PRESENTED BY 953440453_mcdonaldsclubhouse_stb

2012 MLB All-Star Game: AL vs. NL at Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Tuesday 7/10, 7 pm CT

National League All-Stars Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair of the Chicago Cubs during the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY -- This is the seventh All-Star Game I have attended in person (the previous six: 1975, 1983, 1984, 1990, 1991, 2003). For whatever it's worth, the NL is 2-4 in those six previous games. Cubs players have had a prominent role in some of them: Bill Madlock was co-MVP in 1975 (and really should have won the award outright); Andre Dawson homered in the 1991 game, though the NL lost; Kerry Wood threw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in 2003 in another NL loss.

Tonight, from Cubs Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair, I hope they do well, but most importantly, come out uninjured. In the 1977 game at Yankee Stadium, Jerry Morales was hit on the knee by a Sparky Lyle pitch. Morales was hitting .331/.391/.502 at the All-Star break and was on a 100-RBI pace, but the knee injury bothered him the rest of the year -- he hit just .218/.269/.352 after the break, and missed a lot of playing time, playing in just 50 games with only 17 RBI. He was 28 at the time and it looked like he was becoming a solid regular, perhaps close to perennial All-Star status, but Morales was never quite the same player after that.

The NL leads the series 42-38-2, but they led by a lot more prior to 1997 -- the AL won 13 games in a row from 1997-2009, before the NL won the last two. One of the two tie games you likely know about, Bud's disaster in Milwaukee in 2002 that led to "this time it counts"; the other was the second of the two 1961 games, on July 31 that year in Washington. They had a 30-minute rain delay and then called it, primarily because players had to catch flights back to their teams. For the second of the two games that year, teams had only a two-day break instead of three, and transportation wasn't as rapid as it is today.

National League lineup:

Gonzalez DH, Cabrera CF, Braun LF, Votto 1B, Beltran RF, Posey C, Sandoval 3B, Uggla 2B, Furcal SS

American League lineup:

Jeter SS, Cano 2B, Hamilton LF, Bautista RF, Fielder 1B, Beltre 3B, Ortiz DH, Napoli C, Granderson CF
Today's Starting Pitchers
Justin Verlander
Justin Verlander
vs. Matt Cain
Matt Cain
9-5 W-L 9-3
2.58 ERA 2.62
128 SO 118
30 BB 24
11 HR 12

2012 - Justin Verlander 9-5 18 18 5 1 0 0 132.2 96 44 38 11 30 128 2.58 .95

2012 - Matt Cain 9-3 18 17 2 2 0 0 120.1 91 39 35 12 24 118 2.62 .96

Justin Verlander is making his first All-Star start after dominating the American League in 2011, and being excellent if not dominant in the first half of 2012. He nearly no-hit the Pirates earlier this season and has gone at least eight innings in half of his 18 starts. He won't have to do that tonight, of course; it could be a pitcher-dominated night, at least early in the game.

Another national sports event, another manufactured controversy. There really isn't much difference between the records of Matt Cain and R.A. Dickey. Dickey has more wins; ERA, WHIP and ERA+ are substantially the same, though Dickey has a slight edge. Dickey has three one-hitters, but Cain has his perfect game. In any case, both have been dominant this year and you'll likely see Dickey right after Cain's two innings.

Today's game is on Fox. Yes, it's Joe Buck & Tim McCarver. There's always the mute button. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

This thread will serve as the discussion thread for the All-Star Game. If it gets too slow and you need another one, post it in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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