Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, will play host to baseball's brightest stars on Tuesday night, as the 2014 MLB All-Star Game will feature the best of the National League taking on the best of the American League.
There's a ton to watch for during the action. Perhaps the most prevalent is the attention centered on New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. The 40-year-old is playing in his final Midsummer Classic, and the fans should expect a legendary send-off for one of the best hitters of this generation.
Jeter isn't the only story, though. Will the dominant pitching best the powerful hitting? Or will the hitters best the top hurlers baseball has to offer? You'll just have to tune in to find out.
Where: Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota
When: Tuesday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: MLB.tv (premium subscription required); also available on MLB At-Bat app on iPhone and Android
While the Home Run Derby delivered exciting results on Monday night, the All-Star Game should be equally as compelling. While we won't see dozens of big flies leave the yard, we'll see what could become one of the most competitive installments of this event in recent memory.
The game will start off with two of the best pitchers in baseball, Felix Hernandez and Adam Wainwright. MLB's official Twitter account announced that the two right-handers will start the game:
Wainwright earned the start over Clayton Kershaw, who has arguably been the top pitcher on the planet this year. That was met with a bit of controversy, mostly because the National League manager (Mike Matheny) happens to be Wainwright's manager in St. Louis.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted that Waino is deserving, however:
Certainly Adam Wainwright has the numbers and has pitched about 40 more innings than Clayton Kershaw— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 14, 2014
Nonetheless, the strikeout artist is pleased to get the nod:
Both starters have been fantastic in 2014. Hernandez has perhaps had his best season to date, and that's unbelievable considering his past production. This is how the two match up:
|Felix Hernandez||11-2, 2.12 ERA, 2.04 FIP, 144.1 IP, 154 K|
|Adam Wainwright||12-4, 1.83 ERA, 2.52 FIP, 138 IP, 115 K|
Offensively, there are a ton of candidates to take over the game. Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera highlight the American League roster, while names like Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton will look to take over the show.
Below are the full lineups, courtesy of MLB's official Twitter account:
The real thing to take issue with here is that Jeter is leading off. It's understandable to honor the Yankees captain during the game, but Jeter's numbers are not All-Star-worthy. That would suggest he should hit toward the bottom of the order (perhaps eighth).
To date, Jeter owns a line of .272/.324/.322 with two homers and 25 RBI. He has been just average defensively, and it's clear that he is at the end of the line. Regardless, Wainwright is excited to face him for the first time:
“This will be the first time I’ve ever faced him. I’m very excited about it, just to say I have faced the best.” – Waino on Jeter. #ASG— #ASG (@MLB) July 14, 2014
If AL manager John Farrell were going for the most production possible, he would drop Jeter down to No. 8 and simply slide everyone else up one spot in the order. That would create an ideal run-producing lineup.
The starting lineups will make an impact on the outcome of the contest, but it will be the reserves that ultimately dictate the result. The relievers and pinch hitters off the bench can change the game with one pitch or one swing.
This affair figures to be one of the best in recent memory. Be sure to tune in to watch the best moments the Midsummer Classic has to offer.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR