Yes, the All-Star Game still determines home-field advantage for the Fall Classic, and the American League has owned the exhibition of late. The AL has won 12 in a row, with a tie mixed in, and is 18-3-1 in the last 22.
The NL has gotten closer, however. The last four meetings have been decided by just one run.
The Red Sox send six players to Anaheim, only three of whom are healthy enough to play. Jon Lester was in the mix to earn the starting nod but will serve in relief of starter David Price. David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre are reserves. Beltre said he will be able to play after straining his left hamstring Sunday in Toronto.
Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez were selected but remain on the disabled list.
National League vs. American League
Tuesday, July 13, 8:05 p.m.
Angel Stadium, Anaheim, Calif.
The NL owns a 40-38-2 advantage.
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (15-1, 2.20 ERA) vs. LHP David Price (12-4, 2.42 ERA)
Joe Girardi had a tough choice to make between Price and Lester, but the AL's ERA leader and the first hurler in the league to reach 12 wins gets the deserving nod.
Price's most recent outing was a dominant one against the Sox. The 24-year-old allowed two runs in 7 2/3 innings, striking out 10 and walking only one in a 6-4 win.
He will be backed by Lester, New York's duo of Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes (CC Sabathia is ineligible to pitch, because he started on Sunday) and first-time participants Trevor Cahill of Oakland and Fausto Carmona of Cleveland, plus a stable of relievers.
Jimenez leads the majors in wins and has one of several no-hitters thrown this year. It was his meeting with the Sox on June 23 that sent him into a bit of a slump (8.66 ERA in three starts), but he showed his stuff with a dominant effort against St. Louis on Thursday, allowing a run on only three hits in eight innings.
Josh Johnson, who owns a major-league best 1.70 ERA, was in the running to get the start for NL manager Charlie Manuel. Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Chris Carpenter, Tim Hudson and Yovani Gallardo are the other starters.
|1. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins
2. Martin Prado, 2B, Braves
3. Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals
4. Ryan Howard, DH, Phillies
5. David Wright, 3B, Mets
6. Ryan Braun, LF, Brewers
7. Andre Ethier, CF, Dodgers
8. Corey Hart, RF, Brewers
9. Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals
|1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF, Mariners
2. Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers
4. Josh Hamilton, CF, Rangers
5. Vladimir Guerrero, DH, Rangers
6. Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
7. Joe Mauer, C, Twins
8. Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees
9. Carl Crawford, LF, Rays
The NL has to win one of these years. Perhaps it can pin its hopes on Price being a bit rattled. He is the youngest All-Star starter since Dwight Gooden in 1988.
That said, the AL boasts a power-packed lineup that will be difficult to navigate. It has won six in a row in its own parks.