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 11:  Henderson Alvarez #37 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 11, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Image
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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