On Monday night, Coors Field helped produce one of the more entertaining Home Run Derbys that we have seen in the last several years. On Tuesday, we will get to see if it can help produce an entertaining All-Star Game too.
The American League has dominated the All-Star game since 2000, winning 16 of the 20 contests. The National League had a three-game win streak in the early 2010s, but outside of those three wins and 2020 — when no game was played — this event has been the American League’s to lose.
The American League made the decision to send baseball’s brightest star, Shohei Ohtani, to the mound to start while the National League is starting National’s ace Max Scherzer. While neither pitcher is expected to go more than a couple of innings — as usual in the All-Star Game — seeing Ohtani start for the AL is one of the great decisions of this week.
Ohtani has been the most talked about player in the sport this season, and his ability to pitch like a front of the rotation ace and then hit for unmatched power make him a truly one-of-a-kind player. Putting him on the biggest stage for the entire world to see is a great thing for the sport, even if his pitching numbers don’t warrant him starting the game.
What to look for
While the MLB didn’t put the ball in the Coors Field humidor for the Home Run Derby, it remains to be seen if they will do the same thing for the All-Star Game. Either way, it’s fair to expect this to be a high-scoring game with how powerful the lineups for each league are.
The American League has Ohtani leading off as the DH and has Vladimir Guerrero Jr. shortly behind him in the lineup along with Aaron Judge. It’d be hard to find three players with more raw power in their bat than those three. Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers is having a true breakout season and is starting the game at third base.
The National League‘s starting lineup doesn’t have the immediate star power that the American League’s does, especially with the recent ACL injury suffered by Ronald Acuna Jr. Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. is slotted to lead off for the National League while Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker help man the outfield.
Keys to victory
The biggest key in this one is whose bullpen has a better night. Getting outs is always the biggest key in the All-Star Game, and the National League appears to have a slight edge in the pitching department.
The National has Josh Hade, and Craig Kimbrel set to go in the eighth and ninth innings, but St. Louis Cardinals reliever Alex Reyes, who is a perfect 20-for-20 in save opportunities this season, could also be used in that situation.
The American League’s back end of the bullpen hasn’t been as good this season, with Aroldis Chapman struggling as of late, but Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks is one of the best in the game. Still, the National League deserves the nod late in the game.
Each league comes into the game with minus odds. The NL sits at -116, and the AL is at -102, with the over/under set at 11 runs.
If you are looking to place a bet, I will put money on the NL simply because they have a better back end of the bullpen, and that is a big deal — especially at Coors Field.
The over/under being set at 11 is a lot, but with the game being at Coors Field, go ahead and put some money on the over if you feel confident that it’s going to hit.