The Major League Baseball regular season will take a pause after Sunday's games to make way for the 2018 All-Star break. It's been an interesting season symbolized by a litany of home runs, strikeouts, shift debates and a wild, top-heavy American League race. But it will come to a halt as Washington, D.C., plays host to this year's Midsummer Classic.
The MLB All-Star Game will take place Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET. Fox will televise the contest, and fans can live-stream the action via Fox Sports Go. Pregame coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on Fox.
American League Roster
Tampa Bay Rays C Wilson Ramos
Chicago White Sox 1B Jose Abreu
Houston Astros 2B Jose Altuve
Cleveland Indians 3B Jose Ramirez
Baltimore Orioles SS Manny Machado
Los Angeles Angels OF Mike Trout
New York Yankees OF Aaron Judge
Boston Red Sox OF Mookie Betts
Boston Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez
Kansas City Royals C Salvador Perez
Boston Red Sox 1B Mitch Moreland
Oakland Athletics 2B Jed Lowrie
New York Yankees 2B Gleyber Torres
Houston Astros 3B Alex Bregman
Cleveland Indians SS Francisco Lindor
Seattle Mariners SS Jean Segura
Cleveland Indians OF Michael Brantley
Texas Rangers OF Shin-Soo Choo
Seattle Mariners OF Mitch Haniger
Houston Astros OF George Springer
Seattle Mariners DH Nelson Cruz
Cleveland Indians SP Trevor Bauer
Minnesota Twins SP Jose Berrios
New York Yankees SP Aroldis Chapman
Houston Astros SP Gerrit Cole
Seattle Mariners RP Edwin Diaz
Toronto Raptors SP J.A. Happ
Detroit Tigers RP Joe Jimenez
Boston Red Sox RP Craig Kimbrel
Cleveland Indians SP Corey Kluber
Boston Red Sox SP Chris Sale
New York Yankees SP Luis Severino
Oakland Athletics RP Blake Treinen
Houston Astros SP Justin Verlander
Chicago Cubs C Willson Contreras
Atlanta Braves 1B Freddie Freeman
Chicago Cubs 2B Javier Baez
Colorado Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado
San Francisco Giants SS Brandon Crawford
Atlanta Braves OF Nick Markakis
Los Angeles Dodgers OF Matt Kemp
Washington Nationals OF Bryce Harper
St. Louis Cardinals C Yadier Molina
San Francisco Giants C Buster Posey
Miami Marlins C J.T. Realmuto
Milwaukee Brewers 1B Jesus Aguilar
Arizona Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt
Cincinnati Reds 1B Joey Votto
Atlanta Braves 2B Ozzie Albies
Cincinnati Reds 2B Scooter Gennett
Cincinnati Reds 3B Eugenio Suarez
Colorado Rockies SS Trevor Story
Colorado Rockies OF Charlie Blackmon
Milwaukee Brewers OF Lorenzo Cain
Milwaukee Brewers OF Christian Yelich
Arizona Diamondbacks SP Patrick Corbin
New York Mets SP Jacob deGrom
Washington Nationals RP Sean Doolittle
Atlanta Braves Mike Foltynewicz
Arizona Diamondbacks SP Zack Greinke
Milwaukee Brewers RP Josh Hader
San Diego Padres RP Brad Hand
Los Angeles Dodgers RP Kenley Jansen
Milwaukee Brewers RP Jeremy Jeffress
Chicago Cubs SP Jon Lester
St. Louis Cardinals SP Miles Mikolas
Philadelphia Phillies SP Aaron Nola
Washington Nationals SP Max Scherzer
Los Angeles Dodgers SP Ross Stripling
Pittsburgh Pirates RP Felipe Vazquez
Players in italics will not be participating in the All-Star Game.
Who Will Be the Starting Pitchers?
The starting pitchers for each side have not been announced yet, but it's abundantly clear who it should be in the American League.
Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale has been phenomenal this year: Per Fangraphs, the former Chicago White Sox star has an almost incomprehensible 37.2 percent strikeout rate alongside a 2.42 xFIP. He is also inducing soft contact at a 28.5 percent rate. Per Baseball Reference, Sale has struck out 78 batters in 48 innings over his last seven starts, and he's posted a 0.94 ERA during that span.
The other candidate may be the New York Yankees' Luis Severino, who is 14-2 with a 2.31 ERA and the anchor of a starting rotation that has been up and down this year. However, Sale has been so dominant this season (and especially of late) that it seems like he'd be the best choice.
The National League starter is a bit trickier and likely a duel between Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer and the New York Mets' Jacob deGrom. The guess here is that Scherzer is the pick given that he'll be pitching in front of his hometown crowd, but deGrom can make a great case to lead things off.
For the season, deGrom has made 19 starts and managed a 1.68 ERA. He only has five wins this year because of the lack of run support, but deGrom keeps the Mets in every game. He's only allowed more than three earned runs once, and that outing wasn't terrible: six innings, four earned runs and six strikeouts against the Miami Marlins.
However, Scherzer has been sensational this year, as he's struck out more than one-third of batters faced (34.5 percent to be exact, per Fangraphs). He limits his hard contact (31.3 percent), and he has a gaudy swinging strike rate of 16.6 percent. Scherzer hasn't been as sharp of late (10 earned runs in his last three outings), but he still sports an excellent 2.41 ERA.
American League Murderer's Row
Through games played on Saturday, July 14, six of the American League starters are tied for seventh place or better on MLB's 2018 home run list.
Boston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez and Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez lead the way with 29, while Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout, Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge each have 25 homers. Baltimore Orioles shortshop Manny Machado and Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts round the group out with 23 apiece.
Per Baseball Reference, five of those players lead the league in WAR, with Trout pacing the MLB at 6.9. Trout and Betts are one-two in on-base percentage, and Betts, Martinez and Ramirez are top three in slugging percentage. And Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who was last year's AL MVP, is hitting .335 this year.
The stats can go on and on, but the point is clear by now: Whoever has to pitch against this group has a tall task ahead of them, even if it's a dominant ace like Max Scherzer or Jacob deGrom. Furthermore, that starting lineup will probably get at least two plate appearances: Getting through the order unscathed once is tough enough, but doing so twice seems like a near-impossible task.
When those players take seats, however, the tough bats don't let up. Of note, Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz has smacked 22 home runs in 80 games, and Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman has 20 homers and a .926 OPS.
Ultimately, the AL looks dominant on paper and should have the edge going into this matchup.