The 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game is one of the most anticipated events of the year, and the excitement went through the roof when the rosters for the National and American leagues were announced.
With some of the biggest names in MLB taking the field at the same time—including several of the top starting pitchers in the world—there is guaranteed to be enough action to satisfy every baseball fan.
Here is the full 2014 MLB All-Star roster and predictions for the starting pitchers.
Predictions for Starting Pitching
There is no doubt that being voted to an All-Star Game is a great honor for any player, but starting pitchers are under an incredible amount of scrutiny.
While hitters are forced to face several of the top pitchers in the league, the starting pitchers must stare down some of the most dangerous hitters in the history of the sport.
Regardless of how well a starter has performed thus far in 2014, squaring off against the likes of Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutchen, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera and others is a daunting task.
Several elite relief pitchers made the All-Star teams, but the coaching staffs will look to save them for eighth- and ninth-inning duty. With plenty of depth and talent on both sides when it comes to starting pitchers, fans should expect around two innings out of each of the top stars and one inning of work or less for the rest.
Red Sox coach and American League manager John Farrell told Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com about his game plan for his roster at the All-Star Game:
We'll do everything we can to make sure everyone makes an appearance, particularly the position players. That may be a little bit more controllable than the pitching side of things. But at the same time, there are a lot of people who will look back on this game, on this event, as a contributing, pivotal moment in their postseason run.
Now that one coach has shared how he views using pitchers, here is my official prediction for the starting pitchers:
It is uncertain which starter will get the nod for the first inning, but Masahiro Tanaka deserves it most on the American League side, and Clayton Kershaw deserves it most on the National League side.
How about Tanaka vs. Kershaw as a potential head-to-head matchup?
Starting with the AL, Tanaka should lead one of the most talented starting groups in recent memory. Add Felix Hernandez and Yu Darvish, and there is little doubt that Farrell can get at least six innings out of his top three pitchers.
Max Scherzer is the biggest liability out of the possible starters, and fans shouldn’t be shocked to see Farrell get at least one inning out of Red Sox starter Jon Lester. When the game reaches the eighth and ninth innings, expect the American League to turn to its stacked bullpen for relief.
On the NL side, the team will use more of a committee approach. While Kershaw and Adam Wainwright deserve to go two innings apiece, pitchers such as Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke and Madison Bumgarner should only be used for one inning.
With a relief staff consisting of Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman and Francisco Rodriguez, there is no need to push the starting pitchers beyond their abilities.
There is so much talent on both teams that fans will be treated to an amazing display of pitching acumen regardless of who starts and how many innings each pitcher racks up.
Stats via MLB.com.
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