Junior Circuit the Pick Over National League in 2017 All-Star Game

Willie Bee

Monday, July 10, 2017 3:46 PM UTC

Monday, Jul. 10, 2017 3:46 PM UTC

The game’s best hitters meet the game’s best pitchers in Miami for the 88th MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday, and we have a free pick for the midseason exhibition.

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MLB Season Record: 44-48 (-2.69)

Major League Baseball has hyped the Home Run Derby to World Series proportions, publicizing the lineups for that event several days ago and educating the general public on the scoring format. And yet, Tuesday night’s starting pitchers for the 88th All-Star Game remain a mystery.

Some of that is due to several hurlers named to the game pitching over the weekend, leaving each manager with a bit of a tricky decision to make. That hasn’t stopped sportsbooks from releasing their numbers for the contest, Bookmaker tagging the National League with -115 chalk and the take-back on the American League at +105. Scoreboard players are faced with a decision of 9 for the total.

Speculation is that Boston’s Chris Sale and Washington’s Max Scherzer will eventually get the nod. Sale lines up perfectly with Tuesday his normal day to pitch, and the three starters in the NL lineup – Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Zack Cozart – would be facing him for the first time. Scherzer would be pitching with one day less of rest than usual and has a decent track record vs. two of Houston’s AL starters, Jose Altuve and George Springer held to four hits in 17 career at bats. He has never faced Carlos Correa, Aaron Judge or Mookie Betts. Both pitchers are used to being burdened with big money lines, the Red Sox 13-5 when Sale pitches and up 4.1 units on the MLB odds while Washington is 12-6 behind Scherzer (+1.0 unit).


Will Home Run Surge Continue In All-Star Game?

With home runs up across both leagues, it’s no surprise to see each lineup loaded with big bats. The two biggest names are both rookies, Judge of the Yankees and Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers. Judge leads the AL with 30 clouts at the break and should get at least two at-bats to muscle up on a pitch in this game. Bellinger, named as a reserve for the NL squad, has 25 dingers, which puts him one of the NL pace despite starting the season in the minors.

We should know more about how Marlins Park in Miami will play for the sluggers once we see the results of the Home Run Derby, but the stadium has not been a homer-happy place so far during the regular season. The park is averaging 2.12 HR/game, below the NL average and ahead of just three other stadiums (AT&T Park 1.46 HR, PNC Park 1.86 and Busch Stadium 2.08). Giancarlo Stanton, NL co-leader in homers and looking to defend his HR Derby title, has 26 on the year with exactly half of those coming in his Miami home park


Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Joe West heads up a crew that includes Angel Hernandez, recently in the news for suing MLB over racial discrimination. The irony there is anyone who has seen Hernandez in action over the years understands it was his minority status that kept him at the big-league level all these years with one blown call after another. Anyone who has seen West work games since 1976 understands that Cowboy Joe himself is notorious for being less than perfect. He had the plate for the 2005 All-Star Game in Detroit, a 7-5 AL victory, and is 11-9 O/U in 2017.

We expect to see the roof shut in Miami thanks to a 20% chance of rain and temps still in the mid-80s at first pitch. This exhibition has been streaky since it was first played in 1933, the NL owning a 43-42-2 record but the AL winning 22 of the last 29, including a 4-2 decision in San Diego last year and victories in the last four. My free baseball pick will be to back the boys from the Junior Circuit once again.

Free MLB Pick: American League +108Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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