OAKLAND, CA - Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of an interleague game at O.co Coliseum (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

MLB All-Star Game 2012: Cain vs. Verlander

The National League is taking on the American League in Kansas City on Tuesday night, and this time it counts again for the very first time.

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27 Total Updates since July 1, 2012
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Joey Votto, Justin Verlander, And A Defense Of The All-Star Game

Joey Votto and Justin Verlander squared off on Tuesday night, and it reminded us why the All-Star Game can be interesting for a few seconds, at least.

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All-Star Game Ratings Imminent, Irrelevant

The Nielsen ratings for the 2012 All-Star Game should be underwhelming. Here's a reminder why that (still) doesn't matter.

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Heads And Tales: The Inside Scoop On Adrian Beltre's Greatest Fear

Adrian Beltre notoriously hates it when people touch his head. How come? SB Nation's Amy K. Nelson investigates.

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All-Star Game History: 6 Bizarre Starting Pitchers

Think it's odd that Matt Cain is starting over R.A. Dickey in the 2012 All-Star Game? Here are six bizarre choices to start All-Star Games in years past.

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All-Star Game 2012: National League Starting Lineup

Where earlier we provided for you the American League starting lineup for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, now we provide for you the National League starting lineup, because it wouldn't make sense to have one without the other. This NL lineup was built by the voters and arranged by Tony La Russa, who isn't even a manager anymore! I mean, he still manages things on a daily basis, like when he gets up and what he eats, but he doesn't manage baseball. I'm surprised he even remembers how to make a lineup, but maybe he had help. After all, where there are All-Star Game managers, there are All-Star Game bench and base coaches. I bet La Russa had one of them other guys make this.

Carlos Gonzalez, DH
Melky Cabrera, CF
Ryan Braun, LF
Joey Votto, 1B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Buster Posey, C
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Dan Uggla, 2B
Rafael Furcal, SS

Matt Cain, SP

There is just no let-up in that lineup. If this team existed during the regular season it would probably be the best team, especially since it would take a lot of the other teams' best players. That wouldn't be fair! Especially to the Giants. The Giants would be terrible.

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All-Star Game 2012: American League Starting Lineup

It's the day before the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, meaning it's the day we find out all about the respective leagues' starting lineups. I don't think I need to tell you that what follows is absolutely inconsequential, completely insignificant, and if you take issue with anything in here and try to argue about it you are doing it wrong. You are doing sports wrong. This is an All-Star Game. This is a starting lineup for an All-Star Game. This is as newsworthy as somebody's status update that gosh it sure is great to see the family after so many weeks, what a wonderful Saturday on the back patio! Here is the American League starting lineup, as built by the voters and as arranged by Ron Washington.

Derek Jeter, SS
Robinson Cano, 2B
Josh Hamilton, LF
Jose Bautista, RF
Prince Fielder, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, C
Curtis Granderson, CF

Justin Verlander, SP

Boy, what an outstanding starting lineup that is, with Curtis Granderson batting all the way down in ninth. It's almost as if this is a starting lineup of All-Stars.

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La Russa Chooses Matt Cain As NL All-Star Starter

It's been a leaky Monday morning in Kansas City.

First, we learned -- hours before the official announcements were due -- that Justin Verlander's going to start for the American League in the All-Star Game. Now comes the National League news: according to sources, Matt Cain's going to start for the National League.

The early reaction has been ... well, this Tweet from John Harper gets at it pretty well:

LaRussa can explain this any way he wants, but Dickey should be starting. Best pitcher this season and best story.

Dickey's 12-1 and Cain's 9-3, but otherwise their numbers are practically indistinguishable. Same strikeouts, same walks, same innings, same earned-run averages. Cain's home ballpark is probably slightly tougher on hitters than Dickey's, and all things considered Dickey's probably pitched slightly better than Cain.

But there's something to be said for history, isn't there? Matt Cain was also an All-Star last year, and finished eighth in the National League's Cy Young balloting.

Dickey's story is certainly better than Cain's. But this is probably the last game Tony La Russa will ever manage. He probably cares a lot less about stories than about winning. He probably thinks Cain pitching two innings gives him the best chance to win. And it's not obvious that he's wrong.

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Verlander Starting For AL In 2012 All-Star Game

Justin Verlander won the AL Cy Young Award as well as the MVP in 2011, and is once again among the league's leaders in a variety of pitching categories.

For that, he’ll be rewarded with an All-Star start. Jon Morosi:

American League manager Ron Washington has chosen Verlander as his starting pitcher for the 83rd All-Star Game, a major league source told FOXSports.com. The assignment will become official at a Monday news conference.

Verlander, 29, likely would have been the AL starter last season, but he was ineligible to pitch because he started for the Detroit Tigers on the final Sunday before the All-Star break.

Verlander hasn’t pitched since a complete-game win over the Twins on July 4, so he’ll have the perfect amount of rest before taking on National League hitters at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday. Verlander's got a 1.83 ERA in 13 career starts in Kansas City.

Stay with this StoryStream™ for more All-Star Game updates.

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Michael Bourn Replaces Ian Desmond On NL All-Star Team

There's been a roster swap for Tuesday's All-Star Game.

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Matt Holliday Replacing Yadier Molina On All-Star Roster

Cardinal in, Cardinal out. On Friday, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was placed on the bereavement list, which put him out for at least the next three games. But seeing as those three games lead right into the All-Star break, Molina has elected to skip the game altogether, and skipper Tony La Russa has named outfielder Matt Holliday as Molina's replacement.

Holliday is having a typically fantastic season, hitting .318/.397/.526 on the year with 14 home runs. He's been unspeakably hot since the start of June, though, hitting .385/.457/.606.

While Holliday is certainly a worthy selection, there might be some quibbles with the strategy part of La Russa's pick. The loss of Molina leaves Buster Posey and Carlos Ruiz as the only two catchers on the NL roster, and it's been something of a boom year for catchers, as A.J. Ellis and Miguel Montero are both having fantastic seasons worthy of consideration.

But La Russa chose a player from the same team as the player who is giving up a spot. That makes sense from a fan perspective, even if you know that more than a few people are going to dwell on a) exactly which team that happens to be and b) the manager's relation to said team.

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Chipper Jones Replaces Matt Kemp On NL All-Star Team

The Braves' about-to-retire third baseman will be making his ninth All-Star appearance, and first-ever appearance at Kauffman Stadium.

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This La Russa / Greinke Thing Just Gets Worse And Worse

Man, the more I read about this Zack Greinke thing, the more annoyed I get.

Sunday, I read these two things where Tony La Russa explained why he didn't choose Johnny Cueto or Zack Greinke for his National Leage All-Star roster ...

"If Dusty had been more interested in Cueto being on the team, then he wouldn’t be pitching him on Sunday. Cueto probably would be on the team if he wasn’t pitching Sunday."

and

La Russa attributed the absence of Greinke and Reds starter Johnny Cueto to the abundance of quality arms in the NL.

"That’s exactly right, those are the two guys [who were close], and there are others that you could point out," LaRussa said. "There was something to consider: both Greinke and Cueto are pitching Sunday. When you’re splitting some pretty fine hairs, that worked against them."

Seems pretty straight-forward, right? If you're going to start a game on the Sunday before the All-Star Game, the manager's not going to choose you for the All-Star Game. So if you want to be chosen for the All-Star Game, figure out a way to not pitch on Sunday.

Sorry, guys!

Well, that's fine when it comes to Cueto. But it never seemed fine regarding Greinke, and now it really doesn't seem fine. Look at this series of tweets from Buster Olney:

And finally, the coop-duh-grace delivered by John Fay, who cites a specific rule in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that prohibits a pitcher from being left off an All-Star roster because he's scheduled to pitch on the Sunday before the All-Star Game. The rule (via Fay):

(ii) Sunday Pitcher Rule. Any starting pitcher elected or selected to the All-Star team who makes a start on the Sunday immediately preceding the All-Star Game ("Sunday Pitcher") shall have the option to participate or not participate in the All-Star Game. If such starting pitcher elects to participate in the All-Star Game, he will not be permitted to pitch for more than one inning, and he may also inform his manager that he should be removed from the game if he reaches a certain pitch count (irrespective of whether he has completed one inning), provided such pitch count is reasonable. If a Sunday Pitcher who was originally named to the team elects not to participate in the All-Star Game, he will be replaced on the roster but treated in the same manner as other All-Stars who are excused from participation, and he will be encouraged to attend and be announced at the All-Star Game.

Well, maybe that's not quite the coop-duh-grace that Fay thinks he sees. According to Fay, "No pitcher is supposed to be passed over because he’s starting on Sunday."

But that's not what the rule says. The rule doesn't seem to prohibit a Sunday pitcher from being passed over; rather, it simply says what must happen if a Sunday pitcher is an All-Star. Unless I'm missing something.

So maybe La Russa didn't break a rule. Except the Rule of Logic, which dictates that Zack Greinke has been one of the National League's best pitchers this season, and is one of the National League's best pitchers, and thus belongs on the National League's All-Star team.

I always root against the National League anyway, because that's how I grew up. But this time around, I'll root against La Russa's team with a bit more relish than usual. Unless Greinke winds up on the team. Which he might, somehow.

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Full American League All-Star Game Roster Set

There was a whole hell of a lot of voting this year for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game starters, but the rest of the rosters are not left up to the fans, thankfully or not thankfully. Beyond the starters, the American League roster was filled out by Ron Washington, MLB, players, managers, and coaches. Here is a list of the available AL pitchers and reserves:

C: Matt Wieters
C: Joe Mauer
1B: Paul Konerko
2B: Ian Kinsler
SS: Elvis Andrus
SS: Asdrubal Cabrera
3B: Miguel Cabrera
OF: Adam Jones
OF: Mike Trout
OF: Mark Trumbo
DH: Adam Dunn
DH: Billy Butler

P: David Price
P: CC Sabathia (unavailable -- replaced by C.J. Wilson)
P: Chris Sale
P: Justin Verlander
P: Felix Hernandez
P: Jered Weaver
P: Jim Johnson
P: Chris Perez
P: Fernando Rodney
P: Ryan Cook
P: Matt Harrison
P: Joe Nathan

Plenty of good players in the American League will not represent the American League in the All-Star Game. That's how it is, and that's how it always has been. Some of them might even be better or more deserving than some of the players above! Oh no! The Final Vote will come down to a choice between Yu Darvish, Jonathan Broxton, Ernesto Frieri, Jason Hammel, and Jake Peavy. So, Darvish. It'll be Darvish. I don't even know why they're asking. Paul Konerko was the winner of the AL Final Vote a year ago. As a fan, you can place your vote somewhere.

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Full National League All-Star Game Roster Set

We already know who's going to be starting in the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, but of course the game is about more than its starters. You could say that part of the game's charm is how players are constantly being shuffled in and out. You could also say the opposite of that, but you could say that, and some people would agree with you.

The full National League roster has been set by Tony La Russa, MLB, players, managers, and coaches. Here are the available pitchers and reserves:

C: Yadier Molina
C: Carlos Ruiz
1B: Bryan LaHair
2B: Jose Altuve
SS: Starlin Castro
SS: Ian Desmond
3B: David Wright
OF: Ryan Braun
OF: Jay Bruce
OF: Andrew McCutchen
OF: Carlos Gonzalez
OF: Giancarlo Stanton

P: Matt Cain
P: R.A. Dickey
P: Lance Lynn
P: Gio Gonzalez
P: Stephen Strasburg
P: Aroldis Chapman
P: Joel Hanrahan
P: Craig Kimbrel
P: Cole Hamels
P: Jonathan Papelbon
P: Clayton Kershaw
P: Huston Street
P: Wade Miley

The final vote -- or Final Vote, as it were -- comes down to a choice between Bryce Harper, Chipper Jones, Aaron Hill, Michael Bourn, and David Freese. Hill and Bourn just stand such wonderful chances.

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