2009 All-Star Game Preview: Will the NL Break the Slump?

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2009 All-Star Game Preview:  Will the NL Break the Slump?
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

It has been 13 years since the National League as won an All-Star game. The last NL victory came in 1996 when the NL won 6-0 in Philadelphia. Mike Piazza was the MVP and he wasn't playing for New York. He was still a LA Dodger.  

Will 2009 break the 13-year slump? I wouldn't be too sure.

Obviously both rosters are absolutely stacked. It's the all-star game. But I think the NL is still the underdog.

With players like Morneau, Aaron Hill, Victor Martinez, Michael Young, Crawford, and Granderson, it'll be hard to beat the AL. That's just the reserves.

The AL starters are even better: Teixeira, Mauer, Jeter, Longoria, Bay, Suzuki, and Hamilton (second base is open since Pedroia backed out for personal issues).

The NL starters are pretty good too: Molina, Pujols, Utley, Ramirez, Wright, Braun, Ibanez, and possibly Werth.

Where are the advantages?

 

Catcher

Is this even a question? Two words for the NL: Joe Mauer. AL has the advantage here.

First Base

Teixeira vs. Pujols is actually a good matchup. But it's hard to win when someone is batting .336 with 32 home runs and 85 RBI. Advantage goes to the NL.

 

Second Base

This is another good matchup. As of Jul. 12, the AL doesn't have a starter here because Pedroia can't play. So by default, the advantage goes to Chase Utley and the NL.

 

Shortstop

Hanley Ramirez vs. Derek Jeter is a great match up. Hanley is batting .347 and 14 home runs and 60 RBI. That is a pretty big year if you ask me.

Jeter is batting .321 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI. Also a pretty good year.

This is a tough pick. I got to give it to the AL because Jeter has been doing this longer.

 

Third Base

David Wright and Evan Longoria are two of the youngest and best players in the MLB.

Wright, 26, is hitting .324 with five home runs and 43 RBI. Given he is playing for a struggling and injury bitten Mets team, he is having a great year.

Longoria is batting .285 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI. The 23 year old is having another great year.

This is tough. I think the advantage goes to the NL. David Wright is more of a proven vet then Longoria.

 

Outfield

The AL has Bay, Suzuki, and Hamilton. The NL has Braun, Ibanez, and an open spot. I don't even have to analyze this one. It's hard to beat when Bay, Suzuki, and Hamilton are some of the best players in the game. Granted Braun and Ibanez are having huge years, these guys are proven. Advantage goes to the AL.

Pitching

This is a tough decision. I have to go with the AL on this one. With Beckett, King Felix, Greinke, and Halladay as some of the starters on your team, you're going to be hard to beat.

The NL shouldn't be overlooked though. With Santana, Cain, Lincecum, Haren, and Lilly, you'll also be hard to beat.

 

Reserves

The NL, in my opinion, deserves the nod here. With Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Zimmermann, and Ryan Howard, you definitely are on top.

The AL has some good people too though. People like Morneau, Martinez, and Hill are pretty good too.

 

Winner

American League will take this all-star game in a close game. Possibly another 15 inning marathon like 2008.

 

MVP

The MVP is going to be Joe Mauer. Two words: Mauer Power.

 

Jake Karmel

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