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MLB All Star Game

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7/10/12

The 83rd annual MLB All-Star Game will take place Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City and feature a unique blend of young and old talent as the American League looks to win for the 13th time in the 16 years and take back home-field advantage in the World Series.  After going 0-12-1 over a 13-year stretch, the National League has actually won the last two All-Star Games, which has helped the Senior Circuit capture the past two World Series crowns as well.  The AL is favored at -135.

In fact, Tony La Russa of the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals will become the first inactive manager since 1979 to call the shots for his NL squad that is a +115 underdog.  La Russa's return to the dugout has not come without controversy though, as he has been accused of showing favoritism towards his former players while excluding a couple members of the Cincinnati Reds, the team's NL Central rivals.  Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips and starting pitcher Johnny Cueto were involved in a bench-clearing brawl against La Russa's Cardinals two years ago en route to winning the division and were left off the team.

The two pitchers who will start the Midsummer Classic are Justin Verlander (9-5, 2.58 ERA) of the Detroit Tigers for the AL and Matt Cain (9-3, 2.62) of the San Francisco Giants for the NL.  Cain was a key member of San Francisco's World Series title team two years ago and threw a perfect game for the Giants back on June 13.  He was selected as the starter over knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.40) of the New York Mets, who pitched consecutive complete game one-hitters earlier this season.  Verlander has pitched two career no-hitters.

The game will also feature two of baseball's rising star outfielders in Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals.  Both Trout and Harper are the favorites to win Rookie of the Year honors in the AL and NL, respectively.  Harper (.282 batting average, eight homers, 25 RBI) is one year younger at 19 while Trout (.341, 12, 40) has put up better numbers so far.  The duo is among an MLB-record five rookies who will participate in the All-Star Game.

In addition, this will be the 13th career All-Star Game for shortstop Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees.  He will lead a group of three Yankee starters that also includes 2B Robinson Cano and OF Curtis Granderson.  Cano won last year's Home Run Derby and was knocked out early on Monday with Detroit 1B Prince Fielder winning it for the second time in four years.
 

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