What To Watch For In Tonight’s All-Star Game

It’s difficult to predict who is going to make an impact in the MLB All-Star Game. Since everyone in the world (literally) gets a vote, the rosters are excessively deep. Then, since the managers understandably feel pressure to get everybody some playing time, some All-Stars might come and go faster than CBS’s Tuesday Night Book Club.

Of the three Brewers, Carlos Lee certainly has the best chance to make a splash, as it’s not difficult to imagine him jacking one out of PNC Park. Unfortunately, the reason he has a good chance to go yard is primarily because by the time he gets a chance to bat in the middle innings, the American League will probably have the game put away, and the AL pitchers won’t necessarily be throwing with their customary focus.

If the NL can keep it close, I like Brewers pitcher Chris Capuano to help his team’s cause. On the flip side, if the game is close in the late innings, I think all NL fans (and Brewers fans in particular) will be leery of an appearance by Brewers closer Derrick Turnbow — looking down the NL pitchers roster, Turnbow’s ERA just sticks out like a drunk Jackie Chan attending a concert.

Besides the Brewer All-Stars, there are a few players I’ll be rooting for: Kansas City pitcher Mike Redman, whose selection singlehandedly has caused every baseball journalist in the country to question the All-Star voting process. While I agree with some of the complaints, it would be nice to see Redman shut a few guys down and shut a few mouths in the process. I also hope that Minnesota Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano gets a chance to prove why he should have been voted into the game and not added as a last-minute replacement. I fear though that the rookie may crack under the spotlight and not have his best stuff. Doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be there.

Most of all, like all baseball fans, I’m hoping for a good, close game. But with the AL’s dominance this season in interleague play, I don’t expect it. But the NL may be ready to surprise: With everyone referring to the NL as the “junior varsity” league this year, Phil Garner’s squad isn’t only playing for home field in the 2006 World Series, it’s playing for pride and for the respect of the league. And who knows: The last time the NL won, the game was in Pittsburgh. Maybe the city is good luck for the NL. It certainly hasn’t been for the Pirates.

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