The 2019 MLB All-Star Game is Tuesday night in Cleveland at 8:15 EST. The game has an over-under of 14.5, and the National League is a -145 favorite on American League soil. The AL has won the last six iterations of the game, something that has somewhat predicted the level of play of the league as a whole in recent times.
The AL has also won 4 of the last 6 World Series, and the both NL victories were of the 4-3 variety. This year the roster looks a bit different, and that is the reason that the National League is favored in this game.
The National League is a star-studded roster that is full of household names like Contreras, Freeman, Baez, Marte, and Arenado in the infield while the AL team features the likes of Gary Sanchez, Carlos Santana, Jorge Polanco, Alex Bregman, and D.J. LeMahieu in the infield. The American League outfield is no slouch with Trout, Springer, and Brantley, but the NL boasts two of the hottest hitters with Yelich and Bellinger, along with Acuna.
The National League is the better team when it comes to who has the better combination of position players, but that is not the only factor in this years game. As everyone who has followed baseball this year knows, the home run ball has caused a lot of havoc this season, and the All-Star game is supposed to produce the same results.
What this increase in homers has done is increase run results against a lot of good pitchers. Usually, good pitchers are so good because it is incredibly difficult to string together multiple hits against the best of the best. Now, these pitchers are more capable of allowing runs because there are just more home runs to go around.
Someone like Justin Verlander, who has seen an increase in power increase his home run rate significantly, still has not seen a huge hit in his production compared to his counterparts because of the lack of base runners he allows. That being said, there are more runs to go around this year, and the long ball will likely be a key factor in this game.
The run total of 14.5 seems absolutely crazy to me. It is so crazy that I am not going to play that number either way because it seems so strange. What this line does tell me is that Vegas really thinks that the offenses will prevail in this game, and that does lead me to a team to bet on.
The American League roster as a whole is really watered down due to the injuries that have really hurt their two best teams. The roster would look a lot more studded if we could just add injured Yankees and Astros like Correa, Altuve, Stanton, Judge, Severino, and Betances. Those are all players that are elite at their position that didn’t play enough to make the team.
This happens to players every year, but the two best teams being this hurt really does strip the roster of a lot of star power. Still, I do think that these teams still eventually project evenly, at least in this setting. With a 14.5 total, you have to expect that the biggest plays and home runs will be coming from the reserves and I think that the AL roster is a bit more capable of coming through late.
Think about outfield reserves of Gallo, Martinez, and Betts batting late in the game vs. Dahl, Blackmon, and McNeil. The best three NL reserve bats are 1st basemen, which will mean that they won’t be able to use those guys in multiple spots much at all. The reserves on the surface look rather even, but I think that the AL reserve bats are more reliable and powerful late in the game.
I really like the AL in this matchup at +125 because I think this is basically a toss-up if we see the high-scoring game that Vegas projects here.