By Colin Bock

Every July, the best baseball players in the world congregate to play for pride and home-field advantage in the World Series.  This year, the American League, led by Chris Sale, faces off against the National League, led by Max Scherzer. This game is truly a treat for even the casual sports fans— the best of the best have been selected to play a special game.  Unlike the NBA, All-Stars in baseball is selected by the fans. Each side will play a traditional nine-inning game to determine the winner. The Red Sox, with a record of 68-30, are the winningest team in baseball this year. The Red Sox are certainly on pace to win a World Series.  For fans around the area, this game has extra incentive. If the American League squeezes out a win, the Red Sox, as it stands right now, will have home-field advantage in the World Series.

In his seventh consecutive All-Star appearance, Chris Sale will finally get the chance to start.  The 6’6” southpaw has been a Cy Young Candidate since his 2012 season with the Chicago White Sox and is on a pitching tear.  Sale’s boasts career lows as a starting pitcher in Earned Runs Average (ERA) and Walks Plus Hits per Inning Pitched (WHIP) at 2.23 and 0.889 respectively.  Sale’s teammate Craig Kimbrel has been named an All-Star as well due to his excellent track record with the Sox as a closer. J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts have been awarded starting roles at Designated Hitter and Outfield respectively.  Betts leads the league in batting average and On Base Plus Slugging Percentage (OPS) with a BA of 0.359 and an OPS of 1.139. J.D. Martinez also boasts an OPS of 1.037 and could very well hit 60 home runs by October as he currently sits at 29.

Starting at Pitcher for the NL is Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals.  The 3x Cy Young winner has earned the right to take the hill in front of his home crowd.  In 134.2 Innings Pitched, Scherzer has tossed 182 strikeouts, has an ERA of 2.41, and a WHIP of 0.899.  Scherzer’s teammate, Bryce Harper, won the Home Run Derby last night and is starting in the outfield for the NL.  The clear MVP Candidate for the NL this year, however, is Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves. Freeman is hitting 0.315 and has an OPS of 0.938.  Most importantly, Freeman has been the leader of one of the most surprising teams in baseball. Freeman’s Braves sit 0.5 games behind the Phillies in the NL East at 52-42.  The winner of this contest wins its league home-field advantage throughout the World Series— a big incentive for the first-place Boston Red Sox.

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