Major League Baseball’s All Star Game will take place tonight, but for some reason it seems significantly different this year than in recent memory. For one, so many of the stars who have taken the game by storm in recent seasons won’t actually be playing tonight. Mike Trout will sit out due to his thumb injury, Clayton Kershaw is unavailable after pitching for the Dodgers on Sunday, and both Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey have fallen victim to numerous injuries to keep them out.
Heck, none of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, or Jake Arrieta made the squad despite being the focal points of the baseball spotlight for much of the last two years.
That said, there are 23 players making their first ASG appearances, including Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart. And honestly, there are very few of those first-timers who don’t have solid claims for being there, which is pretty damn cool if you take a breath and flush the first two paragraphs of this preview from your memory.
Aaron Judge is taking the AL by storm. Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner are doing similar havoc-wreaking in the NL. To top it off, Joey Votto - Joey Damn Votto - is back in the game for the first time in a ridiculous amount of time. And while this is the first time in many years where the winning league won’t claim home field advantage come World Series time, there should still be enough competitive juices flowing to make this one worth watching.
(In fact, the caveat with this particular game is that each player on the winning squad takes home $20,000, while the players on the losing squads get zilch. And if you think that’s chump change, well, circle back to how many first time players there are on this list, and take a gander at how many of them have yet to cash-in on big contracts yet.)
Starting lineups are listed below. Enjoy, and go Reds!
Jose Altuve - 2B (Houston Astros)
Jose Ramirez - 3B (Cleveland Indians)
Aaron Judge - RF (New York Yankees)
George Springer - LF (Houston Astros)
Carlos Correa - SS (Houston Astros)
Justin Smoak - 1B (Toronto Blue Jays)
Corey Dickerson - DH (Tampa Bay Rays)
Salvador Perez - C (Kansas City Royals)
Mookie Betts - CF (Boston Red Sox)
Chris Sale - SP (Boston Red Sox)
Charlie Blackmon - CF (Colorado Rockies)
Giancarlo Stanton - DH (Miami Marlins)
Bryce Harper - RF (Washington Nationals)
Buster Posey - C (San Francisco Giants)
Daniel Murphy - 2B (Washington Nationals)
Nolan Arenado - 3B (Colorado Rockies)
Ryan Zimmerman - 1B (Washington Nationals)
Marcell Ozuna - CF (Miami Marlins)
Zack Cozart - SS (Cincinnati Reds)
Max Scherzer - SP (Washington Nationals)