Free MLB All Star Game Picks, Tips and Odds: All Star Game Favorite, Moneyline, Total and Expert Predictions 7/12/11: The 2011 MLB All-Star Game will take place Tuesday at Chase Field in Arizona. The hitter-friendly ballpark should only add to the offense capable of being produced by the star-studded lineups of both leagues. The National League won last year’s contest, snapping a 13-year winless drought. However, the American League will be eager to start another run of dominance after falling 3-1 in the 2010 All-Star Game.
Looking at the lineups for both teams, it is clear that the AL has more firepower at its disposal. Curtis Granderson, Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista lead a potent group of sluggers that are always one pitch away from putting a home run in the seats. Even injuries to Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez do little to weaken the AL’s offensive strength. When you can bat David Ortiz seventh, you are in pretty good shape.
Injuries have affected the National League lineup as well, but unlike the AL, the rest of the NL All-Stars may not be able to pick up the slack. Table-setter Jose Reyes is sidelined with a hamstring injury, slugger Ryan Braun is nursing a calf issue, and third baseman Placido Polanco and Chipper Jones are both out as well. While Andrew McCutchen is a more than adequate replacement in the outfield, Scott Rolen is now the starter at third base. Throw in the significant downgrade at the hot corner with the loss of Reyes in the leadoff spot, and the NL lineup has some obvious holes.
That being said, the NL certainly makes up for its offensive issues with its stellar pitching staff. Starter Roy Hallday, Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum highlight a loaded group of arms capable of shutting down even the toughest lineup. Flame throwers Joel Hanrahan and Craig Kimbrel are waiting at the back end of the bullpen to shut things down as well. Considering the opposition, it is a very good thing the NL has such a luxury because the AL’s lineup is as tough as they come.
Meanwhile, the AL’s pitching staff finds itself in a similar situation as the NL’s offense. Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Jon Lester, CC Sabathia, David Price and James Shields will all miss Tuesday’s game after taking their turn in the rotation in the final games before the break. Closer Mariano Rivera will skip the contest as well to rest up for the stretch run. Needless to say, the AL’s best arms will be watching the action rather than dictating it from the mound. Starter Jared Weaver has been outstanding this year, but once he exits, the cupboard is a bit bare.
In the end, this year’s All-Star Game will probably come down to whether or not the NL pitchers can contain the AL hitters. It was the same situation last season, and the NL came away victorious. Being in a hitter-friendly park would seem to favor the American League, but Halladay and company don’t exactly need a big ballpark to shut down the opposition. Throw in the fact that the AL’s staff has been gutted, and the National League appears to be in the driver’s seat to start an All-Star Game winning streak of its own.
2011 MLB All Star Game Free Pick and Prediction: National League (-1 ½) Wins the 2011 All-Star Game
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|American League vs National League
Time: 8:25 PM EST
Vegas Odds –
Favorite: National League -115(moneyline) Total: Over/Under 8.5 Runs
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