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Many young fans get turned on by the home run hitting contest and the distances players like Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber can hit the ball. Hard-core fans watch every pitch of the Futures Game with a scout's eye in order to get a view of the players who are likely to become the game's stars in the next three-to-five years.But while interleague play Kole Calhoun Jersey , free agency and the frequency of seeing the game's great stars on television may have taken some of the mystery out of the All-Star Game, there's still something fascinating about seeing the sport's best players line up against each other while representing their leagues.The American League comes into the 89th All-Star Game at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. riding a five-game winning streak and having put together a run of 23-6-1 over the last 30 years. That hot streak enabled the American League to tie the all-time series at 43-43-2 last year, and a win Tuesday night will give the AL the lead in the series for the first time since 1963.Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox will take the mound for the Junior Circuit for the third straight year, while Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals will start for the second year in a row and the third time in his career.American League manager A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros and National League manager Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers announced their starting lineups Monday.Javier Baez of the Cubs could be a sparkplug for the National League.Patrick Smith/Getty ImagesNational League Lineup1. Javier Baez, 2B, Cubs2. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies3. Paul Goldschmidt, DH, D-backs4. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves5. Matt Kemp, LF, Dodgers6. Bryce Harper, CF, Nationals7. Nick Markakis, RF, Braves8. Brandon Crawford, SS, Giants9. Willson Contreras, C, CubsMax Scherzer, P, NationalsAmerican League Lineup1. Mookie Betts, RF, Red Sox2. Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros3. Mike Trout, CF, Angels4. J.D. Martinez, DH, Red Sox5. Jose Ramirez, 3B, Indians6. Aaron Judge, LF, Yankees7. Manny Machado, SS, Orioles8. Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox9. Salvador Perez, C, RoyalsChris Sale, P, Red SoxHere's a look at some information ahead of the game and the full rosters for both teams.2018 MLB All-Star GameDate: Tuesday, July 17Time: 8 p.m. ETTV: FoxJose Ramirez (left) and Jose Altuve are a dynamic duo for the American League.Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty ImagesRostersAmerican LeagueStartersWilson Ramos. C, Tampa Bay*Jose Abreu, 1B. Chicago White SoxJose Altuve. 2B, HoustonJose Ramirez, 3B, ClevelandManny Machado, SS, BaltimoreMike Trout, OF Garrett Richards Jersey , Los Angeles AngelsAaron Judge, OF, New York YankeesMookie Betts, OF, BostonJ.D. Martinez, OF, BostonAmerican League ReservesSalvador Perez, C, Kansas City (designated as a starter after Ramos injury)Yan Gomes, C, ClevelandMitch Moreland, 1B, BostonJed Lowrie, 2B, OaklandGleyber Torres, 2B, New York Yankees*Alex Bregman, 3B, HoustonFrancisco Lindor, SS, ClevelandJean Segura, SS, SeattleMichael Brantley, OF, ClevelandShin-Soo Choo, OF, TexasMitch Haniger, OF, SeattleGeorge Springer, OF, HoustonNelson Cruz, DH, SeattleAmerican League PitchersTrevor Bauer, ClevelandJose Berrios, MinnesotaAroldis Chapman, New York Yankees*Gerrit Cole, HoustonEdwin Diaz, SeattleJ.A. Happ, TorontoJoe Jimenez, DetroitCraig Kimbrel, BostonCorey Kluber, Cleveland*Charlie Morton, HoustonChris Sale, BostonLuis Severino, New York YankeesBlake Treinen, OaklandJustin Verlander, Detroit*National League StartersWillson Contreras, C, Chicago CubsFreddie Freeman, 1B, AtlantaJavier Baez, 2B, Chicago CubsNolan Arenado Andrew Heaney Jersey , 3B, ColoradoBrandon Crawford, SS, San FranciscoNick Markakis, OF, AtlantaMatt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles DodgersBryce Harper, OF, WashingtonNational League ReservesYadier Molina, C, St. LouisBuster Posey, C, San Francisco*J.T. Realmuto, C, MiamiJesus Aguilar, 1B, MilwaukeePaul Goldschmidt, 1B, ArizonaJoey Votto, 1B, CincinnatiOzzie Albies, 2B, AtlantaScooter Gennett, 2B, CincinnatiEugenio Suarez, 3B, CincinnatiTrevor Story, SS, ColoradoCharlie Blackmon, OF, ColoradoLorenzo Cain, OF, MilwaukeeChristian Yelich, OF, MilwaukeeNational League PitchersPatrick Corbin, ArizonaZack Greinke, ArizonaJacob deGrom, New York MetsSean Doolittle, Washington*Mike Foltynewicz, AtlantaJosh Hader, MilwaukeeJason Jeffress, MilwaukeeBrad Hand, San DiegoKenley Jansen, Los Angeles DodgersJon Lester, Chicago Cubs*Miles Mikolas, St. Louis*Aaron Nola, PhiladelphiaMax Scherzer, WashingtonRoss Stripling, Los Angeles DodgersFelipe Vazquez, Pittsburgh*-denotes player won't be participating in All-Star Game.On the surface, it looks like the American League has the advantage once again based on both the starting lineup and the reserves coming off the bench.Betts (.359/.448/.691) is having a spectacular season and could easily ignite the American League with an extra-base hit. Altuve (.332/.394/.470) is the defending MVP and is never intimidated. Trout (.310/.454/.606) is almost certainly the best all-around player on the planet.Yes, that's a formidable top of the lineup Huston Street Jersey , but Scherzer is not the type to back down from any challenge. He said last week during an interview with the MLB Network that he is not planning to hold back and that he plans to fire for "a couple of innings" if Roberts plans to use him that long.The question of great pitching vs. great hitting will once again be tested.Sale has been on one of the hottest streaks of his career, as he has struck out 11 or more batters while walking one batter or fewer in his last five starts for the Red Sox.Since the American League is designated as the home team ven though the game is in a National League city e has a chance to set the tone against Baez, Arenado and Goldschmidt.Baez (19 home runs, 72 runs batted in) will usually take on an all-or-nothing attitude quite often when he is at the plate, but since he is leading off the game, he may just take what the defense gives him. He is a free swinger who hardly ever walks.Arenado (23 homers, 68 RBI) is an exceptional hitter while Goldschmidt (21 homers, 52 RBI) has been hot in recent weeks. Still, it would be a surprise if the National League does any real damage against Sale.The American League is a minus-130 favorite, according to OddsShark, while the National League is a plus-110 underdog. A bettor taking the American League would risk $130 to win $100, while a National League supporter bets $100 to win $110. PredictionsThe belief here is that Scherzer and Sale will do their jobs quite well, and so will deGrom and Severino, who are likely to follow the starters for their respective leagues.However, the rest of the pitchers may have to face reality. In particular, we see the next wave of NL pitchers having problems with Betts, Martinez, Trout, Ramirez and Machado among the starters.When the American League brings Lindor, Bregman, Springer and Cruz off the bench, it will have the opportunity to score quite a bit.The National League will take its cues from Arenado, Goldschmidt and Freeman, but that won't be enough. Votto, Aguilar and Cain are solid coming off the bench, but they may have a hard time producing like their American League counterparts.We like the American League to make it six wins in a row and take the all-time lead in the series, but the NL has one wild card. If Baez gets off to a brilliant start, hits a long ball and makes one or two of his classic plays in the field, it would not be a shocker if the Senior Circuit steals a win. Matthew Stockman/Getty ImagesThe Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershawagreed to a new three-year contract Friday that ensures he won't become a free agent until the end of the 2021 campaign, the team announced.TheNew York Post's Joel Shermanreported the deal is for $93 million.Kershaw had until 4 p.m. ET on Friday to decide if he wanted to exercise or decline the option in his contract. Had he opted out, he would have forfeited $65 million over the next two seasons."Honestly, I wanted to stay here," Kershaw said Saturday, per ESPN.com'sAiden Gonzalez. "Financial, everything aside, it was more valuable to me to stay here. I'm glad we got that done. I talked a lot with Ellen [his wife]. My kiddos love it here, Ellen loves it here, I love it here. I love the team here. There's not many opportunities that meet all the criteria that Ellen and I would be looking for."It gives me a chance to prove a lot of people wrong," Kershaw added. "I think this year especially ere's been a lot of people saying that I'm in decline or I'm not going to be as good as I once was. I'm looking forward to proving a lot of people wrong with that."The 30-year-old has established himself as arguably the top starting pitcher in baseball.He has seven seasons with 200 strikeouts or more (and hit 301 strikeouts in 2015), six seasons with a sub-2.50 ERA, three seasons with a sub-2.00 ERA and six seasons with a WHIP below 1.00. He's thrown 175 or more innings seven times and has eight straight years of double-digit wins (2010-17).He's led the National League in ERA five times, WHIP four times, wins three times and strikeouts three times.He's a seven-time All-Star,three-time Cy Young winner and was the 2014 NL MVP. He was the first pitcher to earn that honor in the National League since Bob Gibson in 1968 (Justin Verlander was the last pitcher to win AL MVP in 2011).Suffice it to say, Kershaw's value to the Dodgers is astronomical despite a rather inconsistent postseason track record. Overall, Kershaw is 9-10 with a 4.32 ERA across 24 playoff starts, including 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA over 11 innings against the reigning championBoston Red Sox in this year's World Series.Despite those flaws, the Dodgers negotiated a new deal with Kershaw to keep the perennial Cy Young candidate in Southern California.If he's able to maintain his elite level of pitching well into his 30s, that will not only be money well spent, but Kershaw may also go down as one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB history.
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