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2012 MLB All-Star Game: Preview, Start Time, Odds, Free Pick

On Tuesday night we will see the American League All-Stars take on the National League All-Stars in the 83rd Mid-Summer Classic know as the All-Star Game. First Pitch is scheduled for an 8:30 (ET) pm start time and it will be televised live on FOX. Currently the odds have the American League favored at -127, while National League is dogs of +120. The total for the game sits at 8.5 runs

Free Analysis: Don’t let anyone fool you: Home-field advantage in baseball does matter. Baseball players are human. Just like you, they work better in familiar environments. As most fans know, the All-Star Game has determined home-field advantage in the World Series since 2003. In those nine years, the league that won the Midsummer Classic also went on to triumph in two-thirds of the Fall Classics. After going 13 straight years without a win, the NL has started to turn the tables on their counterparts and was a 5-1 winner last season thanks in part to a three-run home run from Prince Fielder. Perhaps having Fielder in the lineup will help the AL plate more than one run, something they haven't done in either of the last two games. Remarkably, though, the scores of the previous 82 All-Star Games add up to 344 for the NL and 341 for the AL. Both managers named their respective starters on Monday. Tony LaRussa, the first inactive All-Star manager since the AL's Bob Lemon in 1979, raised some eyebrows with his selection of Cain rather than New York knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who is tied for the NL lead with wins and is one of the better stories in baseball this season. Cain was also deserving, as he went 9-3 with a 2.62 earned run average and two shutouts, including the 22nd perfect game in major league history on June 13 against the Houston Astros. He has been an All-Star twice before, but never pitched in the game. While some were left scratching their head at LaRussa's choice, you will be hard pressed to find anyone who disagrees with Washington's selection of Verlander. A 24-game winner last season, Verlander is 9-5 this season with a 2.58 ERA over 18 starts and has five complete games to his name, including one shutout. Washington selected Verlander over Chicago's Chris Sale (10-2, 2.19 ERA), last year's starter, Jered Weaver (10-1, 1.96 ERA) of the Angels and Tampa Bay's David Price (11-4, 2.82 ERA). The lineup for the American League will open with a pair of Yankees as Derek Jeter will play shortstop and hit leadoff, followed by teammate Robinson Cano in the two hole, playing second base. Josh Hamilton of the Rangers will play left field and bat third while Bautista hits cleanup and will start in right. Fielder will hit in the five hole and play first, followed by Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, who will man the hot corner. Boston's David Ortiz will be the designated hitter and hit seventh, Texas catcher Mike Napoli will be behind the plate batting eighth, and Curtis Granderson of the Yankees rounds out the lineup in the ninth spot, playing center field. For the National League, Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez will be the designated hitter and get things started at the top of La Russa's lineup, while Giants center fielder Melky Cabrera will hit second. Milwaukee Brewers left fielder and reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun will hit third and first baseman Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds will bat cleanup. Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran mans the five hole with Posey hitting sixth. Posey's teammate, Pablo Sandoval, follows and will play third, while second baseman Dan Uggla of the Atlanta Braves and shortstop Rafael Furcal of the Cardinals will bat eighth and ninth, respectively. This year's contest will feature 26 first-timers, as well as a record five rookies, most notably Angels' outfielder Mike Trout and 19-year-old Washington phenom Bryce Harper. Previously, the youngest position player in a Midsummer Classic was Minnesota Twins catcher Butch Wynegar (born 3/14/56; 1976 ASG was 7/13/76).

Free Pick: We will look to the UNDER in this one. The last time 9 or more runs were scored in an All-Star game was back in 2007. Since that game an average of just 6 rpg have been scored, with the most runs being 7 runs in the last 4 year. I know there is alot of offense in this game, but just like the last 4 years, it is the age of the pitcher. Matt Cain gets the start for the NL team and will probably go the first 3 innings. Matt does have a 5.29 ERA in the first inning this year, but a 1.06 ERA in the second and a 1.59 ERA in the 3rd, so with a lot of AL players having not seen him much, plus the fact that he has his own catcher (Posey) behind home plate, he should do just fine out the gate. Verlander has a 2.33 ERA in the first 3 innings and he should have a good showing vs the weaker hitting NL Squad. Behind Verlander is Weaver (0.32 ERA Last 4 starts), King Felix, Darvish and Sale. All pitchers that can shut down anyone for an inning. Behind Cain is Dickey (43 inning scoreless streak this year), Hamels, Kershaw and Strasburg, not to mention a pen that consists of Chapman, Hanrahan and Papelbon. Gonna be very tough for the AL to get more than a couple off off this bunch. The Team that can hit is the AL, but they much go against the much better staff, while the weaker hitting NL squad will take on some tough pitching by the AL squad. Really I see no more than 7 runs in this game.  

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