The 2013 All-Star break is upon us, signaling the halfway point of the baseball season and providing us with a game featuring the best players in the game, as decided by fans. With recent additions and changes due to player availability, the 2013 All-Star Game will feature 39 players (out of 77) who have never been in the game before, the highest all-time (That is more than when the first All-Star game was held in 1933).
The game of course goes down at City Field, home of the New York Mets. The last time the Mets hosted the game was in 1964, the year Shea Stadium first opened. The last time the All-Star Game was in New York it was in 2008 at the old Yankee Stadium, and the game lasted 16 innings.
The NL has won the past three All-Star Games (and World Series), however the AL had won the previous thirteen games, ('97 - '09)
NL manager Bruce Botchy has announced that Mets phenomenon Matt Harvey will start for the National League in his home ballpark. Harvery is 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched. “If you look up and down the National League, I don’t see of a more deserving – forget about the game being in New York – beyond that I don’t see anybody that has gone out there and dominated the way he’s dominated this year,” Mets Captain and fellow All Star David Wright said of Harvey. Garnering the most votes for a pitcher in the NL, 2013 marks just the 11th time a pitcher for the host team takes the mound as as starter.
AL Team and Detroit Tigers manger Jim leyland has said he will start Max Scherzer for the American League. He follows fellow Tiger Justin Verlander, who started last year's Game. Scherzer is 13 - 1 with a 3.19 ERA and is averaging 10.6 strikeouts per nine-innings.
As for the rest of the starting lineup, here is a quick All-Star Game cheat sheet to get you familiar with the players taking the at Citi Field for Tuesday's Mid-Summer Classic.
AL All-Star Game Starters
Joe Mauer Catcher, Twins .320 Batting Average 8 Home Runs 32 Runs Batted In .402 On Base Percentage
A six-time All-Star, Mauer is joined on the AL roster by fellow Twin reliever Glen Perkins, a fellow Minneapolis native who grew up just 30 minutes away and played in the same Little League. Mauer has the second most doubles in the majors with 30 and joins former Twins Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett with four fan-selected All-Star Game starts.
"He's the best catcher in baseball -- batting average, the whole package," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told MLB.com. "Mauer consistently hits .320, .330. He's an All-Star. That's why he keeps being put in there. All the players respect him. They watch him hit and he's there for a reason."
Chris Davis 1B, Orioles .315 37 93 .392
After having one of the most impressive starts to a season ever, Davis will take part in his first All-Star Game, one of three Orioles that will start. Davis was the leading vote-getter with 8,272,243, just the second time a first-time All-Star has garnered the most votes (Ichiro Suzuki did it in 2001).
On Sunday Davis tied Reggie Jackson's record of 37 home runs before the All-Star game. He's been an absolute monster this season, extending a great end to last season. With 93 RBI, only Cabrera has more and they are the only players ever to have more than 90 RBI and 30 home runs before the break. Perhaps most impressive is that Davis actually has more home runs and a higher slugging percentage than Cabrera!
Robinson Cano 2B Yankees .302 21 65 .386
Selected to his fourth consecutive All-Star Game, Cano has been one of the best players in baseball for going on half a decade now. He leads the Yankees in most offensive categories and has been a big part of why the team has hung in the AL East despite a roster missing some of its biggest names. He has batted higher than .300 in four consecutive seasons and currently leads the majors in intentional walks with 14.
J.J. Hardy SS, Orioles .251 16 52 .293
A two-time All-Star, the 30-year-old Hardy will receive an extra $500,000 from the Orioles due to a clause in his contract. The last time he was an All-Star was in 2007 with the Brewers.
Miguel Cabrera 3B, Tigers .365 30 95 .458
This marks Cabrera's eight All-Star Game. He has cemented his reputation as one of the all-time greatest hitters. He will be at third for his manager, one of six Tigers who will be on the field in Queens. Cabrera has been as good as a baseball player can be this season, leading the majors in batting average, on base percentage, hits, runs, RBI, on-base plus slugging, and the majority of offensive categories.
Mike Trout OF, Angels .322 15 59 .399
Now playing in his second All-Start Game, Trout will start this year. He continued torrid pace of last year, and showed no signs of a sophomore slump. Just 22, he is the first Angel to start at a position since Vladimir Guerrero, and the youngest Angel to be named to the All-Star Game twice.
OF, Orioles .296 19 67 .324
Playing in his third All-Star Game, but first as a starter, Jones comes into the Midsummer Classic with home runs in the past three games. Despite some weaknesses in his offense, Jones has been near the top of the league in most offensive categories and is a force at the plate.
Jose Bautista OF Blue Jays .254 20 55 .351
2013 marks the fourth All-Star Game for Bautista, who has come a long way since he played on five teams in one season. Since joining the Blue Jays he has consistently been one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball. "I feel very honored, humbled and also proud to be elected. I have to thank all of the fans for all of the votes. It takes a lot to either vote at the stadium or home on the computer, so I appreciate it a lot" Bautista told MLB.com.
David Ortiz DH, Red Sox .317 19 65 .402
Playing in the All-Star Game for the eight time, Ortiz has been one of the most feared hitters in the game since his breakout season in 2003, and at 37, Ortiz is as dangerous at the plate as ever. Big Papi has been among the most popular players in any sport, and on July 11 he became the all-time leader in hits as a DH with 1,689.
NL All-Star Game Starters
Yadier Molina C, Cardinals .341 7 49 .386
This marks Molina's fifth consecutive All-Star appearance. The leading NL vote-getter, he owns the highest batting average in the NL and second behind only Cabrera. 2013 is the third time in four years the Cardinals have had five or more All-Stars.
Joey Votto 1B, Reds .318 15 42 .434
Appearing in his fourth All-Star Game, Votto leads the majors in walks, intentional walks, and on-base percentage. Has been the NL leader in on base percentage the past three seasons and is a difference maker for Bruce Botchy.
2B, Reds .266 12 74 .320
A three-time All-Star, heading into the game Phillips conceded he might not be the best player in the game. "I'm not going to say I'm the best," Phillips told the press. "I have the most swag. But I'm not the best."
Troy Tulowitzki SS, Rockies .332 16 52 .400
A three-time All-Star, Tulowitzki recently came back from a rib injury that limited him to 64 games. He's been one of the most electric players in baseball the past few seasons and having a healthy and productive Tulowitzki will be a big help for the NL's defense.
3B, Mets .304 13 44 .396
A seven time All-Star, Wright will serve as an All-Star Game ambassador as the game takes place in his home stadium. Wright grew up grew up a Mets fan, so this game will be a little more special than in years past. "Captain American" is also serving as the captain for the Home Run Derby squad.
OF, Cardinals .309 19 53 .346
An eight-time selection, Beltran ranks in the top five for average, slugging and home runs. He returns to the ballpark he helped open as a member of the Mets for seven years.
Carlos Gonzalez OF, Rockies .302 25 64 .370
Appearing in his second All-Star game, Carlos "CarGo" Gonzalez withdrew from the Home Run Derby due to a finger injury. Luckily for baseball fans he will still take part in the All-Star Game. The NL leader in Home Runs blasted onto the national stage in the 2009 playoffs and has stayed there.
Bryce Harper OF, Nationals .264 13 29 .371
Now playing in his second All-Star game, at 20, Harper is the youngest player ever chosen to start the game for the National League. He gets in despite missing 31 games this year. Harper is also the first Nationals player to be selected for the game twice.
So there you have it, a quick breakdown of the 2013 All-Star Game starting rosters for the American League in the National League. Don't forget to tune into the game at 8 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, July 16, 2013.