This year’s summer classic – brought to you by Nesquik, probably – pits the mustard yellow American League All-Stars against the poo brown National League All-Stars, in a war on the human senses. Oh, and also it will decide homefield advantage for the World Series. But who really cares about that?
This week is not about just the MLB All-Star Game (Tuesday, July 12, at 8:00 PM Eastern), it’s a week of celebrating everything that makes the game of baseball – and the host city, San Diego – great. From ugly uniforms, to a dancing chicken, to crippling disappointment, this All-Star break is sure to perfectly encapsulate Padres fandom.
Outside of the “each team sends one player” rule – which will have you watching such studs as Eduardo Nunez and Adam Duvall (try to contain that excitement) – the biggest letdown of this week will probably be the Home Run Derby. Nearly every slugger worth a damn is taking a hard pass on the event, and the intriguing wrinkle of a pitcher entering in the event has already been nixed. This year’s derby might be lower on the TV priority than The Real Housewives of Orange County.
At least the actual game should be a good display of why Mike Trout is still the best. Winner of two straight All-Star Game MVP’s, Trout seems to relish the opportunity to play alongside actual quality players, rather than the formerly quality players he’s surrounded by in LA.
Largely due to Trout’s hustle and awesomeness, the American League has won three straight games over the National League, but still trail the all-time series 43-41-2.
As you would imagine, the National League looks to have the superior pitching heading into this year, even with Clayton Kershaw on the DL and Madison Bumgarner unlikely to be available. But what really matters is how these aces can operate against the heart of the order for baseball’s two top offenses: the Red Sox and Cubs. Chicago and Boston provided five and four starters for their respective leagues, and a few arms as well, to dominate the All-Star rosters.
When looking at those Boston starters, one name jumps out in particular: David Ortiz. This will likely be Big Papi’s final All-Star game, and if recent history is any indication, retiring players generally get pretty cushy treatment. From Mariano Rivera being named MVP in 2013, to Adam Wainwright tossing Derek Jeter meatballs the year after, the American League has benefitted from some retirement sympathy. Could this year be another example of that?
Even if Big Papi goes 0-4, though, I still like the AL’s chances. Here’s a look at some of the odds for MLB All-Star Weekend.
Odds to win 2016 MLB All-Star Game:
- American League: 20/23
- National League: 23/20
Odds to win 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP:
- Mike Trout (AL, Angels): 11/4
- David Ortiz (AL, Red Sox): 4/1
- Bryce Harper (NL, Nationals): 7/1
- Kris Bryant (NL, Cubs): 9/1
- Yoenis Cespedes (NL, Mets): 12/1
- Manny Machado (AL, Orioles): 14/1
- FIELD: 3/1
Odds to win 2016 MLB Home Run Derby:
- Giancarlo Stanton (NL, Marlins): 9/4
- Mark Trumbo (AL, Orioles): 3/1
- Todd Frazier (AL, White Sox): 11/2
- Adam Duvall (NL, Reds): 7/1
- Robinson Cano (AL, Mariners): 9/1
- Wil Myers (NL, Padres): 12/1
- Carlos Gonzalez (NL, Rockies): 14/1
- Corey Seager (NL, Dodgers): 14/1
Stanton and Trumbo are probably the only two contestants in this year’s contest that I’m excited to see. With the wacky new format that debuted last season, it certainly makes it possible for anyone to win; but the time bonuses favor hitters who can crush the ball. No one can pump the ball farther than Stanton. However, this silly bracket system means Stanton and Trumbo will meet before the finals, hurting what should be resoundingly favorable odds.
Frazier won last year’s contest, but he won’t have the boost of the hometown crowd this time. That support will be in the corner of Wil Myers, who I was not even aware had home run power; but apparently the Padres first baseman has a career-high 19 HRs this year. So he’ll probably win, because this event is ridiculous and never makes sense!
(Photo credit: SD Dirk (Originally uploaded to Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/])